Digitalization Development Project – It all starts from the individual digital readiness

Man standing with virtual headset.

The Digitalisation Development Project is one of the four Tampere Universities 5-year strategic development projects (2019-2023).  
The purpose of the Digitalisation Development is to promote the digitalisation of work practices and the transformation of operating culture in the Tampere Universities community, following the organization’s Digital Vision set in 2018.

The daily work is carried out on three ways. Firstly, by initiating and resourcing discussions and project activities relating to digitalisation and the transformation of work both inside the community, and with the community’s national and international stakeholders. Secondly, by experimenting and evaluating the possibilities of digitalisation in the community through pilot projects. Thirdly, by disseminating practical and community-driven information about digitalisation development on both strategic and operational levels.

The work is conducted in close collaboration with other strategic development projects – Continuous Learning, Innovation Culture, and Campus Development. 

Chief Digitalization Officer Juha Eskelinen: Why digitalisation development is needed?      

In general, the development of digitalisation has brought us a plethora of different hardware, software and applications to use in our work, studies and daily life. The most important thing in digitalisation is not, however, the number of gadgets and programs, but the ability to utilize them. We call this ability digital readiness.

Digital readiness is not only about technical skills or the ability to use technological devices and software. Digitalisation is a continuous and evolving process, and the impact of it is far greater than just a technical one. Functionalities and means of utilization are developing rapidly, especially in cloud services. Motivation to continuously learn new ways, and the ability of letting go of old habits are the most important skills in digital readiness.  The better the individual community members are able to take advantage of digitalisation, the better are the community’s chances of becoming a success story in the digital world. 

We need, of course, more than just individual readinessGood and consistent user experience in joint work environmentfunctioning routines for remote operations, efficient processes, and high-quality tools and educational content. High quality tools are fresh and fit for the purpose. From teaching perspective, we need more high-quality digital content and spaces for content production. In addition to all this, we need totally new initiatives and organizational piloting activities. 

The six themes of Digitalisation Development in our university community 

The top management of Tampere University laid the foundations of this strategic development project in 2018 by defining ambitious theses for digitalisation work. These theses include supporting time- and place-independent workadvancing open science and open researchautomating routines, flexible and goal-oriented learning and instructive cooperation with partners. In the Digitalisation Development, these theses have been shaped in to six themes, under which different community-engaging projects are being grouped. Project ownerships are split to the mentioned four strategic development projects and wider to other stakeholders in the service units and faculties of the university community. From impact perspective, it is vital to distribute activities to multiple owners, as the Tampere Universities community is both large and diverse. 

The six intertwining themes of Digitalisation Development are 

  1. Digital learning, where the aim of the development work is to enable high-quality, time- and place-independent learning.
  2. Digital research, where the aim of the development work is to enable automatization of routine research work and remote use of research infrastructure.
  3. Gamification, where the aim of the development work is to enable wide-ranging utilization of gamification in research, learning, teaching and communication.
  4. Digital campus, where the aim of the development work is to improve user experience in the campuses, and to enable smart and efficient use of physical space.
  5. Digital partnership, where the aim of the development work is to enable rich and impactful remote interaction in the university community’s national and international networks.
  6. Digital readiness, where the aim of the development work is to enable continuous individual skill development for all community members regardless of their starting level.

The work and results of Digitalisation Development are visible in the university community’s campuses, web platforms and Twitter account. At the time of writing, there are roughly ten larger projects ongoing, representing all six themes. An example of a project that connects research- and partnership themes is Virtual Introduction to Research Infrastructure -project. Another example is Showroom-project, which connects campus- and partnership themes. In Showroom-projecta novel research exhibition and exploration space is built to Hervanta Campus and to an online site. 

The makers of digitalisation 

Digitalisation Development project is led by Chief Digital Officer Juha Eskelinen, and supported by project manager Juhani Linna and specialist Silja Penttinen. Other central figures include for example Heli Harrikari, Maria TörhönenTytti Ritala, Antti Syvänen and Pekka Liedes. As a transforming force digitalisation is, however, a community-wide matter, and is realized only through involvement of the thousands of individuals in it. During the remaining year of 2020 and throughout year 2021 we are, for example, arranging Power BI -coaching for the community members to utilize Microsoft’s automation- and visualization tools in their own work. Welcome along, stay tuned!