Released: Mon 21 Apr 2014
Collaboration between Tikkurila and Aalto University will deepen from technology to innovation management. Tikkurila's Innovation Director Anna-Maija Hirvi wants to transform views of academic cooperation between companies.
Traditionally, Tikkurila has collaborated with universities in hard technical branches, such as product development and logistics. The Aalto University Innovation Management Institute (IMI) gave Anna-Maija Hirvi new angles on creative teamwork on how to foster fresh thinking and ways of working.
Innovation management behind the scenes
Aalto University's Innovation Management Institute (IMI) studies the development of physical products and services, business models and the role of innovation in business.
"Our aim is to improve the competitiveness of companies and organizations by studying and developing processes of innovation management and by supporting innovative practices," explains Pekka Berg, Research Director of Aalto University's Innovation Management Institute.
"At Tikkurila, innovation management means monitoring the environment, observing weak signals, and getting excited about new things and sharing them in the working community by discussing, analyzing, and launching development projects," Hirvi specifies.
Inspiring employees and taking diversity into consideration are considerable assets for Hirvi. New products, services and operating models are developed in interaction with others.
"One half of our operations consists of meticulous process analysis and planning, the other half of agile and experimental brainstorming. Innovation management is about creating a motivating foundation for operations, and make people see the benefits of doing things in a new way," Hirvi describes.
Traditionally, the academic and corporate worlds are connected by student internships, master's theses, and research for doctoral dissertation. These can result in lasting employment relationships and mutually beneficial networks.
Hirvi believes that students can also bring to the company fresh ideas and new kind of expectations regarding the working life, as well as challenge managers to reform their work.
"Cooperation with the university is important in terms of individuals' development and learning, recruitment, and innovative practices. Working with external partners will surely become the next hot topic in innovation management, and the academic cooperation is a natural part of it," Hirvi says.