UAS Master's degree students’ idea selected for next round in Sitra idea competition

​The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra organised in the spring an idea competition aimed at finding new models for developing employability and work competences for recipients of higher education. The idea competition, which was open to everyone, collected a total of 92 proposals, from which the five most promising ideas were chosen for further development.

Pilot programme to be launched in the autumn

Among these was the ‘Co-Coaching’ suggestion put forward by UAS Master's degree students Saara Gröhn, Katja Kaihua and Minna Puisto, in which students of higher education are put together with those seeking to become lifestyle coaches. The idea is that those working towards becoming lifestyle coaches would obtain practical training from the job seekers, and the higher education graduates would in turn receive help with, for example, developing their self-knowledge.

- There is a real need for this kind of service bringing together both sides, and people I know involved in coaching have, for example, sought out practical training through contacting people on Facebook, Katja Kaihua explained.

Following the end of the idea competition in April, the student team have already been able to meet with Sitra workers and discuss how the idea can be developed towards its actual implementation. The goal is to launch the pilot programme in the autumn.

- On Sitra’s part, the reception has been very supportive and they are excited about helping to launch this idea through the pilot scheme, Minna Puisto reported.

‘Competitions are a good place to try out what you’ve learnt’

The three-person team behind the idea are studying in UAS's Service Innovation and Design (SID) Master’s degree programme. Ms Gröhn is a designer by training, Ms Kaihua has works as a project manager, and Ms Puisto works in product development in financing. These UAS Master's degree students had already become acquainted with Sitra during an earlier study unit, when Sitra workers had visited and given a presentation on future megatrends.

- Through that connection they then spotted this competition and thought that as a team they could have a go at experimenting and testing out what they have learnt about service design procedures, they explained.
- In the end we entered three ideas into the idea competition, out of which this one idea was selected for the next round.

Katja Kaihua and Minna Puisto had already participated earlier on in the spring in another idea development competition. That time their idea did not make it into the next round, but the feedback and development suggestions they received for that idea inspired them to participate in the next competition.

- The competition brought with it a certain kind of positive pressure, which gave a boost to our efforts. And competitions are also a good place to test out and practice applying different methods and techniques, Ms Puisto said.
- And competitions are the place where you really have to put these things into practice. After all, in reality things never go like they do in the textbooks. Plus you never know what kind of new avenues, networks and opportunities this kind of competition could open up, Ms Gröhn continued.

‘1+1 is more than two’

The students also found that for this kind of project teamwork was a very pleasant and creative way to work. A good team is always more than the sum of its parts.

- In general, the whole SID course is based on doing things together. One of the best things offered by these studies has been the opportunity to get to know new people and through this to learn how to work together with different kinds of people, Ms Puisto explained.
- We also didn’t know each other that well before this project. It's also fun to see how different peoples’ skills complement each other, and how new ideas a born when working with new people.

Modified 6/21/2016 2:24 PM

​Master's degree students Minna Puisto and Saara Gröhn.