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Sungai Johor

A A LTO U N I V E R S I T Y E X E C U T I V E E D U C AT I O N

S TA RT- U P C A L L E D S I N G A P O R E Reportage from the economic wonder city

Vol 3, Autumn 2015

T E KO N G

PULAU UBIN

P O RE

CHANGI A I R P O RT

CENTRAL C AT C H M E N T N AT U R E R E S E R V E

IT TIMAH

SINGAPORE B O TA N I C GARDENS

OWN D OW N TOW N CORE SINGAPORE RIVER GARDENS B Y T H E B AY

S E N TO S A

Si

a ng

p

e or

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tra

it

DESI G N B U SI NE SS   I dealism still lives at Artek. CAREER P LA NNI NG    H ow to shape a modern career path? I MPAC T � EXPERIEN C E    A alto EE participants and faculty share their stories. PRI VATE VS.  PUBL I C    W hat could the two worlds learn from each other?


K H AT I B

K H AT I B MARSILING

YIO CHU KA

KRANJI

ANG MO KIO

SUNGEI KADUT TEN MILE JUNCTION

BISHAN

YEW TEE BRADDELL

B U K I T PA N J A N G CHOA CHU KANG

M A RY M O U N T

CHESNUT

BUKIT GOMBAK

THOMSON

T O A P AY O H

H I L LV I E W B U K I T B ROW N

B U K I T B AT O K

NOVENA

HUME ANAK BUKIT

S I X T H AV E N U E

DUNEARN

EER

B O O N L AY

N E W TO N

A DA M

ENG NEO

O RC H A R D

CHINESE GARDEN

LAKESIDE

WHITLEY

FA R R E R CLEMENTI

J U RO N G E A S T

SOMERSET

DOVER

HOLLAND

B U O N A V I S TA

DHOBY GHAUT

C O M M O N W E A LT H

O N E N O RT H

Q U E E N S TOW N KENT RIDGE C H I N AT O W N

REDHILL WEST COA ST TIONG BAHRU

O U T R A M PA R K PA S I R PA N J A N G

TA N J O N G P A G A H A R B O U R F RO N T

ALEXANDRA

T E LO K B L A N G A H

G AT E W AY S E N TO S A

SHEN


PUNGGOL

ANG

O SENGKANG

B U A N G KO K LO RO N G C H UA N G HOUGANG

KO V A N

SERANGOON WOODLEIGH

P OTO N G PA S I R

BOON KENG KAKI BUKIT

Q U A R RY P A R K

TA M P I N E S

WOODSVILLE R E S E RV O I R

MACPHERSON

FA R R E R PA R K GEYLANG BARU

CHAI CHEE ALJUNIED BENDEMEER

LITTLE INDIA

TEMASEK SIMEI

EUNOS TA N A H M E R A H KEMBANGAN

P AYA L E B A R

BEDOK

RO C H O R KALLANG

EXPO

L AV E N D E R

D A KO TA

EA ST COA ST

M O U N T B AT T E N

T E LO K KU R AU

BUGIS BRAS BASAH

S TA D I U M M A R I N E PA R A D E N I C O L L H I G H W AY

CITY HALL

P RO M E N A D E RAFFLES PLACE B AY F R O N T

LANDMARK

AR M A R I N A B AY TO N MARINA VIEW


Dive into another world.

Autumn 2015 sees the world premiere of The Little Mermaid along with other new and classic works at the Finnish National Opera. Look beneath the surface: opera.fi/en


Aalto Leaders’ Insight is published and curated by Aalto University Executive Education. This magazine is a library of insights. The five long form articles – we call them Books – focus on different aspects of leadership, business and self-development. Aalto University Executive Education offers high-quality executive education (Aalto EE), professional development services for specialists and managers (Aalto PRO), and creative solutions covering the entire entrepreneurship lifecycle (Aalto ENT). Aalto University brings to our offering a multidisciplinary approach, together with innovative learning methods; this provides a unique combination of practical expertise with latest research.


Vol 3: Autumn 2015

CONTENTS

S TA R T news, columns, and insights Pages 10–26 Welcome to the New Aalto University Executive Education premises 11–13 Figures: Aalto University 14 How to Measure Impact? 17 My View: Marketing Only Evolves Through Curiosity 15-16 New Foresight on Russia 18 Column by Riitta Kosonen The Importance of Coming Together 21 Column by Mikko Laukkanen New in Science and Research 19–22 Aalto EE News 23-26

LO N G - F O R M BOOK 1 Re portage Pages 27–46 What a Ride Singapore: from the third world to the first world in 50 years.


BOOK 2 Se lf-deve lopme nt Pages 47–60 How to Choose a New Career Path? Planning a career path is different than it used to be – but it is still in your own hands.

BOOK 3 busine ss case Pages 61–70 Art,Technology & Propaganda Mirkku Kullberg, Artek’s former CEO, talks about the way cultural heritage can be turned into business.

BOOK 4 Words of wi sdom Pages 71–80 In Constant Conflict What a peculiar place: visiting the atelier of artist Riitta Nelimarkka.

BOOK 5 leade r ship Pages 81–89 Back to School Esko Aho talks about the lessons he learned as a Nokia leader and the Prime Minister of Finland.

— I M PAC T & E X P E R I E N C E participants and aalto e e faculty met up at singapore summit 2015 Pages 90–103 EMBA Experiences Pages 95–103 My View: Lecturer Ayesha Khalid 96 My Story: Participant Rami Hakala 98 Figures: Aalto University Executive Education 94, 101

— Aalto Leade r s’ Insight Online Stream 105


F O R E W O R D

CROSSOVER THINKING

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PHOTO ALEX TREADWAY

hen preparing this issue of Aalto Leaders’ Insight, the editorial team began to worry whether we’d become too distanced from hardcore management: were we being societal instead of business-minded, and so broad we lacked focus? After a short deliberation, we decided the answer was no. Diversity lies at the very heart of what Aalto EE stands for. Aalto University is a crossover of art, technology, and business. In this issue, one of my favorite artists, Professor Riitta Nelimarkka shares her views on creativity and creation. As many business executives know, meeting room capabilities do not always lead to prompt action. This is where we can learn from the least business-minded. This fall, Aalto University’s Executive in Residence Mr. Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland and Nokia executive, will deliver our first Leadership in Business and Society program together with Professor Robert Putnam from Harvard Kennedy

School. Mr. Putnam is one of the most respected scholars in the fields of social trust, justice, and social cohesion, Mr. Aho sharing his views. The compelling story of becoming Singapore challenges many of the cherished views of the superiority of the Nordic model, but also casts light on the darker sides of the Asian Lion City. Role-modeling is difficult as we know. On a more personal level, the article on career planning and advancement is worth reading.Whether our commitments match our convictions is a question we should ask ourselves more often.The case of Artek joining Vitra is a piece of forward-looking reading, and the very thing we need at least in the current European moody environment. ◆

Read Aalto Leaders’ Insight online or get the mobile reader now! aaltoee.com/insight

PEKKA MATTILA , EDITOR IN CHIEF GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR, AALTO UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE EDUCATION PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE, AALTO UNIVERSITY

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S TA RT NEWS, COLUMNS & INSIGHTS

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F O R M F RO M T H E 19 5 0 S , A RT F RO M T H E 2 0 0 0 S Welcome to the new Aalto University Executive Education premises in the historical main building of Aalto University School of Business.The landmark building was completed in 1950, and the spirit of the era still strongly resides in the building’s form and interiors. In addition to leading-edge management education, Aalto EE brings a splash of contemporary visual language to the building’s A wing in the form of works by leading Finnish artists.

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1 Markku Laakso’s painting Elvis eksyksissä – Elvis lost in the corridor of the new premises. 2 Ilkka Väätti’s Porras – Stair 1. 3 Hannu Väisänen’s March red in one of the smaller spaces. 4 The biggest space has the capacity for up to 120 persons. It is dominated by Riitta Nelimarkka’s triptych Omnipotentia. 5 & 6: 1950s feel in the corridors.

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7 The space for up to 68 persons was named after Marjatta Tapiola, featuring her striking piece Minotauros ja kallo – Minotauros and skull. 8 One of the smaller spaces houses two works of art by Cris af Enehielm: Sitruunapoika – Lemon boy (right) and Kalakaksoset – The Fishertwins (left).

