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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Varjo- from idea to project

Kirjoittanut: Jenna Korpi - tiimistä Saawa.

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Writers: Sanni Hujanen, Jenna Korpi, Kamil Wojcik

Many teampreneurs wonder and fantasize about the projects thinking about what could be done, how to make money and learn. Often, it’s easy to get stuck in the ideation process not able to move on and not to mention monetize on the ideas. In this essay Kamil, Sanni and Jenna will share the process of how they found themselves doing something rather random, learning new things and cashing some money. In the first part, the reader can find the background story, second shows the report created after the project and the numbers.

Early in 2022 Sustainable Business team organized innovation day. The team wanted a project, something out of the box. It’s a good practice later to be used in own companies, other projects, 24h-challenge (Proakatemia’s final exam) and simply to do something outside of regular routines. It was not easy to decide what to work on. To the picture came Future Events Oulu.

Will your innovation save the world – or at least one event?

Oulu is going to be the European Capital of Culture in 2026. The project has been created to champion the goal of making the events in Northern Ostrobothnia as carbon neutral as possible by 2026. Companies and innovative organisations have the possibility to develop solutions to challenges that local events are facing. When one has come up with an ecologically sustainable solution Future Events was providing a platform to test. Participating companies and organizations must be registered in Finland, innovations and proposals are evaluated and the fund is awarded based on the criteria shared in the application. 1000 – 10000e per innovation can be granted. After implementation report must have been provided and the results of the innovation are open to the public.

There were many challenges they were looking to solve. For example: recycling in the dark at the gaming event, self-sufficient energy source and topic we decided to work on: responsible sorting for cigarette butts in the Varjo festival. The Sustainable Business team joined forces to innovate together with our exchange students from Switzerland. The original solution was slightly different from the final innovation, the team had to pivot along the way multiple times. Another challenge after the innovation day team faced was the creation of a team that would be motivated to finalize the project. In the end, it was Kamil and Sanni. We also hired Jenna Korpi from Saawa Osk.

A cigarette butt is the number one plastic waste in the oceans and leaches organic chemicals and heavy metals into the environment that are toxic to fresh and salt-water fish. It’s widely misinterpreted the fact that companies use paper as filters. In reality, it’s mostly plastic, which usually ends up in the water bodies. It’s also near impossible to pick it up from the grass areas where for example festivals take place.

About the process, our steps were simple:

  1. Suggest your idea to be tested at one of the events listed.
  2. Pick one of the challenges and solve it. You will be provided support for the costs of testing etc
  3. Getting together with event organizers.
  4. The project organization scores the solution proposals and selects suitable candidates, who are presented to the event organizers. Main criteria taken under consideration are measurable environmental impact, innovativeness, and novelty value.
  5. Testing.
  6. Most innovations fall short due to insufficient testing. That’s why it’s crucial to test our assumptions and put ideas into practice.
  7. Collect user experience.
  8. Data collection from the implementation period from the end users.
  9. Share the results. After everything is over the report must be created and shared. That allows us to evaluate and reflect on the results to improve the idea for future events.

What was actually done? Find out in the report: 

Varjo – from idea to project (1)

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