Climate University goes Metropolia: Spotlight on sustainable cities and communities

Climate University workshop in Metropolia UAS campus in Myyrmäki, Vantaa on 19–20.11.2019

– Environmental crisis is a reality, there is no use to deny it or lament. Solutions exist – we need optimism and quick action now, stated Antti Tohka, director of Metropolia’s Clean and Sustainable Solutions innovation hub, in his opening remarks. Nimo Samatar from student union Metka applauded Climate University for its important work, and challenged Metropolia other universities to do more. Laura Riuttanen, the Climate University coordinator, summarized the project and its activities.

How can cities and communities define, measure and develop sustainability? Pentti Viluksela presented four tools that could be useful. Ronny Rantamäki shared the initiatives and experiences of City of Vantaa in bringing together different players and stakeholder to develop resource-wise and sustainable solutions, for example in urban food and in circular economy. Redono Oy is a pioneer in sustainable food solutions; CEO Henri Laine illustrated many opportunities in this field, and presented an impressive network of partners, including the #urbanfarmlab of Metropolia.

Metropolia student Stefan Sjöholm analysed the Hinku project (Hiilineutraalit kunnat, carbon-neutral communes) from the point-of-view on Kirkkonummi, one of the owner municipalities of Metropolia. After a quick jump to the equator, professor Jukka Käyhkö from University of Turku inspired the audience by showing how Tanzanian students are mobilized to map development challenges in urban areas, and improve the resilience in Dar es Salaam and other cities. Finally, operations manager Tiila Korhonen from HSY (Helsinki region environmental services) outlined the journey of change of Ämmässuo, the largest Nordic landfill in the 1980s towards today’s highly effective eco-industrial centre.

Formula cars and crickets

After the lunch, the participants visited three labs in the Myyrmäki campus. In the automotive lab, the Sniffer project showcased an air quality measuring and analysis lab on wheels, and in the new Ultimate Condition Room, cars and their components, like batteries, can be tested in temperatures ranging from –45 to +60°C.

In the urbanfarmlab, companies and students work together to pilot different urban farming techniques (hydroponics, aeroponics) and crops (greens, crickets, hops, microalgae) using industrial sidestreams as fertilisers.

Next door, a 20-strong all-student team is working on next year’s electric racer car. Students from different backgrounds design and construct the racer with support and collaboration of industrial partners, and compete against other European student teams in summer 2020.

Climate challenge!

Participants were encouraged to devise and present climate challenges to their chosen recipients. Eight short video challenges were recorded and screened by the Metropolia– University of Helsinki video team. See a separate blog posting!

Expertise and cooperation

Day 1 was concluded with a panel discussion on theme What expertise and what kind of collaboration do we need to solve the climate and sustainability challenges? The panelists, Ronny Rantamäki (City of Vantaa), Risto Makkonen (Finnish Meteorological Institute), Paavo Tertsunen (UseLess Company), Janna Pietikäinen (University of Helsinki) and Stefan Sjöholm (Metropolia) elaborated on the issues presented by the moderator Riitta Lehtinen (Metropolia) and the online questions collected from the audience.

At the end of the first day, we raised a toast for the successful first year of Climate University.

New MOOCs took a leap forward

Three of the new Climate University MOOCs were at focus on the second day of the workshop. Project coordinator Laura Riuttanen outlined the existing MOOCs (, Leadership for Sustainable Change, and the work done so far on the new courses. The new MOOCs were presented and processed in a World Café poster session and in two separate workshop sessions.

  • – a Bachelor-level course for sustainable development and climate challenges and solutions
  • – a Master level project course for solving climate and sustainability challenges of companies and organizations
  • – a Master-level course on using systems thinking and multidisciplinary approaches to contribute in societal change

In the closing discussion, feedback was given by the CU steering group member Risto Makkonen and other participants. Although the work is progressing well, the ultimate success of the project depends on how well the courses are integrated in the curricula of the universities and taken into use in different levels and contexts.

Text: Pentti Viluksela

Photos: Emmi Myllylä – project course for solving sustainability challenges

Project course for solving sustainability challenges



Climate change, depleting natural resources, pollution and urbanization pose some of the greatest challenges in the history of humankind. Good solutions are needed now! These so-called wicked problems are so complex that they need actors from all levels of our society working together. Wicked problems are turned into wicked solutions only by strong collaboration between companies, universities, cities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This means that future problem-solvers need to know how to work in the middle ground between the business, research and decision-making sectors. On course it is time to put the knowledge learned from books into practice by solving real life challenges related to sustainability issues. The challenges on the course are given by real companies, who want to make a positive impact with their business.

