Eight Inspiring Weeks with Students

in Finnish

31 Oct 2019
by Riikka Kämppi

What kind of experience is Demola from a partner organization's perspective? Laura Kukkonen worked together with university students to solve a challenge concerning youth unemployment in Kuopio last spring. After the experience, Kukkonen sees Demola as a tool to bring together people from different backgrounds in a completely new way. 

How to support students’ employment opportunities immediately after graduation? How to help introverted job seekers? In the spring of 2019, the city of Kuopio started looking for solutions to these big issues of youth unemployment with the help of Demola. 

“Youth unemployment is a global issue that has long been addressed. In Kuopio, we wanted to start solving it in a completely new way with experts from different fields,” says Project Manager Laura Kukkonen from the City of Kuopio. 

At Demola, our partner organization’s own experts work together with university students for eight weeks. Kukkonen, who has worked at the employment services of the City of Kuopio since 2013, wanted to join Demola immediately when she heard about it.  

“Demola sounded really inspiring right from the start! It's always really interesting when people from different ages and backgrounds join forces,” says Kukkonen.


The cooperation continued after Demola

The core of Demola is co-creation. All team members are equal and each person's different background is valued, whether they are students or representatives of a partner organization. 

In practice, the role of the partner organization is to support students in their innovation work, to give their expertise to students and to encourage students to think in a new way. 

According to Kukkonen, participation in the Demola requires motivated, committed and open-minded experts from the partner organization. 

“At Demola, students are encouraged to bring their own, fresh views to the table. It’s the asset of Demola. When doing so, we experts must remember to not over-express our own ideas. If a partner organization dictates in Demola that things need to be done in a certain way, the result won’t be surprising or new,” says Kukkonen. 

According to Kukkonen, the most rewarding thing was that Demola provided the employment services with concrete and good ways to reduce youth unemployment. The team developed an idea of a job search application that brings together employers and employees at a low threshold. Another solution was a working life skills training concept for vocational school students. 

The cooperation between students and employment services has also continued after Demola. 


Multidisciplinary approach guarantees success 


The Demola team for employment services was supported throughout the journey by Erik Nyroos, a Co-Creation Expert of Demola. Erik was responsible for ensuring that the project progressed as planned. 


“Erik was a really good leader who created a positive atmosphere for our team. Erik was responsible for ensuring that the work progresses by the Demola process,” says Kukkonen. 

The concept is well designed and clearly generates innovative ideas. Sometimes Demola challenges you and hard, but everything that is done has a good basis.

Kukkonen was positively surprised by the systematic and punctual nature of Demola. 


“Demola brings together students and organizations in a concrete way. The concept is well designed and clearly generates innovative ideas. Sometimes Demola challenges you and hard, but everything that is done has a good basis. In difficult times, both partners and students should trust the good outcomes,” Kukkonen encourages. 


The Employment Services project involved students from the University of Eastern Finland and the Savonia University of Applied Sciences from fields such as technology, economics and social sciences. According to Kukkonen, this was one of the reasons why the work was so productive.

 

“Demola showed that people from all kind of backgrounds are capable of having courageous and open discussions. After participating in Demola, the idea that things should be developed with atypical groups is just strengthened in my mind. We should boldly bring together people from different backgrounds to brainstorm. This is certainly the key to generate more and more innovations in this country.” 



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