Professional Summer School culminated in the presentation of students’ innovations and ideas to improve universities of applied sciences


Professional Summer School, arranged by Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia, culminated on Friday 10 June as participants presented their service prototypes in Leppävaara, Espoo.

The first Professional Summer School was themed improving wellbeing and health through technology and service business. A total of twelve student groups presented their product prototypes in five-minute pitches to representatives of companies and the third sector as well as the coaches of Professional Summer School. 

Clients in Professional Summer School included Microsoft, Elisa, Novartis and Shantia, and the public sector was represented by HUS Hospital District, the town of Kerava and others. Student innovations for organisations included an online platform that connects start-up entrepreneurs all over the world and a digital tool that allows the user to monitor their health and wellbeing in a holistic way.

For two weeks, the participants of Professional Summer School searched for information and experiences at the GE Healthcare Start-Up Village in Helsinki and learned about the trends of wellbeing and health technology as well as the future of social services and health care in lectures and discussion events. Bruce Oreck, former US ambassador in Finland, coached the students on pitching their idea, and students got tips on start-ups from enterprise accelerator Vertical. Students used for example storyboards and concept descriptions to realise their service prototypes.

– Professional Summer School is a bold introduction to innovations and renewing business cooperation, provided by the universities of applied sciences in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The implementation reflects on the renewing role of education, with a multidisciplinary approach to creating and generating innovations with working life. Digitalisation and changes in operating environments create great opportunities for improving the operation of universities of applied sciences. In a positive way, they compel education to be renewed, says Tuija Hirvikoski from Laurea, who was in charge of the implementation.

– It is an excellent way to cooperate with various fields of study, and the profiles of all three universities of applied sciences can truly be utilised side by side. For example, the future professionals of technology, social services and health care and business management get to innovate freely without being limited by institutional boundaries, states Marko Mäki, Principal Lecturer at Haaga-Helia, who coached the students on marketing.

Professional Summer School was largely realised through volunteer work. Participants included volunteer speakers, Master's degree students and staff from universities of applied sciences.

– There was a great entrepreneurial spirit, praises Tuija Hirvikoski. There was also an international aspect: participants included many exchange students, and some of the business ideas were directed to foreign markets.

Students appreciated the multidisciplinary nature of Professional Summer School, team work and the fact that they had the opportunity to develop real solutions for enterprises and third sector organisations. All innovations will be freely available for the organisations to use.

– It was really fun here! There could definitely be even more similar solutions. We used new working methods such as brainstorming for learning, but it was nice that there were also traditional lectures. We got clear and concrete tools for innovating, commended Katja Pitkänen, student of Marketing and Business Communication at Haaga-Helia, and Inka Suksi, student of Occupational therapy at Metropolia.

Pitkänen's and Suksi’s team innovated an online service and smart phone application for making healthcare appointments with the town of Kerava as the client. The service also utilises the idea of sharing economy. “In addition to making appointments, users can chat or offer to loan their car, for example,” the students report. The team were also pleased that Professional Summer School taught them to market their ideas.

– No matter how good an innovation is, it won’t be much use if you can't sell it. Skills like this are important in working life and in life in general, the students conclude.

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