School of Creativity and Design - building readiness and inspiration for the changing world

The School of Creativity and Design is about collaboratively learning an open and encouraging hands-on mindset with which learners can realize their potential, find meaningful work, develop their readiness for the changing world, and enjoy life.

There are no teachers, no students, only learners.But what exactly is the School of Creativity and Design, and how did it get started during the last few months?

Photo by Heikki Salo

The USA, Silicon Valley, no agenda, looking for inspiration. Those were the conditions I had during January, February, and March this year. I won’t describe the journey in detail, but I will say that the atmosphere in the Silicon Valley and the whole Bay Area was awesome and unique. Everybody was doing things even if they didn’t know exactly how to do them. They just had the attitude to figure it out, whatever it was.

I spent quite a lot of time at Stanford University and their design school, d.school. While there, I talked with professors, students, and researchers. I got so inspired about the open and encouraging hands-on mindset that I thought “Why can’t we do something like this in Tampere?”

With that in mind, I came back to Tampere and started planning. I gave myself two months to get the idea somewhere. I have to give huge credit to everyone who encouraged me forward during that time, especially to Jan-Erik Tarpila. I had wild dreams of building my own school (university) around creativity and design, and starting something totally different and big.

In the end, the idea of the School of Creativity and Design was born. But with Finland being the way it is, nothing is too easy. I talked with the universities in Tampere and tried to get something tested with students before the summer. Unfortunately, the universities had their hands full with the Tampere3 project, and as you can probably imagine, the bigger organisations do not move so quickly.

Still, I wanted to find out if any of the students had interest in working around creativity, learning and design as soon as possible, so, I put up a Facebook event. The idea was to invite people to discuss something around these topics during the summer. When I got 30 sign-ups with my simple registration form in two days, I thought "Oh shit, I really have to implement this somehow!".

To answer the call, I just started doing without thinking about whether something was possible or not. I planned a simple program for a course that would meet two times per week during the summer. In addition, I spoke to some companies and communities. I got awesome guests from the fields of drama, facilitation, and service design. One even arrived from Denmark. And then I was lucky to get seven people to work with me to plan and arrange the summer “pilot”. It all happened so fast, and now I can say that it was over just as quickly.

Throughout the summer, we had around 50 learners visit our 14 sessions. It was amazing! We had so much fun learning collaboratively about self-development, failures, dialogue, fears, Design Thinking, service design, drama for design, improvisation, ideation, movement, and more. What could feel better than getting feedback such as “I basically liked everything; got spirit & energy”“ and “It made me review everything about me”. I’m truly thankful for every learner who had the guts to come to our sessions.

To get a feel of the atmosphere, you can check this video that was spontaneously created after one of our sessions:


And this was all done without any money! It was totally voluntary work done by our awesome international team: Maria Ruokonen, Heikki Salo, Faisal Iqbal, Volha Furs, Nina Erkkilä, Janne Aare and Marcus Grunewald. Also have to thank partners: Vincit, Idean, University of Southern Denmark (Design), Rabit, Proakatemia, Twinkle, Talent Space, Osuuspankki, New Factory, Demola, and Tamk.

Now, I’ve given myself until the end of August to get one or two bigger sponsors to fund our operations during the next year.The SC&D aims to operate on two levels:

Individual level

To help people find inspiration and build readiness for the changing world

Broader level

To shake up the university level, lecture-based education.

Once we get funding, we will be doing a lot of cool stuff. This includes an intensive course, Global Creativity Jam, Global Creativity Tour and Global Creativity Congress, for instance. There are also, some local networking events planned, so, stay tuned!

You can check everything out here: socnd.com

If you want to be part of creating this awesomeness in the future, feel free to contact me: vesa-matti.ruottinen@socnd.com. We are especially looking for help in marketing and communications.

Finally, I want to encourage everybody to reach their dreams and inspiration.

Life is all about you!

Cover photo by Heikki Salo