Three Frames to Explore Interdisciplinary Creativity within the context of Entrepreneurship

From the 25th to the 29th of April, 2022, the International Design Business Management (IDBM) Programme at Aalto University had the pleasure of hosting 45 talented master’s students from the ESADE Business School on a week-long study visit framed around the theme of "Leading for Interdisciplinary Creativity - Redefining Entrepreneurship.”
IDBM and Esade students visiting Aaltoes
Visit to Aaltoes

The study visit experience was designed so that the students would have a chance to explore interdisciplinary creativity within the context of management education by participating in the Problem Based Learning (PBL) courses at IDBM, and connecting with the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Helsinki through relevant guest lectures, keynotes, and company visits. The theme of the week was explored through three devised frames: Entrepreneurial Education, Student-Driven Entrepreneurship, and Entrepreneurship in Practice. With these three frames, the goal of the week was to provide the students with a unique, yet holistic perspective on the field of entrepreneurship and encourage them to develop their own narratives and perspectives on this topic.

“Adopting some of the core learning perspectives from IDBM, we asked the students to view tensions as the engine for design, and take the role of a transition designer; as change agents, who are able to work on multiple levels of scale, over long time horizons, and work towards a more sustainable, future-based vision,” described Ville Eloranta, the programme director of IDBM. Connecting back to the fields of entrepreneurship, the students were asked to explore the tensions between the different frames, within entrepreneurship as a whole, and more importantly, how can we navigate and utilize the tensions to set in motion a change towards a more desirable future. Together, these frames and narratives set the foundations for the study visit.

Within the frame of Entrepreneurial Education, the focus was on the various courses, programs, and initiatives taking different approaches to entrepreneurial education here at Aalto University. This included visits to Aalto Ventures Program (AVP), the Aalto Design Factory where the students received fascinating demos by students from the Product Development Project (PdP), and some lectures, workshops, and keynotes on transition design, multidisciplinary team working, and designing business models for shared value from IDBM itself. The aim was to showcase comprehensive, yet differing perspectives towards the field of entrepreneurial education and the entrepreneurial mindset, as well as equipping the students with practical tools and methods for their future endeavors.

ESADE visit to Design Factory
Visit to Aalto Design Factory

In terms of Student-Driven Entrepreneurship, which of course no doubt overlaps with the aforementioned frame to some extent, the focus was primarily on activities and initiatives run for and by the students. This included a visit to Startup Sauna where the students had the chance to interact with members of Aalto Entrepreneurship Society (Aaltoes), Kiuas Accelerator, Junction Hackathon, and DASH. Moreover, the program was pleased to host Ohto Pentikäinen, Aalto alumnus and CEO of Port6, for a keynote and Q&A session with the students. Ohto was also able to reflect upon his experiences of combining studies with his startup ambitions and shared valuable insights on the field of Augmented and Extended Realities with the students.

The last frame, Entrepreneurship in Practice, included visits and discussions with relevant stakeholders within the Finnish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. On Wednesday, the students heard from Dr. Andreas Benker, IDBM & Aalto Alumnus, on the business model and service innovation initiatives he leads at the Fiskars Group, a company with over 300 years of heritage. On Thursday, a riveting panel discussion on the Finnish Entrepreneurial Ecosystem was hosted with Pontus Stråhlman, Partner at Voima Ventures, and Mikko Mäntylä, President of Slush as the panelists. Together, Pontus and Mikko were able to provide valuable insights into the startup scene from both, the public, and private perspectives. The group also visited Maria 01, the largest startup campus in Finland, where they had the chance to listen to the stories of Kamupak, Cooler Future, Crowd For Impact, Urban Tech Helsinki, and 100 Thousand Million. The week was rounded up on Friday with a visit to Wolt, undoubtedly one of the biggest startup success stories to emerge from Finland within the last couple of years, to hear about their role within the startup ecosystem as well as their ambitions for the future.

ESADE Visit to Maria 01
Visit to Maria 01

These frames were designed to complement the theme of the study week, “Leading for Interdisciplinary Creativity - Redefining Entrepreneurship,” and provide a unique outlook on the Finnish entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Driven by the principles of transition design, we aimed to empower the students to build their own narratives on the various topics, and challenge themselves to identify and utilize the underlying tensions to drive change towards a more desirable future,” commented Apurva Ganoo, a doctoral candidate at the school of business, and one of the organizers of the visit.

IDBM would like to extend our gratitude to our ESADE counterparts, Jordi Vinaixa and Ruth Hermoso, as well as all the various speakers, hosts, IDBM students, and of course the ESADE students for making this visit a success.

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