Eelis Rytkönen: Community-focused perspectives to interdisciplinary University Campus Management – a business model case study

20TH ANNUAL PACIFIC-RIM REAL ESTATE SOCIETY CONFERENCE
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND, 19-22 JANUARY 2014

Community-focused perspectives to interdisciplinary University Campus Management – a business model case study

Eelis Rytkönen, Built Environment Services Research Group, Aalto University, Finland

ABSTRACT

University campus managers are facing challenges with facilitating education, research and societal impact in the Internet era. Old university spaces are unable to fully support the myriad demands of the complex, networked, interdisciplinary university campus communities. Thus, tools are needed that help manage and develop university campuses and learning space concepts for a variety of user groups.

Business model approach has succeeded in solving similar issues in business: increasing complexity, lack of resources, technological change, uncertainty and increasing tempo. This study conducts an empirical test on six space development projects of one university campus by employing a business modelling tool, named the Business Model Canvas. The aim of this study is to identify the pros and cons of a business model approach for university campus management by answering three main research questions: 1) How is the Business Model Canvas perceived in spatial development context?; 2) How are spaces described through the Business Model Canvas; 3) How should the Business Model Canvas be developed further for the purpose of university campus management?

The main data were collected in seven workshops, where the Model was employed in seven space development projects. The data collection process was divided to three phases, each addressing one research questions. First, a room-size development case aimed to discover how the Model is perceived as a space planning tool. Second, five building-size developments strove to define how different spaces are described through the Model. Third, a campus level development set out to further develop the Model for university campus development purposes. Altogether 24 participants attended the workshops. In addition, the background case data was contributed to by diverse documents ranging from annual reports to seminar presentations.

The results suggest a community-focused approach to developing university spaces. All the cases addressed community and space use as the main value propositions, same stakeholders in multiple roles, and thematic focus. The model simultaneously enabled both top-down and bottom-up approaches, which was considered convenient for conceptualization purposes. However, the space projects were described on the abstraction levels of community, network and space, which made within- and cross-case comparability challenging. The participants considered the model incomplete but saw potential in the approach. The results propose that the Model be modified to better meet the needs of university campus management through modifications, such as a more specific, layered structure and inclusion of concrete value measures.

Keywords: University Campus Management, Business Model Canvas, Community facilitation, Space Operator, Community Operator, Network Operator

Download here: Rytkonen_Community-focused_Perspectives_to_Interdisciplinary

Urban Mill is one of the central cases in Eelis Rytkönen’s dissertation under the working title ”Dynamics of University Campus Management – facilitating interdisciplinary learning communities.” The data have been collected between years 2012-2014 and results will be in forms of four papers that have been planned to be published 2014-2015 as follows:

–          Rytkönen, E. (2014): Community-focused perspectives to interdisciplinary University Campus Management – a business model case study. Presented in PRRES conference on Jan 2014, to be published in conference proceedings. (http://www.prres.net/index.htm?http://www.prres.net/Conference.htm)
–          Rytkönen, E., Nenonen, S., and Österlund, E. (2014) Facilitating interdisciplinary learning communities – a case study from Finland. In review process for CIB conference, will be presented in May 2014.
–          Rytkönen, E. (2014): A Business Model Typology of an interdisciplinary University Campus (working title). Journal paper. Work in progress.
–          Rytkönen, E., and Österlund, E. (2014): A Campus Development Process Typology of an Interdisciplinary University Campus (working title). Journal paper. Work in progress.
–          Rytkönen, E. (2015): Student Personas of an Interdisciplinary University Campus (working title). Journal paper. Work in progress.

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