Morfologinen taulukko – ongelmanratkaisutyökalu

Heikki Immonen

2.9.2019

Morfologia on alun perin biologian tieteenalalla kehittynyt käsite. Biologiassa se tarkoittaa organismien anatomian tutkimusta ja luokittelua. Tiedemiehet huomasivat, että esimerkiksi lintujen nokan muoto ja rakenne riippui nokan käyttötarkoituksesta.

Ongelmanratkaisutyökaluna morfologisen analyysin isänä pidetään sveitsiläistä astronomia Fritz Zwickyä, joka kehitti menetelmän kompleksisten moniulotteiden ongelmien ratkaisemiseen ja analyysointiin. Tässä morfologisen analyysin laajassa käyttötarkoituksessa, menetelmään sisältyy mm. osaratkaisujen kaikkien keskinäisten suhteiden tarkastelu. Tämä käyttötarkoituksen esittely on kuitenkin jätetty tämän kirjoituksen ulkopuolelle.

Milloin?

Morfologinen taulukko on työkalu, joka soveltuu kompleksisten monimutkaisten ongelmien ratkaisemisen apuvälineeksi. Käytön aloittamisen edellytyksenä on, että ongelmanratkaisija kykenee pilkkomaan suuren ongelman pienempiin osaongelmiin. Taulukon avulla kunkin osaongelman tarkastelu helpottuu ilman, että samalla unohtuu kokonaiskuva. Samalla morfologinen taulukko on ennen kaikkea luovuustyökalu. Sen avulla voidaan kirjata ylös itsenäisiä ratkaisuja osaongelmiin ja toisaalta käyttää taulukkoa systemaattiseen kokonaisratkaisujen generoimiseen.

Miten?

Ensimmäinen vaihe morfologisen taulukon käyttöönotossa on ongelman pilkkominen n. puoleen kymmeneen osaongelmaan. Jos osaongelmia on enemmän, kannattaa osaongelmat jakaa erikseen osaosaongelmiin hierarkkisesti. Hyvin määritelty (osa-)ongelma kuvaan lähtötilan A ja tavoitetilan C, mutta ei A:sta C:hen johdattavaa ratkaisua B.

Taulukon jokaisen sarakkeen ylin rivi vastaa yhtä osaongelmaa. Otsikoinnissa voi käyttää tekstiä ja/tai visuaalista esitystapaa. Ennen taulukon muiden osien täyttämistä kannattaa ongelmanratkaisutiimin rauhassa keskustellen käydä jokainen osaongelma lävitse.

Kuva 1. Morfologisen taulukon ylin rivi, johon omille sarakkeilleen on kirjoitettu jokaisen liittyvä osaongelman otsikko. Taulukko on tehty kasvien kasvatukseen avaruusolosuhteissa liittyvään haasteeseen.

Ylimmän rivin alapuolinen alue edustaa eri osaongelmien mahdollisia ratkaisuideoita. Jokaisen osaongelman otsikon alle samaan sarakkeeseen kerätään mahdollisimman monta käyttökelpoista ideaa kyseisen osaongelman ratkaisemiseksi. Logiikkana on, että jokainen otsikon alapuolella samassa sarakkeessa oleva idea kykenee ratkaisemaan otsikossa kuvatun osaongelman.

Kuva 2. Morfologisen taulukon ensimmäinen sarake on täytetty sarakkeen osaongelmaan liittyvillä ratkaisuideoilla. Osaongelman ”Kuinka valaista kasvit?” mahdollisia ratkaisuideoita ovat esimerkiksi LED-valot, aurinko ja hehkulamppu

Jos tiimillä on tiedossa referenssiratkaisu, eli jokin olemassa oleva koko ongelman käsittävä ratkaisu, kirjataan tämän referenssiratkaisun jokainen osaratkaisu ensimmäiselle riville heti osaongelma-otsikkorivin jälkeen. Tiimin voi lisäksi halutessaan järjestää jokaisen osaongelman ratkaisuideat paremmuusjärjestykseen siten, että ylimmäksi laitetaan lupaavin ratkaisu.

