Exploring expert communities at Otaniemi Campus
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What one can learn in one day at Aalto University Otaniemi Campus in Espoo, Finland?
A lot about expert communities for urban co-working and collaboration!

Helsinki pilot group of Live Baltic Campus visited Urban Mill, Aalto Design Factory and EIT Digital Helsinki Node at Open Innovation House at Otaniemi Campus in Espoo at the end of January. All these inviting and inspiring spaces are expert communities for urban co-working and co-creation.


Urban Mill is a space, community and service. Urban Mill is a dynamic actor in urban development. It has three main roles:
– Transformation means for its stakeholders
– Focal point for developer and user communities
– Physical and virtual co-creation and development platform

Aalto Design Factory (ADF) was born from a research project focused on creating an ideal physical and mental working environment for product developers and researchers. Today ADF is one of the spearhead projects and one of the first physical manifestations of Aalto University encouraging and enabling fruitful interaction between students, researchers, staff from different schools of Aalto University, entrepreneurs and company representatives.

There was also a Hugging Point at the ADF. When you need a hug you go to stand on that point and the closest one near you gives you a hug. Nice idea for a bad day at work!

In all the expert communities we visited we noticed that great things and collaborations seem often to start with coffee and shared kitchen. ADF had banned coffee machines in the individual offices in order to bring people together in the kitchen – a tip worth remembering!

EIT Digital Helsinki Node at Open Innovation House is all about the idea “From research to business”.

The core partners of the Helsinki Node are Aalto University, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Eleven affiliated partners include universities and research institutes, and other key actors of the Finnish ICT innovation system. The broadening of industry partnership is of high relevance for the Helsinki Node.

Open Innovation House is a lively place for students, entrepreneurs, researchers and industry to meet. There are prototypes on display – like this innovation for personal space.

Photos: Katariina Saarela