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New ways of thinking at the 5th International ZHAW-FM Day in Wädenswil

At the 5th international FM Day at the ZHAW in Wädenswil, the international FM community came together for a scientific and professional exchange as well as to celebrate the 2017 graduation of its Master's students. The highlights of the day were the guest lectures from both research and practice, delivered by Professor Iris D. Tommelein, University of California, Berkeley, and Christoph Jäggi, Managing Partner of walkerproject ag, Zurich. The event was hosted by the IFM Institute of Facility Management with its new Director, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Antje Junghans.

The Institute Director, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Antje Junghans, opened the fifth FM Day at the ZHAW on 10 March 2017 by giving an insight into the current developments and projects at the IFM Institute of Facility Management. Research at the IFM is related to its comprehensive Bachelor’s, Master’s and further education courses. The Institute also has seven PhD candidates, all of whom are currently working on their doctorate in cooperation with international universities. The Master’s programme, taught in English, is accredited by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). Research focuses on workplace management, FM in healthcare, and real estate management. Teaching, research and practice are all interlinked at the IFM.

The Master of Science in Facility Management as the focal point of the FM Day 2017

As in previous years, the presentations of the MSc dissertations were the main focal point of the FM day. The 13 graduates from eight countries (Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Switzerland) presented their findings to both Swiss and international guests from the fields of education, research and the FM industry. In addition, the second semester Master’s students presented their initial ideas for their Master’s theses. The poster exhibition gave students the opportunity to discuss their innovative ideas with industry practitioners and to develop them further.

New ways of thinking in Lean Design and Facility Management

This year, two keynote speakers, Prof. Iris D. Tommelein of the University of California, Berkeley and Christoph Jäggi of walkerproject ag, presented their special areas of interest. In her lecture on "New ways of thinking - lessons learned from lean design and construction", Prof. Tommelein explained her innovative perspective on Lean Management, and shared her experiences regarding how Lean Thinking could be applied in the area of FM. As a renowned expert in the field of Lean Construction and project management, she made it clear that Lean Thinking is not just lean, but includes holistic management, which is geared to customer requirements, is flexible, and generates no unnecessary surplus. In order to meet customers’ requirements, an integrative approach is required that takes all relevant stakeholders into account. The call for very early consideration of FM modalities in the project and construction process was reiterated.

Christoph Jäggi from walkerproject ag subsequently addressed the topic "Patient first: Lean Thinking and integrated facility design in action", and talked about the relevance of lean hospitals and lean hospital planning. Mr. Jäggi emphasized that the own backyard mentality of clinics and sections within a hospital often hinders cooperation with respect to integrative patient orientation. A new way of thinking which is entirely oriented towards the patient is called for. Modern approaches to service design thinking and integrated facility design have led to proven success.

During the panel discussion, moderated by Prof. Christian Coenen, both keynote speakers came to the conclusion that a new approach is necessary to cope with the current and future challenges facing FM. The call for an "FM mindset" became clear, that is, one which enables Facility Managers to tackle challenges in a solutionoriented, analytical and creative way.

One innovation introduced this year was the Speaker's Corner, which provided the opportunity to discuss specific topics, such as the advantages and disadvantages of robotics in facility management, or whether the sustainable operation of buildings should be given the same weight as sustainable construction.

Awarding of the Master of Science in Facility Management

The opening ceremonies for the award of the MSc diplomas were conducted by Prof. Dr. Jean-Marc Piveteau, Rector of the ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) and Dr. Matthew Tucker from John Moores University in Liverpool. Prof. Piveteau congratulated the eight women and five men who had completed their Master of Science in Facility Management, and referred to their role as interesting job candidates and pioneers in the growing FM market. He regards a Master’s degree as an essential selection criterion when filling management positions in the FM industry.

The graduation speech was delivered by Dr. Matthew Tucker from John Moores University in Liverpool. Dr. Tucker had worked with the students on an international module, and was welcomed with warm applause by the graduating class. He gave an inspiring speech and dubbed the graduates "the rising stars" in the FM sky. He sees their future task as bridging the different understandings of FM in their respective countries, and emphasized the thinking skills they had acquired while completing their Master's studies: "To study means learning to think, think more sharply, and think more broadly."

As top of her class, Adriana Sanmiguel was presented with the prize as the Best Master's Graduate in 2017 by Thomas Larcher, Vice-President of the Alumni Association. In her Master’s thesis, Ms Sanmiguel focused on "Patterns of relationships between the physical work environment and health and work engagement in different office structures". In her speech, on behalf of the Master's graduates, she recalled that at the beginning of the Master's course the question "What is Facility Management?" was still being debated. During the course, the students went through various highs and lows as well as numerous presentations, case studies and examinations. In the diverse, intercultural group of students, friendships were formed for life. Irene Arnold, the Study Programme Coordinator and Deputy Director of the IFM, also awarded diplomas to two Bachelor's part-time

Downloads (Pictures: ©Tevy Wädenswil)

Contact for inquiries about FM Day

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Antje Junghans, Head Institute for Facility Management IFM, Departement Life Sciences and Facility Management, ZHAW/Wädenswil. 058 934 51 15;
  • Irene Arnold, Head study programmes and deputy institute management IFM, Departement Life Sciences and Facility Management, ZHAW/Wädenswil. 058 934 56 24;