About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2315-2324
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain


J. Ramström, A.G. Nyström, J. Lindström

Åbo Akademi University (FINLAND)
The current economic turmoil has left many countries with high number of unemployed and a number of companies going into bankruptcy. Governments all over Europe are increasingly turning their hopes towards innovations. However, the idea of attempting to make new innovations with large amounts of public funding is increasingly being criticized, as the invested funds do not match the amount of new innovations.

There is evidence of a tremendous amount of novel ideas and potential innovations both among students in universities and among owners of small companies. These ideas are, however, seldom exploited and turned into commercial innovations. Firstly, universities are notoriously poor in providing students opportunities to exploit their ideas and inventions during their studies. Second, there is a lack of structures that allows students to participate in product and service development processes in firms. Even though the third task of universities is to support the local community, universities are struggling to develop routines that do so.

A second challenge facing universities is that firms are increasingly criticizing university education. When entering working life, newly graduates often lack the necessary skills and competences to support the development and growth of the firm. Working life is increasingly characterized by fast changes, dynamic and changing business environment and a need for constant development and innovation. There is a need for newly graduates to be able to lead development processes and work in multidisciplinary teams. Such skills are seldom the focus of university studies. In other words, the skills and competences of newly graduates do not match the needs of firms. Hence, one could argue that universities fail in their task to support firms to develop and grow.

This paper discusses an alternative learning environment for innovation studies and education, developed by several universities in Turku, Finland. This innovation environment or platform is called INNO58h, and has the ambitious vision of creating 5000 innovators in the Turku region. The core concept of INNO58h is close cooperation between universities and companies, combining students from different backgrounds and disciplines, forming multicultural and multidisciplinary teams that work closely with companies on development tasks formulated by the firms. Students and firm representatives innovate and design development processes together. In contrary to traditional courses, teachers in INNO58h act as coaches. The coaches' task is to facilitate the learning and team processes as opposed to directing and transferring knowledge to students. The INNO58h platform is also unique as it depends on team based learning, whereas most traditional innovation educational programs are based on traditional teaching methods (lectures, exams, assignments) or sometimes project based learning.

The aim of paper is to conceptually discuss innovations and innovation processes in teaching and education by analyzing the INNO58h innovation platform. The paper addresses innovative ways of designing and facilitating learning processes. The leading idea is that students are integrated into expert communities, where they learn by doing and assume the role of self-oriented learners working in teams with different development tasks. We pinpoint the role of the teacher/coach in facilitating learning and discuss how the education/program can be structured and modeled.
author = {Ramstr{\"{o}}m, J. and Nystr{\"{o}}m, A.G. and Lindstr{\"{o}}m, J.},
series = {8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-8412-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {10-12 March, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {2315-2324}}
AU - J. Ramström AU - A.G. Nyström AU - J. Lindström
SN - 978-84-616-8412-0/2340-1079
PY - 2014
Y1 - 10-12 March, 2014
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2014 Proceedings
SP - 2315
EP - 2324
ER -
J. Ramström, A.G. Nyström, J. Lindström (2014) DEVELOPING A TEAM-BASED INNOVATION EDUCATION, INTED2014 Proceedings, pp. 2315-2324.