Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 42

Espoo is championing a new ‘School as a Service’ concept Photo: Tiina Primietta Flex Your Ed The City of Espoo is convinced that a school is no longer about walls and blackboards – or even teaching, for that matter. More and more, the focus turns to learning itself. C onventional school space does not support today’s school kids – these digital natives – in the best possible way. With this in mind, the City is launching a concept by the name of School as a Service, which revolves around shared resources. For example: not every school has to have a gym or a soccer field, as long as there is convenient access to them when needed. One of the original developers of the concept is Aalto University Professor Jarmo Suominen, who started to consider, if it was Photo: Andreas Meichsner 40 Nordicum possible to bring improved flexibility into the way schools use real estate and other assets. The idea was well received by the City and developed further on. Fix it! Suominen says that School as a Service (SaaS) concept can be viewed as a service innovation – in contrast to the traditional school-building process which focuses on product innovation. “Right now, we see that school as a ‘product’ is kind of broken down, and the solutions that are produced are inflexible as circumstances are rapidly deteriorating.” All that is needed now is a pilot to test the waters. In fall semester 2016, the concept will be tried out in earnest at Aalto University as the 350 students of Haukilahti high school take to the grounds. The idea is to fully utilise the flexible learning spaces located at the Otaniemi Campus. As the facilities are adaptable and allow users to