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Imagining alternative futures with creativity

Creativity is a buzzword – but what does it mean?
Professors Maarit Mäkelä and Jussi Leveinen at the Aalto ceramics workshop developing a clay-based alternative to concrete. Photo: Hayley Le
Professors Maarit Mäkelä and Jussi Leveinen are developing a clay-based alternative to concrete within their Radical Ceramics group. Here they are looking at their prototypes at the Aalto ceramics workshop. Photo: Hayley Le

Creativity is a difficult term to describe, yet it’s a highly valued skill of today. The unprecedented speed of change necessitates us to learn new things fast and collaborate to get the benefit of combining different expertise in new ways. 

Creative people are often able to view things from different perspectives, find hidden opportunities and generate original ideas that have value. The ability to dream big and express unique insights can lead to important discoveries, which besides creativity and imagination also need a dose of good luck and a comprehensive network. 

On a team level, creativity requires good dynamics, experimentation, open dialogue and a great deal of trust. Innovative teams learn from failure, faster than others. 

However, creativity is not only about innovation – it’s strongly related to experiences, self-expression and self-fulfilment. Imagination makes us humans different from other species, and expressions of the human imagination spread important social and cultural values. 

The good news is that anyone can become more creative. It’s a skill that requires sustained practice, openness, and perseverance because experimenting with new things constantly pushes us out of our comfort zone. 

Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Radical creativity is a cross-cutting theme in Aalto’s  strategy, competence and culture that we want to increase and scale-up, both on a personal and organisational level. 

Read on to learn what Aalto scholars have to say about creativity. 

Aalto-yliopisto, Otaniemi stories: Jaan Praks, apulaisprofessori, radiotieteen ja -tekniikan laitos / Kuvaaja: Sinikoski

Radical creativity – it’s a gamble

The first Finnish satellite was a creative and very risky project.

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Julia Lohmann and Department of Seaweed. Photo: Mikko Raskinen

From not knowing to new knowledge via imagining

Julia Lohmann considers design a bridge-building discipline that enables collaboration and communication across disciplines.

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Associate professor Elisa Mekler. Photo: Matti Ahlgren

Contributing to a better future with creativity

Radical creativity is my elixir, it motivates and revitalises my interest in research and the world at large, says assistant professor Elisa Mekler.

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man standing in a storage in front of the window, wearing a white laboratory coat, smiling

Mixing people

Mixing people with different backgrounds is a nutrient for creativity, says professor Tapani Vuorinen.

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Provost Kristiina Mäkelä. Photo: Jaakko Kahilaniemi

Radical creativity empowers new thinking

Aalto aims to take an internationally leading position concerning radical creativity and its leadership.

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Aalto innovations present at Flow Festival, photo by Samuli Pentti

Radical creativity sparks discoveries

An idea that may sound crazy at first can be the key to solving significant challenges. Aalto University provides a favourable environment for daring initiatives that can lead to the discovery of some genuinely novel solutions.

Give for the future

Unfolded

Aalto University UNFOLDED magazine focuses on contemporary issues dealing with creativity, experimentation, and transdisciplinary co-creation.

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Radical creativity

We build an outstanding creative community for new thinking.

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Radical creativity illustration: Anna Muchenikova
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New quantum entangled material could pave way for ultrathin quantum technologies

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New research: Labeling carbon footprint affects the choices of mass catering customers – and the labeling method matters, too!

A recent study conducted in Germany shows that customers in a student canteen choose low-emission meals when presented with the carbon footprint of meals. This effect was strongest when the information was color-coded in a traffic-light scheme and translated into environmental costs in euros. According to one of the researchers, these findings could also be relevant for Finland, where mass catering is particularly popular.