In January the newly found Aalto Community of African students ACAS organised an event ‘Get to Know Africa’. The event gathered students from different faculties and from 9 different African countries. New global project specialist Emma Nkonoki was onstage sharing her experience in working with projects in East Africa as an African living in Finland. She told how students can get involved in different activities concerning their countries of origin while they are here in Finland. She stressed the importance of being curious and active in following up what Finland is doing with students’ countries of origin including attending relevant events for networking purposes.
Aalto Community of African Students (ACAS) organises or facilitates events that are aimed at helping the students of African origin to successfully integrate and find fulfilment in their studies at Aalto University. The purpose of the association is to bring together Aalto University students of African origin and those interested in the continent in order to promote general knowledge about African culture as part of the diversity of the University. Furthermore, the association supports its members’ interests and development in their careers and studies through collaborating and sharing ideas on business, technology and volunteering. ACAS’ future plans include more events as a continuation to the theme of Get to Know Africa. The next event will introduce others to the various types of foods from the continent with the event Get to Know African Foods. More details on this will be posted on the ACAS website and social media pages – so follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as there will be limited spaces. In addition to ACAS’s own events, they are looking forward to collaborating with other organisations in their upcoming student’s programme and organising events together with a uniting idea of building more bridges between Finland and African countries.
Team New Global contributed strongly to East Africa Day, a special one-day training event conceptualised and produced by Aalto Global Impact. The first event was organised at Design Factory on Otaniemi campus on 12 January 2018.
As an academic guest Sara Lindeman (New Global, Aalto University) discussed with Eija Ranta (Development studies & Social anthropology, University of Helsinki) the market context of Easter African communities and the current trends in sustainable development, including the increased engagement and role of the private sector. Both researchers highlighted the need for systemic change and a balance between an accountable state, a free civil society and a responsible private sector to achieve development goals. The discussion also touched upon power relations and how a human rights-based approach could contribute to development by emphasising participation and accountability.
Jarkko Levänen moderated a session with entrepreneur panelists: Jussi Impiö (Fuzu, Demos Helsinki), Mari Martikainen and Minna Impiö (Mifuko), Jymy Parhiala (Nanomaji) and Saija Hollmén (Ukumbi/Hollmen Reuter Sandman architects). The panelists brought to the table a wide range of expertise from non-profit, entrepreneurship, research and business development perspectives, and shared their lessons and best practices from Eastern Africa. The panelists advised the audience to go about their work with respect, humility and trust/reliance on local expertise, while observing the nuanced differences of local contexts and being aware of the possibility of unexpected consequences/impact of the work.
Emma Nkonoki held an expert presentation on culture and practicalities. Emma shared her best tips on social interactions, foods and culture, transportation, health and safety, providing an invaluable perspective of a person intimately familiar with both Tanzanian and Finnish cultures.
Doctoral defense: Sustainable development in emerging markets requires active and reformative market organizing
Sustainable development refers to a balans between the social, ecological and economical. In her doctoral dissertation “Early-phase market organizing in subsistence settings”, Sara Lindeman studies how informal trade in urban slum areas is gradually organized into markets. The empirical work is done in East-Africa, India and Brazil. The studies examine when market organizing can lift people out of poverty, and provides insight into market organizing for sustainable development at large.
”Established economic theories claim that markets are best organized through a en “laissez-faire”- attitude. My research shows empowerment of disadvantaged groups to actively participate in market organizing processes is necessary for sustainable development”, says Lindeman
Current power strucures benefit from the fact that market organizing processes tend to remain invisible and unspoken. This makes it more difficult to do the reforms of the economic system that are needed for sustainable development. Lindeman develops conceptual tools to understand and influence market organizing at an early stage.
”Path dependence is strong in market organizing. Steering the process towards greater power-distribution and sustainable development from the outset is easier that changing established institutions. There is a potential for innovative and sustainable market organizing in emerging markets”, says Lindeman.
Sara Lindeman, + 358 50 448 5040
Researcher and project manager, Aalto New Global
The research is based on several ethnographic studies and published in three journals. The public defens takes place on Friday the 19th of January, 2018, as part of Marketing research at Hanken School of Economics.
New Global is a partner for Slush GIA (Global Impact Accelerator) programme. The purpose is to support impact startups and showcase the exciting business opportunities in emerging markets, which are also vital for implementing the Agenda 2030 and solving complex challenges.
During the Slush week 40 team from around the world will develop their businesses further. This morning Sara Lindeman and Tatu Lyytinen coached the teams understand and communicate their existing, augmented and extended impacts on the surrounding world.
The Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa organized an international conference titled “Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Development” in Leiden this week. The conference consisted of academic paper presentations but also key notes and practitioner presentations.
On the first day of this two day conference, professor Minna Halme and researcher Marleen Wierenga (presenting in the picture) presented their papers. Minna talked in her presentation about co-creation by multi-sector groups and the collective sense-making needed for joint action. In the Q&A session, the audience wanted to know about practical ways helping actors to believe in each other’s knowledge, the actors that should participate when co-creating for inclusive business and collaborative sensemaking of co-creators as a condition for developing successful frugal innovations.
The presentation of Marleen was about grassroots entrepreneurship and the scaling process of these enterprises. There was a lively discussion after the presentation about the role of patents, the definition of scaling in this context and whether grassroots entrepreneurs should even scale.
On the last week of October, Jarkko Levänen coached senior leaders of Tanzanian public administration in Arusha. Teaching focused on sustainable development and it was one out of ten modules of the Executive Programme organized by Uongozi Institute and Aalto Executive Education.
In his teaching, Jarkko focused on two broad themes: Addressing wicked sustainability problems with creative solutions, and Sustainable communities, safety and urban planning. During the module, these themes were approached from multiple perspectives and the connections between the themes and topical sustainability challenges, such as population growth, environmental threats and poverty, were discussed. Afterwards Jarkko said that teaching was very inspirational and rewarding experience for him.
New Global project manager Sara Lindeman, together with Khanjan Mehta, from LeHigh University, USA, was invited to host a session on “how to go from research to impact” at Affordable Energy for Humanity, Innovation lab in Potsdam 15-17.6.2017.
Khanjan Mehta also visited New Global, sharing his experience from leading The Mountaintop Initiative, a university initiative that aims at stimulating learning and growth that leads to insight and enables action in a complex and changing world.
“We need to create a system that awards for the real value and differentiates between the effort and the outcome. You will probably get awarded for both: teaching a child to brush his teeth and for founding a telemedicine company. When the bar is set high, the students can become real change agents,” Metha states.
Helsinki Challenge is a science-based idea competition in which teams of scientists from ten Finnish universities work on solutions that help the humankind reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The solution could be anything from a new scientific field to a commercialisable idea, entrepreneurship or pioneering research.
New Global project manager Sara Lindeman is participating the competition at Team ELMO. The team is creating two different solutions to block malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. Their solutions are a novel type of mosquito net and a vaccine that would make human blood deadly to mosquitoes.