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he new premises of Aalto University Executive Education are located in the historical main building of Aalto University School of Business, in the Etu-Töölö district of Helsinki. Completed in 1950, the building is a landmark in the area and serves as a fine example of Finnish functionalism. It has been described as one of the most significant representatives of post-war reconstruction period architecture in Finland. The main building of Aalto University School of Business

was designed by architects Woldemar Baeckman and Hugo Harmia. The duo’s design won an architecture competition already in 1941, but construction couldn’t begin until after the war in 1948. In his time, Baeckman also designed buildings for Åbo Akademi in Turku. Designed by interior architects Olli Borg, Ilmari Tapiovaara, and Maija Heikinheimo, the original interior of the building in Etu-Töölö has been preserved well until this day. The brick facade is dominated vol 3

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by reliefs by Michael Schilkin. The Aalto EE premises in wing A of the School of Business’ main building were completed in May 2015.Aalto EE will be adding a splash of contemporary art to the traditional interior. Each separate space houses a work of art by a prominent Finnish artist, and has been named accordingly.This way, the premises merge functionalism of the 1950s with the visual language of the 2000s – the history of the building with the ideas and demands of today. ◆

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S T A R T / UNSRETEW N A/ SL FC E N F I G : ITA TAIOC AS R TU CNFEII VL &E R ? R SEI ST EY A R C H

A A LTO U N I V E R S I T Y – W H E R E S C I E N C E A N D A RT MEET TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS

20,000 380 3,500 students, of whom

professors

are doctoral students

THE FINANCIAL F O OT P R I N T O F A A LTO E E Through its operations, Aalto University Executive Education Ltd contributed a total of approximately

6 schools in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and with over 300 years of combined history: School of Business School of Arts, Design and Architecture

2 million euros

School of Science School of Chemical Technology

back to the Aalto community in 2014, in various forms, including dividends, lecture fees, and rent.

Over

School of Electrical Engineering School of Engineering

100 

bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

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PHOTO JUNNU LUSA

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 “ M A R K E T I N G O N LY E VO LV E S T H RO U G H CURIOSITY” “70% of offline sales are generated by online content. Omni­ channel is the future for marketing in any industry, and the CIO will be the CMO’s best friend”, predicts Federico Barbieri, former President of Bottega Veneta in Europe.

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love the startup culture”, Federico Barbieri says. “Startup companies have no legacy, no heritage, no resources – but they have a lot of passion and they think anything is possible! Everyone has a say in a startup and new leaders emerge.” Barbieri spoke at Aalto University’s Divia Forum in May 2015. Barbieri’s marketing experience has covered everything from niche luxury brands such as Bottega Veneta to household names like Nike and Nokia. “In old economy companies people are given leaders. Employees follow managers because they are paid to do so. Most of the time the leaders don’t hire people to challenge what they do”, Barbieri says. “Moving fast and challenging the status quo are preconditions to accomplishing change. You can only achieve this with the right kind of people on your team, people who want to follow you as a leader. Security in uncertain times comes from your confidence in leading the change.” Barbieri has an inimitable way of combining creative and strategic thinking with analytical marketing skills – and his knowledge of digital and technology

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S T A R T

as growth-driving marketing tools make his message up­-to-­ the-­minute for the Divia crowd. “Finns tend to lack confidence in the value of what they are marketing. Brazil has the same issue and it is simply crazy. Consumers would love to buy Finnish, but you need to have confidence and be proud of what you are selling!” “Finland has content; high quality content: product, design, technology, and heritage. These things are not common or easy to achieve. But selling them in the home market is not enough, you must market globally”, Barbieri underlines. “How? It’s not possible to understand how to market yourself by looking at the world from Helsinki. Most probably a Finn who lives in London, New York, Shanghai, or Delhi has a better picture of the opportunities for Finnish brands. The same happened to me with my own country: I started seeing Italy’s qualities after living abroad for several years.” Barbieri affirms that marketing only evolves through curiosity: all marketing managers should find a way to dedicate 20% of their time and 2% of their budget to something that has nothing to do with a predictable process. “Traditional companies tend to be very uncomfortable with

Federico Barbieri served as the senior vice president of digital and e­ business at KERING since January 2012 until January 2015. A former President of Bottega Veneta in Europe, he has held a variety of senior-­ level marketing and digital communications roles over the years, for companies such as Nike, Nokia, Mandarina Duck and Alpargats. He earned a degree in engineering from Università di Bologna and a master’s in marketing and communications from Fondazione Cuoa.

uncertainties. Day to day, they try to find certainties, act rationally and get predictable results. If you are only rational in your marketing you may be effective in the short term, but not in the

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long run. If you are too creative you may not be effective at all. You need to learn to combine the two.” Barbieri knows you cannot speak of marketing in 2015 without mentioning digitalization and Big Data. “Companies need omnichannel marketing strategies, because the customers already are omnichannel. Everything that can be digital will be digital – but never taking the place of real life – just improving it.” “Big Data is a hyper trend. Of course better data harmonization gives companies a better picture of what’s out there. But marketers should remember that what really connects your proposition to the customer is insight; and insight is not a number.” “Do not underestimate small data. Good marketing is about creating an emotional connection with your customer. Small data is peculiar and qualitative information that is very hard to get. Small things are what make your message to your customer super relevant.” ◆ Joanna Sinclair

Federico Barbieri was a key note speaker at Divia – Aalto EE’s Forum for Digital Business. Divia brings together six times a year key players in digital business and research conducted at Aalto University. More info: www. divia.fi


S T A R T H O W T O

Top Mid-Range

any organizations waste both time and money due to lack of coordination and architectural view in building and running their executive education portfolios. They often sponsor a number of overlapping initiatives, get excited about flavors of the month, and overindulge by inviting all too many inspirational speakers. How to avoid fragmentation, pocket substantial cost-efficiencies, and achieve high levels of strategic alignment? 1) Anchor into the context: make sure everyone is familiar with your current culture and standing. It is the only sustainable starting point. Honesty pays off. 2) Find your own best practices: in any large organization there are pockets where high performance meets great spirit. Internal benchmarking is a great source of insight. 3) Focus on architecture: many organizations waste significant amounts of money because they don’t coordinate and control effectively. They may become heavy spenders in terms of hir-

Worst

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H OW TO M A K E S U R E T H AT YO U R L E A D E R S H I P D E V E LO P M E N T I N I T I AT I V E S D E L I V E R ?

SPIRIT Worst

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ing favorite speakers and promoting flavor-of-the-month themes with no idea of followup, continuity, or expected payback. 4) Rely on two distinct categories: often times inefficiencies and resource misallocation happen because of overlapping initiatives and random targeting among management ranks. Every effective leadership development architecture makes the difference between career stage -related initiatives and strategydriven initiatives.The former are run regularly, and can be polished to perfection over time; the latter are intense one-off initiatives sponsored by top management, and help to deep dive into vol 3

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the most pertinent strategic themes.    5) Pursue designs with longterm impact: it is relatively easy to stage a “wow” experience. Generating long-term impact is way more difficult. Sometimes many bells and whistles may just distract, and they are always costly. 6) Take it beyond broadcasting: the more senior the participants get, the more allergic to crowded PowerPoint decks they become. Doing is the new listening, and innovative action programs will gradually replace many traditional training programs. 7) Set concrete targets: the human resource development discipline is burdened with fluffy concepts and vague definitions.   8) Pick the low-hanging fruits: while keeping the long-term view, it is worth pocketing any available quick wins. People get energized and commit to the long marches, when they see concrete small changes for better in organizational routines, rituals, and structures.

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Pekka Mattila


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New fore sight on Russia

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redicting the future of business in Russia is becoming increasingly difficult, both for business people and researchers. This is because the current crisis in Russia differs from all the previous ones. In order to understand what is happening and how things are developing, we need to broaden our thinking and adopt new ways of analysis. First of all we have to broaden our analytical scope to include elements that affect the economy and business in the short, medium and long terms. In the short term, the oil price or the rate of the ruble tell us about the conditions of tomorrow’s Russia. Then, in order to predict development in the medium term, we need to consider also elements that measure the general level of trust in the Russian economy. These include the willingness of firms and people to invest and consume. Also, in order to see further in the future, we need to analyze the willingness of Russia to modernize its institutions. Before the current crisis, Russia made serious attempts to improve the business environment and managed to climb upwards in international rankings. However, these attempts are now on hold evoking questions

about Russia’s sincere willingness to play according to the standards of the international business community. Furthermore, the future of Russian business is increasingly affected by processes that go far beyond economic aspects. This is because economic, political and social decision-making is concentrated in small circles – often in one man, the President, and draws mainly from political aspirations and goals, rather than economic and social realities and needs. And last but not least: all attempts to predict the future in Russia should be made in a non-normative manner. Traditionally, western analyses tend to concentrate Russia through a western understanding of how economic and social systems, such as the market economy, democracy, the role of the press, and attitudes towards the rule of law, should be constructed. However, in the current turmoil, the western normative viewpoint does not work. It does not show us the new rationales that can be documented in polls throughout Russia with strong emphasis on geopolitical thinking, patriotism and criticism towards old cooperation models with the west. ◆

RIITTA KOSONEN is a professor and Director of Center for Markets in Transition at the Aalto University School of Business. She is in charge of several multidisciplinary research projects, which provide scientifically rigorous and societally

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relevant research on emerging markets, especially on Russia and China, and on the competitiveness of the Baltic Sea region in the global economy.

