Imagery and research

Does innovation always come with conflict?

We are in the process of finalizing a research article on innovation and knowledge communities. In the study, we are looking at a boundary-spanning example, where people from different organizations, fields and industries convene in a hub. The upsides are enormous: innovation, exchange of ideas, co-creation and joint learning abound. However, there is also a great deal of conflict.

One of the themes that the study raises relates to conflict, conflicting agendas and diverging expectations. It seems that although the various people seem very dedicated to the learning hub, practically none of them share the same view of the community. Instead, everyone seems to have a very personal interpretation of what is happening. This is a potential cause for conflict and destruction as well as it is a base for fruitful cooperation.

One question that the study leaves us wondering is whether the path is inevitable: does an innovative, creative and dynamic knowledge community always come with drama and conflict?

Can games bridge the gap between work and school?

There's a lot of talk about the potential of games and gamification in various uses. While there's still only scant real research, many of the observations point to the potential of gamification in motivating and involving people; whether in business apps, game platforms, or learning solutions.

In a recently published piece, we looked at the potential of a game in bridging a known gap: the one between education and the working life. Although nearly everyone knows that it's not a good idea to keep studying separate from work, it is also incredibly difficult to break the old boundaries.

In a EU funded project, we had students and teachers in three separate schools work with real business projects from six small businesses. Everyone - students, educators, entrepreneurs - worked together in an online game platform that was designed to ease cooperation.

Student feedback was positive. They perceived the project as fun and were happy to have something very real and concrete to work on. But the entrepreneurs were even happier - they were delighted to have a short learning opportunity with a limited time span, and that gave them new ideas and angles.

This is an issue that needs further research, but the results are clearly promising. Games can help pave the way for a closer cooperation between school and work.

The article is available on the eLearning Papers site for free download.

Change only starts inside your mind

This was one of the take-home messages of motivational speaker, ultra runner and pro adventurer Jukka Viljanen, who spoke in an educational seminar today in Hämeenlinna UAS. Jukka is living proof that life change can happen. A former business exec wanted to do something different, and ended up as a pro runner - in his 40s.

"It's about you and your beliefs", he said - the power of the mind must not be forgotten. "Life change requires a change in your thinking. Success is about believing in yourself, not giving in to doubt and choosing not to hear other people doubting and downplaying your dreams." This is a powerful message from a guy who ran across the Sahara desert, being the first to do so.

No-one thought it could be done. "Dreams do nothing for you", he said. "It's only when you choose to act on your dreams when something really happens." One needs to visualize the goals, make them clear. One needs to accept the risk involved.

But more than anything, one must fail first. "My Sahara run would never have happened, if I hadn't tried and failed in the Kalahari desert first", Jukka said. It's about persistence. A  motto of the day: "a no today is a yes tomorrow".


Verkostoitumista Länsi-Uudenmaan hyvinvointialalla

Laurea-ammattikorkeakoulun Lohjan yksikkö osallistuu EAKR-rahoitteeseen Pumppu-hankkeeseen, jossa kehitetään hyvinvointialaa ja sen käytäntöjä. Osana hanketta opiskelijaryhmäni on tuottanut kartoitusta hyvinvointialan verkostoitumisesta. 

Tulokset ovat yllättäviä ja mielenkiintoisia.

Hyvinvointiala on Länsi-Uudenmaan mittakaavassa varsin suuri ja hajanainen. Tekemämme kartoituksen perusteella verkostoitumiskäytännöissä on valtavia eroja - osa yrittäjistä toimii täysin yksin, kun taas toisilla sektoreilla yhteistyökäytännöt ovat vakiintuneita ja kiinteitä. 

Raportti ilmestyy kevät-kesän taitteessa. Lisää tuloksista myöhemmin...


Educating an entrepreneurial mindset

Educating for entrepreneurship has probably never been more timely. As Van Rompuy notes in his ETF keynote, the gap between job listings and unemployment is increasing. There is clearly work to be done in terms of better matching the job seeker capabilities and job requirements. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills and attitudes are one primary route through which this gap can be bridged.

In order to classify the core elements of entrepreneurship training, I did some research and came across a study that tries to accomplish the same goal. Volery and Müller (2006) have presented a framework for assessing the effectiveness  of entrepreneurial education programs. According to them, there is ample research on whether entrepreneurial education is beneficial to fostering entrepreneurship, the answer being yes. However, there is less research on what actually causes a program’s usefulness.

The framework as proposed in the study hence attempts to delineate what aspects are important in educating an entrepreneurial mindset, and how those aspects affect the intention to become an entrepreneur.

The framework they have developed builds on the seminal work by Ajzen; the theory of planned behavior (Fig 1). According to the model, behavior (e.g. whether a student becomes an entrepreneur) is driven by an intention to do so. Intention refers to the motivation; or how hard the individual is willing to try.

The intention to perform the action; i.e. an intention to become an entrepreneur; can be predicted and assisted by focusing entrepreneurial education on three antecedents:

Attitude to the behavior: The individual’s general attitude towards becoming an entrepreneur is an important issue. Without the proper attitude, entrepreneurship decisions will likely not happen. The key words are independence, self-realization, and freedom.