Morfologisen taulukon yksi vahvuuksista on sen hyöty kokonaisratkaisujen, eli konseptien, luovassa generoinnissa. Termin “konsepti” yksi määritelmä on kompleksisen ongelman kokonaisratkaisu. Tämä tarkoittaa sitä, että konsepti sisältää ratkaisun ison ongelman jokaiseen osaongelmaan. Morfologisen taulukon avulla konsepti generoidaan yksinkertaisesti valitsemalla yksi osaratkaisu jokaista osaongelmaa kohden. Mahdollisten konseptien määrä kasvaakin eksponentiaalisesti osaongelmien määrän ja niissä olevien ratkaisuideoiden määrän mukaan.

Kuva 3. Morfologinen taulukko, jonka aiheena on kasvien kasvattaminen avaruusolosuhteissa. Jokainen osaongelma on ylimmällä rivillä ja sen alapuolella kunkin osaongelman ratkaisuideoita.

Mahdollisten konseptien määrää voidaan etukäteen rajata poistamalla ratkaisuavaruudesta ne konseptit, jotka sisältävät yhteensopimattomia ideapareja. Tämä työvaihe on parasta toteuttaa tietokoneavusteisesti.

Referenssit

Wikipedia (2019), Fritz Zwicky, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Zwicky

Finnish Entrepreneurship Programs in Higher Education

Heikki Immonen
Karelia University of Applied Sciences
28.8.2019 (updated 7.12.2019, see end of the post for details)

The purpose of this blog post is to list all currently (August, 2019) active entrepreneurship programs in Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences. Main requirement to be listed as entrepreneurship program of a university is that in the program:

  • Students or researchers plan to, establish and/or operate a real company.
  • They receive entrepreneurship education, training and/or coaching.
  • The program is run and/or (co-)funded by a university.

In addition,

  • Some programs also offer resources such as networks, facilities, tools and funding.

This definition leaves out pure technology transfer programs such as POC’s, which have little emphasis on education and training. This definition also matches the definition of Venture Creation Programs (VCP) by Láckeus and Middleton (Lackéus, M., & Williams Middleton, K. (2011). Venture Creation Programs: entrepreneurial education through real-life content. In Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (pp. 1-16).)

Programs were discovered by doing a web search with the university name and with keywords such as entrepreneurship, startup, accelerator etc. (If there is a program missing, please send email to heikki.immonen at karelia.fi).

Most Widely Spread Program

By far the most widely spread program is the Vuosi Yrittäjänä, formerly known as NY Start Up, program, which lists 18 universities as it’s members. Next place is held by four (4) programs, which all have three member universities: Cambridge Venture Camp, Draft Program(r), GrowUp Students, and Turbiini Accelerator. Of these four programs, two (2) programs: Draft Program and GrowUp Students, cross regional borders. Of all the Finnish universities and universities, only couple of universities seemed to have no dedicated entrepreneurship program.

Universities with Most Programs

Three universities stand out from the list. They have 4 programs. They are:

  • Aalto University, Haaga-Helia UAS and University of Oulu

Eight universities have 3 programs each:

  • Jyväskylä UAS, Karelia UAS, Laurea UAS, Metropolia UAS, Tampere UAS, University of Helsinki, University of Turku, Oulu UAS

Nine universities have 2 programs, while 11 universities have 1 entrepreneurship program.

Different Types of Programs

One way to categorize these programs is to divide them in to two groups. In group A the emphasis is launching a successful business and the training part supports that mission. Group A could be divided to two sub-groups: A1, which focuses on the commercialization of the initial business ideas, and A2, which focuses on helping the team to establish a successful business. In group B emphasis is on learning and running a business is a way to support that learning. Thus, in group B, companies established during the program are often closed at the end of the program. Examples of group B are the national Vuosi Yrittäjänä program and Team Academy of Jyväskylä UAS.

