Organisational culture supporting innovation and collaboration
Based on interviews and workshops during the audit visit, it is clear that LUT fully lives up to its core values of ‘Courage to succeed’ and ‘Passion for innovation through science’. The organisational culture is open and sharing. There is a strong community spirit and collaborative atmosphere that cuts across department and school boundaries and embraces management, staff, students and stakeholders alike. The audit visit clearly manifested an entrepreneurial ‘can do’ organisational culture in which new ideas and innovations are encouraged within the university and with partners. There is a desire to solve things together as well as a will to improve and go further. There were various examples of activities, some of which are also listed in Section 2.4, building on co-development, innovation and research with partners, local businesses and students. The interviewed stakeholders said that LUT is easy to approach, agile and a university with good culture and people. It was mentioned that there is a short way from idea to implementation at LUT. LUT works actively to maintain and develop a creative campus atmosphere, e.g. by initiatives such as the idea box for suggesting ideas, meetings for pitching ideas and the J. Hyneman Center, where students can create different prototypes. A new initiative, LUT Oivallus, is a small team helping staff in accomplishing their goals and trying new ways to perform, e.g. through testing, prototyping, facilitating and using service design methods. Among others, LUT Oivallus has worked to help researchers to create more impact for their research or improve company partner experiences. However, it was noted by some interviewed staff members that more channels for sharing within LUT and collaboration between departments are still needed. There is collaboration with students on many levels, but there is still room to further engage students in development projects that relate to undergraduate and postgraduate education. LUT is also aiming for stronger internationalisation and a more international campus. Therefore, it is important for LUT to keep its international staff and students in mind in all its activities.
The strategic orientation of LUT is also reflected in its partnerships
The university wants to invest in long-term strategic university partnerships in research and education and with companies. As described in the interviews, the university tries to find good matches with top universities to support a high level of research and education in its profile areas. One such example is the Polytechnic University of Milan, which was the university’s benchlearning partner in this audit (see Chapter 5). LUT also seeks collaboration in which it can join efforts and get expertise to complement its own. The university has long experience in programme partnerships and double degrees. Unsuccessful partnerships have been terminated. The university clearly seeks added value, especially partners that support the achievement of its strategic goals. It was noted during the interviews that one challenge for LUT is the management of its partnerships and that more long-term partnerships are needed. Many of the contacts are personal, making them vulnerable to staff changes, and there may also be too many requests for some academic staff members. The strategic partnerships and customer relations system are some mechanisms applied to improve these issues. The representatives of strategic company partnerships described in interviews a deep cooperation with LUT, comprising many levels of the organisation and both research and education. In some cases, the research collaboration was so integrated that the company representative could not draw a line between LUT’s research and the company’s RDI. The dialogue in the partnerships is systematic, and the partnership concept appears as a win-win collaboration for both parties. Interviewees also highly valued that the university does not only focus on global impact but also has different mechanisms in place to actively connect with small and medium-sized businesses. One such example is the corporate outreach team, Firmatiimi. The university’s role in the region is vital as underlined in interviews, and there are close connections between LUT and the local cities.
LUT has been one of the first universities in Finland to start a consortium with a university of applied science. The LUT group includes LAB University of Applied Sciences with which LUT has shared support services, information systems and a growth strategy. As described in the interviews, new ways to collaborate and find synergies that benefit both parties are constantly sought after. LUT also has deep cooperation with the Finnish technological universities and the University of Helsinki.
LUT reaches out to all its alumni with a feedback questionnaire within five years after graduation. LUT provides networking and other services to both alumni organisations and alumni. LUT hosts alumni seminars and an alumni day is planned. The threshold for participating is kept low. LUT’s improvement targets for the alumni field include the development of alumni resources, programme-level alumni feedback and alumni participation in the implementation of studies.
LUT is a relatively small university and takes full advantage of its size and the combination of technology and business. With a clear direction, systematic approach and with activities and mechanisms directed at different target groups and levels, LUT succeeds in engaging and creating impact at the regional, national and international levels.