In the fall of 2021, we started our journey with the headline “Mobility & Sustainable Mobile Urban Flow”. Big title, without a clear case. In addition, the master’s program implementation was happening for the first time. However, sometimes the unknown can bring new perspectives and ways of working together. The collaboration led us to look deeper into the topic of sustainability through a cross-disciplinary approach and fruitful collaboration.
When it comes to sustainability, the challenges are common and global, especially in the area of mobility. Therefore, it also makes sense to approach this in collaboration between multiple parties. In this case, between KONE and Solita, and Tampere University. This collaboration brought an opportunity to deal with the topic of sustainability from a new perspective. Especially, because the case was not precisely defined. Through discussions and collaboration between the interests of all parties, the topic narrowed down to sensory overload in public transportation and the development of digital tools.
Cross-disciplinary approach challenged the partner companies to widen their understanding of sustainable mobility and the research scope. If only one party had given the topic, the interests of the other would have led the way stronger in the wanted direction, possibly giving answers already known. This allowed taking an unknown road, which made it possible to find a new perspective, that is not necessarily at the core of the companies’ business operations. While the topic does not originate from business, it creates business opportunities as well. This theme would hardly have emerged in commissioned work, but all of us have learned and got a new perspective on future work.
When it comes to collaboration of itself, we have become masters of uncertainty. This was the first implementation ever of the master’s program and project work. Along the way, we have created our way of collaboration. While the motivation, people, and even the topic have changed along the way, all of us have committed to the process, which has been one key aspect of successful collaboration. Furthermore, the fact that the subject is being worked on together for two years brings more depth. The discussions along the way have given a deeper understanding to all parties; not only the student. Honest want and need to solve issues related to mobility and sustainability is something that bonds all collaborators together. This does not mean that we all agree all the time. Rather we have challenged each other to look at the topic from different perspectives, giving the process a more multidimensional outcome.
Learnings on collaboration:
- Long-term collaboration enabled to address sustainability from several perspectives
- Cross-disciplinary approach challenged the partner companies to widen their understanding of sustainable mobility and the research scope
- While the topic does not originate from business, it creates business opportunities as well