New lecturer at the University of Tartu Pärnu College
This autumn we have several new lecturers starting to teach at Pärnu College. My last post was an interview with Margrit Kärp, who started to teach Wellness History and Philosophy. In this post I am interviewing our next new lecturer Taavi Tamm.
- KT: Taavi, you start lecturing at Pärnu College this autumn. I know, you have worked with the students here before. Can you tell me, how have you been involved in student activities?
TT: Well, I’ve had several different positions in the University through the years. I started as a Marketing Specialist at UT Pärnu College and did my best to build the marketing from inside out. In other words, if I can make the current students happy they will tell it to the world. For a short period of time I was also working as a Senior Specialist for Design Based Innovation in Pärnu College as well but what thrives me the most is the world of startups so I took a deep dive into this area. I’ve been running the pre-incubation program called STARTER in Pärnu for several years now, have been mentoring startup teams from Tartu and Narva as well and led several workshops on different topics – Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, Design Thinking etc.
- KT: You like an active life. I also know that you are very good at inspiring students, encourage them to take initiative. Can you tell me what are your plans with the course Wellness Economy and Innovation? How are you going to combine these two keywords?
TT: Honestly, I’m still working on the details of this course but there is one thing I know for sure. We’re not going to spend too much time between the walls of Pärnu College. Innovation isn’t something that simply knocks on your door while you’re aggressively waiting for it. There is no other way but going out and start looking for it. I’d encourage all the students to think about different activities they love to do. No matter how good (or bad) you are at it. Is it running, cycling, yoga, basketball or you name it. Something that makes you jump off the couch. We’re going to use these activities through the course.
- KT: You have studied at our college Service Design and worked here for many years. You have also worked in US. Tell me, are there any differences in work culture and providing services between Estonia and US? What have you learned from Americans?
TT: There are many differences between the work culture in Estonia and in US. I’d say that the biggest difference I noticed was that people in US just love taking risks. In Estonia we are still bit too much worried about failure, my colleagues in US simply embraced the failure because there is always something valuable to be learned from an experience like this. Luckily I guess we are getting closer to this mindset here as well. “Fail fast and learn fast” is probably the most important learning from US.
- KT: Taavi, I know that you are a busy person. Lecturing at Pärnu College is not the only thing you do. What are your other projects?
TT: Starter program takes probably the biggest bite from my days. It’s a pre-incubation program designed by 8 Estonian Universities and runs in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Haapsalu and Narva. I’m involved in other startup programs as well. We just finished an amazing e-Boat cruise hackathon. The unique program consisted of six weeks of distance learning followed by a two-week cruise and hackathon on the Baltic Sea (Gdansk-Klaipeda-Riga-Stockholm-Tallinn), where participants further developed, validated and fine-tuned their products for launch in the European market. I’m also running different workshops through my own training company and few years ago I accidentally ended up producing greeting cards but that’s a bit longer story.
- KT: Taavi, you are a local. How can you describe Pärnu to our students, who have just arrived and are adapting to a new life. Do you have some tips, suggestions?
TT: Well it’s a small town. Don’t use the public transport…just keep walking and you’ll see it all. What I truly love about Pärnu is the size of it. You don’t have to spend too much time in traffic so you are going to have a lot of time for yourself. The only question is…what would you like to do with that time?
KT: Thank you, Taavi, and I wish you good luck!