Much of today’s work consists of working in and leading multidisciplinary projects. However, practical project management courses and company collaborations are non-existent in many university studies. course combines problem- and project-based learning methods with sustainability issues, to let students learn the most critical project management skills while gaining valuable working-life experience. At the same time students learn valuable future skills such as tolerating uncertainties and conflicts and balancing with the knowledge learned from the literature and the frame given by the company.

This course is ideally taken after other sustainability courses such as Leadership for Sustainable Change, and so that the students already have some basic knowledge of the complexity of sustainability issues. This course offers a practical way to use that knowledge in real life as well as learn new skills in planning and executing sustainability projects. Students work in multi-disciplinary teams, each team dedicated to one sustainability project. They get to experience how it feels like to use their knowledge to make a positive impact on the world.


In our pilot course in the spring 2020 we will accept students from the following universities:

University of Helsinki, course code: ATM380 (Registration time:  9.12.2019 – 12.1.2020), also available via open university (Registration here)

Turku University of Applied Sciences, course code: TE00BR31 (Registration time: 18.11.2019 – 06.01.2020)

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, course code: XX00DW15-3001 (Registration time: 2.12.2019 – 15.1.2020)

Lahti University of Applied Sciences, course code: LA00BU68 (Registration time: 25.11. – 8.12.2019)


Course dates:

16.1. 9-11 Virtual lesson I

17.1. 9-11 Mentoring

23.1. 9-11 Virtual lesson II

24.1. & 31.1. 9-11 Mentoring

6.2. 9-11 Virtual lesson III

7.2. & 14.2. & 21.2. 9-11 Mentoring

27.2. 9-11 Final presentations

28.2. 9-11 Feedback sessions


More information:

Piia Nurmi, Leader of Research in Circular Business Models research group, Lecturer, MSc (Econ)

Turku University of Applied Sciences  +358 40 3550931

10.-11.10.2019 Climate University goes Oulu: Workshop with theme Climate education and communication

A month ago, University of Oulu welcomed the Climate University community and all interested professionals to the workshop arranged with theme “Climate education and communication”. One and a half days with interesting program awaited the guests. Dean of education from the Faculty of Science, Saana-Maija Huttula, opened the event by reminding that Climate University, like the University of Oulu, is doing utterly important work for the next generation.

It was heart-warming to acknowledge that many had chosen to travel to Oulu by train, climate-friendly. Unfortunately, sleep had not been guaranteed for everybody in the night train, but despite of that we started the workshop full of enthusiasm. Approximately 50 people took part in the first day of the workshop.

The first session of Thursday 10.10. was reserved for the teachers, who exchanged experiences and plans regarding teaching the existing course. Right after lunch, it was time to dive deep into the theme of the workshop. Five interesting presentations took us on a journey visiting different levels of climate education and communication.

The first presentation by Leena Pääsky from University of Oulu showed how teachers are trained to educate children about climate change. She was followed by Jussi Malila from University of Oulu and Jussi Tomberg from the City of Oulu, who introduced the two partly overlapping projects bringing climate change teaching to high schools in a way never seen before. From high schools we jumped into university level teaching, when prof. Erkki Karvonen from University of Oulu presented the unique master’s programme in Science Communication, and led the audience to think about the role of and challenges related to communicating (climate) science to different audiences. Finally, Niina Grönholm from Micropolis guided us through the preparation and execution of a climate change event targeted at lay audience: IlmastoAreena forum was arranged in the world famous city of Ii, with thousands of visitors attracted by the possibility to discuss about Climate Change.

Dizzy heads were soothed with berry smoothies, before rolling up sleeves. We got a sneek peek into DigiCampus platform by Tiina Vertanen, after which we divided into groups working on the development of new Climate University courses. Focus was on the high school course and the Climate Communications module.

Sense of community peaked at the end of the intense day, when falafel and climate-friendly pizzas (e.g. Stairway  to Heaven and Bobba Fetta) were shared at the eco-oriented restaurant Tuba Food & Lounge. While munching, we listened to Sustainability Science Open Mic presentations.

