The main road of Lapinjärvi in Eastern Uusimaa was abuzz with a new kind of activity last week, as the municipality's centre acted at the scene for the Digital Wellbeing Sprint, an intensive week for Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia.
During the intensive week, which was organised in cooperation with Lapinjärvi municipality, participants were tasked with developing new digital solutions to support independent living, an active lifestyle, social interaction and a safe life for the elderly. Lapinjärvi, where a more extensive project for the development of a memory-friendly municipality is underway, acted as the platform for the trials.
This year, 33 participants took part in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint. The participants included international students, who studied different fields at the three universities of applied sciences, but also staff from the universities of applied sciences and participants from Romania and Algeria. Participants were divided in multidisciplinary teams half of which worked in Espoo's Leppävaara and the other half in Lapinjärvi.
After the first day, which consisted of orientation, held in Espoo on 11 August the Sprint's participant's worked intensively. In addition to attending lectures by experts, the students learned about the daily routines and activities of the elderly, visited an old-age home and interviewed the customers and personnel of senior services.
Roland Ngang, a student in the Metropolia Master's Programme in Health Business Management, was one of the Sprint participants who visited Lapinjärvi. Roland, who is originally from Cameroon, describes the week as exceptionally interesting and creative:
"We have learned a great deal and gained many good ideas while we have been here. One important factor has been that we have a versatile group of people from different countries and different fields," he described his experience in Lapinjärvi on Thursday.
Roland felt that visits to meet with the elderly in Lapinjärvi were especially rewarding.
“The people we met were very happy and welcoming. The relationship between the elderly and the people who cared for them also seemed warm and the place had an atmosphere of community and empathy, which I feel is very important.”
During the week, the teams have developed their ideas and at the end of the Sprint, on Friday 18 August, they pitched their solutions in front of a jury of experts. The members of the winning team will have the opportunity to participate in the Baltic countries' joint BELT Business BootCamp, where they will further refine their idea towards a sustainable business concept.