Professor of Practice Marjo Keiramo is adding radical creativity to ship design studies

Large, floating structures, such as cruise ships, are complex systems whose design and development requires open-mindedness, collaboration, networks – and radical creativity.
Työelämäprofessori Marjo Keiramo

Marjo Keiramo, D.Sc. (Tech.), has been working as a professor of practice in the field of radical creativity in ship design since October 2022. Drawing from a wealth of experience in cruise ship design, she has a clear vision of what kinds of expertise are needed for the Finnish shipbuilding industry to prosper.

Radical creativity is one of three cross-cutting themes in the strategy of Aalto University. Its aim is to encourage people to break boundaries and to create new points of view. Creativity and the ability to adopt new methods are essential to other organisations as well, such as shipyards.

The success of ship design education at Aalto University is based on multidisciplinary and international collaboration, and on encouraging students toward creativity. This education provides the field with new expertise and success. Doctorates in technology are already a common sight in the companies that will employ these new experts.

What does radical creativity mean in terms of ship design?

’Radical creativity means an ability to create and design solutions that improve a ship’s properties, usability and customer experience. When designing ships, radical creativity requires not only collaboration skills but also flexibility, perseverance and capacity for taking risks’, says Marjo Keiramo.

‘The cruise ship Icon of the Seas, currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard, includes many radical architectural and technical solutions that have been developed through collective creative design work. In ship design, creativity is a communal and forward-looking force.’

Can radical creativity be taught?

Creativity in ship design engages the entire ecosystem in development and design work, problem solving and a continuous effort toward better solutions.

’As an example, future ship designers’ studies at Aalto include a passenger ship design project that teaches collective design methods and their supervision. During the project, students design a passenger ship of the future and are then tasked with presenting their projects to various parties. Creative skills are at the core, while negotiation skills and new tools are learned along the way.’

’The first sketches are often hand-drawn artwork. By learning and applying design thinking, students can promote change and solve problems efficiently with a creative thinking in any given field. Project assignments develop students’ skills in designing, organising, leading, implementing and assessing successful projects in technology.’

How can students discover their strengths and find their paths in the multifaceted world of cruise ships?

’Already during their studies students participate in multidisciplinary design projects that give them opportunities for understanding, contextualising and analysing ship design and for evaluating possible future career paths. These projects give students a comprehensive introduction to the community of ship designers and builders, allowing them to start networking even before graduation. Connections in the field often result in the first summer jobs, and master’s theses are also often completed under the supervision of a future employer.’

’The marine industry, and the shipbuilding sector in particular, is known for its community. It offers a variety of domestic and international career paths at shipyards, shipping companies, classification and research institutes and numerous associated industrial businesses.’

Students benefit from the experience of the professor of practice 

Marjo Keiramo, D.Sc. (Tech.), has been appointed as professor of practice at Aalto University School of Engineering and its Department of Mechanical Engineering for the period 1 October 2022–30 September 2024. The field of the professorship is radical creativity in shipbuilding. She is also continuing her work at Meyer Turku Oy as head of group sales and design.

Keiramo completed her doctorate in 2021 at Aalto University in the field of marine technology. Her dissertation Pathways of the creative journey - Signifiance of a cruise ship concept design deals with the concept design of a cruise ship.

Keiramo has roughly twenty years of international experience in the field. Since 2000, she has worked in a variety of management roles and a number of companies: Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Aker Yards, STX Europe, Baltic Yachts and Royal Caribbean Group. Keiramo’s broad experience of collective cruise ship concept design processes touches on some of the largest vessels in the world, including Voyager-, Freedom-, Oasis- and Icon-class ships and Mein Schiff series of vessels.

Contact information

Professor of Practice Marjo Keiramo
Tel. +35840 744 7683
[email protected]

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