On Friday 11.10., the day started early, but with full force. Climate University coordinator meeting was intense and fruitful, as always. Meanwhile in another room, the Ilmastonmuutos lukioihin! project kick-off took place. After some fresh fruit and coffee to help brain function, around 70 people consisting of high school teachers, university teachers, Climate University people and students gathered at Tellus Arena to follow a panel discussion about the challenges of multidisciplinary teaching and learning.

Sari Harmoinen (Dean of education from the Faculty of Education at University of Oulu), Sakari Tolppanen (researcher from UEF), Kirsi Haapamäki (from Otaniemi high school), Veera Juntunen (a student from Univ. Oulu) and Viivi Ryhänen (a high school student from Oulun normaalikoulun lukio) provided interesting views and perspectives to the relevant topic of multidisciplinary teaching. The audience was activated, too: they provided questions and comments both traditionally and anonymously via the Mentimeter tool.

Based on the topics covered in the panel discussion, challenges were handed out to small groups formed from the audience. Guilt and hypocrisy, being out of comfort zone, climate anxiety, thinking in silos… Not the easiest questions! The groups started their discussion in silence, eyes closed, and gradually continued to conversations about the challenges and solutions. The session ended with an energetic “TV-shop commercial break”, where a representative from each group presented precision-weapons to tackle the tricky challenges. Maybe the solutions are in our hands (and in our ears), after all.

Food for thought, inspiration, connection and drive to continue our important work – that’s what Oulu provided!

Text: Mira Hulkkonen and Jussi Malila, University of Oulu

Photos: Laura Riuttanen, University of Helsinki  

Welcome to the next workshop “Sustainable cities and communities” 19.-20.11.2019 in Vantaa

Registration is open to the next Climate university workshop, organized by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in their Myyrmäki campus in Vantaa 19.-20.11.2019.

Theme of the workshop is Sustainable cities and communities. We’ll learn, how City of Vantaa, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and other collaborators, face the challenges of climate change and sustainability. Panel discussion What kind of skills and collaboration do we need to solve the climate and sustainability challenges? leads us to the workshop part, where we invite all our collaborators to comment the new Climate University online courses that are currently under preparation. The second day of the workshop is fully designed to co-design these courses.


Program: CU Metropolia .pdf (updated 18.11.)

Registration: is closed, but you are welcome to attend!

Follow online from this link.

Climate education and communication – Registration open to Climate University workshop in Oulu 10.-11.10.

The registration is now open to the next Climate University workshop in Oulu – you are warmly welcome to join!

In Climate University Oulu workshop the focus is on climate education and communication. Climate University is working actively on new online learning materials on climate change for high schools, as well as on a module on climate communication. You are welcome to join this work, and especially we would like to invite our school collaborators. This is also an excellent opportunity to network with other actors in Oulu region, as the University of Oulu is having a sustainability week at the same time, and there is a kick-off of a regional climate education program as well. This workshop is mainly in Finnish.

Program and registration

In Autumn 2019 we’ll also have a workshop hosted by Metropolia in Vantaa Myllypuro Campus in 19.-20.11. The theme is “Sustainable cities and communities”, and we’ll workshop the other coming Climate University new online learning materials on sustainability, systemic thinking, and climate solutions. Registration opens soon.

Online courses for changemakers

The new academic year starts with interesting online courses for change makers.


Leadership for sustainable change is a course about how to lead change towards more sustainable society. In Autumn 2019, the course runs as a 5 ECTS online course in collaboration with University of Helsinki, Tampere University as well as Open university of Helsinki. Course material is available at:

  • University of Helsinki: course code ATM373, next course 3.9.-20.10.2019, registration
  • Open university of Helsinki: course code AYATM373, next course 3.9.-20.10.2019, registration
  • Tampere University: course code HALYAS14 or KATVAS39, next course 3.9.-20.10.2019, registration is an online course about basics of circular economy. Continuous 3 ECTS online course is available 3.9. onwards in the University of Helsinki as well as Open University of Helsinki. 5 ECTS course can be done in LUT-University and University of Helsinki in spring 2020. On the website is general information about the course and a button “Start studying” which leads you to the course platform, where you can register for the course or only look at the course.

