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10 Days 100 Challenges all about women in tech and buying sustainably

12.06.2019
10 Days 100 Challenges all about women in tech and buying sustainably

This year the inspiring themes of the 10 Days 100 Challenges programme were Future of Work and Sustainability. Around 90 participants from 3AMK have worked on the challenges.

10 days 100 Challenges is an open innovation programme and a part of Professional Summer School where participants learn new work-life skills and solve challenges together with leading innovative companies, experts and coaches. Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia, the 3AMK from Helsinki Metropolitan Area organized the event. Teams worked on challenges provided by City of Espoo, City of Vantaa, Kesko, Microsoft, OP, Telia and Clic Innovation.

Each day started with an inspiring speech by one of the companies. A lot of interest brought the Women in Tech topic and the Future of Work. As Anne Alarotu, Communications Lead from Microsoft, convinced the audience, nowadays, working in IT is not only sitting at the computer desk. It is about team working, exchanging ideas, and talking a lot. It requires empathy and communication skills. She emphasized that we need female role models, so the girls choosing IT fields can go there with confidence and they will be treated equally.

On the first day, participants listened to keynote speakers to get inspirations. They had a possibility to speak directly with the companies’ representatives to get a better insight and to decide on a challenge. Next, they formed teams. They worked following the service design process: they had to develop a service concept, they ideated and tested the prototype, and they could think about how to launch it. Service design experts from Laurea, Haaga-Helia, and Metropolia guided them.

─ The teams have been working intensively from the very beginning and already on an early stage of the project they have taken the ownership of their challenges. They are very creative. There were moments of frustration or the feeling of being stuck, but all that is normal. I can already see many fantastic ideas and the further they go the clearer they look, said Sirpa Lassila from Haaga-Helia, the event’s manager and a coach.

Buy local and live sustainably

A challenge of the greatest interest was “Sustainable choices for grocery store customers”. Five teams worked on the topic. From countless interviews the teams have done with customers, they found that people value local production, they would be willing to pay slightly more for a sustainable product and they would like to see more clear information about products.

One of the teams came up with an idea of labeling sustainably produced items in stores. Today we can get information only about a product being organic or lactose-free. They proposed to add more labels telling if the product comes from a sustainable farm if it is fair-trade, local, etc. Another team focused on small producers from Finland and a way of promoting those products. Yet another idea was to engage customers in thinking sustainably by organizing in-store events where local producers would share their stories. The goal would be to make a stronger link between producers, markets, and customers.

Two teams chose the topic “How to boost citizens’ sustainable lifestyle through gamification” provided by the City of Espoo. The target group was Espoo citizens. One of the proposals was a simple quiz starting with a question: What did you do today? Did you switch off the lights when leaving home? The users would get positive feedback and some encouraging tips about saving energy. Another team decided to use an already existing HSL mobile app. The public transportation app is widely used by Espoo citizens. Therefore, naturally, it could be used for a short game or quiz promoting a sustainable lifestyle. When you are waiting for a bus or are in a metro, you can entertain yourself by solving a fun quiz.

Female role models and an office of the future

Four teams chose Women in Tech challenge. Each one approached the topic from a different angle. One idea was to build an educational space in different formats, like a game for girls, or wine and coding evenings for women. Another concept was about introducing technology, coding, AI into non-tech jobs done by women, like nursing and different services. One of the teams wanted to incorporate Women in Tech into a LUX Helsinki art event. This is a light art exhibition in downtown Helsinki. Each piece of light art is also tech, including coding. Some done by women. Hence, the idea was to make a “behind the scene” exhibition next to the art piece, telling how the tech-art was done.

In the Future of Work theme, one of the teams designed an automated office of the future. Working 9-5 in the office should be a part of history, the ZEN Office team claimed. They proposed a tailor-made office. Big companies instead of owning whole office buildings should have smaller premises scattered around the metropolitan area and available for their employees on demand. You need an office space and you can book it online. The automated system will do the rest: order desks, chairs, equipment and bring it to the room and at the time you arrive, everything is set. You do your work and go back home.

Besides developing innovative solutions, participants have learned many other skills, like working as a team and being able to discuss and to listen to different opinions. They have learned to work together with people of different background, age, nationalities. They had to prepare a concise presentation of their challenge and to pitch in front of an audience.

─ This is the richness of the event. Participants got a chance to network, get to know many people, to learn new skills and service design tools, summarized Kati Tawast, senior lecturer at Laurea.

The final Pitching Day will take place on Friday 14.06.2019 on Arabia Creative Campus in Helsinki.

Read more at: 10days100challenges.fi/