Celebritize yourself

Would you like to be a celerity? Perhaps it’s not everyone’s dream to be in the center of attention but isn’t it fancy to have your name on the news sometimes and have admirers? When I was young, I always fancied to be famous for one day, it should be enough to satisfy my curiosity about the actual life of a rock star, or dinner by American President.

Anyway, what can be the best way to celebrate your fame than having a mobile application to your own? The application is downloadable by your admirers all around the world and it’s entirely about YOU. I prototyped this application a few days ago, imagining how it would be if I was gifted with a Kardashian backside:

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The prototype was created easily within just 3 hours, designing from the ground. It should have more functions like sharing on Facebook, to further spread my popularity if it will become a ‘real’ thing some day 😉 I used Axure to design it, known it from the User-centered Design classes last sem. Cool program, definitely something I would recommend to others. The Leppavaara campus has 2 computer rooms equipped with full license of this program: 206 and 207 but you can only use the rooms if there are no classes inside. Anyway, it’s a thing that we got to study this cool thing.

 

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Thesis at Laurea UAS

Graduation is a fancy word when you start to think about your thesis work. I’m sure we’d all been there, struggling with the final “obstacle” the separates between us and the graduation gown. As a matter of fact, the graduation rates for students obtaining a bachelor’s degree can stall at as low as 34%.

I started to be serious about getting out of Laurea at the start of August, after a very non-productive summer. In fact I only thought about that as I saw a friend working so hard on it, she was at the local library everyday from 9 till 5, reading the books, taking notes. Looking at her working kinda makes me realize that I need to be back in the track again by focusing all my energy into something that can give me a happy ending with the university and also, a good boost to start my career, again.

It took me about a month to concrete the intention and narrow the research fields, another two weeks to put all the ideas into a proper research proposal. After two months of preparation, on a nice day, just before I left for Paris, my supervisor finally nodded his head and approved the topic. Being a little over-excited, I ran straight to a senior lecturer’s office, Mr. Matvejeff and asked for his opinion. He complemented on my topic and made some suggestions about directions I can further explore, even introduced the director of the case company for me. It turned out he knew the company pretty well and had good connections there, just nice to pave my first steps. Since then, things went on smoothly and I am only awaiting for the first interview on the 1st October.

I feel deeply grateful for being supervised by two senior lecturers, who offered such great guidance on my thesis. Just one last item on the checklist, chiaki Phoebe!!

From Phoebe with ❤

Few lines of a stormy week

The last two week is a memorable period to my life. Here’s the highlights, but there’s of course more of it surrounding the week:

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  1. Applying for UK visa and spend the whole weekend to search for nice places to visit. It was a an awesome plan.
  2. Got the refusal letter from UK Immigration: WTF moment.
  3. My lecturer called the UK embassy and submitted all kinds of letters. Hope fires up even though it’s only a slim chance.
  4. No answer from the embassy at all. Hope crashed and a self-promise that I probably will hate the British all my life.
  5. My lecturer convinced me to present via Skype. It was a horrible idea as I first heard it since I’ve been preparing for this trip like for 6 months and the actual travelling mattered so much much more to me than the presentation. But oh well, I can’t lose more anyway.
  6. After the first presentation, I was chosen as the finalists: the first one who ever did it via Skype.
  7. Second presentation was the next day with slightly more nervousness. The presentation did not work as it was supposed to, which is equivalent to 30% of the presentation.
  8. Surprisingly, I got the second place of the competition.

I could not say it’s the toughest two weeks of my life but it’s probably the time in which I’ve experienced so many different extreme emotional states. At the end of the day when I heard the news, I cried so much because it was necessary. It was the accumulation of regrets, happiness, relief and above of, the feeling of achievement.

There’s no way for us to know the future, we just have to walk it through.

Helsinki 06.2015

The Crowd Disruption

The picture above should give you some ideas about the phenomenon I want to talk about: The Crowd Disruption.

The idea itself is fool-proof: More people equals more power. The mentioned service providers are considered as the best practices for User Generated Content (UGC) strategy. By successfully enabling individuals to create their own content, the firm can focus on their core strength, in this case is the digital tool, and create an entirely different experience for users at the same time. This is a win-win solution for everybody.

Imagine you’re the owner of a pizza store and want to make use of this concept. You rearrange the whole store: add in a few small stoves at designated tables, put in extra ingredients with a small locks. Instead of 3 cooks in the kitchen, you only hire just one guy who can overlook the business and collect a fixed sum for whoever wants to use the place. Your pizza store then turn into a gathering point, trading area for those who want to bake and sell for other hungry people. Now you want to expand the business and open the second store. With some help from an IT friend, you install a door code and whoever wants to access has to open with an application-generated number. Customers have to register online and pay electronically too. You hire a security company to monitor the stores 24/7. Your only part-time staff is the accountant girl. If you work hard enough, you might become the biggest pizza provider in town without hiring any chefs. Isn’t that cool?

Biggest pizza provider erhhhh?

So as a consumer, what is the entirely different experience? I bet all of us used Wikipedia at some points but not many people know that Wikipedia allows every one to contribute the content to it. With UGC strategy, Wikipedia has become the largest, most extensive encyclopedia that mankind has ever created.