  • University of Helsinki: MAAT-051, 3 ECTS continuous, next 5 ECTS course in Spring 2020
  • Open university of Helsinki: AYMAAT-051, 3 ECTS continuous, registration
  • LUT-University: BH60A5400 Introduction to Circular Economy, Autumn 2019 is a course about basics of climate change that everyone should know. The multidisciplinary course was done in collaboration with University of Helsinki, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in 2016. Currently there are courses in seven universities in Finland. Some courses include contact teaching, some run fully online. Material is available at

  • University of Helsinki: course code ATM302, next course 28.10.-9.12.2019, registration in weboodi
  • Open university of Helsinki: course code AYATM302, next course 28.10.-9.12.2019, registration
  • University of Jyväskylä: course code BENA4036, next course 23.9.-20.12.2019, registration in Sisu
  • University of Oulu: course code 766383A, next course 30.10. -28.11.19, registration in WebOodi
  • Aalto University: next course in Spring 2020
  • University of Tampere: next course in Spring 2020
  • University of Eastern Finland: course code 3352703, next course in the autumn semester 2020
  • LUT-University & open university: course code BH60A5900 Climate Change, 5 op, next course 7.1.- 17.4.2020, registration via open university.


See also UniPID online courses, for example “Towards sustainable development goals: the nexus of water, food and energy” by University of Jyväskylä 28.10.-20.12.2019.

“Circular Economy and Renewable Energy” Workshop in Lahti 10-11.6.2019

How to integrate climate change solutions and circular economy in teaching? What climate related projects are currently going on in the Lahti region? These themes were the focus of the workshop arranged at the new Lahti campus Mukkula. The first day was organized by Lahti University of Applied Sciences LAMK and the second day by Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT.

The first day gave an overview of inspiring climate-related projects and initiatives in the Lahti Region. However, first a LAMK student took the participants on a guided tour around the new campus. Then the participants had the chance to hear about how Finland’s climate policy is put into practice in the Lahti region, as Maarit Virtanen (Päijät-Häme Regional Council) told about the Canemure project. Furthermore, Eira Rosberg-Airaksinen explained how the City of Lahti offers companies opportunities for climate partnerships with Lahti Region Development and Lahti University of Applied Sciences (called “Ilmastohaaste”, meaning the climate challenge). Then the participants got an insight into how Lahti, as the first city in the world, trial a personal carbon trading scheme (CitiCAP project) – Anna Huttunen told about what the project is all about; Ville Uusitalo about how a personal carbon trading scheme for mobility works; and Markku Sihvonen gave an introduction to how to use the CitiCAP app.

The participants also got an insight into how a changing climate affects the ecotoxicity of micro plastics. Professor Stephan Pflugmacher Lima guided the participants through a screw cap experiment where Lahti was compared with Singapore. The seminar day was concluded by Juhani Järveläinen who put the spotlight on urban effects of climate change – increased amounts of rain and snowmelt and the challenges of handling it in constructed areas (also called stormwaters). Järveläinen went through stormwater research and objectives at the City of Lahti.

After this, the participants had a buffet dinner at the campus.

The focus of the second day was going out in the field, as well as connecting circular economy and renewable energy to teaching. The day started with an excursion hosted by Ville Uusitalo (LUT) who told how excursions and visits are used as part of teaching. The first stop were the Kymijärvi power plants owned by the City of Lahti, which produce electricity and district heating. Here, many steps have already been taken towards sustainable energy systems, the guide Olli Talvitie told us. A new bioenergy plant, Kymijärvi III, is currently being built to replace the old coal-fired power plant Kymijärvi I. Power plant II uses a unique process where, first, the fuel is gasified, secondly, the gas is cooled down and cleaned and finally it is burned.

The next stop of the excursion was Kujala waste- and recycling centre, which provides fuel for Kymijärvi power plants. Päivi Oksanen gave an insight in the processes that are taking place in the area, first gathering the participants in a meeting room for a presentation and discussion. Then it was time for a bus tour, which took the participants between mountains of plastic, piles of recycled wood, containers for e.g. different metals where inhabitants were sorting their waste, piles of mattresses, and passing by the final disposal site.

Rich on impressions the participants returned to the campus. After lunch, Anni Wärri spoke about developing working life skills as part of teaching. It turned out that practices in biomedicine studies and the Jobitti project can be applicable also in a climate and sustainability studies context, and vice versa. After this Sanni Väisänen (LUT) introduced the participants to teaching circular economy using the digital platform.

The day was wrapped up by small group discussions around the themes of the day: teaching circular economy; brainstorming about connecting to working life as part of teaching; as well as a workshop for teachers.

