A rose by any name is… – Cultivating project ideas
Published : 15.06.2020

Universities of applied sciences have an obligation to do research and development activities to bring benefit to our communities. R&D projects at Haaga-Helia should address topics that not only strengthen identified core competencies but also bring benefits to the world around us. Projects should have the potential to bring added value, not only to us, but to others around us.

To develop a project, an idea is needed – a seed from which a flower can grow. Even with all the soil, sun and water in the world, only a seed can become a flower. Luckily, the world around us is teeming with potential ideas!

The idea can be about a gap or a need, missing knowledge or tools; it may be something that we encounter in our everyday work, in the society around us, or something affecting Europe or a specific region. It may be a topic handled by the media or encountered in discussions. Inspiration comes when minds and eyes are open.

The specific topic should stem from passion and not be thought up for the sake of completing an application. Keep in mind that the gap an idea addresses needs to be justifiable; the aimed benefits as well as the route to reaching them. When applying for externally funded R&D projects, funding agencies also typically impose certain limits or frameworks on what kinds of activities and priorities they fund. Certain flowers prefer certain growing conditions and soils, and similarly certain ideas suit certain funding types.

When a potential idea is seeding, nurture it! A good way to proceed with an idea is to discuss it with colleagues and in relevant connections and contexts. Think of sharing viewpoints and knowledge as cross-pollination. Collegial support is also helpful in finding suitable partners and stakeholders to join an emerging project.

Ideas focusing on similar themes are best brought together and nurtured toward a theme-based project portfolio. Think of a flowerbed where flowers with similar needs benefit from and mutually support one another. The gardeners will surely be better prepared for future funding calls and for creating high-class winning proposals.

The ambition at Haaga-Helia is to increase the number of RDI projects and to enhance the impact of our RDI activities. An RDI specialist team supports haagahelians in developing project ideas and in addressing the requirements of various funding agencies and specific funding calls. Not all ideas reach the goal, but even so just the cultivating and developing of an idea is worth it and may turn useful in the future. By working together, a beautiful, coherent and diverse garden with thriving and strong flowers is possible.