Program Name Participating Universities Number of Universities Link
4UNI University of Helsinki 1 http://4uni.fi/
Aalto Venture Program Aalto University 1 https://avp.aalto.fi/about/
ALL IN Yrityskiihdyttämö Satakunta UAS, University of Turku 2 http://www.all-in.fi/
Avanto Entrepreneurship Program Oulu UAS, University of Oulu 2 https://avantooulu.fi/english/
Business Generator Aalto University 1 https://startupcenter.aalto.fi/business-generator/
Business Kitchen Oulu UAS, University of Oulu 2 https://www.businesskitchen.fi/en/home
Business Mill Saimia UAS 1 https://www.saimia.fi/fi-FI/palvelut/business-mill
BusinessClub Turku UAS 1 http://www.turkuamk.fi/fi/tyoelamapalvelut/palvelut/businessclub/
Cambridge Venture Camp Metropolia UAS, Laurea UAS, Haaga-Helia UAS 3 https://cambridgeventurecamp.fi/
Design Factory Häme UAS 1 https://www.hamk.fi/design-factory/?lang=en
Draft Program® Karelia UAS, Savonia UAS, University of Eastern Finland 3 https//www.draftprogram.com
Enterprise Accelerator Satakunta UAS 1 https://www.samk.fi/en/research-and-cooperation/entrepreneurship-at-samk/
GrowUp Students Seinäjoki UAS, Vaasa UAS, Tampere UAS 3 https://www.seamk.fi/en/about-us/growupstudents/
Kiuas Aalto University 1 https://www.kiuas.com/
LAMK Business Mill Accelerator Lahti UAS 1 https://www.lamk.fi/en/service/lamk-businessmill
Luova Rovaniemi Yrityshautomo University of Lapland 1 http://www.luovarovaniemi.com/hautomo
Mutiny University of Helsinki 1 http://mutiny.fi/
Proakatemia Tampere UAS 1 https://proakatemia.fi/en/
Startup Factory Novia UAS 1 https://www.novia.fi/om-oss/campus/raseborg/startup-factory-2
Startup Fund South-Eastern Finland UAS 1 https://www.patteries.com/blog/500-1000-grants-for-developing-ideas
Startup Journey University of Turku 1 https://boostturku.com/startup-journey/
Startup School Haaga-Helia UAS 1 https://startupschool.fi/
Supercoach® Entrepreneurial Training Jyväskylä UAS 1 https://www.jamk.fi/en/Services/Supercoach/
Team Academy Jyväskylä UAS 1 http://www.tiimiakatemia.fi/en/
Terkko Health X University of Helsinki, Aalto University 2 http://terkko.fi/x/
Terwa Academy Oulu UAS, University of Oulu 2 https://www.businesskitchen.fi/en/services/learning/terwa-akatemia
Turbiini Accelerator Metropolia UAS, Laurea UAS, Haaga-Helia UAS 3 http://turbiini.net/?lang=en
West Coast Startup Vaasa UAS, University of Vaasa 2 http://www.muova.fi/en/yhteistyo/wcs/
Vuosi Yrittäjänä Unversity of Oulu , University of Arts Helsinki,  University of Turku, Åbo Akademi, Centria UAS, Diakonia UAS, Haaga-Helia UAS, HUMAK UAS, Kajaani UAS, Karelia UAS, Lahti UAS, Laurea UAS, Novia UAS, Metropolia UAS, South-Eastern Finland UAS, Saimaa UAS, Savonia UAS, Turku UAS 18 https://vuosiyrittajana.fi/opettaja/korkeakoulu/
Y-Akatemia® Business Academy Karelia UAS 1 https://www.y-akatemia.fi/en/
Y-kampus Tampere UAS, Tampere University 2 https://www.y-kampus.fi/en/
Yrityskiihdyttämö Kajaani UAS 1 https://www.kamk.fi/fi/Opiskelijalle/Yrityskiihdyttamo
Yritystehdas – The Startup Factory Jyväskylä UAS, University of Jyväskylä 2 https://yritystehdas.fi/en/home/

Table 1. Finnish Entrepreneurship Programs in Higher Education

EDIT 7.12.2019: Added Business Kitchen.

EDIT 29.8.2019: Number of programs per university  added. Some edits to the text.