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BREAKING SOCIAL MEDIA ECHO CHAMBERS [ B E H AV I O R ]

Aalto University researchers aim to enrich the online news consumption by quantifying controversies in social media. The research so far focuses on Twitter, but the methodology is applicable to other social media platforms as well. After quantifying the controversies of news topics in the social media, the research aims to provide tools to improve the variety of news consumed online, even to break out of their own echo chambers. “Our first research question was whether it is possible to find out if a topic is controversial or not - in other words, whether we can calculate a controversy score for a given topic”, says doctoral candidate Kiran Garimella. The researchers studied ten Twitter conversations associated with hashtags that are known to

Conversation graphs with retweet (top) and follow (bottom) features. On the left controversial #beefban (a, e) and #russia_march (b, f ); on the right non-controversial #sxsw (c, g) and #germanwings (d, h).

be controversial, such as #ukraine and #beefban, and their retweets, follows, keywords and combinations of these. In comparison they also studied ten benign topics as well, such as #mothersday and #FF. The research shows how to analyze the diffusion structure of a given topic in a social network, and quantify the degree of controversy for the topic. “We decided to focus on controversial topics, as we believe that they introduce larger bias: given a controversial topic people tend to take sides, and as news that support their side are more

palatable, they end up ignoring and, critically, not endorsing news from the other side”, continues Kiran Garimella. The phenomenon of taking sides is known to create echo chambers, and they have been also identified in previous studies. “Our ultimate objective is to empower users to analyze, visualize, and ultimately control their news diet, and eventually give people the tools to improve the variety of news they consume online, if they want, and break out of their echo chambers”, concludes Garimella.

F O L LO W T H AT N A N O S AT E L L I T E !

dents working on the project report the model is getting close to take off.

[TECHNOLOGY]

Flight model of the Aalto-1 nanosatellite is being assembled piece by piece at the Otaniemi campus of Aalto Univesity School of Engineering.The stuvol 3

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Follow the assembly process: on Twitter: twitter.com/aaltoone or on Facebook: facebook.com/ AaltoSatellites

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LIFE ON MARS – ALMOST L I T E R A L LY [TECHNOLOGY]

Ice researcher Christiane Heinicke and five other researchers are to spend one year in a research station that mimics the conditions on the planet Mars. The experiment is part of a one-year Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) -mission, which began this August. Heinicke and the rest of the crew will live in a remote habitat located half-way up the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. “At this point, I am super ex-

4-7 Amount of films Images of Harmony and Rupture project will initiate over a period of four years.

DOCUMENTING MODERN P OV E RT Y [ A RT S ]

A research project in the cinematic arts examines the transition of the welfare society and challenges the technical traditions of documentary film.

cited. It was a relatively spontaneous decision to take part in this mission”, she tells. Heinicke has worked at Aalto University as a postdoctoral researcher under Professor Jukka Tuhkuri in the Mechanics of Materials group at the Department of Applied Mechanics. “In terms of research, my work at HI-SEAS will be very different from my research at Aalto”, she says.

Director Susanna Helke has started her Images of Harmony and Rupture project with a grant from the Kone Foundation.The intention of the multiyear project is to get several documentary films started during it.An equally significant goal is to challenge the traditions of social documentaries. “Models, formats that filmmakers unconsciously follow, emerge from the traditions of documentary film”, Helke, Documentary Film Professor at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, notes. “Poverty has always been a solid subject when you wanted

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The study in Hawaii aims at identifying the factors that affect team performance during longduration space travel. Conditions resemble a Martian research base. Every crew member is required to wear a spacesuit when venturing outside. Communications are delayed by 20 minutes each direction to simulate transmission over interplanetary distances. Besides being the guinea pigs, the crew will also conduct their own research. Christiane Heinicke’s projects involve the extraction of water from the ground and sleep. Christiane Heinicke blogs about her experience: http://scilogs.de

a documentary film to react to social transition.” But, as society and societal rhetoric have changed, so must traditions also be challenged. “An impulse that gets a new kind of thinking in motion is needed. It is important to consider how and why things are done and how they are perceived.” At least four synopsis-stage documentary films are included in the project. Two of these are thesis works being made by Master’s degree students. Postdoc researcher, director Jouko Aaltonen is working on a film of his own and Helke is also doing background research for a film.


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n our hyper-connected world with access to all the latest academic research always at our finger tips and colleagues from around the world just a Skype-call away, there is something magical about 10,000 academics choosing to travel to one location to share and discuss their work. This is made all the more impressive by the fact that these five days of PowerPoint-presentations and panel discussions take place in the middle of the summer vacation season. I’m writing this column during the first days of August from the impressive Vancouver Convention Center, where the 2015 Academy of Management Annual Meeting is in full swing. This conference is our industry’s most important trade fair. Some researchers prefer the more intimate, topic-specific, or localized conferences, but for getting a comprehensive overview of where research in the field of management is going,AoM can’t be beaten. Conferences are a venue for showing work that is likely to be a few years away from coming out in publications, as the feedback provided by knowledgeable colleagues on works-inprogress is an important part of the research and publication process. For the participants, this gives a unique preview of where discussions in various fields are progressing to. Looking at the meeting statistics gives you a sense of the scale of the event and reveals some points about the state of academic research from around the world. During the five

days, a total of 3,364 papers will be presented to an audience of 10,642 participants from 84 countries. Simply going through the program and deciding your schedule for the five days takes a few hours (thankfully, as the tagline goes, there’s an app for that). As for the countries and universities being represented by the participants, to no great surprise, the United States and United Kingdom dominate the list with 4,608 and 865 participants from each respectively. Finland leads the Nordic countries with an impressive 147 participants. Perhaps tellingly, the more domestically oriented academies of the Russian Federation and France have sent delegations of only 23 and 269 people respectively (compare France’s number with for example Germany’s delegation of 545). The university rankings are led by Harvard University’s massive delegation of 86 participants, but Aalto University isn’t far behind with 56 of my colleagues joining me on the long journey to Vancouver. My recommendation to you is to ask yourself what is your industry’s “AoM Annual Meeting”. Despite having been told years ago that the Internet killed the traditional trade convention, the thousands gathered in Vancouver seem to see a great value in coming to drink coffee and chat with colleagues during the most beautiful days of the summer. ◆

DR. MIKKO LAUKKANEN is the Academic Director and Head of Thought Leadership at Aalto EE. He is also a Researcher

at the Aalto University School of Business and frequently lectures in Aalto EE’s programs around the world.

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URBAN PLANNING S U P P O RT S CHILDREN’S MOBILITY [ U R BA N E N V I RO M E N T ]

With good urban planning, it is possible to encourage children’s active transportation and independent mobility, suggests a new dissertation. Across the western world, children are getting around by foot or by bike independently less than before. Obesity among the Finnish youth has tripled in thirty years. “Finnish children do structured exercise more than previously, but the amount of unstruc-

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tured exercise during free-time, and walking as well as cycling to get around has decreased”, states Anne Broberg, Master of Science. Broberg defended her dissertation on the multiple settings of children’s active transportation and independent mobility at Aalto University this August. The study looks at the mobility of children in their fifth school year and young people in their seventh and eighth school years. According to the study, the distance is the most decisive factor in choosing the type of transport. Children like to walk to school when the distance is around one kilometre, and three kilometres can easily be man-

If you are working as a CFO, controller or other financial executive, you no longer can be just a number-crusher. You need to have a holistic view of leading a financial organization and strong strategic competence. This means in-depth understanding of tools

for financial analysis, risk management, business valuation, leadership skills and new ways to influence and communicate. Visit aaltoee.com to find out if the Aalto Financial Executive program is what you are looking for.

R E S E A RC H E R S D E M O N S T R AT E D THE FIRST INVISIBLE SENSORS

“These absorbers are completely transparent at non-operational frequencies”, concludes researcher Viktar Asadchy. These functionalities can lead to a variety of applications for radio astronomy and stealth technology. They can also be useful in everyday life. “This research will also open new venues for general light control and enable novel devices such as flat lenses and light beam transformers”, explains Asadchy.

[TECHNOLOGY]

Researchers at the Aalto University Department of Radio Science and Engineering have demonstrated the first realization of absorbers that do not reflect light over a wide range of frequencies. a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

aged by bike. A reasonably compact environment supports independent and active mobility. According to Broberg, we should see the entire city as a setting that encourages mobility and physical activity instead of merely designing specific playgrounds, sports halls and sports grounds intended for children and the youth. Attention should be paid to places that children and young people find meaningful. “Urban planning could pay more attention to how young people behave, and reflect on whether things that encourage mobility and physical activity could be generated to settings favored by young people.”