Blog by Tina Nyfors, LUT

Photos: Anne-Marie Tuomala, Tina Nyfors, Laura Riuttanen

Coordinator greetings

Spring has been busy time in the Climate University community. We had awesome and inspiring workshops in Turku (Innovations in education for sustainable future, 7.-8.5.) and in Lahti (Circular economy and renewable energy solutions, 10.-11.6.).  Huge thanks to the local organizers! Climate University has also been presented in many forums, at least in World Summit of Students for Climate, Universities and Climate Change, OKM kehittämishankkeiden kevätseminaari, Pedaforum, EuroFlux, Nordplus ABS Nordic Teachers network, MODEST teacher network, Physics days, Helsinki Sustainability Science Days, and Helsinki Think Corner.

Figure 1: Coordinator Laura Riuttanen presenting Climate University at Pedaforum 6.6.2019. Photo by Taina Ruuskanen. 

In the beginning of the year, Climate University asked the partners about what is needed in the society to be able to tackle the huge challenges of climate change and sustainability. Assessment of Needs was accepted by the steering group 17.5. and can be read here. A revised version of the new course plans has been prepared by the working group, and was accepted by the steering group 17.6. By the end of 2020, Climate University will do the following free online course materials available for everyone:

  • – piecing together climate change and sustainability
    • Collaborators: LUT-University, University of Turku, University of Oulu and University of Helsinki
  • – systems thinking in managing climate change
    • Collaborators: Aalto University, Univeristy of Turku, University of Helsinki and University of Tampere
  • – a project course in collaboration with working life
    • Collaborators: Turku University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Lahti University of Applied Sciences and University of Helsinki
  • Statistical tools for climate and atmospheric science
    • Collaborators: University of Eastern Finland, University of Helsinki
  • Climate communication
    • Collaborators: University of Oulu, University of Helsinki
  • for schools
    • Collaborators: University of Oulu, University of Tampere, University of Helsinki

Figure 2: Climate University courses by the end of 2020. 

Working groups of these new materials have started and will work intensively next Autumn. In the coming Climate University workshops, the community and collaborators have an opportunity to comment and contribute to the new materials. In October we will meet in Oulu 10.-11.10.2019 in the Climate University workshop ‘Climate education and communication‘. Especially our school collaborators are invited to that workshop to discuss the topic and the coming climate online course for schools. In November 19-20 Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is hosting a Climate University workshop on ‘Sustainable Communities‘, in which you have the opportunity to comment the other course plans, and to which especially our working life collaborators are invited to. Registration to these workshops will open early Autumn.

Figure 3: University of Helsinki organized a workshop on digital pedagogy ABC in Helsinki 13.6.2019 for the Climate University new working groups, together with the Digital Leap of the Masters’ Programme in Atmospheric Sciences.   

In the beginning of September starts the online course ‘Leadership for sustainable change‘ in collaboration with University of Helsinki and University of Tampere. You are warmly welcome to the course, via either of these universities, or via the Open University of Helsinki!

In October starts also course in University of Oulu, University of Jyväskylä and University of Helsinki. The University of Helsinki course will also be available via Open University.

Now it is time to rest a bit, so that in the Autumn we are ready to change the world! Have a lovely summer everyone!


Opiskelija (ja opettaja!) oppii innovoimaan vain tekemällä

Saimme viettää innostavan päivän Turun Kakskerran saarella toukokuun 8. päivänä parin kymmenen opettajan ja kolmen yritysedustajan kanssa. Päivän tarkoituksena oli esitellä Turun ammattikorkeakoulussa käytettyä innovaatioleirin menetelmää Climate University –verkoston opettajille. Totesimme jo päivän alussa, että halusimme tuoda opettajat itse kokeilemaan innovaatioleiriä sen sijaan, että olisimme vain pitäneet menetelmästämme kalvosulkeiset. Tällä tavoin opettaja saa itse kokea miltä eri innovointivaiheet tuntuvat opiskelijan näkökulmasta ja pystyy suunnittelemaan paremman innovaatioleirin omille opiskelijaryhmilleen.

Innovaatioleirin ideana on koota monialainen opiskelijaryhmä yleensä 24 tunniksi samaan paikkaan ideoimaan uusia ratkaisuja yhden tai useamman yrityksen tarjoamiin kestävyyshaasteisiin. Yritykset ovat tiiviisti mukana leirillä ja työtä ohjaa kokenut fasilitaattori, joka rytmittää ideoinnin ja kehittämisen vaiheet kyseiselle ryhmälle sopivalla tavalla.

