Written by Tommi Byman
Aalto University’s entrepreneurship education program – Aalto Ventures Program – has confirmed collaboration with one of Europe’s most prestigious music and art boutique festivals, Flow Festival. Last year the festival drew over 80 000 participants and is described as “the Nordic countries’ coolest music festival” (Vogue US). This summer, AVP organizes an international summer course that combines art, design and entrepreneurship in order to teach how to create multidimensional experiences, with Flow providing a unique learning environment. Read on to find out how collaboration between a music festival and entrepreneurial education program can benefit students, educators and the festival.
For years now, services and product-service systems have been taking market share from conventional products. We talk about a service economy. And when services compete against each other, it is not only the quality of the actual service that defines the successors. If the facilities of a massage parlor smell terrible or if it rains for the entire weekend during a music festival, not many people would say they enjoyed their time regardless of the quality of the massage or the lineup at the festival. Often, a service is evaluated based on the whole experience around it, not just the service itself. Understanding the holistic experience surrounding a product or service is critical as we move towards an experience economy, and this is exactly what Aalto Ventures Program’s summer course – Creating Multidimensional Experiences – is about.
User experience design has already established its importance in software business and specifically human–computer interaction, but experience design matters in all fields, not just technology. During the course, students will create an experience that has at least three dimensions: digital, physical and social. They will have to understand the big picture and at the same time manage every aspect at a detailed level to create a memorable experience. To give the students a chance to experience a well-designed experience first-hand, Aalto Ventures Program has partnered with Flow Festival.
Flow Festival, organized in Helsinki annually since 2004, is a carefully curated, high-quality festival with an innovative and content driven program that is an inspired mixture of popular culture and experimental arts. With a broad music and arts program, hand-picked food and restaurant services, thoughtfully designed and decorated festival area and an extensive sustainability program Flow has put a new benchmark on the European festival scene. In 2018, the three-day sold out festival drew a crowd of 84 000 visitors into the monumental former power plant area in the Suvilahti district of Helsinki.
“Flow is quite entrepreneurial at heart, and we immediately loved the idea of combining entrepreneurship education with creating experiences.”
The students attending the summer school will visit Flow for one day. During their time at the festival, participants will not only analyze how an exemplary experience is created, but also perform observation and research tasks provided by Flow concerning for example sustainability and communications to help the festival to improve even further. This way, both the students and Flow will benefit from the collaboration and students visiting the festival. “Flow is quite entrepreneurial at heart, and we immediately loved the idea of combining entrepreneurship education with creating experiences. And if the course helps us to develop the service experience even further, all the better!”, says Milla Valjus, Marketing Manager of Flow Festival.
Aalto Ventures Program, albeit being an academic entrepreneurship education program, believes strongly in learning by doing and using entrepreneurship as a tool to create value in any given discipline. This is why all AVP courses include hands-on elements, and why the students of the summer school will visit companies, landmarks and events such as Flow: in order to see how the theory they will learn on the course is put to practice to create different experiences.
One of the teachers on the summer school is Jenni Kääriäinen, a true expert in creating experiences. She currently works for Tuska Festival, the biggest metal festival in the Nordics, and is the original creator of the design guidelines of Slush, the world-leading startup and technology event. Her knowledge on event and experience creation, together with AVP teachers’ and faculty’s vast understanding of entrepreneurial topics such as design thinking and business modeling, will provide the students with the skill set they need for creating meaningful experiences that are also viable businesses. “I’m really excited to be a part of the summer school! Creating immersive experiences is a passion of mine, and I can’t wait to see what the students will come up with after everything they will learn over the course”, Kääriäinen says.
The summer school itself is an intensive three-week long course during the best part of the Finnish summer. The course is based on the Design Thinking methodology: empathizing with the users, defining their needs, ideating innovative solutions, prototyping the solutions and finally testing them. The students will get to know and understand the culture and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Helsinki, use an iterative process where they interview real potential customers, work their way from the original idea to a holistic, unique experience and finally pitch their results to an international audience. By doing the course in collaboration with Flow Festival, Aalto Ventures Program will be able to offer a summer course on experience creation that combines theory and practice, art and entrepreneurship, while also creating a memorable experience for the students themselves.
Read more about
The summer school: https://avp.aalto.fi/avp-summer-school/
Flow Festival: https://www.flowfestival.com/en/
Aalto Ventures Program: https://avp.aalto.fi/
Aalto University: https://www.aalto.fi/study-at-aalto