Kuka? Mikä Demola? Missä?

Who? What is Demola? Where?

(This text was translated from Finnish into English by ChatGPT 3.5 and checked by a human being.)
Demola projects have been carried out in Finland since 2008, and thanks to our international participants, our working language has always been English. Although our working language hasn't changed, our hubs in Finland have been growing lately, so we thought a brief overview of Demola in Finnish would be appropriate. And since we now had such a thorough text about Demola existing in Finnish, we used ChatGPT to translate it into English. 

What is Demola and what is done there?

Demola is a Finnish company where, true to its name, demos are made. The purpose of demos and concepts is to facilitate the development and communication of innovative alternatives in a world that is full of change forces and future possibilities.

Demola innovation project topics aren't plucked from thin air; they are selected based on what interests various companies, organizations, cities, communities, students, and us Demola folks. In recent years, our project topics have ranged from sustainable development and business to changes in society and working life, as well as the use of emerging technologies—and a bit of everything in between.

Who are Demola projects for and how to get involved?

Innovation work requires interdisciplinary teams, which is why our teams consist of higher education students from different fields, study levels, and campuses. Teams are built based on students' applications, so a student's interest and motivation in the project topic weigh most when forming teams. Demola teams also occasionally include individual team members taking a gap year or recent graduates.

Innovation work isn't done in isolation; teams may collaborate closely with various stakeholders throughout the project to continuously receive feedback on their ideas. Stakeholders may include the target audience for the idea, a company, organization, external expert, or other Demola teams in Finland and worldwide.

For companies and organizations, Demola is primarily a service that provides an opportunity to engage in discussions about future burning topics with an entirely new group of people. Companies can either collaborate closely with teams or have a brief exchange of ideas, for example, regarding the team's current concept. Both short discussions and more intensive collaboration are inspiring for both parties.

Why have students been involved in Demola innovation projects?

Learning new skills, developing your own expertise, and expanding contacts—those are the top three things that Demola alumni students have perceived gaining from participating in innovation projects. Since teams own the results they create, further developing them, perhaps into a startup or in a student's own thesis, is more than possible. Read, for example, about one of our teams' Demola projects and future plans here.

How long do Demola projects last and what happens during them?

Demola projects usually last about two months, and depending on the hub, there is one or more project rounds per year. During a project round, teams go through the Demola process, which combines aspects from service design, futures work, and systemic thinking. Creativity, curiosity, and optimistic thinking also get a chance to develop during the process, as it emphasizes concrete action and a culture of experimentation.

During the projects, teams work both independently and participate in some events organized by Demola, where all teams in the project round gather to do concrete innovation work. No team is thrown alone into the deep end; everyone receives support and coaching from Demola experts throughout the entire process.

Teams have the freedom to choose meeting times for their independent teamwork; the main thing is that it happens on a weekly basis. Even though a Demola project takes a chunk of a student's calendar, they can still successfully do their own studies or part-time job during that time. In fact, in some universities, students can earn credits by doing a Demola project.

Where to find Demola?

In 2024, active Demola hubs can be found both in Finland and worldwide, including Scotland, Namibia, and Japan. Demola hubs are often physically located near universities; for example, in Tampere, Finland, we are based at Platform 6, a startup house located right next to Tampere University's city center campus (Åkerlundinkatu 8).

If you're unsure whether there is Demola activity in your region, check our open projects on Portal or contact us directly.

Welcome to join the thousands of people who want to shape the future in a slightly better direction!
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Heini-Marja Rintaniemi

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