Friday, 24 October 2014

Event Innovation - a WOW Experience!


Participants of the intensive course together with Pirkko Varis in Lomasaari, Virrat


We spent one week in Tampere and Virrat, Finland in fall 2014. The coordinator of the Nordplus Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation Network and the intensive course “Business Innovation Focussed on Experience-based Products/Services”, Senior Lecturer in Marketing Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Finland organised for us the programme.  Altogether 26 students and 8 staff members from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Norway joined the intensive week. From TAMK, Finland students Veera Hahtala, Jukka Hartikainen, Jonna Hurmansalo, Jenni-Maria Korhonen, Marika Ropanen and Mihail Kastrunis took part in the course.  
Assignment from Suomen Hopealinja Oy
 
Assignment and the coordinator Pirkko

On Saturday we had a welcome session with some teambuilding activities and we could get acquainted with each other and spend some time together. On Sunday we did a sightseeing tour in the city of Tampere and got familiar with the ships of the company Suomen Hopealinja Oy (Finnish Silverline Ltd.) in the harbour as part of our assignment.  The tour included a visit to Pyynikki Observation Tower with a view on Viikinsaari island.
Danish students on top of Pyynikki Observation Tower


A view to the Viikinsaari island
After the sightseeing tour we spent some time in Tampere and thereafter travelled to Virrat where we had accommodation in wooden houses by the lake in Lomasaari.
Proposal approved!

Accommodation in houses by the lake in Lomasaari, Virrat
On Monday morning we had presentations of all the countries and study programmes taking part in the course. We also followed a presentation on “Get the message across” given by Vidar Alvarstein from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, School of Business and Economics.  We were divided into teams and we were given the assignment from the company. The aim was to suggest events and services to be offered for various customer groups during the summer season. It was also a wish that we give suggestions for marketing communications mix for various customer groups.
Some members of Finland team

On Monday afternoon we worked in teams at Virrat campus of TAMK.  We had ideation process and sessions with Janita Saarinen from Idema Oy and all activities were related to the assignment. We also could visit Virrat attractions and the harbour of Virrat. On Tuesday and Wednesday we worked hard in our teams and finalized our ideas. We also delivered our reports and presentations by the deadline.
Team idea generation on the lake in Virrat
On Thursday we travelled from Virrat to Tampere where our presentations took place at TAMK main campus. All teams did great work. On Thursday evening we had a closing ceremony and dinner. We congratulated the winners, thanked the organisers and all participants, took a lot of pictures and headed to the city centre to continue our last evening together. On Friday we left Finland with all wonderful memories.
Presentation by Tuuli, Marika, Indré, Christian and Daniel
Audience including judges Monika Didžgalvytė, Christian Hammerich, Kristo Krumm and the company representative Jutta Lenander preparing for presentations 

The happy winning team Madis, Caroline, Marion, Jonna, Rokas and Mihail

In the following some students share their experiences and thoughts of the intensive course and time in Finland.
Norwegian students on top of Pyynikki Observation Tower


Students from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, School of Business and Economics, Tromsø

Marion Knutsen:
I will remember the week as a place where networking, friendships, knowledge and long-life experiences were made, as cliché that sounds. The teamwork between the students/teachers from different national backgrounds gave me several impressions that I had not considered in advance, and in lighted problems and solutions in different perspectives. I learned strengths and weaknesses in me, as well as in other members of my team, and then we made the “result” work smoothly together. I also learned different idea generation tools, how to make creative minds just blossom with interesting ideas, with guidance of a professional coacher. These tools I’ve already imprinted in my daily study routine. We got excellent service from the bus company Ykspetäjä Oy, Lepikonmäki-yhtiöt including finding the lost items. Pirkko, I want to say thank you for your effort for this course, not just on my behalf.  One word summary: Illuminating. 

Emil Skoglund Ellefsen:
I had a wonderful time and I learned a lot. Thank you so much for everything you did to make sure we had a good experience.

Daniel Valla Villmones: 
I have only good things to say about the Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation week. My goals before I started the course were simply to make new friends and challenge myself, and I managed to fulfil each goal and even more goals than my original ones. I’ve made new international friends that I’m sure I’ll run into at a later stage of my life. I also managed to challenge myself, I really put my soul into the idea we created. Being on course also made me realise the importance of teamwork. Back in my home country I usually work by myself, because that is what I’m used to. I would also like to mention that the free time activities also were quite fun. Now that I’m looking back I would like to thank you Pirkko for the existence of this course, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is grateful.
Estonian students and staff members Anneliis and Kristo in Tampere
Students from Tallinn College of Tallinn University of Technology, Business, Estonia

Jonas Grauberg:        
Some sentences about our happy time in Finland. The whole week was not only about the project that we did. It was about getting to know different people from different countries. Working in a team with different people was hard, but it was really interesting to see how people approached the topic that we were given. All in all the environment we had in Finland was superb. I would really like to thank everyone who participated in the program, because this whole week was about great people and personalities. And as always. Is nice, wawaweewa.