Draft Program(r) – Program Details May 2019

Heikki Immonen, Karelia University of Applied Sciences

4.7.2019

This blog article acts as a repository for the current (May 2019) version of the Draft Program, which is a micro-funding program aiming to support nascent entrepreneurs from the participating education and research organisations. Draft Program(r) was founded in 2012 by Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

The purpose of this blog article is to record the information regarding the functionality and process details as expressed in the program’s public website and workshop slides. The classification is based on Object-Process Methodology. Should the program details change in the future, the version of the program information in May 2019 is kept safe here for future reference.

Source Material

Karelia University of Applied Sciences (2019). Draft Program website Retrieved July 4, 2019, from http://www.draftprogram.com/

  • See screencapture images of the website below

Karelia University of Applied Sciences (2019). Draft Program® Info-event slides (pdf downloadable here).

Karelia University of Applied Sciences (2019). Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides (pdf downloadable here).

Draft Program Website

Next eight images capture the main content on the Draft website. Some images are zoomed in version of the same website after some dynamic content have been made visible.

Image 1. Draft Program website screen capture image. Front page. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/front-page/

Image 2. Draft Program website screen capture image. Draft Info page. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/draft-info-en/

Image 3. Draft Program website screen capture image. Apply in Joensuu page. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/apply-in-joensuu/

Image 4. Draft Program website screen capture image. Apply in Joensuu page, Step 1: Register zoomed in. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/apply-in-joensuu/

Image 5. Draft Program website screen capture image. Apply in Joensuu page, Step 2: Present Your Idea to Board zoomed in. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/apply-in-joensuu/

Image 6. Draft Program website screen capture image. Apply in Joensuu page, How to apply for next round of funding zoomed in. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/apply-in-joensuu/

Image 7. Draft Program website screen capture image. Draft Teams. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/teams/

Image 8. Draft Program website screen capture image. Draft Blog zoomed in. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/blog/

Image 9. Draft Program website screen capture image. Image carousel from the front page. Original URL http://www.draftprogram.com/en/front-page/

 

Object- Process Tables

The following two tables use Object-Process Methodology language to classify different elements (or things) of the Draft Program to either object (physical or informatical) or processes (physical or informatical). As much as possible, the things listed in the tables are explicitly mentioned on the website or on the two slide-sets. In cases where the thing is implicit, only most obvious implicit objects or processes where listed.

without bureaucracy”

