Feeling Proud of Students

Laurea UAS Digital Business students global studies graduation

Today we finished our Digital Business -studies at Laurea UAS. Our students totally exceeded all my expectations. These young talents will bring us a great future, I can tell you that!

This video shows what this is all about. It is done by Digital Coaches, senior students in Laurea. Thanks coaches! 🙂

We made it global

Many thanks to South-Korean, Spanish, Belgium, and Mexican students and professors who were involved in this. We made it global together. I am so much looking forward to our next course as we will deepen all this international cooperation into the next level. Boh!

Thanks to the companies and guest lecturers

We had the extreme delight to have dozens of guest lecturers directly from worklife to visit us. I am so grateful to you – we really brought working life and young students together. Many thanks to all the guest lecturers and companies who were involved.

Selected blogs & vlogs of our students

Please see some selected blogs by our students. These are the talents who made it to the “blog of the week” during the course. Aren’t they good or what!?

Taru Hellman – Living Life and Learning
Melissa Laitila – Diggin It
Elina Karhapää – Digi-Diary
Miikka Leppihalme – Digital Business
Mariam Nurminen – DigiFeels
Jenni Palander – Digijenni
Teemu Reunila – Digital Business
Sini Siltanen – Digi Sini
Maija Vakkilainen – Digital Business 2016

Congratulations to each an every student who took part in the course, digi coaches, and my colleague Anna. I am very proud of you and grateful that I have had the chance to work with you. Remember, life is very much about who you decide to spend your time with.

Tasks done, goals reached, now it is time to celebrate. Enjoy and live life to the max guys! 🙂

Life is about the PEOPLE you spend time WITH

I just experienced the most magical week ever as I got to host TED speaker Kyla Mitsunaga (Harvard, founder of WithVSAt -teaching method) in Finland as my honored guest. She is really one in a million. This week leaves me nearly speechless but I try to wrap it up the best way I can.

She gave us an amazing “Happiness and Leadership” workshop at Laurea UAS and our students were simply amazed. Her authentic way of teaching/learning WITH them is very unique. Personally, the “human power point” -method was the thing, aww, simply too cool and effective… Let’s get rid of the static powerpoints and move towards human interaction! Yes! Aww, Kyla you are really in the edge of education. Here is a 13-minute compilation of the highlights recorded and edited by Mira, one of our talented students.

I have to thank my former colleague Atte Aro at Innofactor for making it possible for us to visit “Empowering Business” -seminar at Microsoft Headquarters. We got to have fun and listen to Sarah Caldicutt, the grandniece of Thomas Edison talk about Innovation.

One of the highlights of the week was this videorecording session WITH some of Laurea’s Amazing students, Melissa and Ile. We went to some real Finnish environment and our students recorded this amazing video. We were living the moment and awesomeness was created! Thanks guys.

It all climaxed at Global Leadership Dinner yesterday, in which 20 unique people (talents, leaders, thinkers, positive people) had fun and defined the qualities of Future Global Leader. Thanks to everyone who attended, that was an event of my life. I will never forget it!

Kyla Global leadership dinner

In conclusion, there is never enough time to do ALL THINGS, but there is  always enough time to do the RIGHT things.

So, focus on the RIGHT things.

Remember to spend time with people who get you inspired!

Be happy and spread HAPPINESS around you. 🙂

Thanks Kyla for everything.

Where the Gods are Born

As I am waiting to my flight to departure from Mexico City back to Helsinki, I have to share something amazing with you.

I was really astonished by the visit to the Teotihuacan Pyramid area yesterday, a changed man. The area seemed to have an energy of its own, with thousands of years of history packed in one place. The people call the area “place where the gods are born”. It is very hard to believe that all the phenomenal monuments were built centuries ago. I wanted to experience the journey to the max so I climbed on top of both pyramids, “The Pyramid of the Sun” and “The Pyramid of the Moon”.

Ilkka Pyramid

Did you know these five facts about the pyramids and the culture?

1. The culture of Teotihuacan had come up with the “agricultural calendar” (18 months, 20 days each – 360 days per year). There are 18 temples that represent each month.

