Worldwide economic and social changes challenge educational and business organizations to re-design their activities. Innovations are seen as important success factors in working life. Partly because of strong societal emphasis on innovation activities, also educational organizations have become strongly interested in this topic.
The ESF -funded project called KINOS (2011-2013) in Mikkeli, Finland has developed educational organizations’ innovation competences and created an operations model to promote innovation activities in the area. The project was leaded by Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences. Partner organizations included Aalto University Small Business Center, University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute, South- Savo Vocational College and Otavan Opisto vocational school. The goal of the project was to develop multiprofessional and multiorganisational innovation communities and an operations model to implement innovation activities in the future. The project was conducted through five core activities: Surveying the present situation of innovation activities, Coaching and benchmarking, Developmental assignments, Piloting and Publishing the results.
There have been about 35 different activitives and about 1 300 participants in these activities. Altough the main target group of the KINOS the project is staff, still over 800 credit points have been achieved through the project. This blog which idea has been to spread the ideas and experiences, has had over 1 400 reading times in six months. As a result project has achieved eight learning environments and operations models shared with the second and high level educational organizations in the area of Mikkeli which continue to operate after the project.
Innovation activities require new forms of collaboration and learning between different kinds of organizations. These new forms of collaboration can be found in the partnerships and co-creation between working-life partners and educational organizations. In the context of education the learning aspect of innovation activity is emphasized. There are several different educational models in Finland relating to work-based learning, innovation pedagogy and entrepreneurship. Despite some differences, there are also several similarities, such as the communal nature of learning, authentic cases, dialogue, knowledge creation and the developmental aspect of activities. These similarities could be regarded as key aspects of innovation pedagogy.