Competence goals and initial course plan drafts ready

The preparations of Aaltonaut study track began almost a year ago. Since then, we have discussed the studies with over a hundred people ranging from students to Aalto administration, teachers, deans, company representatives, trade unions etc. We have also attended and held several events and meetings in order to find the right direction for our project. Aaltonaut has been featured in Kylteri (4/2012) and Visio (2/2012) magazines. Currently the theme of the study track has settled into product development / design. The studies will include integrated communication studies and interdisciplinary Bachelor’s thesis in English. The students will do interdisciplinary internship in our collaborating companies and foreign exchange in one of our collaborating universities. The studies will be supported with an intensive mentoring program. An updated draft of the Aaltonaut study plan is presented below.

updated study plan

updated study plan

Even though most courses mentioned in the above plan are just suggestions based on initial conversations, the first pilot courses will start during the third period 2013. In order to plan the studies, we have identified several competence goals for the study track. The goals include general work life skills complementary to the field specific knowledge acquired in one’s own studies, namely mindset of design and entrepreneurship, interdisciplinarity, communication skills, social capability, and global competence. The draft of the goals can be found in more detail below. Comments and questions related to the continuously updating draft are welcome!

updated study plan

Competence goals

Mindset of design and entrepreneurship

Basic knowledge of the processes, methodologies and tools of product development
Basic knowledge of business models: Understanding of the customer needs and business life cycles. Understanding the concepts of various business models and customer development. Understanding of the searching and executing a business model.
Product development and entrepreneurial mindset: Tolerance of uncertainty. Willingness to take risks and experiment in order to learn. Inquiry-based approach to the world. Systems thinking, holistic perspective towards studies in one’s own field.
Design mindset: Ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes. Ability to approach every problem as a design problem. Ability to apply design thinking and design mindset in a variety of settings.
Novel and adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond what is rote or rule-based.


Understanding of the typical research methodologies utilized in the fields of Arts and Design, Business and Engineering
Understanding of the synergies and connections between the fields of Arts and Design, Business and Engineering: Ability to understand the concepts and differences of languages across multiple disciplines. The ability to collaborate across other disciplines and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own.

Communication skills

Presentation skills: Ability to present work in written, oral, and visual forms
Communication skills in English: Ability to communicate effectively with the jargon related to product development, business, engineering, and design
Cognitive load management: Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance. Finding ways of extracting meaning quickly, and conveying that meaning to others using infographics and data visualizations.
New media literacy: Ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication. Good judgment in deciding which media forms are most appropriate to accomplish different tasks and to relate to different audiences.

Social capability

Social intelligence and interpersonal skills: Ability to connect and interact with others. Working efficiently in diverse team settings. Group work skills. Ability to work in and manage a project work team.
Virtual collaboration: Ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team. Comfort with collaborating remotely through e.g. wikis, instant messaging services, shareable virtual whiteboards, and Google docs.

Global competence

Global competence: Ability to operate in different cultural settings. Cultural agility, ability to quickly switch cultural settings. Identifying and communicating points of connection (shared goals, priorities, values) that transcend their differences and enable them to build relationships and to work together effectively. Student acknowledges that cultural differences exist and affect teamwork. Student builds an understanding of the special characteristics of some major cultural-economic regions. He/she is able to adapt his/her own communication and approach, and lead a team in a multi-cultural setting.

Currently we are looking for more ideas for interdisciplinary Aaltonaut project courses as well as teachers interested in participating to the execution of the study track. As the development of the study track is a continuous process, we welcome all suggestions and critics. Also any ideas for what forms could Aaltonaut studies take in Aalto University in the future would be appreciated. In order to join the discussion, please contact Eetu (|kalevi.ekman[at] ) or Maria (|maria.clavert[at]!