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Just after participation at the opening of Design Factory at Riga Technical University (RTU) and receiving the «José Vasconcelos» World Award of Education from the World Cultural Council Professor Kalevi Ekman from Aalto University (Finland) in an interview for newspaper «Dienas Bizness» and journal «Ir» expresses his opinion that in the Design Factory Global Network culture and philosophy play a more important role than equipment or the structure of organization.
In the interview for newspaper «Dienas Bizness» K.Ekman said: «We all respect certain pedagogical guidelines. For example, that students are the most important.» At some point at Aalto University during reform of education he had to figure out the meaning of the self-created new unit – Design Factory that was created on the basis of three schools – technology, business and design. «It is an experimental platform opened to anyone – any student and instructor from any university can come here and experiment.»
K.Ekman tells that a significant feature of Design Factory concept created at Aalto University is interdisciplinary cooperation. He believes that «it is very healthy for students – to work with real life problems. And who has them? Companies, of course.» K.Ekman has been teaching students according to this model that started as Product Development Project in 1997. In 20 years, 238 projects have been completed at Aalto University. According to K.Ekman, such student activities with real problems and company’s customer needs are «very interesting tasks of study projects». K.Ekman states that companies in Finland are also interested in cooperation with students because sometimes they want fresh and diversified view on their problems.
By creating interdisciplinary team of students and researchers at the Design Factory, creative thinking of students is developed and their competences assessed. K.Ekman says that «Many students have stated that the way they think and perception of the activities to be done in general have changed, and during this process they have found their future profession».
In interviews for both newspaper «Dienas Bizness» and journal «Ir», as a positive example of this creative activity he mentioned former RTU student Mikelis Studers who worked on a team that created the throwable microphone «Catchbox» that can be used in lecture rooms. During Erasmus student exchange program, M.Studers has started to work on this idea at Aalto University, but now he continues to develop this product in Riga. Now the idea of throwable microphone has been «caught» by Google, Hollywood film industry and Swiss scientists.
Interview with K.Ekman is published in newspaper «Dienas Bizness» (20.10.2016) and journal «Ir» (20.10.2016).