Creative Director & Partner, Demola Global
Jere Wessman started his journey with Demola in 2011 as a facilitator. Today, he is the Creative Director and Partner of Demola Global. Demola is a Finland based company which brings organisation and students together to share one platform and work on an eight-week-long project. These projects revolve around innovation challenges and have brought together over 50 universities, 750,000 students and the leading companies from around the world. Currently, it operates in 17 countries and Nepal is the latest to join the list.
Before Demola, Wessman was a part of organising several social innovation camps. He graduated from the University of Tampere, founded and operated an online education platform called Wengle osk. The platform was designed to support the Flipped Classroom approach in schools.
On a recent visit to Nepal, Wessman announced the collaboration of Demola Global with King’s College. The international company joined hands with King’s College to operate its internationally recognised concept in Nepal.
In an interview with Ankita Jain of B360, Jere Wessman discloses details of the collaboration. Excerpts:
What prompted you to come to Nepal and work with King’s College?
This is our first project that we are launching in Nepal but we have quite an experience working with Nepali students especially in Finland. They are passionate and this is something we admire. One of our alumni who is currently a faculty at King’s College recommended the Demola practices and hence we are here.
Could you share the details of this collaboration with King’s College.
We are working on the collaboration since May 2019. We are starting our first batch in September this year. The course will be part of their curriculum and runs for eight weeks. This will be a continuous project as King’s College will run multiple batches in a year. Moreover, in the launch event, we had invited representatives from local companies, embassies, government officials and so on. We also signed an agreement with five local companies to start the Demola cooperation here and run the activities.
Further, I have been here for a couple of days and had the opportunity to interact with the staff. I witnessed that they have a highly ambitious level. Also, the entrepreneur attitude and mindset they are sharing is appreciable. Having the passion to change the world, this is a good start to our collaboration.
How does Demola function?
Demola innovation challenges are designed to solve real future challenges and create new service concepts and demos. With Demola, a multidisciplinary team of university students and company experts work together on an innovation challenge set by the company. During the eight-week process, the team co-creates solutions to the given theme.
The Demola process is globally standardised and professionally facilitated. Challenges in Demola are complex having a wide spectrum of possible solutions for each challenge, and enabling the team members to build curiosity toward the topics. The outcome from the project is increased innovation capacity, creative confidence, industry interaction and more. Contracts, intellectual property rights and other legal requirements are in place; they meet international business standards and practices.
As part of our collaboration with King’s College, we will train a couple of facilitators from the college staff as local Demola representatives here in the country. Demola Global will co-facilitate some of the events with our partners at King’s College. We are here to build competence in society. We are in Finland for 11 years now and have facilitated 4,000 projects so far. Of course, we are a privately held organisation having a wide industry shareholders but in Nepal, I believe it is an opportunity for us to spread the best practices that we have developed in Finland.
How would the project facilitate students?
The project is a part of their curriculum and they will get credit points respectively. Globally, we have collaborated with 50 universities and in every alliance university, there is a Demola course. Besides, the students will have ownership of the results that they will create during the project. Further, the students will get an opportunity to work with leading companies internationally based on the projects they choose.
With a presence in 17 countries, what has the response been?
Whether it is Latin America, China or Nepal, we have learned that it will take time for the ecosystem to get familiar with the concept and channelise it in the best way possible. Gradually, we are building competence and the culture of co-creation. For instance, we are on a constant lookout for students from the psychology sector or other human sciences that can teach us, challenge our designed project, and make us think from different perspectives.
Are you planning to collaborate with any other college in Nepal?
We have a great team at King’s College. And we would love to collaborate with other colleges as well in the near future.