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Radical creativity – it’s a gamble

The first Finnish satellite was a creative and very risky project.
Aalto-yliopisto, Otaniemi stories: Jaan Praks, apulaisprofessori, radiotieteen ja -tekniikan laitos / Kuvaaja: Sinikoski
‘What I’m waiting for most from the future is completely new and unexpected innovations that will utilise the future’s space technology in a way that no one has even imagined yet,’ says assistant professor Jaan Praks. Photo: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

We need creative solutions to solve global problems and create a better world – solutions, which build on science. By its very definition, science is a creative process which is at the heart of university education, and therefore universities are always cradles of creativity. However, the somewhat conservative competitive environment more often encourages incremental than radical creativity.

How, then, can we be more creative and more radical? Radical creativity involves risk-taking and having the resources even for projects of high risk. Sometimes it pays off. Big risk needs big rewards, radical creativity is a gamble.

Aalto 1 satellite: Photo: Aleksi Poutanen
Aalto-1 was the first Finnish satellite. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen

Radical creativity also needs the ingredients for making radically new things. The ingredients can arise from a surprising mix of views, new combinations of knowledge, collaboration, passion and sometimes stubbornness. But more than anything else radical creativity needs radical creators who can imagine the new.

Aalto University is indeed a creative community and I believe that in some respect we are radically creative. We have a multifaceted organisation, traditions and frameworks to interact, excellent infrastructure, resources and many other necessary elements. Most importantly, we have the talented and ambitious Aalto community members.

The first Finnish satellite was a creative and very risky project and Aalto took a high risk in trusting and allocating resources to the inexperienced but ambitious students – and it paid off.

Jaan Praks 
Assistant Professor
Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering
School of Electrical Engineering

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