2. The arrangement of the pyramids represent exactly the orion star constellation (how AMAZING is that?)

3. The correct ancient way to climb up the stairs of the pyramids is to perform 7 steps left/right diagonally in turns. (Btw, I did all the climbing using this method) Why? This way you would not face directly the gods (who were believed to be present in the top of the pyramids), but you would neither complitely turn your back to your people. The number 7 was considered to be a magical number with many meanings.

4. The amount of steps to the top of the “Pyramid of The Moon” is 260. This relates to the the amount of days that women are pregnant before giving birth. Imagine that fact for a while, and think what climbing up there represents.

5. When facing “The Pyramid of the Moon” from the very center point of the Teotihuacan area (which is even considered to be the center point of the universe), compass points exactly at North-East. That is where the very first ray-of-light rises from the Sun.

If you carefully think through all the things I just wrote, your mind should be stimulated quite strongly. Those facts certainly impressed me at least! After the experience I had while climbing up the Pyramids made me think that the pyramids must have been symbols of life.

That leads to my final conclusion: appreciate life.

Thanks for sharing this experience with me. Dear reader, If you felt emotional and connected, in a way, we have met.

Pyramid of the Moon - Sky view - Ilkka 26.2.2016
As I was lying on my back at the top of the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan this is what I saw on the sky. Phenomenal!

A learning journey of a lifetime in Mexico

Hi guys! Feeling so excited. I was invited to lecture 22.2.-26.2. about digitality in Mexico, Technology de Monterrey, Queretaro campus. I want to invite you to take part in this journey by sharing some of the events and all kinds of cool stuff that happens here. You may follow the action live on Periscope/Katch.me @ilkkakurkela and #digismalltalk. Comments and interaction is more than welcome. Thanks, lots of love, and ENJOY! 🙂

27.2. Visit to the ancient Pyramids of Teotihuacan

My final greetings from Mexico. The peak of the week was an astonishing visit to the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan. I had such an amazing time at the Pyramids of Teotihuacan that I needed to write a separate blogpost about the experience. Here it is.

All in all, I want to share my deepest greetings with you my friends and family who have been taking part in this journey of mine here. Special thanks to Laurea and Tec de Monterrey for making this possible, companies and people who created the magnificent content for me to represent Finnish know-how, and students for all the positive attitude.

Smile, appreciate life and let your mind be open towards opportunities!

Pyramid-Teotihuacan-Ilkka 1

25.2. Sales promotion workshop was a success – we got crazy! Mitä kuuluu Suomi!?


Mitä kuuluu Suomi? 🙂 had a nice Sales Promotion workshop with these amazing international students at Mexico. We decided to get crazy and start to follow our dreams! 🙂 #digismalltalk

Julkaissut Ilkka Kurkela 25. helmikuuta 2016

25.2. Digital Marketing Workshop with magnificent Mexican students

Digital Marketing Workshop at Mexico - Ilkka Kurkela 2016

Had the greatest students at Digital Marketing workshop in Mexico. Awesome! As we discussed so many cases regarding Finland, the students wanted to say “thank you Finland”. Check the video greetings below! 🙂

24.2. Part 2: Interviewing Juuso Strengell, a Laurea’s exchange student at Mexico

Mexico - Green Coffee Shop Juuso Strengell - Interview

The coolest thing happened as I met Juuso Strengell, one of Laurea’s exchange students here in Mexico. This hardworking student knows his business, as he is running a cafĂ© here at the campus. I had the wonderful delight to interview Juuso earlier today. He encourages everyone to always move forward and see the world. Check it out! Thanks Juuso, it was a pleasure!

24.2. Preparing my lectures – hotel rooftop Periscope

Hello world! Having such a great time here in Mexico! Just broadcasted this Periscope at the hotel rooftop as I am preparing my lectures for today for Tec de Monterrey.

I am absolutely thrilled to present what the Finnish students at Laurea UAS and companies are able to do. I’ll present their skills and experience in video marketing, branding, social media and even virtual reality, and all sorts of amazing things. I also met this Finnish exchange student here yesterday and I am going to interview him later today. I’ll let you know more about it.

All my love to Finland, to students, colleagues, family, everyone – keepin’ it real! – Ilkka


23.2. Meeting students, professors and cool people

Today has been awesome. Did a quick 30 minutes of jogging in the morning to get the day started and after a nice breakfast headed to the Campus. I had a meeting with of the directors of Tec de Monterrey and a student and we brainstormed with innovative ideas how to start cooperation with the local students at Mexico and the students in Finland.