· 24 ·

vol 3

ILLUSTRATION JARKKO HYPPÖNEN

S T A R T


SOURCE: ELLUN KANAT COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY, DIALOGI INITIATIVE

S T A R T

72%

of women are interested in a middle management position. 29% 25%

71%

A A L T O

E E

N E W S

51%

of women think they have what it takes for a management position.

21%

/

of women are interested in a top management position.

18%

of women think the Finnish management field is equal.

30% 17%

13%

2014 2015

2014 2015

2014 2015

Number of female leaders in top management (in Finland)

Number of female leaders on boards (in Finland)

Companies without female leaders (in Finland)

PA RT N E R S H I P : A L E A D E R S H I P C OAC H I N G P RO G R A M F O R WO M E N [BUSINESS]

“Women for Leadership – There’s Space at the Top” is the latest theme of the Dialogi initiative facilitated by Helsinkibased communications agency Ellun Kanat.The theme serves as a basis for dialogue between female employees and management, as well as on societal level. Aalto EE partners with the initiative, producing a leadership coaching program for female teams in business life. This year, participants in the

30%

of women think men and women have the same career advancement possibilities.

Dialogi initiative include Accenture, Elisa, F-Secure, Fujitsu, Ilmarinen, Lidl, RAY, Skanska, UPM, and Wärtsilä. Launched at the beginning of March, so far companies have been busy identifying key challenges and solutions to promote women’s careers. Under the initiative, Fempower movement challenges people to commit to promoting the careers of girls and women. You can make your own commitment at: www.fempower.fi vol 3

· 25 ·

KEY CHALLENGES

1

Subconscious prejudices. This is tackled through training and open discussions within companies.

2

Women’s personal attitudes and lack of courage. Attitude changes are sought through mentoring, management work, coaching, and by creating practices to support work-life balance.

3

Women’s career paths and lack of business skills. The issue could be addressed through conscious career planning, job circulation in companies, and training in business skills.

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t


S T A R T

/

A A L T O

E E

N E W S

FINANCIAL TIMES: A A LTO E E I M P ROV E S I T S RANKING [ E X E C U T I V E E D U C AT I O N ]

Aalto University Executive Education improved its position among the top 50 executive education providers in the annual Financial Times Executive Education ranking. This year, Aalto EE achieved a global ranking of 47th, one place higher than last year. Aalto EE’s strengths include internationality, learning methods with high impact, and quality of training. According to the Financial Times, Aalto EE’s teaching methods are a successful combination of hands-on learning and academic knowledge. Customers felt that they had achieved the set targets and obtained new skills relevant to their work. Customers also appreciated the skilled faculty and the high quality of training, and Aalto EE’s expertise in course design, all of which translates into a coherent program offering. As in previous years, the ranking cited Aalto EE’s internationality and its global partner network as specific strengths. Aalto EE’s strategic partner, Spanish top school ESADE, ranked eighth in the listing. The ranking is based on customer feedback and statistics provided by the schools. The Financial Times only ranks the top 50 executive education providers. Globally, executive education and MBA programs are offered by around 4,000 institutions. The top three executive education establishments in the ranking remained the same: Iese Business School, HEC Paris and IMD. 

C O O P E R AT I O N TO B O O S T C H I N A’ S H E A LT H C A R E M A N AG E M E N T [ C O O P E R AT I O N ]

Recently, Aalto EE signed a strategic agreement together with HNA Unicare Health Group and Pan Asia International Education Center in Beijing to establish the first Healthcare Management Business School. The three parties are committed to jointly develop and offer high-quality international management programs in areas such as medical science, pharmaceuticals and healthcare management. The Healthcare Management Business School will offer programs that combine expertise in areas of medical science, pharmaceuticals and healthcare management from Europe, America, Taiwan and mainland China.The coopera-

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

· 26 ·

vol 3

tion aims to offer short-term healthcare management programs, executive development programs, and EMBA and MBA degree programs. “The Healthcare Management Business School will attract people from many wellknown Chinese and international health institutions to come to study, and will furthermore become a talent pool that supports the development of the health service industry in China”, says academician Han Demin, Chairman of Unicare Group. “We believe that this cooperation will be able to provide Chinese executives in healthcare with an innovative mindset and open a new chapter in the development of China’s medical management”, continues Mr. Henry Huang, Director, Pan Asia International Education Center. The year 2015 marks the 65th anniversary of Sino-Finnish diplomatic relations.


ILLUSTRATION JARKKO HYPPÖNEN

S T A R T

/

A A L T O

E E

N E W S

HKSCAN AND A A LTO E E TO S TA RT E X T E N S I V E LEADERSHIP AC A D E M Y [ C O O P E R AT I O N ]

HKScan and Aalto EE have agreed on extensive training cooperation in order to strengthen the capabilities and professional value of HKScan leaders and specialists. HKScan is the leading Nordic meat expert.They produce, market and sell pork, beef, poultry and lamb products, processed meats and convenience foods under many brand names and in many countries. In 2014, HKScan

APPOINTMENTS AT A A LTO E E [PEOPLE]

Hanna-Riikka Myllymäki has been appointed the new Business Area Director of Aalto University Executive Education, Degree Programs. Before her appointment, she was the company’s Solutions Director, tailoring programs and project management training for companies. The academic aspects of degree programs is the responsibility of  Mikko Laukkanen,  D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus.Adm.), Head of Thought Leadership, alongside his current duties. Minna Hiillos,

had net sales of approximately EUR 2 billion and some 7,700 employees. Training of the first group will begin in June, and the cooperation is scheduled to continue until December 2017. By that time, approximately 130 leaders and specialists from different parts of the organization globally will have completed the program. “We highly appreciate Aalto EE’s expertise; they have been

who was previously in charge of these areas, left the company for new challenges. ”I am glad that we found someone for this position within our company. Hanna-Riikka Myllymäki will be able to implement the recent EMBA and parttime MBA reforms and through her own expertise will make the degree programs even stronger”, says Pekka Mattila. Katja Vainio was appointed Head of Sales and Customer Value on 1 August 2015. Before joining Aalto EE, she held the position of Commercial Director for Meetings & Events Nordic at Carlson Wagonlit Travel. She has a solid background in

vol 3

· 27 ·

able to provide a well-designed solution to our needs”, says Sari Suono, Executive Vice President, HR at HKScan.“It has been delightful to witness the commitment of HKScan’s top management from the very beginning.   All Management Team members contributed to specifying the goals and special focus areas of the training program”, says Raija Kuokkanen, Business Area Director, Customized Solutions at Aalto EE.

Hanna-Riikka Myllymäki

international corporate sales and the management of profitable operative sales.

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t


S T A R T

LEADERSHIP D E V E LO P M E N T FOR THE INSURANCE I N D U S T RY [ C O O P E R AT I O N ]

Aalto EE commences leadership development program with LocalTapiola insurance group. The program will be targeted at the management of LocalTapiola Group. “Leadership and management skills need to be constantly developed in order to address growing customer expectations, digitalization, and changes on the market”, state CEO Erkki Moisander and HR Director Sari Kuusela from LocalTapiola Group. LocalTapiola is a group of customer-owned insurance companies that offers products and services in the areas of liability insurance, life insurance, and pension insurance, as well as investments and saving. In addition, the Group offers corporate risk management and occupational welfare services. LocalTapiola has approximately 3,400 employees and nearly 1.6 million customer owners.

/

A A L T O

E E

N E W S

S T U DY O N FINNISH C O M PA N I E S : DA R I N G TO I N V E S T O N LY I N D I G I TA L I Z AT I O N [BUSINESS]

According to the responses to a recent Finnish study targeted at top executives of large companies, subcontracting and purchasing in Finland are set to rise. Finland also increasingly attracts production and corporate activities. Particularly companies with a Finnish shareholder base demonstrate commitment to domestic production. Companies with Finnish roots are focusing less on outsourcing and suspending activities, which is another indicator of improved confidence. On the other hand, investment in staff development is dwindling.“There’s a clear underlying divide: while some are Finland’s 250 largest companies generate more than

80 %

investing in expertise and competence, others think of these as easy ways to cut costs - hopefully not to their own detriment”, says Pekka Mattila from Aalto EE. Investments of large enterprises began to decline in 2014, and impending investment plans are modest. Companies only

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

· 28 ·

dare to invest in digitalization. “The investment scenarios of large companies are threateningly weak. Companies don’t see economic development prospects and their operating environments as optimal for investing. This development trend could soon hamper future potential”, claims Hannu Jaatinen, Head of Corporate Banking at Pohjola. According to the study, representatives of large companies felt they faced increasingly tough competition on the market. One of the positive outcomes of the study was that amid tightening competition, an increasing number of directors of large Finnish companies trusted strongly in the durability and competitive edge of their operations. The study confirms previous findings of an increasingly clear divide between winners and losers. The study on the operations and prospects of large Finnish

vol 3

of the entire turnover of the Finnish private sector.

companies was conducted for the third time in cooperation with the Nordic Institute of Business and Society (NIBS), a think tank set up by professors from Aalto University School of Business, and Pohjola. 147 key executives from 107 large enterprises participated in the study.


