Tiimiakatemia® is a coaching method that is used to educate teampreneurs. It has been developed for almost 25 years. The method is a positive virus: it has over 10 000 different kinds of users in over ten countries.
The positive virus of Tiimiakatemia® has spread to over ten countries both in Europe as well as outside it. Over 40 companies have been created with it.
By deploying Tiimiakatemia® Method, universities have been able to increase their rate of their students on becoming entrepreneurs right after graduation by ten-fold. Secondary level vocational schools have used the Method to create entrepreneurial culture to areas of craft where entrepreneurship is the only choice of getting employed after graduation. In primary scools the teachers have been able to increase communal learning in schools and fulfil the nation-wide requirements of new Finnish curriculums.
Numerous learners have discovered the joy of learning and become entrepreneurs by using the method. Those learners who are in working life have developed their managerial skills and have been able to build and lead teams in success.
Chapter I: Prototype Stage 1993-1996
The first Tiimiakatemia was born in 1993 to JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä. An inspired teacher, Mr. Johannes Partanen, put a simple message to the university’s messaging board:
“Do you want to travel around the world and learn some marketing at the same time?”
24 enthustiastic students applied for this crazy program. The first student team, “Round the World Team” (RTW) was born. The students carried all the desks from their classroom – then known as “Classroom number 147” – and started to sit in comfy chairs in the formation of dialogue circle.
The core philosophy of Tiimiakatemia was written down to Leading Thoughts (mission, vision and values) by the students. The values were: learning by doing, practicality, continuous experiments, continuous creation of new, learning and travelling. The mission was boldly: eradication of unemployment. The vision was to realize each student’s own dreams and creation of a job for oneself.
The change was about wanting to learn in different way. The students wanted to get rid of strict timetables, conventional class-room studies and being passive. Thus, they wrote a motto and attached it to the classroom’s door:
“Be careful when you enter this room because you have to work hard and you will be smiling for the rest of your life.”
The activities of Mr. Partanen and the students created a new wave of change in JAMK University of Applied Sciences. The first team created a sustainable and long-term idea about new way of learning in a team. 50 % of all of the first team members became entrepreneurs after their graduation. All of them got employed.
Chapter II: Building Strong Foundations 1996-2002
Slowly Tiimiakatemia started getting recognition. The learning community moved from experimental prototype stage to stabilization stage.
The Founder of Tiimiakatemia, Mr. Partanen, started to do teaching differently with the students. The students become active members in creating and modifying the learning model. Everyone let go of traditional courses and timetables. They were replaced with teamwork and small-scale projects done to the surrounding economic life.
Most projects were related to marketing research or other marketing activities. The most important thing about them was to work in a real world by serving the needs of the clients. At the same time the students read management and marketing books to get the latest knowledge and to apply theoretical knowledge to practice during project work.
Learning in Tiimiakatemia was (and still is) based on the idea of learning from real life and learning by experiencing different things. Practical project work and experiments strengthen each individuals’ ideas on how to the world works. Books give new ideas.
The first team did its around-the-world trip in 1996. The travel itinerary took the team members from Helsinki to Bangkok and Hong Kong. From there they travelled to Australia’s coral reefs, New Zealand and Fiji Islands. The final leg of the journey included travel in United Stated in San Francisco and New York. This first around-the-world trip became a tradition in Tiimiakatemia culture: every team that graduates makes a similar trip.
Each year new students came in and new teams were formed. At the start of year 1996 there were five teams: Round the World Team, The Vision Crafters (Visionikkarit), The Crankshafts (Kampiakselit), The Wizards (Wisardit) and The Termites (Termiitit). All of the teams had the company status of association. In total over 80 students were members in them.
Eventually Classroom 147 became hopelessly cramped for 80 students. The students started to search for better facilities for Tiimiakatemia. The search was successful and at the Fall of 1996 they moved to an historical office building that was previously the headquarters of Schauman plywood factory. The students transformed the old factory building into a knowledge worker’s haven.
And, when even the headquarters of the plywood factory also became too cramped, Tiimiakatemia moved to the actual plywood factory in 2000 that is now known as Turbine building.
