Skills that last time

The topics of lifelong learning and need to update prior education are being discussed in public media almost on daily basis. With regard to the increasing pace of development in technology and industries applying digitalisation, it is easy to understand that a traditional university degree does not give tools or methods to solve future’s business challenges. Future work requires not only knowledge about a particular topic but the ability to solve a problem by combining knowledge from different fields.

What should a student choose from the curricula in order to graduate with a skillset that lasts time and prepares for future work? The Future of Jobs report published by World Economic Forum[1] illustrates how fourth industrial revolution changes business, government and individuals. This report also specifies “top 10 skills in 2020” which all stem from meta-skillset[2] 

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Collaboration with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgment and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

The top 10 skills in 2020 as in Future of Jobs Report (World Economic Forum)

The changing nature of work also forces educational institutes to re-evaluate and update their offering in order to provide students skills for managing future work tasks. Kruchoski (2016) [3] emphasises that work today is increasingly collaborative and focused on complex problems in creative ways. Work is also more transdisciplinary than before. How to learn the crucial meta-skills as part of degree studies? Although several meta-skills certainly develop during university studies, a particular substance-knowledge still is the key focus in majority of the courses. One possibility to widen own study plan and overall understanding of learning is to participate Cern bootcamp programme (10 credits). The bootcamp combines 20-24 students with various educational and cultural backgrounds from 3AMK (Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia) and HIP (Helsinki Institute of Physics) affiliations. Student teams work on chosen global challenges[4] and challenge themselves for providing a solution. Although producing a solution is the goal of the every team, the programme has special purpose for the personal and collective learning. The intensive week in the heart of nuclear science, Cern Switzerland, provides a fruitful environment for new perspectives and understandings. Without teamwork, persistence and belief in own contribution many of the great innovations would have never happened. The ability to see the link between small and big, known and unknown, as well as self and others are dimensions students get to learn through experience.

Cern bootcamp challenges students especially to try out their skills in creativity, complex problem solving and cognitive flexibility. These skills have had crucial value throughout decades for awakening innovations and are likely to have important role also in the future evolution of human beings and digital reality. The traditional classroom pedagogy seldom gives possibility to learn and develop these and other meta-skills in a similar way. Future work requires ability to step out from the comfort zone. Would you be ready to challenge yourself and learn through experiencing Cern bootcamp?

Application period for CERN Bootcamp is open!

[1] The Future of Jobs report, World Economic Forum (2016), retrieved 15.1.2020

[2] Meta skills are general and reusable skills which either apply broadly to a wide set of problems, or help you acquire other more specific skill, source:, retrieved 15.1.2020

[3] Kruchoski, Paul (2016) 10 skills you need to thrive tomorrow – and the universities that will help you get them. World Economic Forum,

[4] Basing on United Nations Sustainable Development goals,

Writer: Sanna Heiniö, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Building a prototype

WhatsApp Image 2019-06-07 at 10.32.25
Starting to prototype

We started Thursday by finalizing our Customer Value Canvas. As we had made the final decision about our product on Wednesday it was quite easy to continue the remaining work and to be more precise about the benefits, gains and qualities of the product. We used Mechanical Prototyping method to create the first version of the product. For this, we gathered different kind of material from Idea Square such as fabrics, wood sticks and playdough. A member of our group is an architect, so we utilized her skills and came up with the prototype rather fast. We did two different options to illustrate different fastening options.

On Thursday afternoon we had the opportunity to test our prototype with visitors of Idea Square. We practiced our coming pitch and explained the main benefits and properties of our product. We had created the interview questions based on service design method in order to gain as much information from the potential customers as possible. We received very valuable feedback and comments that took us further in development process.

Thursday, Final prototype

A few words about the material

Our strength point in this project is the innovative material we want to use. Below is shown the first sketch how this concept will work and how is it going to be implemented. It will have three porous layers that will filter all toxins present in the air, leaving a clean environment for the baby inside the pram. Along with the sketch there is a prototype made of fabric.

The material is designed to be used as a baby pram curtain that will keep out pollution, it is bio-degradable, hypoallergenic, waterproof, UV protection etc.

Team – Nature-based solution

Baby Pram Curtain

Sensing the sprit of CERN

There are about 70 000 meetings in CERN in a year. We had an opportunity to participate one of those on Tuesday, 4.6.2019. We were invited to take part on an extra curriculum lecture on subject of How to be an innovator, and fight diseases at Ideasquare.