BOOK 1 [ R E P O RTA G E ]

W H AT A R I D E In just fifty years, a poor fishing village turned into a booming metropolis that outshines the rest of the world. What’s the secret behind the Singapore miracle – and can it be cloned? Journalist Reetta Räty took a ride on the city-state’s metro to find out.

vol 3

· 29 ·

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t


PHOTOS REETTTA RĂ„TY

1

1. Marina Bay Sands. 2. Esther Hoon, Maevis Lee, Lee Teng, Kathleen Loo, and are having lunch in Chinatown. Singapore is one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, at the hawker center you can have lunch for about 4 euros.

2

3 3 3

3. In Singapore, it is common to see a temple, a mosque, and a church next to each other. These pictures are from Chinatown and Arab Street. 4. Singapore metro is cheap, clean, and fast. In Singapore, the metro system is known as MRT or Mass Rapid Transit. 4


E N O RT H

O U T R A M PA R K

LANDMARK

ST

Q U E E N S TOW N TA N J O N G PA G A R

NICOLL

H A R B O U R F RO N T REDHILL T E LO K B L A N G A H

T E LO K

M A R I N A B AY

C H I N AT O W N

P RO M E N A D E

S H E N TO N

G AT E W AY

MARINA VIEW

TIONG BAHRU

B AY-

S E N TO S A

F I ORUST RTA MSPTO ARK P : TIONG B AHRU

N E X T S TO P : LANDMARK M A R I N A B AY

Tiong Bahru metro station epitomizes much of “I never thought Singapore could turn out like this.” TA N J O N G PA G A R theHrest clean to the point of sterile, Leonard C. Sebastian is a professor at the S. RaA R B of O USingapore: R F RO N T M AStudies R I N A B AY clearly signposted, crowded – and growing by the jaratnam School of International at NanB L A Nday. G A H Notices about the construction of a new Syang H E N TTechnological ON University. He is standing in G AT E W AY shopping center for the station are childishly front of a window at Swisshotel congress M A Rcenter, INA VIEW S E N T O– S AEnergizing Heart & gushing: Tiong Bahru Plaza offering dazzling views over Marina Bay Center’s Soul! For leasing opportunities, please contact us! To- three towering skyscrapers with a boat-shaped wards a more flourishing Singapore! building nestled in between. The famous infinity Information about the extension is available in pool, palm trees, and casino are tucked away in the four languages on the construction site walls; Ta- heights in the distance. mil, Malay, English, and Chinese. A river runs through the Marina Bay shopping Down in the metro tunnels, the multitude of center, beckoning for a little boat journey to spot signposts continues: smoking forbidden; explo- Armani, Boss, Chanel, Fendi, Givenchy, Gucci, sives forbidden; eating and drinking forbidden; Burberry, Porsche Design, and the list continues. carrying odorous durian fruit forbidden. Explo- A futuristic cube floating on the water is a Louis sives would land you the biggest penalty, but even Vuitton store. eating would result in a hefty fine of 500 SingaIt all feels very over-the-top and artificial. pore Dollars, i.e. about EUR 310. Leonard C. Sebastian was brought up in SingaWhat about the people? pore. As a child, the country was a modest piece Diverse, is the first thought that comes to mind of land neighboring Malaysia, close to the equator. – Chinese, Muslim, Indian, Western expats. Con- It was home to fishermen and farmers, with small struction workers and business people, school kids villages dotted around the island. Singapore beand elderly people. came independent exactly fifty years ago in 1965, And smartphones, everywhere. and the rest is history. A metro journey gives you Singapore in a nutAt purchasing power parity, Singapore has the shell.The city-state that is currently celebrating its third-highest GDP per capita in the world at EUR 50th anniversary is multicultural but harmonious, 74,000, and the unemployment rate is close to zero. self-aware but obedient. The total opposite to its Professor Sebastian promises to outline some humble beginnings as a fishing village fifty years background to Singapore’s success story. ago, when it was ousted from Malaysia, quarrelLet’s begin with geography. some, and poor. Right from the start, Singapore was a type of Asian How did this happen? We set off to find an take on the Suez Canal. It became the perfect port explanation to the Singapore miracle.The distance of call for Europeans on their way to Japan and othto the other end of Singapore is just 40 kilometers, er parts of Asia. Also the airport became a sanctuary so we may as well do our exploration from the for Japanese and Western business people catching comforts of a metro. their connecting flights to Indonesia or Australia.

vol 3

· 31 ·

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t


S I N G A P O R E : A S H O RT H I S TO RY CHINA

TA I W A N

BURMA

LAOS

THAILAND

S o u th C h in a S e a CAMBODIA VIETNAM PHILIPPINES

M A L AY S I A

M A L AY S I A

Aalto EE Singapore Summit 2015 was held near the historical Raffles Hotel (1887–). Picture from the year 1932.

INDONESIA INDONESIA

Indian Oce an

Java S e a

Colonization: Modern Singapore was founded in 1819, when Sir Stamford Raffles was given permission to establish a trading post of the East India Company on the island. Singapore became a commercial hub of British colonial rule in Asia.

1800

Japanese Occupation: Singapore was occupied by the Japanese during World War II in 1942-45. The country became a self-governing state after the war in 1959, before joining the Federation of Malaya in 1963, forming the state of Malaysia.

1900

S H O RT H I S TO RY O F T H E L I O N C I T Y

1950


Indian 7.9%

Other 1.4%

Malay 13.9% Chinese 76.8%

Taoism 8.5% Christianity 14.6% Buddhism 42.5% Islam 14.9%

MAIN RELIGION

Singapore’s Independence – Era of LKY: Discrepancies between Malaysia and Singapore led to the expulsion of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, and the independent Republic of Singapore was born. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew steered the country from its independence until 1990. During his administration, Singapore rose from a developing country to a financial giant – from a third-world to a firstworld country. The current Prime Minister is Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore’s Golden Jubilee Singapore celebrated its 50th year of independence in August 2015. Golden Jubilee celebrations, which were branded as SG50, took to the streets for the entire fall.

2000

Capital

Singapore 1°17'N 103°50'E

Official languages

English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil

Official scripts

Roman (Latin) script, Simplified Chinese Tamil

Demonym

Singaporean

Government

Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic

- President - Prime Minister - Speaker of Parliament - Chief Justice

Tony Tan Lee Hsien Loong Halimah Yacob

Legislature

Parliament

Area - Total

718.3 km2 (190th) 277 sq mi

Population - 2014 estimate - Density

5,469,700 (114th) 7,615/km2 (3rd) 19,725/sq mi

GDP (PPP) - Total - Per capita

2014 estimate Int$452.686 billion Int$82,762 (3rd)

GDP (nominal) - Total - Per capita

2014 estimate US$308.051 billion (36th) US$56,319

Gini (2012)

47.8 high · 26th

HDI (2013)

Increase 0.901 very high · 9th

Currency

Singapore dollar (SGD)

Time zone

SST (UTC+8)

