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    Collaboration to Growth: Starting a workplace cultural change

    Business Tampere Ketterät Kokeilut -päätöstilaiuus. Kuva: Mirella Mellonmaa

    Collaboration to Growth – agile experiments: Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto (Tampere Regional Solid Waste Management Ltd.) started its work culture redesign journey with the help of a Gofore workshop. Principal Consultant Riikka Jakovuori of Gofore and CEO Harri Kallio of Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto will share their views on the agile beginning of the process.

    1: Why did you join the Startup Tampere agile experiments?

    Gofore is an international and actively growing digitalisation specialist with over 500 top experts in Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Estonia. Riikka Jakovuori states that the heart of Gofore still beats for Tampere and thus it was just natural to join the Collaboration to Growth.

    We do quite a lot of work with the companies and organisations in this region and we are willing to make new connections. Agile experimenting is always very interesting, our customers get new ideas and we too learn something every time, says Jakovuori.

    Business Tampere Ketterät Kokeilut -päätöstilaiuus. Kuva: Mirella Mellonmaa
    Business Tampere Ketterät Kokeilut. Photo: Mirella Mellonmaa

    Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto is a company owned by 17 municipalities. Its activities include collection, processing and disposal of waste, research and development, as well as consumer advice on waste management issues. The Startup Tampere experiment hit the spot with both timing and themes.

    We have been doing a lot of strategical and organisational development, and this had already raised the themes of workplace cultural change, commitment and expertise in the changing environment, says Harri Kallio.

    2: What happened in your experiment?

    A team of 15 people of Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto participated in Gofore’s VIRITÄ workshop, which is tailored to be an easy first step of an organisational culture redesign journey. All levels of the organisation were represented in the team which, as such, makes the change a shared effort, estimates Kallio.

    The process took around three weeks altogether and included setting objectives, interviews and the workshop. During the process and by co-working the team answered simple, yet not so easy basic questions: where are we now, where are we heading.

    3: Results and things learned from the experiment?

    The operations of Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto may seem quite conventional – managing the solid waste of almost half a million Tampere Region habitants. Then again, the operating environment is changing rapidly as technology develops, environmental issues become ever more significant and the owners, the municipalities have their shifting needs. The company has an important function in the society, and this, according to Jakovuori, is one of their assets.

    Working with Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto showed so clearly how these traditional organisations can have such vigour and passion for what they do now and in the future, Jakovuori says.

    The workshop was really inspiring and opened the participants to tune into relevant issues. This was a good start for our journey, says Kallio.

    4: Your best advice to share?

    Riikka Jakovuori reflects on change management. In Finland it is typical to suppose that it is a personal failure not to know everything. But a smart leader will involve the organisation, encourage dialogue and clarify situational awareness when it is time to start redesigning work culture.

    One needs to be humble, fearless and willing to enter the discomfort zone, Jakovuori summarizes.

    Before deciding the direction and methods of the change, it is crucial to understand the current standing – that is how you let everyone join the process. Jakovuori also notes that organisations do not change, but people do.

    A shared, common direction is a must, and it must be expressed in a way everyone understands for the change to proceed.

    Tools to start re-think the workplace culture

    A Gofore method for work culture redesign begins with the ability to see: VIRITÄ workshop offers tools to shake one’s habitual modes of operation and to enable change. Basic questions revolve around company’s present state and future objectives, and the change that is needed to achieve goals. For more information on the method (in Finnish), see the Gofore website, and you can reach Riikka Jakovuori. Contact info at previously linked website.

    Agile experimenting is part of 6Aika: Ecosystems of Growth -project.

    The project aims to generate new business activities in city regions and support growth oriented companies to better access networks and innovation ecosystems that support their needs. Project is a joint effort by the six largest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Turku and Oulu, together with the Council of Tampere Region. The idea of cities having a significant role in developing and activating networks to support innovation in companies, guides project implementation.

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