The meeting was part of CERN’s knowledge transfer programme. We had Dr. Benjamin Frisch from Munich University to talk about innovating health care products and services.

From Dr. Benjamin Frisch we learned that when setting up a group of innovators it is best to have as heterogenous group as possible. One should not forget regulations either. In the end it is cheaper to pay 2000 euros to a layer at the beginning of the process than pay fines and compensations when your product contradicts with regulations and have your product withdrawn from markets altogether.

Quite often it is, that especially engineers are so concentrated in technology that their innovation process is driven by technology, customers and their needs are not considered at all. Dr. Frisch reminded the audience of about 25 eager listeners, that you should always have a market demand first -approach. This means, that one should collect as much market data and experience as possible. When innovating for health care, this means spending time in hospitals, observing procedures in wards and operation theatres, interviewing people working there, and paying attention to all activities, even to the most humble cleaning staff. Always keep in mind the special needs of hospital environment – failed product can be fatal. And always base your solution on real needs. This means a lot of iteration, a lot of adjusting, and a lot of work, but usually there is no short cut. So be prepared to work hard.

After the formal presentation, we headed to R1, which refers to Restaurant number one in CERN (apparently there are also R2, which have nothing to do with Star Wars, and R3) for informal chat and drinks. The atmosphere was relaxed and easy. We, CERN Bootcamp students had an opportunity to mingle with experts from various fields such as space technology and mechanical engineering. The discussion flew freely from serious topics to laughter.

These splashes of knowledge, new insights, and mixture of expertise really make the spirit of CERN.

Nature-based solutions for urban health and wellbeing -group
Katri Talke & Tianran Zhou

Shaping our double diamond


We arrived at CERN idea square with the intension to solve a social problem but our Monday kicked off with activity to learn how to feel “space” around us and take the best use of that. Probably none of us were thinking about this at all while we were thinking about our real challenge refugee integration in the host society. However, the outcome was learning to communicate with space around us gives us the opportunity to get the best use of the space.

Our team moved with the project to enter to the second phase of the double diamond concept. We found out that the interviews we settled already in Finland are the most popular person at CERN, so that boosted our energy. We spent first two days by going through with our ideation and at some point we were lost. However, the power of staying together with the team either in lunch, dinner or a walk to France helped us towards the solution.

By Wednesday we already knew our focus. We have drowned our solution on the board and then we have invited teachers and other CERN personnel to challenge our solution. Eventually those feedbacks shaped our second part of the diamond. On Thursday evening we got the feeling of accomplishment towards a dream project that will offer a refugee a one touch service that provides guidance in learning language, education and work opportunities.  We believed on our team, we listened what others had to say, we shared our thoughts and we stayed together along the way.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein.


CMS visit and wonders of prototyping

On Wednesday morning we gathered at hostel at 8.30 and travelled by bus to France. So, we started our third #cernbootcamp day in France by a visit to CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) Experiment of CERN 100 meters underground. The visit was an eye-opening experience about the many experiments of CERN and really interesting for the non-physicists also. Learned during the visit that many techniques and findings made in there at CMS and in general here at CERN can also be utilized in other fields (like medical field) also. During the CMS visit we also learned that CERN has actually people working with many different educational and other background (like mechanical engineers) not just physicists. In the afternoon we travelled back to IdeaSquare for continuing data analysis and starting creating insights.

Today is Thursday, and this is prototyping day of our Bootcamp. In the morning we started with a lecture by protyping viking Jani Kalasniemi and after that students started to build up their prototypes. In the late afternoon we were having honored visitors from IMD Lausanne to comment our teams ideas and projects while they are visiting @IdeasCERN.

Based on the fact that the clock is once again nearly 7.30 PM, and teams haven´t made movements to head for the dinner, they are probably having long night with building prototypes 2.0 and rehearsing their pitches for tomorrow….


Is there life outside our project?

When in CERN bootcamp, sometimes you feel that life turns around the theme of your project, so immersed are we in the subject and so eager to come up with a viable solution within these 5 short days. We have, however, been doing also many other interesting things during these days in Geneve.

Our bootcamp started on Monday not in the usual way of sitting and listening, but on the move: doing exercises in sensing and observing the space around ourselves and around the people next to us. We got to know each other better and our team was happy to be able to start the camp using somewhat different parts of our brains than we are used to in our daily lives.

