A creative atmosphere and a spirit of innovation shape HAMK’s organisational culture
In the interviews, HAMK’s organisational culture was described in such terms as ”loving the learning”, ”thinking outside the box “, “feeding design thinkers” and ”loving the breaking of the silos”. The audit team heard convincing statements that HAMK is successful in encouraging piloting, prototyping and executing experimental activities. This spirit is well reflected in its organisational culture and demonstrated in HAMK’s Design Factory as an example for long-term commitment to innovation, multi-disciplinarity and design thinking.
Design Factory is an area of activity where the centralisation of critical mass and the decentralised nature of education can lead to creative tensions, but also creative solutions. The fact that Design Factory concepts have more often emerged in larger urban universities is no indication that such innovation platforms could not be successfully promoted and implemented in a more rural setting and at more decentralised campuses as the example of HAMK demonstrates. Furthermore, HAMK’s Design Factory could provide a valuable benchmark for the whole RUN EU alliance, through building and embedding the idea of Design Factory and design thinking into a more decentralised and regional university. This could have great international, and even global relevance.
The interviews also brought confirmation that HAMK’s organisational culture is conceived by a spirit of listening to the clients and collaboration partners, of dialogues and co-creation and regular active interaction with stakeholders. The management and maintenance of networks as an institutional and organisational asset are in place, and a shared, renewed CRM has recently been put in place and taken into use, playing an important role in this process.
Further development of relationships with alumni could be more active
Alumni are increasingly seen as an important asset but could also be used more actively to increase the pride in the local / regional university. More systematic and long-term work with alumni and the need to ensure a better dialogue and over-all monitoring of their views and experiences was discussed in the audit interviews. This seemed to be work in progress. For regional universities in particular, alumni are an underestimated resource and all forms of retaining them in the university network are welcomed, from guest lectures to ”alumni of the year” awards, as was confirmed in the interviews. Regional stakeholders were the ones who most actively emphasised the further potential of alumni, as their continuous commitment to their Alma Mater can be a resource in many activities, from lobbying and investments to project-based problem solving and brand marketing.
HAMK has well-functioning procedures for managing and updating its stakeholder relations and collaboration networks
HAMK has various active national and international networks, and during the audit, it became clear that this active collaboration created added value for students, staff, and stakeholders. The management and maintenance of networks as an institutional and organisational asset are in place; HAMK’s CRM system has been renewed and optimised based on the evaluation of experience from the previous systems and practices and was recently taken into use.
A variety of national and international networks are invited to take part in active collaboration and enhancement of activities. The RUN EU alliance is a particularly promising example of networks and offers unique opportunities. HAMK’s participation in the RUN-EU alliance offers further opportunities for peer learning with partners, students and colleagues, and profiling HAMK as a place where creativity and experiments foster a bold growth mindset. In the interviews, the audit team heard of examples of how international alliances, strategic partnerships, HAMK Global and Design Factory can also play key roles in attracting international students, building bridges between students and research companies, and developing solutions as well as creating new connections. During the interviews, the audit team heard about forms of concrete collaboration (e.g., mobility of international teacher trainees as an important means of supporting internationalisation).