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The library of essays of Proakatemia

The First of Many

Kirjoittanut: Flóra Lang - tiimistä SYNTRE.

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The international relations team has been a big part of my Proakatemia experience, even in the first semester. It introduced me to the community, visitors, insights, and not so long ago to my first creative project. Week 7 was the IRT’s innovation week. Throughout the week we didn’t only work on a project in order to make money, but we also focused on team building. It was a really fun and productive week, which allowed us to learn along the way.

Innovation is a very difficult process, that happens over time, through trial and error. Limiting this time is a mixture of a lot of things. Excitement, pressure, productivity, risks, creativity, and many more. Innovation becomes even more difficult when it is ”forced”, meaning that we are told to come up with something because it is a reserved time and space, is also a mixture of the same things. However, the most difficult aspect of all is the unknown. When the time is limited and the act is “forced”, it is safe to say that failure is very likely. There is no time to think about everything and no genuine ideas, that have a long way to go or in other words sustainable.

Some of the above-mentioned things came true during the IRT’s innovation week, but as a team, we did everything that we could and more. This is where team learning and the whole theory of “No man left behind” come into the picture. We could work for and with each other, pushing and supporting each other.

One of the most popular innovation processes is design thinking. Although we didn’t use it during the week, I decided to reflect our innovation on it.


  1. Empathize

In this step, one should gain an understanding of the user’s needs. In our case, we needed a zeroth step, which was to identify the user in the first place. Then we could think about what they need and by asking the right questions, get closer to a solution.

  1. Define

In this stage, we tried to analyze the needs of the end-user. Once we put ourselves in the situation of the customer, it became easier to figure out what we need to do to fulfill its requirements.

  1. Ideate

Starting the ideation with brainstorming was our way to go. During this phase one does not have to think about rules or boundaries. It is free form, and every idea is considered an opportunity, the more the merrier. However, ideation needs a strong backbone so that the background information is filled.

  1. Prototype

This is the phase where the lack of time became very apparent. Although we did our best, the product wasn’t tested on the target audience. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most important steps, most innovations fail here. One should prototype to avoid unnecessary costs and filter the issues.

  1. Test

Testing the prototype and collecting feedback from the target group is the last step before an innovation leaves the safety net and goes out into the world. This is the part where one has to make sure that everything is how it was imagined or better. The lack of prototyping caused short testing in our case. Although we did change things based on the prototype’s feedback, more could have been done.

  1. Implement


The design process is not linear. It has some kind of order, but we can always return and add to each part. Having the first 2 parts solid is key, but nothing is utter. The process can have many sidelines and although we didn’t consciously use the design process during our innovation, we touched many parts of it, which made it possible to reflect my experiences on it.


Overall, I learned a lot during the innovation week. I learned that putting ourselves out there is the best we can do. The help had come from so many directions, that we couldn’t have imagined it before, the only thing we had to do is to ask for it. I learned that things never go as planned. And finally, I learned that it’s okay to sort of give in to the failure and there is always time to start over from a new angle. I believe this was a great first.



Interaction Design Foundation 2020, Design Thinking


De Hous, O. The value of experimentation in innovation


  • Seungyeon Shin

    I think I will use this process in the future. It was useful, thank you!

    • Seungyeon Shin

      I think I will use this process in the future. It was useful info, thank you!

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