IRM-Tool Co-creation workshops

16 Nov 2017: Creative job opportunities in maritime industry at Aboa Mare in Turku

What Creative Fields Cannot Offer for Maritime Industry?

It was indeed a tough question, when people presenting both Creative Sector and Maritime Industry met in a workshop at Aboa Mare, a maritime academy and training center educating maritime professionals, located in Turku Harbour, Finland. 

16th of November was arranged a workshop called ”Creative job opportunities in Maritime Industry”. The event gathered more than 30 participants. Creative Sector presented e.g. game developers, protographers, service designers, painters, graphics, and various multiskilled artists. There were e.g. students from Maritime Academy, entrepreneurs, and R&D managers from Maritime Industry. The amount of interest for the event was surprising as only 20 was thought to arrive this small kick-off event for a new innovation project called ”IRM-Tool”, which is funded by European Social Fund. 

Maritime industry was first introduced both in theory and practice. Practice part ment a try-out drive with maritime simulations, which are created for ten ships at Aboa Mare centre. One group got to navigate the new Viking Line cruise ship ”Viking Grace” through chilling weather and icy sea along the Baltic Sea. One group instead navigated a cargo vessel with a more busy road in international waters. Some of more courage also tried ot Virtual reality glasses, and got to test out their skills to survive in different emergency situations in a cruise ship. 

Captain and Maritime Training manager Ossi Westilä describes how navigation happens today and how it is about to change in a future. First guests are about to try navigating Viking Grace through the icy Baltic Sea. Picture: Rita Rauvola

In spring 2018 Aboa Mare offers a new education programme with special focus on remote-controllable ships. Maritime simulations also require further development for such needs. What else that requires than creativity, as autonomous ships are yet only a concept. The application period is now open until 15th December 2017 for “Master of Engineering, Autonomous Maritime Operations”. The programme has a special focus on the digitalization of maritime operations. Some areas covered in the programme are e.g. Autonomous Vessels - Automation, Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Human - Machine Interaction, Remote Operations, Cyber Security and Connectivity.

After the tour at Aboa Mare, the participants got time to network and enjoy the views. Aboa Mare café has amazing views over the medieval Turku Castle, and Turku Harbour. There is also an old miniatyr sailing ship for educational needs. Actually, it is not very miniatyr, as it has been build for training e.g. the lifting and lowering of sails. Nowadays it is only exciting to watch and picture some miniatyr seafarers on the board. With fresh mind and coffee needs satisfied, it was time to make some group work. 


Groups chose the most impossible things from the ones they though creative fields cannot offer for maritime industry. They also solved, how even these things can be offered. The most important in was navigation, and especially ’old’ experinece and empirical knowledge that was felt crucial especially for dafety matters. Picture: Carina Virkama

”It was actually quite surprising, how difficult it is to think of cases that creative skills would be unsuitable for maritime industry. Last time I was working to combine these fields I had work hard to motivate and inspire the artists to apply their knowhow even though several companies in the maritime industry were interested of new ways to think and work. Now the time seems to be right for real ’break-throughs’ as also creative field is inspired, and full of ideas and concepts of their own”, says project manager Rita Rauvola with full enthusiasm.

There were challenges that were identified in cooperation, e.g. in attitudes, problems in understanding the byrocracies, norms, or professional vocabulary. Nevertheless, all challenges seemed to have quite effortless solution. Even the various regulations concerning shipping industry was discussed to have novel needs to be reviewed from other perspectives. Especially now, when we are living the fourth revolution of shipping industry! As much as any industry, also maritime industry recognize both opportunities and threaths concerning the digitalization and autonomous transport options. Participants from creative fields identified themselves as great help for identifying the facts, and developing new services for new needs. As greatest challenge in the cooperation was mentioned, that the influence of the creative input cannot be calculated in money, at least not right a way. It might take time even to recognize the influences. It was seen crucial that all designing involve multiple suppliers as early as possible to be able to offer better solutions for the needs, and make better end solution in co-operation. 



The participants found several co-operation opportunities, obvious and less obvious. Partcipants felt creative knowledge can be utilized in multiple functions, for example in improving co-operation processes in multidisciplinary designing, problem-solving, and exploring new business models. Also various ways to improve customer experinece was discussed, e.g. concerning experiences, accessibilty of different kind of users, improving safety, exploring more environment friendly solutions, and e.g. logistics solutions and personnel training in new kind of situations and environments. The latter is propably increasingly important in the future due to autonomous vessels. By multidisciplinary co-creation in earlier phases in designing processes, the processes itself could be more cost-effective and faster, too.

And next?

The next step is to ask from companies within maritime industry, what are the natural entrances for creative knowledge in designing and building processes, and what are of more interest to launch co-operation in the future.

Next co-creation workshop is to be arranged at Turku Shipyard, and it is about the development of modular construction. Meyer Turku Shipyard has already pointed out subjects that are related to co-creation projects in modular shipbuilding. The workshop will be held on February.

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Aboa Mare

Juhana Herttuan puistokatu 21, 20100 Turku, Finland