The other exercise on Monday was a tough one for a Finn, we were challenged to talk to the strangers! Each of us was assigned to find some unfamiliar person at CERN and have a chat with them about their work during the lunch time. Listening to all those interesting stories and encounters with people was far more interesting and eye opening than merely watching and listening to a presentation of what CERN does would have been. And this was totally random, which made it unpredictable and brought up surprising people and elements of the multitude of professions and people that work and coexist in this small “village”.

Yesterday was the big day when we got to visit CMS. It was quite an experience to see something of such a big importance for the whole world that can enable us to understand things of the universe better. Yesterday we also had a scientific walk down the memory lane with Markus. It was a brisk one, only the fastest would survive! Well, most of us made it almost to the end and got a good exercise before the lunch! Seeing the birthplace of the World Wide Web, a modest little office building, made you think that sometimes you actually might don’t need much more than imagination and a really good idea to come up with something life changing (a bit of knowledge won’t harm either, of course).

We have also been given guidance for the service design process and had interesting talks with CERN employees, our tutors, other visitors and of course with our great fellow students on the bootcamp.

With all this work, we have still had time to also enjoy ourselves. The nearby French village with its brasserie, cheap wine and huge steaks has become a familiar place. There has been no time to visit the centre of Geneva and tonight will be our last chance. At the moment it’s still hard work so we will see whether we make it..!

Tomorrow will be our final day. I think after an intensive morning of pitching we will leave tired but happy with a very rewarding experience behind us.

Team 2: Reducing Food Waste with the help of AI
Satu, Tiina, Piia, Riikka & Waqas

Team 2_2

Happiest refugees in the World wanted!

According to World happiness report, made by UN, Finland is the happiest country in the World.

If we would have a happiness index for refugees, how would Finland be rated then?

We as a group of Master’s degree students wanted to study more on a problem of refugee integration in host society. Our team, with different backgrounds in tourism, aviation, security and health care, has passion to change refugee situation in the country. One of team members is refugee herself, others are immigrants or cooperating with immigrants daily.

We have interviewed Rand Mohamad Deebin, who is Finnish refugee woman of 2019. She has been living in Finland for 2 years, learned language and finished high school. She is applying for medical university. Rand is a model example of a well-integrated refugee, but as she stated Finland is doing a good job in many areas, but there are many to be improved.

Bureaucracy and lack of knowledge share between different stakeholders discourages integration agility and appropriate implementation. Aim of our project in CERN Bootcamp 2019 is to dive into this problem and innovate proper solution for the challenge.

“No one becomes a refugee by choice, but the rest of us can have a choice about how we help” – Filippo Grandi

Team refugee_post 1

Learning to love the problem

Oh dear it’s day ⅗ and we still haven’t come up with a solution! This seemed to be the general sentiment amongst the groups struggling with different challenges at the CERN bootcamp in the middle of the week.

In the beginning our challenge was set as: “Climate change and the possibilities of AI, open data and research”.

The process started at the kick-off in April. We started to tackle the topic by brain-dumping, where we let all our possible thoughts on it out. We were struggling a bit with our wide subject, but it is supposed to go that way: confusion can pave the way to innovation. You must love the problem before you can solve it. We looked at our problem from different angles, considered impact, feasibility and our skills and context. Finally, we managed to create a focused area of interest: food waste. Our research question was formulated in the following way: How to reduce food waste with AI?

Before the bootcamp we conducted altogether 11 interviews and even observed our own food waste. We looked at grocery stores, online retailers, platforms, data available, problems cafeterias & restaurants are facing, projects ongoing on governmental or EU level. We wanted to understand more about what AI can do through attending different events, reading and interviewing. Through our self-observation we wanted to know what food we waste ourselves in our households and what reasons lead to it.

So indeed, most of the food waste is generated in the consumption phase. When we arrived at CERN we explored our topic even further with the help of an Innovation Lab, AI and blockchain specialists, and a local foodbank. We found interesting insights to guide us further. We had massive amounts of data. We had looked at the problem from different angles and finally started to feel like we’d gathered enough data to reach a point of saturation and enough triangulation.

Based on the insights we created problem statements. What is not working now to make the world zero waste? Why are we still wasting food ourselves? Every now and then we started wandering to the solution side.  What if there was an intelligent bin to help us measure waste? What if grocery stores would have a sharing platform with the charities? But we forced ourselves to stay in the problem and love it even more.