The attitudinal component is part of the system in many entrepreneurial programs in general. However, for some reason, it is not mentioned in the ETF report. This may result from many of the programs being targeted towards budding entrepreneurs, who may not need attitudinal coaching. The Lebanon case does speak about “entrepreneurial inspiration”, which may be a form of motivation.

Subjective norms: these are the person’s normative expectations of others, or what he/she perceives as normatively acceptable; i.e. whether entrepreneurial work is viewed as socially acceptable. Volery and Müller focus on the family’s effect for opening up possibilities. They also suggest bringing students together with young entrepreneurs and professors with an entrepreneurial attitude. This is present in many of the programs presented in the ETF report. E.g. InnoOmnia features close cooperation between students and entrepreneurs. A somewhat similar cooperation can be seen in the Lebanon case.

Perceived behavioral control refers to the level of difficulty of the behavior that the person views. This would imply the ease or difficulty the student perceives as being related to the actual task of succeeding in entrepreneurship.

Increasing the feeling of “I can do it” may result more formal education in business skills, or case studies provided by actual entrepreneurs. Educating the students in key marketing and finance skills is expected to increase the perception of one’s future success. Several of the cases in the ETF report address the competence issue. Most notably, the SimVenture case appears to offer substantial benefits as it directly works towards improving student’s capabilities in running a business on a day-to-day basis.

Theory of Planned Behavior, from

T Volery, S Müller - Rencontres de St-Gall, 2006 -

Entrepreneurship Training: 12 Good Practice Examples from ETF - European Training Foundation

Tinkering and education?

(crossposted from

Go on Youtube and watch John Seely Browns - Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner in the 21st Century -video.  Then write a blog post on on how YOU would apply tinkering in your learning. No set length, use as many or little words as you need. Title your post "JSB - YOUR NAME" The video can be found at

I was really impressed by the talk. Thank you for bringing it into my attention. Bringing knowing, playing and making together. This is something I underwrite in my own life. It has been my philosophy – at least as far as more hands-on-knowledge is concerned. But I still haven’t though of it as a parallel philosophy that could be brought into learning.

When I began to learn golf, I had to learn how to take apart, fix and tinker with the golf club. So I regrip my own clubs. I’ve shortened a putter that was a tad too long. I’ve grinded a little bit off a sand wedge that had too much bounce for my taste.

When I began to learn photography, I had to learn how the devices function. So I took apart a lens to see how it works. I had a compact camera with a broken shutter button. I didn’t want to discard it so I tore it into pieces, and put in a new shutter button for the eBay cost of $5. And then I took apart a flash. And I soldered a new controller board inside the flash to upgrade some of its functionality. Once you get to play, build, and learn with iPhone parts, you finally get very good at repairing them, I can attest.

In all, it is very easy for me to understand the logic behind this talk. In order to REALLY comprehend – to OWN – a topic, you need to be able to play around it.

You could say the same can happen in more conceptual issues as well. Like quantitative analysis. Structural equation modeling (SEM) is based on difficult mathematics, at least so difficult that I never understood it. But I still had to learn using it as a statistical tool. Which you can do, using the statistical programs, which do the math part for you. But it is a tinkerer analyst’s dream, so to speak. SEM lets you play with the data. It lets you turn the data into a pipeline, or a system of gates and paths, and play with it, to see what it turns into.

I haven’t had the joy to teach any of the above subjects, but I still feel strongly that enabling tinkering; play, making, and knowing, would be very beneficial in my teaching (which are mostly business studies). I suppose it is what we are piloting in one of our game based platforms right now. The LOL game allows for the students to enter a virtual exchange world, where their ideas are the currency.

A game based business platform lets students build a “company”, or a collection of assets. It lets them play with ideas, solutions, and alternative ways of solving problems. It allows for gathering knowledge, both for classic marketing topics, but also, and probably more importantly, for gathering tacit knowledge about problem solving. Like Mr. Brown talks, the tacit meta knowledge, the knowledge about how to solve problems, is more important and more permanent that the static knowledge about the solutions to a given problem.

In the end, I would like to give my students the same feeling in their business studies that I have with electronics. Even if what they first thought doesn’t work out, I want them to feel in control. I want them to think, “hey, no worries, let me play with this for a while, until I can get it to work”. Which brings back to mind (sidetracking here), that I should write a blog post about my repair of a failed Apple Time Capsule. It now works like a charm, although de-soldering the original power supply and replacing it with an external Chinese import Cisco power adaptor did take more time than I expected.

While tinkering is what I have always believed in, it isn’t something that I have knowingly put into my teaching. This is where I want to go in deeper.


Mobiilisovellus mullistaa kotihoidon?

Harvard Business Review:n blogissa kirjoitetaan mielenkiintoisesta casesta, jossa mobiilisovellus mahdollistaa sekä huiman kustannussäästön että potilaan elämän laadun oleellisen parantamisen.

