During the coffee break of SCI Project course’s opening lecture, a group of students decided to try and take actions into their own hands, and think about solutions to problems relating to their own lives. After the lecture, they gathered together and brainstormed ideas and innovations, which they presented to the course personnel. The students were devoted to trying to keep the group together, at least as far as possible. And it worked. Most of these students are now part of our “Open Topic” – group, and in addition we were reinforced with two more awesome people. We are a multidisciplinary and multi-talented group with three Computer Science students: Lauri, Niklas, & Janne, two from Information Networks: Pinja & Juuso, and last but not least Saska from Industrial Management & Engineering (don’t forget to check out the Bio page for more information about our great team!). It was immediately obvious that we have a great dynamic in this group, and we are all excited to be working together on this project. Without further ado; let’s get to work!
Since we are an open topic group without anything predetermined, our first problem was to figure out the problem – we had a so-called tabula rasa – situation. We were – and still are – thrilled about this opportunity to be able to create this project to look precisely like us! According to Tim Brown (president and CEO of IDEO), the first phase of product development is to observe. Observe how things are now, and how they could be better in the future. And from this point of view, we had a lot of experience on observing our own lives. We had a variety of ideas after the brainstorming sessions on the first Friday, but two of them stayed in consideration:
- “Hassleplatform” – We acknowledged the potential of especially the Aalto community, which is shown for example in the startup – scene. But getting there requires a team and an idea, so we wanted to make creating those easier, and it didn’t have to be related to startups – building a skate ramp could be one project.
- “Eventplatform” – Especially in Aalto there are a lot people that would like to participate in different kinds of official and unofficial sport-events, but there is no common place where to find all the possibilities and teams in need of players. Could these possibilities be combined in one place?
These topics stayed in consideration when the final group met on the following Friday, September 22, but we quickly realised they lack the depth that would make them interesting. Those ideas, while certainly important for our own lives did not seem like very good opportunities for learning something new. Enter PSD2: a new EU-directive aimed to change banking as we know it, and set to launch in 2018. A subject both contemporary as well as something that no one in the group was very familiar with beforehand. Instead of being on the lecture, we spontaneously gathered outside the Kaleva hall in the huge “Super Happy” chairs by Tuuli Sotamaa, and brainstormed some more with a burst of fresh excitement for our new topic. After the session, we were again left with two potential ideas:
From the banking point of view, we got a few ideas
- Personal finance monitoring using PSD2 – We already have services that can tell you how much money you spend and where – could PSD2 allow for more ways to tell what you are buying, to allow for better monitoring of personal finances?
- Crowdsourced microloans – PSD2 has potential to reinvent the loan industry by allowing automated systems to automatically loan out excess money on your bank account to people in need of a quick microloan, and give you a share of the profits that have until now been the exclusive right of the banks.
We also sent the ideas to our topic’s director Janne Halme, who liked our PSD2 idea and though we should think about the problems it could solve in our closer circles (e.g. students). This is our approach when we will start iterating the ideas this week. After serious concepting and re-evaluating, together we evaluated the ideas from the first session, Hassle-, and Eventplatforms, as slightly too flat approaches for this course. As a team we decided to focus on subjects that have the most potential to expand the ways of thinking, which also creates most value for us as eager learners.