One group of student here has this awesome social entrepreneur -project going on. What we decided is that I will integrate this project with my courses in Finland, so that the Finnish students can innovate regarding the project. Cool, thank you so much Jane DĂ©lano Frier, looking forward to the cooperation!

Professor Jane DĂ©lano Frier, a local student and Ilkka Kurkela planning cooperation


22.2. My thoughts about representing Finland and Finnish companies

Can’t complain, just arrived at the Tec De Monterrey campus in Mexico. The coolest thing is this: two days ago I asked a few creative Finnish people from various companies to record quick audio/video greetings for Mexican students, and I have absolutely fantastic material for the lectures in my pockets. In just two days! THANKS

Thank you for the recordings guys! Markku, Mika, Sami, Martta, Sani, Jouni, Pekka, Tuomas, and others. I will use these tailored clips to build conversation and show how magnificent people & companies we have in Finland!

Cases about Mazda, PCA Scala, Luova Laboratorio, Thinglink, NoBot, DigiPeople Studios, ZEF among others on the pipeline… BOH!

Finally, here’s my latest periscope broadcast. Njoy!

Recorded at the roof of my hotel, 2 mins

21.2. The travelling day: Digital Trends and visualization?

Bought my first ever selfie stick 🙂 Want to follow the megatrend of live streaming and make the most of it! Recorded at London, Heathrow airport

Making Dreams Come True

Yesterday was incredible. We finished Digital Business –study module with 70 students at Laurea. The studies were intertwined closely with real-life business. I wanted to share my thoughts and tell you a little about the impact, as I believe that we made some dreams come true.

The heroes of Laurea's Digital Business study module autumn 2015

The impact of the Digital Business –study module

We had 70 skilled students in this course. Based on a feedback survey we collected some statistics for you.

  • 22 jobs for students (worked as a bridge to help work life and students find each other)
  • 19 students aiming to go study/work abroad in 2016-2017 (one internship position in New York!)
  • 20+ real-life connections with companies, guest lectures and partnership projects during the program
  • 500+ individual blogposts by students reflecting their learnings
  • 2 most talented bloggers got a chance to guest-blog for Markkinointiguru.fi (MMA)
  • 87% of students considered a huge improvement in their language skills (English)
  • First ever university in Finland to broadcast a lecture with Periscope 22.10.2015
  • Finally, 540 people live following our Periscope broadcast “Final Ceremony”10.12.2015
    –> SOME phenomena!

Also, my great colleague Anna Ikonen wrote a nice detailed blog about the project from her point of view.

Over 500 people in Periscope at Laurea's Digital Business Final CeremonyFeelings from the Final Ceremony Periscope broadcast 10.12.2015. Photo by Timo Helosuo.

Personal learnings

I am feeling extremely grateful. I have had the luxury to work with these incredible talented students and amazing business people. Sometimes I have felt like I have been totally absorbed by this project, almost losing myself in the work – in a good sense, having the flow 🙂

We, together with the students, have tried to constantly create something new (work life integration, periscope streaming, online exams, new learning platforms, etc.). It has not always been easy and there has been some inevitable set backs, but I believe that obstacles and failures are to be learned from. We wanted to be flexible, eager to go forward, and always aim for the next level.

I am very proud of our students. We have tried our best to become pioneers of digital age education. We have been deeply passionated about this and I believe we have made history together. I will never forget this. We made dreams to become reality.

But this is not the end, rather the first step. We have some amazing plans in our pockets for the next semester and I will definitely let you know about them. Until next time, thanks to everyone who was involved, and have a relaxing Christmas time.

Please enjoy some videos by our magnificent students!

Digital Business Season II – coming soon, stay tuned

Blogging lesson

How to make a video

Feelings from the course: Final presentation

Digital Coaches presentation of the Study module

Finally, some excellent blogs by students


Nelli Laurila Way to the digital
Mira Niemi Learning in digital world
Camilla Fagerström Digi Cami
Linda Knuutila Linda’s digi life
Tanja Heikkinen Digital business
Hannah King Hannahs digitalla
Lasse Lehtisalo Digital business blog
Laura Laukka Laura’s digi vision