4.1 An evaluation area selected by the HEI

The Design Factory was selected as a context central to HAMK’s strategy to be developed. The DF is visualised in the HAMK Vision 2030 at the crossroads of the Internationalisation and Entrepreneurship and Cooperation focus areas for the year 2021. HAMK DF was established, based on co-operation with Aalto University, as an instrument to support the transformation of HAMK to become an international, active, and modern higher education community, as well as, facilitating co-creation with businesses, the public and third sector.

The international and global collaboration activities with other HEIs and industry in the context of the Design Factory were chosen as the objective of the assessment. Benchlearning with other design factories were chosen as a means to develop international and collaboration activities of the HAMK Design Factory. During the writing of this report there were 34 other design factories that could function as benchlearning partners. inno.space Design Factory Mannheim was selected as the benchlearning partner organisation based on positive experiences gained from international collaboration. The inno.space Design Factory has participated actively in the international activities of the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN) and SUGAR network.

Strengths Enhancement areas
Top management support International courses organised with other design factories
Design Factory studies are included in the curriculum of HAMK degree programmes More active involvement with Design Factory Global Network events and activities
Opportunity to create new courses and award credits for Design Factory studies Partnering with international companies and organisations
A large number of students participate in Design Factory courses and workshops SUGAR network and 9 months academic programme collaboration

As a result of an online workshop, the strengths and enhancement areas for benchlearning were identified by staff from the HAMK DF and inno.space DF Mannheim.

Top management support and making Design Factory concept visible in the HAMK strategy and vision were perceived as important strengths of the HAMK DF. The inclusion of DF studies in the curriculum in HAMK degree programmes (Bioeconomy Engineering, Sustainable Development, Smart and Sustainable Design) was perceived as an important enabler for involving and attracting students to DF courses. The possibility to create new courses and to award credits for students participating in DF activities were also perceived as strengths of the HAMK DF compared to some other design factories. These strengths were considered to enable large numbers of students participate in DF courses and workshops yearly at HAMK DF.

In contrast, enhancement areas targeted for benchlearning were related to the internationalisation of HAMK DF. This included areas such as organising international courses with other design factories, becoming more actively involved and benefitting from the DFGN, partnering with international companies and organisations, and finally learning more about the opportunities provided by joining the SUGAR network and participating in the 9-month-long academic programmes.

Benchlearning was found to be a good method to practice continuously learning from other design factories and has inspired the staff to organise future visits and co-host international activities with other design factories.