‘Metropolia spirit’ encourages a creative atmosphere
Metropolia is in the middle of a transformation process. Major internal renewal will apparently continue, as one of the strategic goals is to be a ‘bold reformer’. Obviously, the momentum of change can and should be used to further enhance processes and operations. The audit visit showed that the phenomenon-based approach, great facilities and the ‘Metropolia spirit’ encourage and enable creativity. This is essential for constant renewal; maintaining and developing this spirit requires attention. The audit team recommends that Metropolia ensure that encouraging the ‘Metropolia spirit’ is not tied too much to specific individuals.
Innovation is not possible without the ability to receive and understand weak and strong signals. The organisation should be geared to sharing and steering such signals inside the organisation for sources of ideas for improvement. Forecasting future trends together with the Technology Industries of Finland is an example. Using big data and artificial intelligence for job searches and other employment information for planning curricula is another example of Metropolia’s use of various ‘radars’ in its planning processes.
Metropolia is a preferred partner and collaborator
Being the largest university of applied sciences in Finland, Metropolia is a natural and desired collaboration partner for higher education institutions and schools in the region. The interviews showed that the main stakeholders, owners (cities), institutions and companies rely on Metropolia UAS with their needs of skilled and motivated professionals—or RDI services and results. Since 2018, Metropolia has established bilateral cooperation with hundreds of companies. Metropolia UAS is historically well-established in the region and is well-geared for multilevel contacts with all external stakeholders. The interviewees described the international presence, mentioning contacts with some 200 higher education institutions.
The whole organisation is geared towards active multilevel external contacts. On a national level, this certainly works, but the international network partners could be sources of more progress. The high-profile HXRC is an excellent example of networked success.
Eyes on the future
Forecasting is a more systematic approach to mapping future landscapes. During the interviews, the audit team learned about Metropolia’s approach to forecasting, including stakeholders (owners, industry associations and institutions).
Metropolia uses its partner and stakeholder networks well in its planning processes. There is a general multidisciplinary partnership model and, due to a long history of cooperation projects including many model agreements. Again, new opportunities are there to be found and enhanced in the international field. Metropolia keeps in touch with alumni through newsletters and social media channels. According to the interviews, alumni and lifelong learners’ roles are essential sources of ideas and resources for Metropolia in their enhancement activities.
The interviews also confirmed to external stakeholders that Metropolia UAS is a big influencer and trailblazer on the national level. The audit team recommends that international networks could and should be emphasised more in the future.