2/2015

Make your dreams come true – Driving to Nepal

Mikael Hautala is known for his charity fundraising campaign “Driving to Nepal”. He has given guest lectures on the importance of entrepreneurship and dreaming out loud to first-year students at TUT.

Mikael Hautala

 

Mikael Hautala at the first IndustryHack weekend.

 

Student-cum-entrepreneur Mikael Hautala has lectured to first-year students majoring in information and knowledge management and industrial management during a course titled “Business and Technology in Context”. Hautala will soon graduate from TUT with a master’s degree in information and knowledge management, but he has also launched several companies and driven 20,000 kilometres across Asia alongside his studies. He encourages all students to trust themselves and have confidence in their abilities and dreams.

“Dare to dream! And most importantly, tell others about your dreams. They might come true faster than you thought possible,” Hautala says.

What started as a dream of one of Hautala’s friends to help the poorest people living in Nepal quickly evolved into the “Driving to Nepal” campaign. Three friends started their journey in a van to collect handmade Nepalese crafts for sale, and soon tens of thousands of people were tracking their progress through the Internet. Donations, proceeds from craft sales, and the work of dozens of volunteers resulted in seven schools being built in Nepal. For the trio, the adventure was an unforgettable experience that led to the establishment of a company. A film about their journey became the second most popular documentary of the year and earned them the 2014 Jussi Award in the Audience Award category.

“All this, simply because one person dared to dream out loud.”

Spurring the adoption of the Industrial Internet

Mikael Hautala is currently busy with his latest venture, IndustryHack, which is a unique concept that brings companies and Industrial Internet experts together.

“Presentations about the Industrial Internet have long been a staple of seminars and conferences, and now it’s high time to put the concepts into practice. We arrange IndustryHack weekends, where companies offer programmers free access to their data with potentially unexpected results,” Hautala explains.

“For example, our first IndustyHack hosted by KoneCranes resulted in the development of a smartwatch-based control method for cranes and the integration of chess algorithms into a warehouse management system. One team gave a crane the ability to show emotions.”

After four successful IndustryHacks in Finland, the company is now making inroads into the German market.

“All those who are interested, both students and professionals, are welcome to apply to attend our hackathons,” Hautala encourages.

Programming skills lead to better communication

Mikael Hautala recommends everyone to develop a rudimentary understanding of programming.

“Often people working in the IT and business sectors don’t speak the same language. Their communication becomes easier, if business professionals have a working knowledge of programming. Even the basics can go a long way.”

Hautala urges all students to start their own business before graduation. In addition to having the freedom to set their own schedule, students can learn a great deal by running a company.

“It’s a motivation booster to see first-hand how you can apply your skills in real-life contexts and identify knowledge gaps.”

Entrepreneurial skills are important

Students who complete the course “Business and Technology in Context” are, among others, expected to demonstrate an understanding of the role of entrepreneurship and innovation as drivers of economic growth and technological breakthroughs.

“An entrepreneurial mindset is characterized by a go-getter attitude, enthusiasm and the ability to take on responsibility. We hope all students possess these qualities,” University Teacher Jussi Myllärniemi says.

“Mikael Hautala is an excellent example of a student who is pursuing activities that combine all his personal interests and skills. For example, he has studied information analytics and is now able to apply his acquired knowledge in his current business.”

 

Text: Sanna Schildt
Photo: courtesy of Mikael Hautala

 
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