By doing that it was much easier to turn the problems into different opportunities and start forming those beloved How might we -questions. The answers are then a topic for Friday’s pitching so let’s not go there just yet!

So yes, we are here to save the world from excessive food waste. Not an easy task to do though. This is a picture of our plates after finishing our second dinner. Luckily, we didn’t take pictures of leftover of our first dinner because it would look even worse.

Team 2_1

Do we still love our problem after 3 sweaty days under the Swiss sun and an approaching deadline? Yes, we love it so much that we will probably have to spend a night with it!

Team 2: Regucing Food Waste with the help of AI
Tiina, Piia, Riikka, Waqas& Satu


CERN spirit

The second day in CERN (Tuesday) is really challenging and adventurous day for our team. Just imagine, at noon time, three enthusiastic students are rushing on the road for looking for the potential interviewees under the big sun (32 degrees), their face are full of sweat but with smile and consistency.

Don´t need to explain why the changes of strategies and unexpected situations, story just starts from the morning of Tuesday.  At 9 am, three of us is calling 6 potential interviewees for arranging interviews for our project, however, 2 of them have answered, one interview is arranged by phone at 11:00, during the time from 9 to 11, we also “borrowed” another interviewee from another group, in this case, we efficiently conducted two interviews from 10 to 12. After lunch, we decided to take chance to get more interviewees by physically appear in the interviewees´office, which is OpenLab department in CERN. When we arrived there, luckily we got the assistance from Service Manager Catherine, who help us arranged the interviews with Communication officer and Outreach Officer at the afternoon 14:30 and 16:00. We felt so shocked by her kindly help and efficiency, I have to emphasize here, the people we interviewed are super busy people.

After those four interviews, our brain are full of new ideas, thoughts and apprehensions about our project. However, what we had learnt most is not the knowledge, it´s their fantastic and impressive character: PASSION and SPIRIT.  The willing of help and passion to transfer knowledge is tremendously impressive. The super magic tool they mastered is their EYES, eyes with passion and love of science, eyes of positive energy, eyes of purity are all as powerful as the CMS accelerator(No wonder the shape of accelerator is like eyes)! Add one of team member´s comment” I never had met so warm and helpful computer engineers in my life”! If ask me to prioritize what I had learned from this trip, the CERN spirit will be the first and will empower me for my whole life.”

Thx for you all!

Jinqi Wei
Representative of Team 1: Social decision making

Setting the scene: interesting start for a Bootcamp week

On Monday morning we wandered full of excitement from hostel to IdeaSquare not actually knowing what to expect. When we arrived to IdeaSquare, students were seemingly happy to see the place was a bit more modern than the traditional part of CERN. Head of Resources and Development Markus Nordberg gave the welcome speech and a short introduction to functions of IdeaSquare and how to behave there for the week. After that Romain Muller introduced us something new: Innovate and Dance . Totally new, fresh way to get the innovation mode on and us familiarizing ourselves with the space and atmosphere. How cool was that! Romain´s set was truly inspirational and at least the tutors were eager to adopt the concept and utilize it at back at Finland also. Before noon of Monday, we also got our two bootcampers from Helsinki joining us and all the teams were whole again!

During lunch students had a mission: Talk to a stranger. The aim was to search people they don´t know and shortly interview them during the lunch hour. The bigger picture behind talk to a stranger –assignment was to get a better picture about the people and functions of CERN. After the lunch hour students presented their findings to Markus who completed information with his knowledge. The assignment confirmed following: Markus Nordberg can tell amazing stories and some interesting insights about the people of CERN from just small hints. While debriefing the assignment, we noticed that one of the students had made her notes into napkin and based on this; we also learned that napkin actually is the notebook of physicist.

Rest of the Monday afternoon teams were analyzing the data and knowledge they had already gathered in pre-assignment, targeted their focus and prepared for the interviews and fieldwork in Tuesday.

Today has been the day for fieldwork and interviews and teams have met the experts from various organizations they have scheduled already beforehand. During today us tutors we didn’t really see many of the teams, until they came to IdeaSquare to analyze their data. While some teams stressed about not having that many interviews scheduled, other teams stressed about having too much data. In general, the afternoon has been a struggle between having too much and too little data.

Tomorrow we will start our day in France, follow our blog to know why…