The innovative education model of Tiimiakatemia aroused interest both regionally in Central Finland as well as on national level. Each year over thousand visitors came to Tiimiakatemia to see how team learning works in action. In year 1999 TAMK University of Applied Sciences started their own programme using Tiimiakatemia® Method. This program was given the name of Proakatemia and was founded by Mr. Antti Klaavu.
Tiimiakatemia is a living, ever changing community. However, it has a core that is stable: no matter how things change, each student is a long-term member of his or her team. The juridical status of the teams is co-operative (abroad Finland other company structures are also used). All students have different kinds of company positions and roles. These positions and roles rotate from one student to another. The co-operatives find and get assignments and projects directly from companies and other organizations.
Chapter III: Expansion and the Birth of Partus 2001-2011
New team coaches (Mr. Timo Lehtonen, Mrs. Ulla Luukas, Mr. Heikki Toivanen and Mrs. Essi Silvennoinen) were recruited during the growth of student volumes and education activities to Tiimiakatemia. The founder of Tiimiakatemia Mr. Partanen retired from work on Fall 2011 and Mrs. Luukas became the new head-coach of Tiimiakatemia.
The revenue generated by the co-operatives in Tiimiakatemia reached the limit of 2.000.00 €. In effect, Tiimiakatemia generated tax revenue to the society the same amount it cost to the tax payer.
Tiimiakatemia® Method started to spread to secondary level vocational schools in 2005. Also, several international educators and companies got interested in Tiimiakatemia. They started sending visitor groups to Tiimiakatemia to benchmark the team learning and team coaching practices. This development lead to the establishment of Tiimiakatemia® -type of programs to Europe: Netherlands, Amsterdam (2007); Spain, Mondragon (2007); France, Strasbourg (2009); and Hungary, Debrecen (2010).
All of the international programs are independent. Most of them operate as part of universities or other similar education organizations. All of them are part of international Tiimiakatemia® Network.
Both the first Tiimiakatemia and Hungarian and Spanish operators who use Tiimiakatemia® Method generated (and still generate) record breaking results on creation of entrepreneurship: 30 to 50 % of their graduates become entrepreneurs after studies. Employment levels are very high, over 90 %.
The expansion phase lead to the establishment of a private training and consulting company, Taitovire Valmennus Ltd. The idea of the company was to use Tiimiakatemia® Method in adult education and spread Tiimiakatemia® Method. The company’s first adult education programs started in 2002: Igniting Hearts (Tulisielut), Blazing Torch (Tulisoihtu) and Smiths of Sampo (Sammon Takojat). Over 1000 entrepreneurs and teachers were trained in these programs during expansion stage.
Right after the success of the first wave of adult education programs Taitovire Valmennus Ltd started a second wave. It included coach-the-coach programs both for Finnish professionals (Tiimimestari program) as well as international clients (Team Mastery).
Taitovire Valmennus Ltd changed its name to Partus Ltd after a fusion with Mr. Partanen’s own training and consulting company.
Chapter IV: Tiimiakatemia Coaching Centre 2011-
As the coach-the-coach programs proved extremely successful and there was a huge demand for them, Partus Ltd decided to concentrate solely on training professional team coaches.
The Tiimiakatemia® owner, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, didn’t want to continue the ownership of the trademark in 2011, so Partus Ltd took the trademark under its wing. After the transfer of trademark ownership, the brand was under the control of its original founders. Shortly after this process, Partus Ltd’s name was changed accordingly to Tiimiakatemia Global to reflect the new status of the company.
The idea of Tiimiakatemia Global is to establish a Tiimiakatemia Coaching Centre. Its core idea is:
“Tiimiakatemia Global is an academy for team coaches. Best revolutionary team coaches come from there.”
To realize this idea, Tiimiakatemia Global created a three-phase competency certification system for team coaches. The system is a path for anyone who want to grow as professional team coaches.
The mission of Tiimiakatemia Global (and the Centre that we are building) is to eradicate unemployment. This mission continues the tradition of the first Tiimiakatemia.