Agile piloting results in informative cooperation between a startup, upper secondary school and its pupils

Artikkelikuva: Agile piloting results in informative cooperation between a startup, upper secondary school and its pupils

How to develop the job-seeking skills of upper secondary school pupils? This is the challenge tackled by Helsingin kuvataidelukio and Work Pilots, resulting in a pilot in which the upper secondary school, its pupils and the growth company all work together to learn about the utilisation of a digital service in course-based teaching.

As part of the Smart Learning Environments for the Future project, the City of Helsinki Economic Development Division and the City’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki surveyed teachers about how the challenges faced by modern schools could be addressed with digital services. This was followed last autumn by the launch of 10 agile pilots in Helsinki’s schools, in which solutions offered by companies are tested in practice to address the challenges presented by teachers. The aim of the agile pilots is to allow companies to test their services with real users, providing valuable learnings for both the schools and participating companies.

Startup helps pupils to identify their strengths

One of the companies selected for the agile pilots programme is Work Pilots, in whose pilot upper secondary school pupils learn to identify their own strengths, create their own digital CV and, if they so choose, do paid work gigs offered via the platform. With the help of the trial, the company aims at learning how its platform could better assist upper secondary school pupils in finding work and developing their working life skills. The service was co-developed at Helsingin kuvataidelukio. The pilot has provided benefits and learnings to both parties, which is consistent with the programme’s aim of providing learnings to all participants and collecting user feedback. With these, the services can be tested and developed for the purpose of eventual replication and wider adoption.

“The experience has been very positive, with teachers and young people alike taking part with open minds and enthusiasm. The pilot involved us collaborating with the upper secondary school to hold a course called Minä brändinä (‘Me as a brand’), which received at least twenty registrations in the first five minutes after being introduced. I was especially happy to see young people putting so much effort in the challenges, asking insightful questions and making observations,” says the CEO of Work Pilots Eija Kiviranta.

“The aim is to create a working model during the pilot that could be replicated at other upper secondary schools to serve as many pupils, teachers and companies as possible,” she says.

Companies tackling precise challenges presented by teachers

The City of Helsinki aims to be a prime location for companies to test new services and develop them into new business activities. In these particular pilots, nearly a dozen schools serve as platforms for pilots that focus on service users in particular. The challenges addressed by the participating companies have been defined from the very beginning by teachers.

“The staff of Helsingin kuvataidelukio have long been debating how to teach and increase pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills for self-employment in a meaningful way. The idea of integrating entrepreneurship education into the specific objectives of a visual arts upper secondary school – that of the teaching of visual arts and design – in a way that would benefit pupils had been floating around for a long time. The Tunne Työ initiative, the Six City Strategy and the collaboration model offered by Work Pilots was just what we were looking for. We received help and resources specifically tailored to our own needs,” says lecturer Tuttu Sillanpää from Helsingin kuvataidelukio.

  • Does your company have a digital solution suitable for schools? A new set of pilots will be carried out in Helsinki’s schools in autumn 2019 and the related open call will be published in June. Learn more about the project at the New Era of Learning website and subscribe to the newsletter.

Background information

6Aika, the Six City Strategy, is the shared sustainable urban development strategy of the six largest cities in Finland, namely Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. The aim of the 6Aika project ‘Smart Learning Environments for the Future’ is to improve the business opportunities of companies that develop services, products and technologies related to learning and smart learning environments, both physical and virtual. The project supports the City of Helsinki’s aim of serving as a pilot and development platform for companies and products.

The agile pilots are partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The next set of challenges will be published in June, followed by the launch of a new agile pilots programme in autumn 2019.

Further information


Matti Hämäläinen

Mobile: +358 40 626 7995

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