Drives on the

left

Calling code

+65

Internet TLD

.sg

Sundaresh Menon

SOURCES: WIKIPEDIA, KATHLEEN TAN

E T H N I C G RO U P S

REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE


H I L LV I E W B U K I T B ROW N

U K I T B AT O K

NESE

DE

NOVENA

HUME S I X T H AV E N U E

WHITLEY

P OTO

N E W TO N AK BUKIT foreign direct inSoon, the transit stopA Nbecame a final destination. country to do business. In 2014, vestment (FDI) flows into Singapore reached B O O N K E N “It was made a convenient place forDdealing with A DA M UNEARN ENG NEO the Southeast Asian market,” Leonard C. Sebastian EUR 72.5 billion. In other words, FDI are on par with Brazil. This is not a coincidence, but a result explains. O RC H A R D GARDEN FA R R E R PA R K planning. Singapore’s geographical position has influenced of F A systematic RRER GEYLA The hotel window offers views over Singapore its development in other ways, too. C L E M E N T I J U RO N G E A S T “We’re surrounded by Muslim countries”, men- River – a bridge in the distance is now a section LITTLE IN MERSET house on tions one local after the next, asked about the of the F1 track, and a formerS Ocustoms D O V Ewhen R HOLLAND the shoreline has been revamped into a fancy oysmiracle economy. ter restaurant. A huge port with its cranes and But how does this affect the economy? BUO N A aV Icountry S TA containers can be glimpsed further in the distance. My random street panel explains that DHOBY GHAUT The view depicts Singapore’s story: its geothat’s under potential threat on every side needs to be militarily prepared. A two-year national service graphical location and determined political deci- B R A S B A S A sion-making have made it an international trade is compulsory for men in Singapore.This year, about C O M M O N W E A LT H O N E N O RT H hub, attracting both a flow of goods and money. EUR 9 billion was allocated to national defense. An external threat – or at least the idea of it – Q U E But E N S T there O W N are more special features that help understand the rapid advancement, which have has kept the Knation united. And spending on the ENT RIDGE latest fads for the armed, air, and naval forces re- nothing to do with containers or banknotes. C I T Y HIt’s ALL C H I N AT O W N quires a whole lot of money. R E D H I L L about people. Along the next stops on our metro In Singapore’s case, economy is closely tied to journey, we get to see how people view the lanWEST COA ST RAFF politics.The country believes in the market econT I O N G Bguage, A H R U housing policy, and ethnic groups. omy and meritocracy. Or to be more precise: throughout history, Singapore has fervently beO U T R A M PA R K lievedP Ain economy, meritocracy, and S I Rthe P A Nmarket JANG the world at large in the footsteps of former longterm Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew aka LKY. TA N J O N G P A G A R H A R B O U R F RO N T Lee Kuan Yew passed away in the spring, but his legacy lives on. N E X T S TO P : S H E N T O N ALEXANDRA T E LO K B L A N G A H G AT E W AY The “most competent and talented” are elected TA N J O N G PAG A R as leaders, often getting paid millions each year. S E N TO S A “The concern is that otherwise the best people The Tanjong Pagar station is located on the green will work for the private sector, as surgeons or law- metro line. At the time of its inauguration in 1987, yers, for example”, Leonard C. Sebastian clarifies. Singapore was the second country in Asia with a Singapore has no natural resources of its own, metro service. Today, as many as 3 million people which is why foreign money has always been take the metro each day, lines traversing a total of warmly welcome.The island is home to thousands 160 kilometers. of global companies and their employees: banks, Opting for the left side when driving, walking, IT firms, and insurance companies, from the U.S., and taking the escalator is a remnant from the time Holland, Japan… of British colonial rule. “It’s easy to do business in Singapore: people speak With a total of 5.6 million residents, Singapore is English, taxes are low, the system is predictable, cor- the second most densely populated city in the world ruption non-existent”, professor Sebastian lists. after Macao. Even Hong Kong has more space. The World Bank has ranked Singapore the best But metro stations don’t seem overcrowded and

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

· 34 ·

vol 3


K H AT I B MARSILING

the streets don’t smell of trash. People can be de- to be future stars: they would be fluent in both K R yet A N J diverse. I Chinese and English. scribed as tidy and well-behaved, Racial harmony is promoted both through Let’s head from the metro station towards Telok Ayer, a trendy street lined with cafés and restau- stricter legislative measures and through a softer SUNGEI KADUT approach - upbringing. rants. Here you see Singapore in all its colors: TEN MILE JUNCTION Equality between all ethnic groups, which in A Chinese Methodist church that holds services in English and Hokkien, one of the many Singapore are referred to as “races”, is drilled into YEW TEE children already in kindergarten. Racial harmony Chinese dialects. K I T PA N J A N G and festivities of each faith are celeThe construction site of a 38-story office block themeB Udays C H O A from CHU K ANG M A RY M O U N T with constuction workers Singapore, India, brated in schools. A local I talked to reminisces on her school and Bangladesh. to illustrate this philosophy: “This is Ali, he Amoy Street Food Center, offering Malaysian, books CHESNUT THOMSON BUKIT GOMBAK is Muslim. This is Krishna, he is Indian. Let’s also Chinese, Indian, and Korean street food. L LV I E W to Miao, a Chinese girl.They are all SinAl-Abrar mosque, with a group of Muslims sayH Ihello gaporean. How many sweets does Krishna have knelt down to pray on the men’s side. B U K I T B ROW B U K I T B AT O K Thian Hock Keng temple, with “Tao is univer- after he gives H U M Ehalf to Ali?” In addition, approximately 1.3 million foreigners sal” inscribed in front of the altar. S I X T H AV E N U E WHITLEY ANAK BUKIT city.About half are foreign workers, such Sri Thendayuthapani Hindu Temple, where live in the staff, bare-footed people in Indian clothing circle as builders, cleaners, nurses, A DA M D U N E service ARN E N G cooks, N E O and around, as drums are beating, fires are burning, and child-minders.“Jobs that Singaporeans don’t want to do”, Singaporeans explain. the fragrance of incense fills the air. PIONEER CHINESE GARDEN The remaining share of about 600,000 foreignIn this neighborhood, people have a variety of FA R RER mother tongues and believe in different gods.This is ers are expats in upper middle class professions. LAKESIDE CLEMENTI B O O N L AY J U RO N G E A S T a typical characteristic over here: despite diverse backgrounds, first and foremost people are Singaporean. DOVER HOLLAND VILLAGE The temples of four different faiths are located in Telok Ayer, which is no exception. Along Waterloo B U O N A V I S TA Street, you will find a Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, and DHO Hindu place of service all situated close together. Most Singaporeans have Chinese origins, followed N E X T S TO P : by Malaysian. One in ten people come from India. M AG MONW OH N EO NL O RLT A H N D V ICLOL EE A LT H At the time of its independence, Singapore’s father Lee Kuan Yew saw the diversity as a potential The Science Park can’t be reached QbyU Emetro, soN E N S TOW threat to the nation’s coherence. In order for Sin- K Elet’s hop in a taxi from Holland Village MRT StaNT RIDGE gapore to become a financial marvel and defend tion. itself against neighbors, there was no room for Science Park is an area of 350 offices, C H I N AT O R Ecorporate DHILL mutual conflict. As a result, multi-racial harmony offering work to over 9,000 people. At 1 pm, peoWEST COA ST thinking has been practiced systematically. ple are returning to their desksT I from O N G Btheir A H R Ulunch This thinking is particularly evident in the lan- break. As always it’s hot and humid outside, with guage.The language of education is English, which temperatures hovering at 30°C year round. But O U T R A M PA R K is nobody’s “own” language. Lee Kuan YewP AconS I R P A Ninside J A N G the Teletech Park building it’s freezing cold. sidered this to be both fair and useful. Especially One of the makers of Singapore’s economic those with Chinese as a mother tongue were set miracle – an entrepreneur from abroad – sits on a H A R B O U R F RO N T

ALEXANDRA

vol 3

· 35 ·

T E LO K B L A N G A H

a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

G AT E W AY S E N TO S A


S I N G A P O R E : F RO M A T H I R D WO R L D C O U N T RY TO A F I R S T MARRIAGES 1959: 5,185 1990: 24,339 2014: 26,254

U N E M P LOY M E N T 1959: 13.5%

ROA D F ATA L I T I E S

1990: 1.7%

(per 100,000 persons)

2014: 1.9%

1959: 11.7 1990: 6.7 2014: 2.9

rai

t

S I NG A P ORE

St

H OT E L RO O M S

Q U E E N S TOW N

or

1960: 1,310 (“first class”, air con or fan-ventilated rooms)

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Joh

1990: 23,807 2014: 57,172

LAND SIZE* (sq km)

Jurong Island

1959: 581.5 1990: 633 Sentosa

2014: 718.3 Bukom Island

TO U R I S T SPENDING 1960: € 24m 1990: € 4b 2014: € 15b

EXTERNAL TRADE 1959: € 5b 1990: € 130b 2014: € 622b

* Reclamated area since 1960’s

SCALE 10 KM


M A L AY S I A

GDP P E R C A P I TA Tekong Island

1959: € 784 (GNP) 1990: € 11,663 (GNP)

Pulau Ubin

2014: € 45,115

AIR LINKS

Changi Airport

1960: 125 weekly flights 11 airlines 1990: 1,900 weekly flights 52 airlines 2014: 6,500 weekly flights 100 airlines

M A R I N E PA R A D E

GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE

DOWNTOWN CORE

1959: € 154m 1990: € 8.3b 2014: € 36b

n Si

ga

r po

e

LIFE E X P E C TA N C Y AT B I RT H 1960: 65 years 1990: 74 years 2014: 82.5 years

S

tra

it

GOVERNMENT REVENUE 1959: € 190m 1990: € 10b 2014: € 39b

S I N G A P O R E S E RV E S A S A G AT E WAY : I T S ALMOST NON-EXISTENT C O R R U P T I O N R AT E , P RO F E S S I O N A L WO R K F O RC E , A N D H I G H LY D E V E LO P E D I N F R A S T R U C T U R E H AV E AT T R AC T E D W E L L OV E R 7 , 0 0 0 M U LT I C U LT U R A L C O M PA N I E S F RO M T H E U . S . , J A PA N , A N D E U RO P E .