Object Essence Source Comment
Team Physical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page Team is the main Beneficiary of the system
Business Idea Informatical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page One of the Main Benefit Bringing Objects
Testing Status attribute, values: not tested, tested Informatical This attribute’s existence is infered from source material Benefit bringing attribute exhibited by Business Idea object
Is Idea Working? attribute, values: worst case: no, best case: yes Informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Second Benefit Bringing Attribute exhibited by Business Idea object
Draft Program Physical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page Draft Program is the Value Creating System we are reverse engineering
Funding Informatical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page Funding is part of Draft Program and it’s affected by the Draft Business Idea Testing
New Skills and/or Knowledge Informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Infered from the statement “You will learn something new”; this is the second Benefit Bringing object. Is becomes part of Team
Financial Risk of Business Idea Testing attribute, values: low, hgh Informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page This is the main Beneficiary Attribute or criteria of the Team used to assess the Value Creating Process
New Career Opportunity Informatical (environmental) Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Infered from the statement “…you can create your own career path.” This is beyond the scope of the program.
Team Status attribute, values: not pre-selected, pre-selected, not selected, selected Informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page An attribute of the Team
Business Model Informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 5 Created by the Teams after selection
Draft People Group Physical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Created for modelling purposes. It includes people working for the Draft Program such as: Draft Staff, Team Assistants, Selection Board.
Workshop Set Physical Both Workshop slide sets Created for modelling purposes. It includes all the workshops organised by the program for the teams.
Version attribute, values: initial, 2nd, 3rd informatical Kickoff workshop slides and Image 2 Teams create initial Business Model after selection, which is presented to other teams. Feedback is assumed and creation of 2nd version is assumed. 3rd version is created based on Testing results.
Draft Staff Physical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Assumed to exist as someone is doing the pre-selection.
Pre-selection Criteria informatical Image 4 – Draft website – Zoom in Apply in Joensuu Page Pre-selection Criteria are listed on the website.
Application informatical Image 4 – Draft website – Zoom in Apply in Joensuu Page “Fill in the application form”
Email Feedback informatical Image 4 – Draft website – Zoom in Apply in Joensuu Page Infered from the statement “Ask for feedback and tips..” and from the modellers personal knowledge of the program operations
Presentation informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Created by the Team
Evaluation Documentation informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Infered from the fact that there is a selection board and from the modellers personal knowledge of the program operations
Selection Board Physical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page “… present their plans to Draft Board..”
Selection Criteria informatical Image 3 – Draft website – Apply in Joensuu page Explicitly described on the website
Info Event Workshop Physical Info event slide set Modelled as a physical system (object), but it of course contains different sub-processes and object, but which are not modelled in detail.
Kickoff Workshop Physical Kickoff workshop slides Modelled as a physical system (object), but it of course contains different sub-processes and object, but which are not modelled in detail.
Idea Presenting Skill Informatical Website and slides Part of the New Skill and/or Knowledge object. The existence of this object is assumed based on the major processes that Teams are involved with and which are also been discussed in the workshops
Business Modelling Skill Informatical see above see above
Business Idea Testing Skill Informatical see above see above
Offer Formulating and Invoicing Skill Informatical see above see above
Idea-specific Knowledge Informatical see above The existence of this object is assumed from the facts that Team gains new information related to their idea via testing and feedback from Draft People Group
Team Assistant Physical Kickoff workshop slide 26 Each team will receive an assistant
Offer, with value: accepted Informatical Kickoff workshop slide 4 Team creates the offer after selection
Funding on Team Account Informatical Kickoff workshop slide 4 After program pays the invoice, the team receives the funding.
Feedback Set Informatical Website Object created for modelling purposes. It consists of Email Feedback and Evaluation Documentation
Funding on Program Account Informatical Kickoff workshop slide 4 In order to pay the invoice the Team sends, there must be money on Program bank account
Profitability attribute, values: yes, no Informatical Image 5 – Draft website- Zoom in Apply in Joensuu page Existence of this attribute is infered from the Selection Criteria list provided on the website.
Demand attribute, values: yes, no Informatical Image 5 – Draft website- Zoom in Apply in Joensuu page Existence of this attribute is infered from the Selection Criteria list provided on the website.
Doability attribute, values: yes, no Informatical Image 5 – Draft website- Zoom in Apply in Joensuu page Existence of this attribute is infered from the Selection Criteria list provided on the website.
Time and Effort Spend on Bureaucracy attribute, values: low, high Informatical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page Based on the statement: “develop your business idea
without bureaucracy”
Possibility to Develop Alongside Work or Studies attribute, values: poor, good Informatical Image 9 – Draft website -Image Caroursel Infered from statement: “Alongside studies or work”

Table 1. Collection of most important objects mentioned on the Draft Program(r) website or workshop slides.

