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Hungry to learn innovation and entrepreneurship in practice

Trond Vinje / September 04, 2019

"I wanted to learn more than just programming. Innovation and entrepreneurship are important to companies and society and I wanted to explore them more extensively. It will be interesting to get to work on a specific project at a large organisation" comments Houda Benzazah.

Houda Benzazah is one of three masters' students from the University of Oslo's Department of Informatics who will have a very different semester now that they are starting an innovation and entrepreneurship project at TietoEVRY in Fornebu.

All three of the students are in the final year of masters’ courses and are part of the first set of students to take part in a major new initiative between the University of Oslo and business and industry.

Increasing the pace of innovation

The two students who will be joining Houda Benzazah are Bikash Thapa and Julian Heimonen Hjallum, and they will be helping us with platforms and processes designed to promote innovation. The aim is for their project to be evaluated by the company's management in December and, if it is approved, their plans will then be implemented.

Born in Morocco, Houda studied computer science and technology before she completed a degree in Business informatics in France. This led her to the University of Oslo, and she is now curious about what working in innovation in combination with entrepreneurship involves.

We are a big organisation and have a lot of exciting partners. It is important that all our ideas and initiatives are brought together so that we can be more focused and effective in our innovation work. The project’s aim is to make it easier for employees to put forward their ideas and be part of their development and to shorten the path from idea to action.

Combining theory and practice

- We have learnt a lot of theory about technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. It will be exciting to learn more about how they work in practice, comments Bikash Thapa, who was born in Nepal. Before studying at the University of Oslo, Bikash completed a master’s degree in hydropower development at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Julian Heimonen Hjallum from Porsgrunn is the third student who will be part of the project. Alongside studying, he has gained experience from three start-ups. He is now looking forward to working in innovation at a larger organisation.

The students will work in close collaboration with a broad team of employees from TietoEVRY. They will become an integral part of our organisation. They will have their own email address, access card and access to Workplace by Facebook, which is our intranet and where we go for knowledge and to network with employees in other departments. These students will be located in Fornebu and will sit together with other interns working on different innovation projects.

We feel certain that these students will be able to challenge our established ways of working thanks to their backgrounds and expertise.

Strategic initiative

The collaboration between the University of Oslo and TietoEVRY is part of a new programme that also involves Telenor, Schibsted and DNV GL. The programme consists of these four companies inviting students to undertake innovation projects as part of their masters’ programmes at the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo.

- This collaboration will give us access to projects that are both very high quality and cutting-edge, and our students will get the chance to gain inside experience of the innovation cultures of major organisations that represent attractive potential employers, comments Jens Petter Falck, Associate Professor and the course convenor for one of the masters’ programs.

He explains that the aim of the innovation projects is to provide students with in-depth understanding and practical experience of carrying out innovation projects at large, complex organisations

- There is a lot of interest in and an increasing need for experience of the workplace in higher education. We are therefore very pleased about this newly created collaboration that will see masters’ students gain guided workplace experience at high-quality specialist companies, comments Morten Dæhlen, the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

- It is a win-win as it will both provide our students with relevant work experience and give the companies a well-qualified workforce that will solve genuine innovation challenges, he adds.

TietoEVRY’s senior management team is very enthusiastic about the initiative, which is an important part of the company’s work to accelerate its innovation work.

- The students have approaches to technology and problem-solving and insight that we think can help us to see things from a new perspective. This unique collaboration will strengthen our rate of innovation. Innovation and entrepreneurship are strategically important to us as part of our work to create digital services that create significant value for our customers. We regard the Department of Informatics as an attractive source of both knowledge and highly sought-after candidates, comments Trond Vinje, Executive Vice President for HR at TietoEVRY.

Trond Vinje
Head of HR

Trond Vinje is Chief Human Resources Officer and part of the leadership team in Tietoevry. Diversity and inclusion are part of his daily work.

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