sofa in the office building. Or maybe it’s more a case of having been lured over by the miracle? Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus is the Executive Chairman of YuuZoo, a global social e-commerce company specializing in virtual shopping centers. Zilliacus is also involved in twenty or so other companies. Why Singapore? Finnish Zilliacus first came to Singapore in his former role as Director of Nokia’s Asian operations. “Finnair flew here, so that’s why it was picked.” In 1993, Zilliacus resigned from Nokia, but soon returned to Singapore. “This is a fantastic place for entrepreneurs: low taxation. Considering that we’re in Asia, everything is smooth and easy.There’s no corruption, it’s probably the safest city in the world, the schools are excellent… If you want to do business in Asia, this is the place to be.We have another office in Shanghai, but I wouldn’t fancy living there.” Singapore’s small size coupled with its population growth means that house prices are on the rise.The monthly rent for a stylish, two-bedroom apartment in downtown Singapore is over EUR 6,000. Despite Finland’s notoriously high vehicle taxation, also cars are much more expensive in Singapore. Yet people keep coming. In spring 2015, the BBC published an article that described Singapore as an “expat utopia”.You can even drink the tap water! Zilliacus remembers a time when Singapore welcomed foreigners with open arms. Now the criteria have been changed, and the requirements for a work permit are rigorous. The idea is to protect Singaporeans from unemployment and curb the rise in house prices.According to government calculations, Singapore has room for just under 7 million people. Zilliacus reflects on what would happen, if expats wouldn’t get in as easily as until now. “Foreign companies have always helped Singapore. There was nothing here before they came. People lost their lives because of language or race, and even this place was a slum. Now it’s a me-

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tropolis unlike no other, with different races and language groups living in harmony. Singapore needs newcomers.” There are 16 different nationalities among the 35 people employed by Zilliacus’ company YuuZoo. “Some never raise their voice, others think you have to yell for something to happen. Sometimes things get difficult, but mostly it’s fun.” Zilliacus agrees with the stereotype that employees educated in Singapore are hardworking and dedicated, but lack initiative.The education system has a lot in common with schools in China: hard work, lots of memorizing, ranking lists. In the West, those who have difficulties at school are given extra teaching. In Asia it’s the other way round: tutors are hired to make top students excel even further. They say that the system produces hardworking employees who aren’t very innovative. “Sometimes I have to ask employees, who have responsibility and a pay check to match, whether they could just think about alternatives or solutions themselves. If this is the problem, what do you think is the solution?” Zilliacus explains. But this isn’t the whole truth. Asia is enormous, and of course also creativity and multitalented superstars abound. “Already now more innovation is generated in China than in Silicon Valley”, Zilliacus claims. Zilliacus has spent nearly 30 years in Singapore. He has witnessed a striking transformation, and, like many others, wonders what’s next. The death of Lee Kuan Yew, who built Singapore, was a significant moment symbolically, although the country has officially been in the hands of his son Lee Hsien Loong since 2004. So far, the city-state has had a clear vision: from poverty to one of the wealthiest, from a thirdworld to a first-world country. “Now the country has accumulated so much wealth that risk-taking has decreased”, says Zilliacus. In addition to a lack of innovation, over-cautiousness – a standstill – may turn out to be Singapore’s downfall.

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1

1. Executive Chairman of Yuuzoo, Thomas Zilliacus, works at the Science Park. Yuuzoo Corporation has more than 37 million registered users in 164 countries. 4

3

2

2. Shophouses are now renovated and turned into bars, cafes, and restaurants. 3. Shirley left Philippines in the 80’s, and came to Singapore to work. She now feels at home in Singapore.

4. Employment agencies transfer maids from the Philippines and Indonesia to well-off Singaporeans and expat families. Maids are interviewed at the corridors of the agencies. On Sundays, maids gather at the parks of Singapore to chat and have a picnic.

4


S I N G A P O R E – A F I N E C O U N T RY W I T H D E AT H P E N A LT Y A N D E F F I C I E N T H E A LT H C A R E

L E T ’ S TA L K P O L I T I C S Singapore’s head of state is the President, who has a mainly ceremonial role. Legislative powers lie with the Parliament. Head of government is the Prime Minister appointed by the Parliament. People’s Action Party (PAP) has governed Singapore’s politics since its independence. Opposition is dispersed and less established. Voting is compulsory for all citizens of 21 years and above. In the September 2015 elections, the PAP gained 83 of the 89 seats in Parliament while the opposition Workers’ Party gained six. PAP won 69.86 percent of the votes, compared to 60 percent in the 2011 elections. The full judicial power in Singapore is vested in the Supreme Court. Penalties are severe, forms of corporal punishment including caning and death penalty. Fines are given even for minor offences. Severe punishments are generally considered the reason for the country’s low crime rate. According to Amnesty International, Singapore’s execution rate is one of the world’s highest relative to its population. Murder and drug-related offences may lead to the death penalty. Most of the 400 persons hanged between 1991–2004 were guilty of drug trafficking. Singapore’s current President is Tony Tan. The country’s Prime Minster is Lee Hsien Loong, whose father Lee Kuan Yew was Prime Minister in 1959–1990. Singapore has compulsory military service of two years. Reservists are called in for training annually.

W H AT D O E S SINGAPORE MEAN?

Singapore comes from the Malay word Singapura, which is derived from Sanskrit. Singa comes from the Sanskrit word simha, which means “lion”, and . pura means “town”. Recent studies of Singapore, however, indicate that lions have never lived there, not even Asiatic lions. The beast seen by Singapore’s 13th century founder, the Srivijayan Sang Nila Utama, was most likely a tiger, probably the Malayan Tiger.

TA X : 0 – 2 0 % Singapore’s tax rates are one of the lowest among developed countries. Singapore has a progressive tax structure. After deducting personal relief, personal income tax rates are between 0-20%.

Singapore has a labor shortage in the undervalued, low-paid heavy industries. This type of work is often carried out by Malaysian and Indonesian immigrants, sometimes without work permits.


# Country Efficiency Life Health-care Health-care score expectancy costs costs per % of GDP capita (USD)

W E LC O M E , FOREIGN MONEY! According to the World Bank, Singapore is the easiest country for doing business: favorable lending to foreign investors, a simple regulatory system, tax incentives, a high-quality industrial real estate park, political stability, and the absence of corruption make Singapore an attractive destination for investment.

10.0%

United Kingdom

8.3%

Japan 7.8% Switzerland 4.3%

MAIN INVESTED SECTORS (2012) Financial and Insurance Services

43.1%

Manufacturing 20.4% Wholesale & Retail Trade

17.6%

Professional & Technical, Administrative & Support Services 5.9% Transport and storage

5.2%

Real estate

4.1%

S OURCE: STATISTICS SINGAPORE – LAST AVAILABLE DATA

11.6%

82.1

4.5

2.426

77.5

83.5

5.3

1.944

3 Italy

76.3

82.9

9.0

3.032

4 Japan

68.1

83.1

10.2

4.752

5 South Korea

67.4

81.4

7.0

1.703

19 Finland

53.3

80.6

9.3

4.232

Bloomberg ranked Singapore’s healthcare system the most efficient in the world in 2014. Singapore’s system uses a combination of compulsory savings from payroll deductions to provide subsidies within a nationalized health insurance plan known as Medisave. The vast majority of Singapore citizens have substantial savings in this scheme. One of three levels of subsidy is chosen by the patient at the time of the healthcare episode.

MAIN INVESTING COUNTRIES (2012) The Netherlands

78.6

2 Hong Kong SAR

ADORED H E A LT H C A R E S Y S T E M

According to the UNCTAD 2014 Global Investment Report, Singapore is the 5th largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investments, FDI, in the world, ranking at the same level as Brazil, and the 3rd largest among the East and South-East Asian countries. In 2014, FDI flows into Singapore increased by 27% from 2013, reaching USD 81 billion.

The United States

1 Singapore

1. The first tier of protection is provided by heavy Government subsidies of up to 80% of the total bill in acute public hospital wards. 2. The second tier: Medisave, a compulsory individual medical savings account. Working Singaporeans and their employers contribute a part of the monthly wages into the account to save up for their future medical needs, and this is portable across jobs and after retirement. 3. The third tier: MediShield, a low cost catastrophic medical insurance scheme. This allows Singaporeans to risk-pool the financial risks of major illnesses. Out-of-pocket charges vary for each service and level of subsidy. At the lowest level, the subsidy is in effect nonexistent, and patients are treated like private patients, even within the public system. The system is said to be hard to replicate elsewhere. Also, it is worth remembering that in Singapore, the families live close to each other, and grown-up children take part in taking care of the elders.