Riin Marii Jõgis:         
It was a great opportunity to meet other foreign students. Nordplus teaches a lot about teamwork and communicating with different people. Instead of hard work it felt like a vacation. Happy times!!!

Tuuli-Marie Soomann:
This programme was an amazing experience to meet different people and have a very good time together. It was the best week of my university life so far. This experience gave me new good friends, extraordinary ideas and positive energy. I definitely will recommend this programme to everybody.

Madis Kerna:
It was an awesome experience. I met new cool people. They came from different countries and difference was seen by people. The best thing was the organisation. It looked like we were on a vacation, but we did work also. I had in Virrat every day sauna and we had good times in fishing. Great experiences.

Kati Kuustik:
Everything was great and I liked it. People were nice and it was interesting to work with foreign students. Organisation and living places were super!
Lithuanian student team
Students from Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Economics and Management, Lithuania

Edgaras Kerševičius:
This project for me was a chance to get complex knowledge of foreign business and cultures. Unforgettable people and peaceful atmosphere helped me to solve the project tasks and spend a brilliant time in Finland. Thank you a lot for everything!

Ieva Kinčiūtė:                         
It was a perfect project which allowed to incorporate international ideas and advised a real company the best solution to a problem. It was a useful international experience, because I had a good opportunity to improve my English speaking skills. I also met many new people from other Baltic and Nordic countries. Although I met many new people, I appreciate that the trip helped me to get to know my Lithuanian friends better, too.  Moreover, I visited a new country, Finland. Everything was organised really well. Thank you very much!

Indrė Vitkutė:    
In my opinion, this project is contributing to empowering young people to become leaders of the future. Young people had enough potential, brilliant ideas and deserved to be recognized. All teams planned big goals and created very good offers for the company, more than we thought was possible!  As well in this way we inspired and motivated ourselves to think beyond our limits. I believe it was a very good opportunity for us! We all are sure we are ready to do better than we ever could! And it is what this project showed to us!


Text: Estonian, Lithuanian and Norwegian students  

Photos:Monika Didžgalvytė, Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Economics and Management, Lithuania
Anneliis Tomingas, Tallinn College of Tallinn University of Technology, Business, Estonia
Pirkko Varis, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland

The following institutions are members of the Nordplus Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation Network:
Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), Business, Finland 
The University of Southern Denmark, Faculty of Engineering, Odense, Denmark
Tallinn College of Tallinn University of Technology, Business, Estonia
UiT The Arctic University of Norway, School of Business and Economics, Tromsø, Norway
Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Economics and Management, Kaunas, Lithuania

Friday, 10 October 2014

A year in Finland



I didn’t know what should I write about my year in Finland as an Exchange student, so I decided to talk a couple of some of my experiences during that wonderful year.



When I first arrive in Finland, I had no idea about anything, how would be people there, what do they eat/drink, how do they behave and so on. So when I was in Tampere, I decided to take a bus to the city center and explore the “new” city, but during this process, a “small” problem happened, the bus didn’t stop here I was standing, which left me confused. Later on I found out that I need to raise my hand, so the bus would stop for me, even when only one bus passes on that bus stop. Finally I got to the center city, where I just started to walk around, looking around all those funny/strange names for me. During that walk, I realized that Tampere center had many coffee shops, more than I have ever seen in any other place, so there came my first thought about Finns, “They love coffee”, and I was right, they do love it. Learning one of the firsts words I’ve learnt in Finnish, kahvi.

Famous "munkki" in Pyynikki observatorion tower cafe, check it out!


One of the experiences that I was waiting for was the winter, the truly winter of Finland, and why on Earth would someone be enthusiastic waiting for the winter? Well, for one simple reason, I’ve never seen snow before. At first I thought, “ok, I’ll probably freeze to death, but it’s worth trying.” Since I’m from Brazil, anything less than 10 degrees is cold, so how about -20 degrees?

After some months of waiting, the snow finally came, and it was unbelievable how beautiful it was, and it wasn’t as cold I thought it would be, probably I got a little bit more used to the cold after those months in Finland (or it was just the hot cup of coffee that keep me warm).

First snow in Tampere.
With the snow there I could finally play with the snow and try some winter sports. The one that I’ve liked the most was skiing, even though I didn’t had a good start (as you can see in the next picture). But after some tries I was able to downhill skiing without much damage, haha.
My first skiing lesson.


Finland, where you become a coffee addict and try things you thought you were never able to do.




Mateus Engels Henke, 21, Brazilian.

Text:  Mateus Engels Henke
Pictures: Mateus Engels Henke