How can we make students, researchers and partners work and learn together? What expectations do they have towards science as a service? We investigated this question by interviewing dozens of people: alumni, researchers, students, corporate representatives, funders and city residents.
We determined four key target groups and their primary motivations for visiting Think Corner:
to establish contacts with employers from outside the University
to be a contributing member of society even before I graduate
to learn together with students from other disciplines
to study in an inspiring, interactive space
Based on the target groups, we delved deeper into their motives and values, and located
the extremes and stereotypes of the users of our services. As a result, we created ten
client profiles: six of them professional and four of them leisure profiles.
to be involved in a dialogue with the academic community on cooperation projects
to receive research results in a practical format to use in my own work
to increase my professional competence through science
to find the experts of the future
to be inspired by science and research in my work and thinking
to educate myself by learning and being exposed to different opinions
to feel welcome in the academic world, even though I am an outsider.
Based on the target groups, we delved deeper into their motives and values, and located the extremes and stereotypes of the users of our services. As a result, we created ten client profiles: six of them professional and four of them leisure profiles.
“WE CAN’T AFFORD TO KEEP THE SOLUTIONS TO THE WORLD’S MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES IN PDF REPORTS THAT NOBODY READS.”
The AMBITIOUS NETWORKER comes to Think Corner in conjunction with corporate cooperation or as a speaker for an event. She is looking for business opportunities and cooperation with the finest international experts.
“Changing structures and opening up interfaces – that’s when things get interesting. We should think more lean.”
The STARTUP-MINDED EXPERIMENTER is looking for new contacts and business opportunities at the contact points of different research fields. The startup-minded experimenter is very multidisciplinary and interested in doing quick experiments to get quick results. He is equally comfortable in international arenas and online, and constantly seeks new phenomena and ideas as well as funding for his latest app which will soon be on every other smartphone.
“When you go to a college campus in the US, you’ll find people who are delighted to be there, helping to change the world.”
The HIGH-PROFILE OPINION LEADER is interested in top research and wants to use it to develop society and its competitive edge. She has extensive international networks. The opinion-leader is often in a decision-making position, e.g., a research funder.
“Sometimes the media can’t find the researcher. I contact representatives of the media myself or post on social media about interesting topics.”
The CREATIVE INVENTOR comes to Think Corner as a speaker, to network, or even to relax. The creative inventor is an internationally known talent in his field, and attracts wider media and public interest outside the academic world. He is not afraid to be unconventional, and actively seeks new perspectives.
“The real point of comparison is Holland. There are many good universities with strong community relations, business involvement, very international. We should seize global trends.”
The DYNAMIC SEEKER is used to working in multidisciplinary, international teams. She has an innate motivation to use research for solving things which can make the world or society a better place to live in. The dynamic seeker is eager to learn. Research is her way of life. She is interested in inspiringly presented science and finding sparring partners in the academic community.
“What if I read an article in the newspaper where the journalist has interpreted my comment wrong?”
The INDEPENDENT ACHIEVER is a researcher, used to working independently, and comfortable with holding all the strings. He is very research-report-oriented, and may consider communications a waste of time. The independent achiever is not particularly interested in cross-disciplinary cooperation, and prefers to follow the top research in his field.
“Whenever I come to Helsinki, I make sure to visit Think Corner. I feel that academic excellence is an intrinsic part of the image of the city.”
The VARIETY-SEEKING DROP-IN is interested in a wide range of urban culture, and Think Corner represents a place where she may encounter new ideas from academia. Think Corner is one of the attractions she visits when coming to Helsinki. Experiences and interesting content encourage the drop-in to share her experiences on social media.
“What can I do at Think Corner? I need action, not talking heads.”
The BUSY AND SELECTIVE is typically both career-oriented and has a family with small children, or is an active urbanite leading an otherwise hectic lifestyle. He is interested in both his personal wellbeing and the welfare of his family, and wants to find scientific perspectives on issues relevant to him. He may be an alumnus who wants to stay connected to the University, or even a potential new student. The busy and selective visitor will come to Think Corner if a sufficient number of his friends recommend it – its lectures, gym or the lunch at the café.
“Helsinki doesn’t have enough cafés open on weekends and evenings. I would also like to network outside a party context.”
The RELAXED PLEASURE-SEEKER likes to spend time with her friends around town, at the outdoor bar of the Helsinki Music Centre, in the lounge of the student association, at the Helsinki Central Library, around the shops, at Tavastia Club for a rock gig, in Berlin, Prague or at Think Corner. The pleasure-seeker may be a current or potential student, or an alumnus. She may pop into Think Corner just because of its nice shop and café, or if a friend suggests meeting there. Accessible, experience-focused science interests the pleasure-seeker and entices her to come again.
“Can an old man like me come to Think Corner to learn new things? Sounds like a student place.”
The GRADUALLY ADAPTIVE is interested in a particular discipline and follows it selectively through different media. He may be an upper-secondary school pupil or an alumnus who wants to maintain his distance, but still keep in touch with what is happening in the research of a particular field. He may have a hobby or a job that makes him interested in political science, urban planning, astronomy or biology, for example.
The central location and interesting contents of the new Think Corner will attract an estimated half-million annual visitors.