Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32468
Creative Skills Supported by Multidisciplinary Learning: Case Innovation Course at the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

Authors: Satu Lautamäki


This paper presents findings from a multidisciplinary course (bachelor level) implemented at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland. The course aims to develop innovative thinking of students, by having projects given by companies, using design thinking methods as a tool for creativity and by integrating students into multidisciplinary teams working on the given projects. The course is obligatory for all first year bachelor students across four faculties (business and culture, food and agriculture, health care and social work, and technology). The course involves around 800 students and 30 pedagogical coaches, and it is implemented as an intensive one-week course each year. The paper discusses the pedagogy, structure and coordination of the course. Also, reflections on methods for the development of creative skills are given. Experts in contemporary, global context often work in teams, which consist of people who have different areas of expertise and represent various professional backgrounds. That is why there is a strong need for new training methods where multidisciplinary approach is at the heart of learning. Creative learning takes place when different parties bring information to the discussion and learn from each other. When students in different fields are looking for professional growth for themselves and take responsibility for the professional growth of other learners, they form a mutual learning relationship with each other. Multidisciplinary team members make decisions both individually and collectively, which helps them to understand and appreciate other disciplines. Our results show that creative and multidisciplinary project learning can develop diversity of knowledge and competences, for instance, students’ cultural knowledge, teamwork and innovation competences, time management and presentation skills as well as support a student’s personal development as an expert. It is highly recommended that higher education curricula should include various studies for students from different study fields to work in multidisciplinary teams.

Keywords: Multidisciplinary learning, creative skills, innovative thinking, project-based learning.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 428


[1] E. Chell, and R. Athayde 2009. The identification and measurement of innovative characteristics of young people. Development of the youth innovation skills measurement tool. UK: National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
[2] G. Schienstock, and T. Hämäläinen 2001. Transformation of the Finnish innovation system. A network approach. Sitra reports series 7. Helsinki: Sitra.
[3] J.K. Biddle 2010. “Reciprocal learning in leadership,” ReSource ,vol. 29 no.1, pp. 17-19.
[4] E. Leiviskä 2001. Creative interdisciplinarity – engineering, business and art&design students’ collaboration and learning in the international design business Management (IDBM) program. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.
[5] J.-Y. Park, and J-B. Son 2010. “Transitioning toward transdisciplinary learning in a multidisciplinary environment,” International journal of pedagogies and learning, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 82-93.
[6] P. Kettley, and W. Hirsh 2000. Learning from cross-functional teamwork. IES Report 356. Brighton, UK: The Institute for Employment Studies.
[7] T. Lockwood 2009. Design thinking: Integrating innovation, customer experience, and brand value. New York: Allworth Press.
[8] A. Donnellon, B. Gray, and M. G. Bougon 1986. ´”Communication, meaning, and organized action,” Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 31, no.1, pp. 43–55.
[9] K. Langfield-Smith 1992. “Exploring the need for a shared cognitive map,” Journal of Management Studies, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 349–368.
[10] M. Bogers, H. Chesbrough, and C. Moedas 2018. “Open innovation: research, practices and policies,” California management review, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 5-16.
[11] F. Piller, and J. West 2014. “Firms, users, and innovation – An interactive model of coupled open innovation,” in New frontiers in open innovation, H. Chesbrough, W. Vanhaverbeke, and J. West, Eds. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 29-49.
[12] A. Muller, N. Hutchins, and M.C. Pinto 2012. “Applying open innovation where your company needs it most,” Strategy & Leadership, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 35-42.
[13] H.-J. Nho 2016. “Research ethics education in Korea for overcoming culture and value system differences,” Journal of open innovation: Technology, market, and complexity, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 3–4.
[14] L.M. Ortega, and V.S. Bagnato 2015. “The practice of innovation at Brazilian public university: The case of the university of São Paulo,” Brazilian journal of science and technology, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-15.
[15] A. Spithoven, and M. Knockaert 2012. “Technology intermediaries in low tech sectors: The case of collective research centres in Belgium,” Innovation : Management, policy & practice, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 375-387.
[16] M. Leino 2017. Developing of a quadruple model for collaborative research actions between higher education institutions and industry. Tampere: Tampere University of Technology.
[17] F. Tödtling, P.P. van Reine, and S. Dörhöfer 2011. “Open innovation and regional culture - findings from different industrial and regional settings,” European Planning Studies, vol. 19, no. 11, pp. 1885-1907.