Process Essence Source Comment
Team Only Testing Physical (environmental) Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page This represent the way the team can do business idea testing outside of the Draft Program. It has high financial risk for the team.
Draft Business Idea Testing Physical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page Main Value Creating Process of this system.
New Career Opportunity Creating Informatical (environmental) Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Infered from the statement “…you can create your own career path.” This is beyond the scope of the program.
Applying and Selecting informatical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page One the main sub-processes.
Business Model Creating informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 5 Teams create business models after selection
Financially Risk-free Testing physical Image 1 – Draft website – Front page Sub-process hat delivers changes the value of Testing Status attribute
Draft Supported Learning informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page This process is infered from the claim that participants will learn something new.
Idea Feasibility Assessing informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page This existence of this process is assumed based on the statements “Best case scenario: your idea works…”
BM Forming informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 5 Teams create business models after selection, initial versions
Feedback-based BM Updating informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 5 It is assumed that Teams update their business models after getting feedback at the workshop and from the Draft Staff
Post-testing BM Updating informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page Infered from the statement “If the original idea… to test a different innovative idea…”. Teams can have a 3rd version of their business model.
Applying informatical Image 4 – Draft website – Zoom in Apply in Joensuu Page “Fill in the application form”
Pre-selecting informatical Image 5 – Draft website- Zoom in Apply in Joensuu page “teams are pre-selected based on applications”
Presenting informatical Image 2 – Draft website – Draft info page “…by presenting their plans…”
Selecting informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 “Selection”
Learning Idea Presenting informatical Website and slides Sub-process of the Draft-supported Learning Process. This process yields the corresponding informatical object.
Learning Business Modelling informatical see above see above
Learning Business Idea Testing informatical see above see above
Learning Offer Formulating and Invoicing informatical see above see above
Learning Idea-specific Knowledge informatical see above see above
Offer Formulating and Accepting informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Before Testing can begin, Team needs to create an offer and it must be accepted by the Draft Staff
Testing informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Testing is done by the Team
Invoicing and Paying informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 After Testing, Team can send their invoice and the program will pay it.
Profitability Assessing informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Sub-process of the Idea Feasibility Assessing
Demand Assessing informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Sub-process of the Idea Feasibility Assessing
Doability Assessing informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Sub-process of the Idea Feasibility Assessing
Feasibility Supporting informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Sub-process of the Idea Feasibility Assessing. It sets the value of Is Idea Working? attribute to yes
Feasibility Non-supporting informatical Draft Program® Kickoff Workshop slides, slide 4 Sub-process of the Idea Feasibility Assessing. It sets the value of Is Idea Working? attribute to no

Table 2. Collection of most important processes mentioned on the Draft Program(r) website or workshop slides.

References

Dori, D. (2016). Model-based systems engineering with OPM and SysML. New York: Springer.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences (2019). Draft Program website Retrieved July 4, 2019, from http://www.draftprogram.com/

Introduction to ICED – part I

Heikki Immonen

ICED i.e. Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design, is an innovation education methodology developed by NASA astronaut and engineer Dr. Charles Camarda along with other experts such Dr. Oliver de Weck from MIT. ICED reflects Dr. Camarda’ s decades long experience as a NASA engineer. First implementation of the program took place in 2008 during a summer short course for junior NASA engineers (Camarda et al. 2013). Since then educational programs and courses following ICED principles have been operational in US and Finland (Immonen et al. 2017).

ICED methodology, or Epic Challenge program as it is more commonly known, aims to increase student motivation to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects, innovation and problem solving skills. To succeed, ICED focuses on the early stage of the product development life-cycle; a stage where teamwork, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking have a major role. Second, each student group tackles a so-called “epic” problem solving challenge i.e. an important sub-problem part of the overarching long-term mission of sustainable human habitation of Mars. Third, instead of theory, ICED emphasizes hands-on style of learning, giving student many opportunities to test and build the very solutions they are developing. Fourth, ICED promotes interactions between students and real subject matter experts from industry and academia. As a result, learning the ICED way offers a unique exposure to the world of innovation and how multi-disciplinary teams of professionals work to find solutions to extremely complex and difficult problems.

Team of students during the 2018 January kickoff week

Based on my personal experience with it, ICED curriculum has more than enough depth for a complete degree program in systems engineering or similar field. In the introductory course, however, focus is on the most central ICED themes and skills that offer the widest applicability regardless the field expertise or career plans the students might have. It is a crash course about Mars habitation and offers chances to meet experts from academia and industry. The introductory course also emphasizes team working, creativity, decision making, experimentation and communication skills. However, as an introductory course, it offers only a high-level view on more technical topics such as functional decomposition, systems architecture and the model-test-design cycle and the building block approach of experimentation.

Introductory course begins with problem definition by introducing students to the “epic” challenge of sustainable human habitation of Mars. In innovation a challenge is defined as a set of requirements that a possible solutions needs to satisfy in order to solve the challenge (or problem). Most important requirements are derived by dividing i.e. decomposing, the Mars challenge in to smaller sub-problems of food production, protection from radiation, communication between Mars and Earth and so on. During the course, each student is assigned to a team, which will focus one of these sub-challenges.  This process of breaking a big problem in to smaller problems, also known as functional decomposition, is then used for the second time to break the team’s important sub-challenge in to yet smaller sub-sub-challenges. For example, growing plants for food requires a way to provide carbon dioxide, illumination, nutrients and water for the plants, and protecting the plants from Mars hazards such as cold and hot temperatures, radiation and very low atmospheric pressure. Each team with a challenge to focus on uses a specific tool for managing the different sub-problems of their challenge. This tool, called the morphological table, is discussed in more detail later.

