“You can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, and philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance.”- Sir Kenneth Robinson, author, speaker and educationalist.
Creativity is an essential part in all areas of human life. Science, Arts, Math, Technology, Cuisine, Education, Family life, Politics, Business…. You name it. In many fields, that role is undervalued yet very, very important; a balanced combination of creativity and academics or entrepreneurial tasks enables us to be innovative and encourages to learn and do new things. Many companies are providing web-based services, applications, solutions and games to boost the learner´s or customers interest. Only imagination is the limit of how we can harness the possibilities of technology by remaining true to our nature. Technology is a good servant yet a bad master.
In education, teachers are keen to add new technologies along pedagogical methods to learning process. And yes, Children as most adults aswell, have more interest in game based learning than traditional classroom studies in school. In modern classrooms, gamification and technology can be used to enhance student engagement, participation and skyrocket the research to dimensions. Even definition of classroom can reach totally new spaces that aren’t limited to school buildings anymore. For that VILIKE was founded by Kirsi Ekberg. Company has been developing digital tool for preschool education to support children’s kinetic learning skills growth and elevate evolution of education with technology and gamification. Solution is for parents, schools and educational institutes.
Kirsi is also working for Dutch Explect.com which was founded in 2015 by Bart and Martijn de Ruiter. Explect is a forwarding company that provides digital platform for international trade to help SME’s to export and import their products globally. Apart from this, she is working with Moiko.fi, a Finnish design company producing reflective accessories. Kirsi is also part of Mymeeko,com, a company designing and producing electric kickbikes.
Kirsi Ekberg is a mother, an entrepreneur, and passionate towards sports and arts. She studied physical education and art management and played various sports including soccer for more than a decade. Sport education studies was the starting point which lead her to the path of startup entrepreneur.
She played the role of single mother beautifully and witnessed the growth of children in her life and with her work. She also studied ICT and software development that give her better understanding on technologies and software which can be used in new-age education.
The Light Bulb Moment
It all started out from her interest to have digital tool to support work with children’s physical exercise (P.E.) education. She believes that physical activity and art are as important as academics for children. Kirsi was inspired by Arja Sääkslahti, Ph.D. in Physical Education from Faculty of Sport and Health Science in University of Jyväskylä: In her lecture she told about APM inventory, a method to assess pre-school children’s perceptual and basic motor skills. Arja also told her about the impact of physical activities i.e., the more children move, the better they can perceive their bodies. This was the time Kirsi decided to figure out how to digitalise this tool.
Problems Faced During Early Phase
Initially, she learned about algorithms, how the analysis needs to be coded and ways software development along gamification can be utilized. Along the way, another challenge along big mistake at the backend of the first version, was and is the money. She ran out of savings to finalise to product and is walking in so called “valley of death”. But still after the obstacles, she is being encouraged by the people around and that faith keeps her trusting on intuition. With that support, the strong determination stays alive and keeps her thriving forward to accomplish the desired goals. Also grit to learn new things and seeing the golden lining in very storm cloud helps Kirsi to overcome the hussles and hurdles, every day.
Kirsi’s Definitions of Success
“Be the change you wish to see in the world “ quotation by Mahatma Gandhi is something that keeps her motivated to achieve her goals. According to Kirsi, it is vital to keep your feet on the ground, heart with the people and head creatively open to the future. To go forward in business by generating growth with the pace of people are even more important than money. True success is made by and with the people. Always give priority to well-being of one making the vision happen and take care of yourself along others. If you wish to make your vision come true, you need to be hands on part of the change and truly work for it.
Her Next Move for Future
For VILIKE.fi, she is raising seed capital for further developments, she is helping with Growth Hacking. For Moiko.fi and Mymeeko.com, she will start international sales and Marketing to grow the companies globally. She has dreams for more innovative products for global markets. Kirsi will continue doing what she has been doing with the addition of getting back to development side and finalising the products for launch.
Quote: “Follow your heart and never give up on your dreams, real success can only be achieved by following your heart”.