A team of four Creative Sustainability Master’s students were employed by the City of Helsinki & Helsinki City Marketing to pilot a research and design project that addressed their goal of increasing the sustainability of the Lux Helsinki Light Festival. Master’s students Julia Renko, Kelly Purcell, Hsiao-Pei Liao, and Angela Hernandez developed a sustainability measurement tool and collaboration platform to facilitate continued improvements of the event’s sustainability, and in doing so addressed sustainability issues of the event industry as a whole.
The project has been a collaborative concept directed by the School of Business through the platform of the Customized Business Project module and supervised by postdoc researcher Jouni Juntunen and project specialist Tommi Vihervaara. The project affords masters’ students the opportunity to work with a real client in consulting on a problem related to their studies.
‘This was an ambitious project. There isn’t much research available on event sustainability, let alone light festivals. I am particularly happy that this multidisciplinary group of students collaborated well, benchmarked international best practices and created a framework that takes into account all the main sustainability items. The output has practical relevance for organisations’ planning and implementing light events’, Jouni Juntunen tells.
Towards better collaboration and enhanced sustainability in event management
Over the course of the project, the team conducted interviews with internal, external and partnering stakeholders in order to benchmark the sustainability standards for Lux Helsinki and other European light art festivals. After their initial fieldwork, they delved into studying measurement systems often used for sustainability tracking and auditing. With this knowledge, they developed a measurement system tailored to light art festivals. This measurement system was also prototyped as a digital tool that would facilitate collaboration among events to enhance the industry’s sustainability as a whole.
Additionally, the team created a collaboration platform with which all respective stakeholders have the ability to work efficiently together in the ultimate goal of listing Lux Helsinki as the most sustainable light art festival in Europe by 2020. This platform works alongside the measurement system, as the measurement system identifies areas of improvement and the collaboration platform provides a roadmap to address these issues.
The City of Helsinki is passionate about continuing to develop Lux Helsinki
‘Lux Helsinki event has become a very popular winter event, and we as organizers want to provide both the visitors and citizen´s a more sustainable light event with a systemic development of the Lux Helsinki event’, says the event producer Susa Nokelainen, Helsinki Marketing.
According to business development advisor Päivi Piispa, City Executive Office, the measurement system developed by the Aalto team offers a comprehensive framework and a digital tool to monitor and to benchmark sustainability performance of events.
‘We also welcome sustainability initiatives, such as sustainability hackathons and competitions, light and innovation talks as elementary part of the Lux Helsinki event. The collaboration platform offers ideal means for Lux Helsinki and its stakeholders to work for sustainability efforts. For Lux Helsinki 2019, the planning of several sustainability initiatives is already underway. Accordingly, we can enthusiastically anticipate seeing the work of Aalto students in practice and that it will benefit all the event management in the future’, Päivi Piispa continues.