It’s hard to think of a better birthday present for an Otaniemi alumna than the news that all of Aalto University’s core functions are due to be centralised at the Otaniemi campus.
The university’s business school Bachelor programme re-located to Otaniemi in the autumn of 2015, while the School of Arts, Design and Architecture is due to follow in 2018. As part of this new announcement, it has been confirmed that the Business School’s Töölö-based functions, along with all teaching staff, researchers and students will also move to a new, purpose-built facility in Otaniemi.
During my time at the Helsinki University of Technology, teekkarit, the technology students and kylterit, the business students, were more likely to mix at parties than in the academic arena. At that time, the world around us was changing, perhaps more profoundly than any of us realised. I remember being sat a German tutorial and hearing that the Berlin Wall had come down, and an excursion to a paper mill at Tervakoski, where the news reached us that the Finnish currency, the markka, was to undergo devaluation. Student life does not seem to have change so much from those days, apart from the technological aspects, of course.
I graduated in 1994, the same year that Justin Bieber was born, version 1.0 of Linux was released and Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first black president of South Africa. Soon after this, in 1995, the university launched its first cross-disciplinary International Design Business Management (IDBM) qualification that brought together business, technology and arts students in a groundbreaking new programme, where participants were tasked by real businesses to solve real problems. In 2006, one such IDMB team made a huge contribution to the service design of my own fledgling business.
Aalto University was created in 2010 with the merger of the Helsinki Business School, the University of Art and Design and the Helsinki University of Technology.
By 2014, it was my very great pleasure, in my role as Espoo’s Director for Economic and Business Development to invite the Aalto University Product Development Project team to design a new and innovative user experience for the Aalto University metro station. The end result was a virtual art gallery and a never-before-seen experience for metro passengers.
Aalto University is a multi-disciplinary institution, where art meets science meets technology meets business. In the same way, the fundamental principle informing everything that happens at the Espoo Innovation Garden, is joint working and shared effort. This sort of interconnectedness has real power, and the potential to change the world.
At Espoo, we are thrilled and proud that Aalto University have decided to focus their core functions at Otaniemi. This move is a boost for the Otaniemi-Tapiola-Keilaniemi area as an international business and innovation hub and as a driver of economic growth for all of Finland.