Tarina kertoo intialaisesta kokeilusta, jossa dialyysipotilaiden kotihoitoa on helpotettu mobiiliteknologian avulla. Tietyissä hankalissa munuaisvaurioissa kotihoito on mahdollista, mutta haasteena on kaukainen yhteys lääkäriin. Etäisyydestä johtuvat riskit tekevät kotihoidosta usein mahdotonta, mikä tarkoittaa sairaalapäiviä potilaille ja kustannusten kymmenkertaistumista.

Intialainen ratkaisu yhdistää digikameran, tekstiviestipalvelun ja verkkoyhteyden niin, että potilas ja sairaala ovat jatkuvassa yhteydessä. Sairaalan tiimi tarkkailee potilaan tilanne ympäri vuorokauden, vaikka tämä on kotonaan.

Innovatiivinen ratkaisu yhdistää etuja sekä potilaan että yhteiskunnan kannalta. Toisaalta uudenlainen hoitomalli tuo haasteita, koska se ei aina istu sairaalan hoitoprosesseihin, blogissa pohditaan.

Crowdsourcing tulee luottokortteihin

Crowdsourcing-rahoitus on ollut runsaasti pinnalla viime aikoina, mm. Kickstarterin saaman huomion ansiosta. Barclaycard US aikoo ratsastaa teemalla ja on tuomassa ulos crowdsourcing-pohjaista luottokorttia. Barclaycard Ring on kuluttajille suunnattu maksuväline, jonka pohjana on toisilta kuluttajilta kerätty pääoma. Ohjelmaan kuuluu myös osuuskunta-tyyppinen takaisinmaksu, jossa osa tuotosta tuloutetaan takaisin rahoittajille. Mukana ovat myös muodikkaat pelilliset ominaisuudet, erilaiset palkinnot ja merkit, joilla palkitaan aktiivisuudesta.

Asiakaskokemus ja arvo

CustomerThink-foorumi julkaisi postituslistallaan viime viikolla mielenkiintoisen artikkelikokoelman, jossa pohditaan asiakaskokemuksen eri puolia. Max Iqbalin artikkeli herätti ajatuksia - siinä on pohdittu asiakaskokemuksen suhdetta asiakkaan kokemaan arvoon, jota olen juuri työstämässä erään hankkeen parissa.

Artikkelissa esitetään seuraavanlainen yhtälö asiakaskokemuksen ja arvon välisestä suhteesta:

Value = Benefit – Effort – Risk – Price +/- Treatment

Yhtälö on johdettu asiakasarvon klassisesta määritelmästä (hyödyt - haitat), mutta minusta mielenkiintoiseksi sen tekee "asiakaskohtelun" esiin nostaminen.

Jos kirjoittajan ajatusta viedään vähän pidemmälle, asiakaskohtelun roolia voisi jäsentää laajemmaksi eräänlaisen interaktion kautta. Asiakaskokemus voi esimerkiksi olla yhteydessä esimerkiksi siihen, minkälaisena riskit näyttäytyvät. Se voi myös tuottaa itsessään hyötyä asiakkaalle (esim. positiivisen elämyksen muodossa), mutta se voi myös vaikuttaa muiden hyötyjen kokemiseen. Esimerkiksi voisi nostaa vaikka Amazonin räätälöidyn tarjoaman, joka tuottaa nähdäkseni Pine & Gilmoren termein informaatiopohjaista kokemusta. Verkkokaupan suosittelumekanismin tuottama kokemus voi edesauttaa myös sitä, että asiakas löytää paremmin tarpeisiinsa sopivan kirjan Amazonin valikoimasta, eli tarpeiden ja kokemusten suhde paranee.

Tästä voisi johtaa seuraavanlaisen kehitelmän:

Value = (Benefit –Effort –Risk –Price) x Treatment(Experience)

...jossa asiakaskokemus toimisi eräänlaisena valenssimuuttujana, joka voi moderoida muiden tekijöiden vaikutusta. Jatketaan pähkäilyä.

Mobiilin käyttö myymälässä arkipäivää?

PewInternet-tutkimusryhmä julkaisi hiljattain mielenkiintoisen tutkimustuloksen, jonka mukaan yli puolet joululahjoja kivijalkamyymälöistä ostaneista amerikkalaisista käytti mobiilia ostoksen tukena myymälässä.

Tarkemmin ottaen 52 % paneeliin vastanneista kuluttajista oli käyttänyt fyysisen ostotapahtuman yhteydessä kännykkäänsä ostamisen apuna. Suurin osa vastaajista (34 %) oli soittanut kaverille, tutulle tai sukulaiselle kysyäkseen neuvoa. 22 % oli etsinyt verkosta tuotteen hintoja ja 22 % oli etsinyt tuotevertailuja koskien oston kohteena olevaa tuotetta.

Ovatko nämä tulokset merkittäviä? Mobiilin tulemisesta ostotapahtumiin on puhuttu jo pitkään, mutta se on vielä toistaiseksi jäänyt marginaaliseksi ilmiöksi, ainakin kaupallisen käytön kannalta. Pew:n tulokset antavat kuitenkin viittaa siitä, että mobiilin käyttö ostamisen tukena voi olla paljon isompi ilmiö kuin on kuviteltu.
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