Milan PDP experience


Who are you and what do you do at HAMK?

I am Milan Gautam, Development Engineer in HAMK Tech Research Unit in Robotics research group. I work mainly in collaborative robots and associated technology in robotics lab, Riihimäki.

What was your project about?

Environmental pollutions are hazardous to ecosystems and human health. Ships generate polluted emissions, such as CO2, NOX, and SOX, as their engines burn fuels to supply the energy. The project was to develop solutions towards zero emission shipping, sponsored by Aalto University, Wärtsilä, and Porto Design Factory.

What was your team and where were the participants from?

Our team was sustainable pirates sponsored by Wärtsila. We were 8 participants on the team. The team consists of 4 members from home team in Finland who were national and international students studying in Finland. The home team consists of people with Finnish, Chinese, Portuguese and Nepalese nationalities. The other 4 members of the team were from global team from Porto design Factory in Portugal. The interdisciplinary of the team can be identified by the distribution of team members categorizing from their field of study:

Field of study No. of team members
Engineering studies 3
Industrial design 3
Business and communication 2


How was the learning experience in PDP?

The learning experience in PDP was unique and focused more on developing skills on the go according to requirement. It was excellent to learn how to bring people of difference discipline and interests to work together to solve a common problem. It helps to understand the importance of human passion and emotions while working and how it can make or break a team. Personality management and development of creative working space and environment is another important aspect I learn in this project.

How was it to work in multidisciplinary teams with international students? What was hard? and what easy if any?

From my perspective, a multidisciplinary team in this project represents our mixed urban society and business structure of 21st Century. When we move to new places or new culture or new organization, we experience a lot of confusion and misunderstanding in the beginning, the same phenomenon was observed by me in the start of this project. In the first phase, communication and understanding someone’s opinion was quite difficult which improved quite rapidly by participating in common workshop and weekly team meetings. In this project, we had been given a wide area without much constraints rather than zero emission, so it took our team a lot of effort and time to constraint and give direction for our project. Conflicting opinions and ideas were quite difficult to manage as people tend to push their area of interest knowingly or unknowingly regardless of context of problem to be solved. The easiest part of working with multidisciplinary team is one or another team member have good solution for the problem you might spent quite a lot of time being clueless.

How do your experience DF, staff, people and spaces?

The DF concept is an excellent idea to solve modern problems as problems itself have many variables today which can only be solved through multidisciplinary approach. The facilities give a sense of freedom and responsibilities as general guidelines and rules are given but personal responsibility is the top priority. The staff in the design factory are most influential and encouraging people in the education sector I have seen in my life. Their approach towards helping students and providing them with enthusiasm and positive vibes is one of a kind. The spaces of design factory are more for doers who likes to do and create something. The way it has been designed feels like it is a world, where you can step in and create your imagination and develop new products. The spaces promote innovation and development with human in center.

What did you learn?

I learned many things participating on the project from project management to understanding the role of students in industrial problem solving and how to bridge between students and industries to trigger innovation. I learn that a fresh non expertise idea might give experts in the field new way of innovation. I also learn What is business need and business interest? I had never investigated marine sector, so I got to know about ships and marine technology and engineering. I was more aware of the issue of climate change and pollution through this project. I got to know on how to create and promote learning environment. I also learned about psychological support people need during projects. I was encountered with complete product development process in this project where iterative design method was used. The faster you fail farther you go notion was true. To sum up all the learning I got “We know nothing, until we do it”.

How did the DF staff and environment support your learning?

DF staff and environment were the key things that made this fruitful learning journey. They showed me the way to mentor a group of students in complex international environment. They showed that seeding enthusiasm and passion is only possible by demonstrating your own enthusiasm and passion on what you are doing. They also demonstrated that embracing human connections and emotions create a great working environment for educators and put them one step ahead in fulfilling the aim of educating people.

How did the project go?

The project went well at the end. The end results were perhaps not best but best of allowed time frame and teamwork. Starting from an open loop problem where you can head at any direction and being able to constraint the problem and create a solution in that time frame itself was an achievement.

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