Tällä kertaa olimme saaneet fasilitaattoriksi innovoinnin ammattilaisen, Jens Gijbelsin Alankomaista asti.  Yleensä olemme hyödyntäneet omasta organisaatiostamme tai alueeltamme löytyvää osaamista, mutta nyt halusimme itsekin saada uusia näkökulmia innovaatioleirin järjestämiseen pyytämällä mukaan alansa huipun. Meillä oli haasteen antajina kolme hyvin erilaista yritystä eri puolilta Suomea mukana leirillä – yksi kansainvälinen suuryritys, yksi keskikokoinen yritys ja yksi startup.

Olemme Turun ammattikorkeakoulussa julkaisseet uuden oppaan innovaatioleirin järjestäjille, mutta tässä yhteydessä haluan nostaa esille muutaman ahaa-elämyksen, joita sain itse tämän toukokuisen leirin aikana.


Aina kun ratkaistaan yrityksiltä tulleita haasteita, on olennaisen tärkeää todella ymmärtää mistä haasteessa on kyse. Parhaimmat ratkaisut löytyvät vain, jos leirin osallistujat todella ymmärtävät mihin ongelmaan pyritään löytämään ratkaisu. Usein sekään ei riitä, että haaste on huolellisesti ja asiantuntevasti muotoiltu yhdessä yrityksen kanssa ennen leiriä. Tällä leirillä kokeilimme ensimmäistä kertaa haasteen uudelleenmuotoilemista yhdessä osallistujien ja yritysten kanssa. Tämä tuntui toimivan hyvin, sillä näin haasteet saatiin muotoiltua sopivaksi juuri tämän porukan osaamisen pohjalta. Samalla haaste tuli palasteltua sana sanalta niin, että jokainen osallistuja varmasti ymmärsi mitä päivän aikana oli tarkoitus ratkaista.

Social ritual

Leirillä toimitaan aina monialaisissa ryhmissä, jotka koostuvat toiselleen ennalta tuntemattomista ihmisistä. Jotta ryhmä yltää täyteen potentiaaliinsa, tulee sieltä löytyä hyvää yhteishenkeä. Tällä leirillä Jens ohjeisti ryhmiä keksimään itselleen lounaan ajaksi jonkin sosiaalisen rituaalin. Jotkut ryhmät tekivät metsäretken, toiset keskustelivat ilmastosynneistään ja eräät esittelivät suosikki Netlifx-sarjojaan. Oli hienoa seurata sivusta, kuinka tällainen pieni ele sai ryhmissä aikaan suuren eron ja toisilleen tuntemattomista ryhmänjäsenistä syntyi eräänlainen kokonaisuus.


Usein innovaatioleirillä kehitetyt ratkaisut saattavat jäädä vailla konkretiaa tai ylipäänsä tietoa siitä ovatko ne edes varteenotettavia ratkaisuja. Se mikä kuulostaa loppuesitysten myyntipuheessa hyvältä idealta, ei välttämättä käänny todelliseksi ratkaisuksi. Tämän ongelman voi ehkäistä pyytämällä kaikkia ryhmiä tekemään ideastaan testattavan ja muille esiteltävän prototyypin. Leirillä prototyyppien rakentamiseen sai käyttää mitä vain tilasta löytyvää: tuoleja, papereita, kasveja… Oli hauskaa nähdä, kuinka abstraktimmatkin ideat realisoituivat ryhmien prototyypeiksi luovin keinoin vajaassa puolessa tunnissa. Sitten ryhmät saivat kiertää testaamassa toistensa prototyyppejä, antamassa palautetta ja kysymässä niitä tarpeellisia, mutta vaikeita kysymyksiä.


Jotta innovaatioleiri saa arvoisensa lopun ja osallistujille jää innostava fiilis, on hyvä juhlistaa yhteisen matkan päättymistä jollain tavalla. En ollut itse aiemmin tullut ajatelleeksi, kuinka tärkeää hyvä lopetus on. Jos jokainen osallistuja vain ryntää omiin menoihinsa heti loppuesitysten jälkeen, jää arvokas loppupuinti ja yhteisistä saavutuksista iloitseminen välistä. Me olimme varanneet leirin loppuun saunan ja juhlapäivällisen osallistujia varten ja vasta jälkikäteen ymmärsin, kuinka tärkeä osa leirin kokonaisuutta se on.