Rather curious, I had my first attempt as a Wikipedia contributor yesterday. I added a section called “List of student associations” to my university’s Wiki page. It was pretty easy to edit the page even though my HTML skill is almost ground zero. From my point of view, it’s the sense of ownership gained from creating my own content that made me feel satisfied.

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What do you think about UGC? Try to create/edit an entry in Wikipedia and tell me how it feels. Sharing is caring ❤

International day at Laurea

Today is the first day of the international week at Laurea Leppavaara campus. Lecturers and professsors from other countries flew to Helsinki just to attend this event. It’s a tradition, or a regulation I don’t know, that each European university should organize an international event to facilitate information exchange at least once per year. In fact, I couldn’t care less, nobody came to school this week because lecturers are busy being tour guides for their counter friends.

But it turned out to be a nice experience, there were plenty of food! Food from everywhere: each lecturer and international student were encouraged to bring/ make a traditional dish of their countries.

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During the event, there were performances by Vietnamese students, rapper from Africa. It’s truly a really fun experience.

You never know how a thing can be until you truly experience it 🙂

anh intl day

Internship in Laurea

Laurea is a cool university. I have pretty many attachments with it besides the ordinary student role: joined in the class as guest lecturer, blogger, excessive facility borrower (I borrowed half of the avail facilities from the building superintendents for one of my events before). It’s a fact that I was born an exploiter, but the reason why I’ve always loved working with staff from Laurea is because they do trust and care about students.

My first internship was with Connect project, in-charge by Ms. Birgit Aurela. Birgit is a lady not to be forgotten: she always brought her passion, liveliness around and made people around her feel very comfortable. Though she was really busy, she still cared about people around her in very special ways. I still remember the chocolate egg she bought for me on Easter last year. In fact, I only started to like Finnish after working with Birgit.

After the internship at Laurea, I’ve moved on to other interesting stuff. Entrepreneurship is interesting so I’ve learned about it for a while. I’ve struggled to learn most of the thing on my own and contacted the Innovation Department from Laurea. Perhaps there’re many students like me so a while ago, they started a project called SOCCES, which stands for SOCial Competences, Entrepreneurship and Sense of Initiative to help students who had difficulty like me. SOCCES will develop an assessment framework and related tools as well as methods for measuring entrepreneurial competences in different educational environments. Coincidentally, my classmate Connor is working for the project as an assistant so I had a nice chat with him to understand more of the project:

Phoebe: Can you tell me more about the SOCCES project?

Connor: I help Auli (project manager) with most of project, administrative things like arranging meetings, coordination of different schools within the project.

Phoebe: So it’s a project about teaching entrepreneurship skills for students in Laurea?

Connor: Not really. We’re developing an assessment framework to evaluate the mentioned skills and hopefully a course will be followed afterwards.

Phoebe: I quite like that idea since we do not have such courses in Laurea yet. Do you think you will get entrepreneurial skills from SOCCES?

Connor: I’m learning about all the theoretical knowledge about entrepreneurship through this project so I think it would be helpful to me later on when I decide to be an entrepreneur.

Phoebe: What do you wish to achieve after this internship?

Connor: I think it’s great to be working in a big project like this so I hope to learn more of project management skills. I also want to see how an academic project goes and decide if I want to be in this field or not. But most importantly, I want to improve on the professional business competences such as emailing, meeting arrangements.

Phoebe: Working in Laurea can be complementary for our school works, I had applied a fair bit of what I did during the internship into my study and I think you can too. Have you seen yourself changed after some time working here?

Connor: I can say that I have improved since I’ve reading a book about business etiquette and it gave me more confidence in my work. I’ve also been thinking about the works critically, which also helped in brushing up my project management competences.

Phoebe: Tell me one most intersting thing you like the most in this project

Connor: I can say it’s the level of freedom. My manager doesn’t boss me around and I have a lot of room to be creative and time to think of what I should do to contribute to the project without having to worry about my manager’s control.

Phoebe: I can always relate to that! Thank you for such a nice conversation.

Benefit and Obligation

If I have to find the easiest comparison, Benefit is definitely a smooth, mouth-watering cheesecake while Obligation is the tedious process to make that delicious cake. What’ssup with the cheesecake?! It is so pleasant to enjoy and everybody loves it while only a handful of people knows how to make it and even if they do, a smaller fraction would be willing to work hard in the kitchen to produce a decent one.

It’s easy to dream about a castle, harder to imagine what you got to do to build it.

Unclear distribution of benefits and obligations might constitute problems in group work. The common issue is that human brains are one-sided, so many people only think about Benefit but forget about Obligation. It’s easy to dream about a castle, harder to imagine what you got to do to build it. I personally met with this problem before: I mentioned about the benefits to persuade others to join in the team and did not make their responsibilities clear because I assumed they should know what to do. It was expected that people to come forward to initiate activities if they wish for more benefits. No-one understood my intention apparently since they gradually asked for more benefits and I was titled as Ms. Sassy for “overusing them”. Unintentionally, I drove my team members away because of the ambiguous communication about their roles and responsibilities.

Saying that, it’s important that each member knows what are his/ her rights and responsibilities within a team right from the start. The “10 tips for Working Effectively in Groups” advises that assigning roles and establishment of a common goal are the two foremost critical things to do when forming a team. It all boils down to the most basic element: communication. Benefit and Obligation have to be thoroughly discussed at the beginning of any teamwork relationship. Confusion of understanding and using these two definitions might result in heart-broken consequences.