Each sub-problem should be captured on a list of challenge requirements, which then allows the team to know what kind of a solution they are suppose to develop. In addition to the list of sub-problems, a set of other limitations are added to the requirements list, too. For example, if the future Mars habitat has only limited space for food production unit, then this limit must be specified and described in the requirements list. To kickstart the course, student are given a list of requirements and a pre-defined morphological table of their challenge.

Examples of items belonging to a requirements list:

Develop a solution that:

Requires less than 20 cubic meters of space

Produces edible plant-based food

Has maximal food production rate

Provides maximal average light intensity on plants’ leaf surface

Requirements list allows the team to later compare solutions to each other using a method called the Pugh method. The Pugh table is a tool for collecting and preserving the list of requirements.

List of requirements also guides another key activity in this stage of the ICED methodology: Problem Immersion. Problem immersion means the process during which team member study existing knowledge and research regarding their challenge. Problem immersion is guided by the problem definition and students’ existing level of knowledge. Each sub-problem (or sub-challenge) is a topic for further study. For example, if one of the sub-problems is to provide maximum illumination to plants’ leaf surfaces, then topics of study (or uncertainties) coming from this sub-problem include: How light affects plant growth? and What kind of sources of illumination can be used in a greenhouse? Other items on the requirements list serve as other possible uncertainties in need of further study.

ICED methodology emphasizes the role of the team in knowledge capture i.e. in the problem immersion stage. Each team member will get a set of uncertainties to study. After looking for the information online and from other sources, each member shares her findings with the rest of the team.

Problem immersion doesn’t consist of information searching, only. It also includes hands on work and quick tests to better grasp the nature of the challenge. In the beginning of the course, each team is taught a small set of possible already existing solutions to each sub-problem of their challenge. If possible, the needed materials and technologies are made available for the team. These example solutions allow the team to do small tests to get a better sense of the problem. For example, a team developing a Mars suit could have flexible rubber sheets and hard rigid plastic sheets available together with a simple puncture test device. This way the team can quickly study the behavior of these different materials under strikes of varying power or varying thicknesses of the sheet materials.

Third, but not least, is the process of team development. Team development includes aspects of team formation and then actual strategies for the team to organize themselves in to a productive unit. Guiding principle in team formation is the maximization of skills diversity so that the team can draw from a maximal pool of knowledge and produce more innovative solutions. This is in contrast to a team with a largely homogenous cast. Next, team chooses a manager and quickly establishes basic rules and methods of communication. For a student, key thing to learn is how to communicate, make decisions as a team and how to commit themselves to deliver what the team has asked them to deliver.

In Joensuu, teams typically follow a simple pattern of communication. After every week, each team member writes a very simple weekly report covering his accomplishments, problems and other issues from the past week. These reports form the basis of weekly meeting agenda so that all the problems and issues of team members are discussed in the meeting. Big portion of the meeting is dedicated to planning and decisions regarding the next 7 days. In ICED, team learning is a central topic especially in the problem immersion stage. Thus a lot of meeting time is allocated to discussing what individual team members have learned doing their previous week’s information searching tasks. This leads to removal of some uncertainties, or knowledge gaps, and addition of new ones, which again stimulates another round of information searching and experimentation.

In the next part of this blog series we go further in introducing the key components of ICED methodology.

References

Camarda, C. J., de Weck, O., & Do, S. (2013, June). Innovative Conceptual Engineering Design (ICED): Creativity and Innovation in a CDIO-Like Curriculum. In Proceedings of the 9th International CDIO Conference.

Immonen, H., Gebejes, A., & Camarda, C. (2017). Entrepreneurial Outcomes of a 9-Month-Long Space Engineering Design Course. In Practitioners Proceedings of the 2017 University-Industry Interaction Conference.