Leirin lopussa usean opettajan silmät hohtivat uutta innostusta sekä halua päästä kokeilemaan innovaatioleirin ja luovan yhteiskehittämisen menetelmiä omassa korkeakoulussaan. Epäilen, että samaan lopputulokseen ei olisi päästy vain pitämällä esitys tai jakamalla innovaatioleirin opas heille. Innovaatioleiri ei sovi kaikkiin opetuskokonaisuuksiin ja se on vain yksi yritysten kanssa tehtävän yhteiskehittämisen muoto. Siitä huolimatta intensiivinen leiri voi opettaa opiskelijoille paljon luovan yhteiskehittämisen taitoja ja tuoda uusia näkökulmia kestävyyshaasteiden ratkaisemiseksi työelämään soveltuvalla tavalla. Se pakottaa opiskelijat (ja toisinaan myös opettajat) astumaan ulos mukavuusalueeltaan uudelle ja tuntemattomalle maaperälle.


Teksti ja kuvat: Sara Malve-Ahlroth

 “Innovations in education for sustainable future” in Turku 7.5.2019

Climate University researchers and teachers met in Turku on 7-8 May with the intention of getting a practical touch on how phenomenon based learning works in the context of sustainability challenges. The first day was organized by the University of Turku (and the second by the Turku University of Applied Sciences.)

The first day was divided into two parts, which were, however, seamlessly linked together. During the morning, we introduced the KEKO concept, the learning method of the University of Turku’s Sustainable Development Studies Program. In the afternoon, participants were given the opportunity to experiment with the methodology of futures studies. The idea was also to link the events of the day to the planning of the content of future “” and “” –courses.

Sustainable Development Training Program KEKO is a prospective Minor for all students at the University of Turku. It consists of a year-long core course (10 credits) as well as optional, sustainable development courses (minimum 15 credits) organized by different faculties and other universities and organizations. KEKO has been literally a phenomenon since birth. Since 2008, a multidisciplinary, long-term group-based and phenomenon learning- based course has brought together 40 students each year to reflect on the different dimensions and challenges of sustainable development. The year-long KEKO core course is long enough to look at complex phenomena and the student’s commitment to both sustainable development and teamwork. The KEKO year has been described by many students as a life-changing experience. “It’s probably the best course I have completed at the university” a former student recently described in his letter.

One of the key elements of KEKO is that most of the learning takes place in multidisciplinary teams, into which students are divided in the beginning of the year. Each team receives a theme, which is studied from the perspectives of the different dimensions of sustainable development. As an example, during this year, one of the themes was “Domestic use of fire-wood” and another one “Fashion”. During the year, students will gain an in-depth view of both their theme and the various dimensions of sustainable development: ecological, social, economic and cultural. Students learn that dimensions cannot be viewed in isolation, but they are all connected.

Above all, KEKO’s strength lies in the fact that students learn working life competence, dialogue, and what collective expertise and group intelligence mean in practice. During the KEKO course, students leave prejudices and learn to work in a team. Respect for other disciplines will increase. In  multidisciplinary teams, students learn to understand what they know and how their skills are related to the nature of the disciplines they study. It is also important that KEKO is a safe context for experimenting with co-operation and , sometimes, failure. KEKO offers a safe way to understand that no one in the world can change it alone. Things happen only by influencing and co-operating with others. Contradictions and their solutions are part of life.

During the Turku Workshop 7.5.2019, the perspective was in the afternoon changed to futures thinking and systems thinking as tools for making the sustainable futures: How could we strengthen the power of the co-learning and co-creating by using the idea of alternative futures as tools to dispose the possibilities that may exist at any (given) time and place? How could we start identifying the future images of various forms of sustainabilities as well as the relations and dynamics between them? Instead of pretending to “predict the future[i]“, a very classic method, a form of a futures table learns how to envision futures as an open and complex process with an endless flow of alternative images. It shows the power of narrating and innovating new paths for the future, and how multiple perspectives and even conflicting images must be taken into consideration as a basis for actions in the present.

[i] “The future” cannot be “predicted,” but “preferred futures” can and should be envisioned, invented, implemented, continuously evaluated, revised, and re-envisioned.” Jim Dator, Advancing Futures: Futures Studies in Higher Education. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2002)

Blog by Sari Puustinen and Anna Kirveennummi, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku

Photos: Laura Riuttanen