Making creativity happen: new documentary shows how to foster a creative mindset

Companies and organisations can arrange screenings to encourage creativity and experimentation
In the film Radical Creatives, creativity is found by diving below the surface. Photo: Hayley Lê
The Radical Creatives documentary explores how each one of us can nurture creativity. Photo: Hayley Lê

Creativity is a vital skill for tackling the challenges facing humanity, and the World Economic Forum recently listed it as the most important skill in working life. A new documentary from Finland explores how people and organizations can nurture creativity – how it can be taught, learned and harnessed. 

Radical Creatives is a film about people who set out to change the status quo. It offers a glimpse into the practices that helped researchers and artists in Finland have an outsized impact on design, telecommunications and computing in the last century. Today, the country is at the leading edge of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and brain research. The creative spirit underlying these successes is the subject of the new documentary.

Directed by Emilia Hernesniemi, the film examines the nature of creativity through interviews with more than 30 people at Finland’s Aalto University and beyond, including a designer, an ice scientist, a peace negotiator and a philosopher. Companies and organizations can arrange a free screening of the documentary to foster a culture of creativity. Later this year, Aalto will also publish an open online course on creativity.

Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski and professor Jaan Praks talk about the origin of the SAR satellite. Photo: Hayley Lê
Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski and Professor Jaan Praks describe the beginning of the development of the SAR radar satellite. Photo: Hayley Lê

‘Breaking boundaries is at the heart of radical creativity,’ says Jaan Praks, the professor who launched Finland’s satellite industry. ‘At its core, it's about not wondering what your activities will look like from the outside when you're working on something you think is important.’

In 2010, Praks needed a challenging project for a specialised course he was teaching about space technology. He came up with the idea of building Finland's first satellite. The resulting nanosatellite Aalto-1 launched in 2017 after some delays, and it’s still operational today. In 2014, some of the students founded a spinoff company, Iceye, which is now an official subcontractor of both NASA and the ESA.

‘Creativity can be learned, and its laws should be understood in all sectors of society. At the heart of it is experimentation, entrepreneurship, tolerance of uncertainty and failure, and taking responsibility for one's own work,’ says Riikka Mäkikoskela, Aalto University’s head of radical creativity.

Finland’s outsized impact in art, design and technology has been driven by a creative spirit and a willingness to embrace experimentation. Aalto University and its predecessors – home to many of the country’s radical innovations – have nurtured an open culture with low hierarchies, conditions in which creativity thrives. Radical Creatives distils the essence of this creative culture, offering people and organizations the tools to make fundamental change possible.

Anyone can organise a screening of the one-hour documentary for free of charge.

More information:

Book a screening and see the cast and the film crew

Creativity challenge
Riikka Mäkikoskela, Head of Radical Creativity
[email protected]
+358 45 131 3562

Radical Creatives documentary
Milla Kokko, producer
[email protected]
+358 40 8600277

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