Start A Conversation Flow between Uni & Company
Improving The Research Collaboration Between KONE and Aalto University
The aim of this Aalto University and KONE project was to find new ways in which the two entities could collaborate on the PhD education level. The concept was created using a human-centered design approach in which the different stakeholders are part of the design process from the beginning. The final concept is a concrete network, a collection of tools and next steps toward even better PhD collaborations between Aalto, KONE and the students.
Personas & User Journey
Concept - What/Why/How
Stakeholders & Network
Framing The Project
FRAMING THE PROJECT
Defining The Problem and Using Empathy to Understand User' Needs
We started off with the very broad and somewhat ambiguous brief of improving the research collaboration between KONE and Aalto University. We needed to frame the project and specify what problem we were going to solve and what our angle would be in the project. We wanted to take a user-centered approach, and frame our challenge according to the needs of all the stakeholders. This part was all about diving into the challenge and specifying the brief to be able to later create a valuable concept.
INITIAL STAKEHOLDER MAP
We conducted interviews in KONE and Aalto ARTS to understand the interviewees’ attitudes towards doctoral studies, their knowledge of the process and their visions for future collaboration.
We wanted to understand the attitudes, motivations and expectations towards studying and working simultaneously, among people interested in doing a PhD.
Would split the work and studies on a clear (e.g. daily) basis
Knows quite little about the daily routines of a PhD candidate
Motivations for doing a PhD: affect company’s R&D and strategy, contribute to research and have an impact on society
We wanted to learn from researchers with a PhD about the process of completing a PhD and understand their thoughts on working and hiring future PhD candidates.
Design research is not valued enough in Finnish industry
Found it enjoyable to conduct research (intrinsic motivation)
KONE could benefit from up-to-date information, current topics, research candidates and future recruitment
We wanted to get strategic insight in future visions from people with experience in university-industry collaboration from both Aalto ARTS and KONE.
Get secondary stakeholders (e.g. management) on board in the company
Create structures for long-term commitment
Understand and support the dual role (employee and student) of an industrial doctoral candidate.
Through the interview insights, we defined the needs of the different parties involved and clustered them down.
Fresh points of view
Research usable in business
PhD funded by KONE
PhD working at Aalto
with topic from KONE
Other task from Aalto
PhD working in KONE
All students want
Good quality results
PERSONA & USER JOURNEY
Professor at Aalto
working at Aalto
funded by KONE
working at KONE
No structured framework inside
KONE to support writing a PhD
Difficult to find a topic that
interests all parties involved
People doing the same
research are paid differently
Student and Employee
Reporting to two bosses and
managing your own time
Double expectations make
balancing work and life difficult
Dialogue between KONE and Aalto
goes through the PhD candidate
Planning The Co-Creation Workshop
Since one of the main problems was, that these stakeholders have usually no touchpoint, a face-to-face workshop is the ideal possibility to let them meet and exchange ideas and viewpoints. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together all stakeholders that are involved in the process of an industrial PhD in order to co-create different ideas together that might form the solution.
We personalized all of our invitation and explained why wewant especially them to participate in the workshop and acknowledged their expertise.
WHO else ?
It is important to tell some details about the workshop before hand. One thing to tell is who else is coming. This can motivate them to come, if they find the other participants relevant for them in general.
Time & Place
In the other side of our invite we included question that the participants could ponder upon before the workshop. This helps the participants to situate them in the context of the question.
The workshop was conducted in the “Design Studio” format. This format has a given time frame and thus is ideal for a single workshop day where participants from different backgrounds come together and co-create a concept. Furthermore, the workshop is of very open and flexible nature and could be adjusted by us towards our needs and goals.
14.30 WORKSHOP STARTS, OPENING WORD
15.00 Design Studio Workshop (Part I)
Ideation on the first challenge in two groups
15.55 Design Studio Workshop (Part II)
Building on others ideas and finalizing them
16.25 ‘Wrap up’
Find ways to within KONE improve the understanding and appreciation of research done in collaboration with Aalto University, and think of ways to ensure a long term commitment towards industrial PhD within the organization.
Find ways that Aalto University and KONE can support industrial doctoral candidates (with dual roles), who are conducting research at Aalto University while working at KONE.
Connecting the workshop ideas to the identified problems
A bundle that explains the structure of a PhD and offers different packages: KONE as a funder, cooperator or employer.
structure and fairness through packages
forum for professional connecting
forum for personal connecting
support from people in the same situation
A peer-support platform, where PhD candidates discuss current research and their challenges and constraints.
Student and Employee
Aalto Axiom is a network that connects PhD candidates, professors and industry parnetrs on the topic of industrial dissertations. The main core of Aalto Axiom is creating personal connections which enable meaningful and relevant research for all three parties. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Axiom is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. We choose Aalto Axiom as a name for our project because of its latin background which refers to the academia and at the same time the meaning of a starting point that enables further discussions, research and a network to grow.
Connecting the people who would otherwise not meet
Supporting PhD students with peer support
connections between industry, university and students
Working on the future of research
Aalto Axiom is a network that connects PhD candidates, professors and industry partners on the topic of industrial dissertations. The main core of Aalto Axiom is creating personal connections which enable meaningful and relevant research for all three parties.
Industrial dissertations are still a rare occasion in Aalto ARTS. Because of a lack of marketing and information, potential PhD candidates often do not know about their possibilities. Moreover, industry partners and university are missing a framework how these industrial dissertations could be executed. Main factors such as workload, funding and support are unclear to the stakeholders.
Joint events and exchange circles are aiming at recruiting potential PhD candidates as well as industry partners in order to complement Aalto University. The constant flow of events and activities ensure the longevity of Aalto Axiom. These activities foster personal interaction and allow the stakeholders to co-create their collaboration: The network supports PhD candidates, supervisors and industry partners from finding a suitable topic until the dissertation and beyond.
KONE : Want talents
Aalto : Push industrial PhDs
PhD : Show research results
Showcasting the results
Co-create thesis topics
Students arrange separately
Generate possible topics
Hold events for fun parties, workshop, lottery lunch, picnic
EVENT STAKEHOLDERS MAP