S O U R C E S : B L O O M B E R G, M I N I S T RY O F H E A LT H S I N G A P O R E , W H O, WIKIPEDIA, INTERVIEWS WITH SINGAPOREANS.


B U K I T B ROW N

WHITLEY

NOVENA

WOODLEIGH

P OTO N G PA S I R N E W TO N

“The wealthy are more conservative when it a baby carrier fires questions:What nationalities have A DA M comes to risk-taking. They wantB Oto on to you worked for before? Can you iron? Do you have O Nhold KENG K AWestern K I B U K I Tfood? QUAR their assets. But you can’t make money without kids of your own? Can you cook WOODSVILLE taking risks.” The maids tell me they earn EUR 300-500 each R E S E RV O I R O RC H A R D MACPHERSON FA R R E R PA R K R month. GEYLANG BARU C Singapore clearly tops the world when it comes ALJUNIED EUNOS to highest income – and the most extreme income BENDEMEER LITTLE INDIA SOMERSET inequality. KEMBANGAN B P AYA L E B A R R O C H O RDespite this, the city-state may be a dream place ALLANG also for Kthose with lower incomes. It depends what you E L A compare V E N D E R it with. D A K O TA DHOBY GHAUT N E X T S TO P : Shirley, who works as a maid, arrived in SingaBUGIS SOMERSET pore from the Philippines inM1986, leaving behind BRAS BASAH T O U N T B AT T E N Maserati, Ferrari, a six-series BMW. Mercedes, her three children. Her youngest child was just a H Land Rover, Porsche, Lexus. A shopping center year and eight months at the time. When she left, S TA D I U M with a tunnel that leads to four more. Cars are the whole family cried. M A R I N E PA R OWN fancier than in Western cities, and the stores are The first six months in Singapore were the worst. N I C O L L H I G H W AY C I Let’s T Y H Ajump LL the same as everywhere. into an eleva- Shirley cried every day, but knew she couldn’t reC H I N AT O W N tor and press number five. turn home. “I told my children there was no other P RO M E N A D E Here we see why both groups of foreigners in option. If you want food, I have to be here.” RAFFLES PLACE Singapore – expats and foreign workers – are so As a child, Shirley would walk to school in bare AY F R O N T happy here. feet.BHer family lived on sweet potato, because rice If you have money, it’s cheap and easy to employ was too expensive. Shirley would stare at those A M PA R K

G AT E W AY

E N TO S A

LANDMARK

“This is a strongly controlled, authoritarian country.” M A R I N A B AY S H E N TO N

a maid to take care of cooking, cleaning, and childminding. And if you don’t have money, it’s easy to get a job and a place to live, as maids live with families. Along the corridors, there are dozens of agencies that match potential families with maids mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia. Competition among the agencies is in full swing: unlimited Wi-Fi, lunch buffet, special gift, no registration fee! Women flood from the elevators with their entire earthly possessions stashed inside a pull-along suitcase.You need a maid sir? Are you looking for a babysitter, mam? As many as six job interviews are going on in one of the rooms.A Western father carrying his child in

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who could afford sandals and proper food. She MARINA VIEW decided that her children wouldn’t end up in her predicament. “Despite the tough sacrifices, it’s been worth it,” she thinks. Shirley is a maid, gardener, cleaner, childminder, anything her employers wish. She sends a portion of each salary back home. She’s beyond content. “I’ve achieved all my dreams,” she says, looking intently in the eye. All of her children now have a university education, and Shirley was also able to help her parents and aunty during their lifetime. What does Shirley plan to do now that her dreams have come true? Will she return home? “My home is here now,” she says. She has had

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H I L LV I E W

SOMERSET

HOLLAND VILLAGE B U K I T B AT O K

LITTLE INDIA

ALJUNIED BENDEMEER

B U K I T B ROW N RO C H O R HUME

L EAB A R NPOAYA VEN KALLANG

to travel along with her employ- up,” she says. Maevis herself W lives in an HDB apartB U O N Athe V I S opportunity TA S I X T H AV E N U E HITLE YVENDER LA D N E W TO N D H OA BY TIT N AGKH A BUK ers to Canada, Europe, and Pacific Islands. ment with her husband, father, and 8-year-old BUGIS A DSingapore AM NEARN E Ncommon G NEO But she prefers Singapore: it’s clean, safe, and D Udaughter. It’s in for parents to BRAS BASAH M offers “good shopping”. Her children live in the live together with their grownup children. C O M M O N W E A LT H O RT H Philippines, which she finds noisy and dirty. In The lower floors of the Redhill apartment O RC H A R D CHINESE GARDEN A RDR SFTA FA R R E R Singapore, she has her friends, home, and the blocks house communal spaces for residents. Even Q U E E N S TOW N Catholic Church, which she visits every Sunday. the food stalls at Hawker Center, an outdoor food LAKESIDE CLEMENTI N L AY J U RO N G E A S T court have quotas: stalls reserved for Chi-N I C O L L H I G C I T Y nearby, HALL SOMERSET nese,H OMalaysian, C H I N AT O WDNO V E R L L A N D V I Land L A G EIndian food. REDHILL P RO M E N A D E Despite its Chinatown, Arab Street, and Little R A Fflock F L E S Pto LAC E in the areas acIndia, people don’t live TIONG BAHRU BUONA V I S TA AY TU T cording to their heritage. They are D HBOsimply B YF RGOHNAplaces for picking up clothes, ornaments, or festive foods O U T R A M PA R K for celebrations like the Muslim and L A N DEid M A R holiday K N E X T S TO P : Chinese New COM M O NYear. W E A LT H O N E N O RT H

OK

REDHILL

TA N J O N G

Every metro station offers a similar view: a cluster Q U E E N S TOW N of high-rises known as HDB housing coordinated KENT RIDGE BLANGAH SHENCITY by the Housing and Board. Their G ADevelopment T E W AY C H I N AT O W N MAconstruction was what spurred Singapore’s transREDHILL S E N TO S A formation from a developing country to a modWEST COA ST TIONG BAHRU ern metropolis. N E X T S TO P : This fall, Singapore’s red-and-white flags will be Q U E E N S TOW N hanging from the balconies of the buildings. DurO U T R A M PA R K P A Sstate I R P Asent N J A Neach G ing the summer, the home a “fun The Queenstown district was Singapore’s first pack” to mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary, in- suburb of apartment blocks. Earlier on, it was a TA N JTeoO N G PAG A R cluding a flag. country village populated by Hokkien- and H A R B O U R F RO N T Fifty years ago, also this area was rather different: chew-speaking farmers. farms, cows, pigs, and a village of shacks without Walking in the shadow of the HDB buildings, ALEXANDRA T E LO K B L A N G A H S H E N TO N E W AY guttering.Then construction began, and the shacks you can’t help thinkG AT that Singapore feels like a were bulldozed to make way for new buildings. laboratory. Like a utopia made real. S E N TO S A Already during the first year, in the 1960s, HDB One-of-a-kind social micro conditions were commissioned 55,000 apartments for local people. created for the island, and a societal experiment Now most of the population, roughly 80 per led by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew began. Did the experiment succeed? cent, either rents or buys property from the state. On a financial scale, the answer is yes. This ensures reasonably priced homes. Quotas are When LKY passed away, The Sunday Times in place to prevent the formation of cliques among minorities. According to Singaporean Maevis Lee, published a supplement with a section entitled “He a 100 square-meter HDB apartment now carries changed my life”, voicing how ordinary Singapoa price tag of around EUR 170,000–430,000 de- reans felt Mr. Lee had changed their lives. pending on location. But the price was paid at the expense of indi“People often put their names down on the vidual rights and freedom, as Mr. Lee decided what waiting list already years before something comes was good for his people on their behalf. H A R B O U R F RO N T

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H


1

1. HDB flats. 2. Jalal (right) and his friends are taking wedding pictures at metro station Raffles Place. 2

3. Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world. 4. In Singapore, English is the first language. Malay, Tamil, and Chinese are the other official languages. 3

4


PUNGGOL

Albeit a similar utopia hasn’t succeeded as well park - maids and cleaners making the most of in other parts of the world and outcomes that their official day off. YIO CHU KANG You often hear people refer to Singapore as parallel the Singapore miracle are hard to find elsewhere, Singapore now faces similar challenges to merely a shell, lacking history, cultural heritage, and critical intelligentsia. its Western counterparts: ANG MO KIO “A chilling place,” comments engineer What to do after relative wealth has been S E N G K AaNFinnish G based on his experiences during a study exchange achieved? Was the fruit of labor distributed fairly after all? year in the country: learning off by heart, lots of A N G KO K BISH AN work, not muchB Ufun, loads of bans. What is the next aim? LO RO N G C H UA N G “Disney World with a death penalty,” the counSingapore is often compared to China, but this try’s main The Straits Times remarked doesn’t quite work. H O newspaper UGANG BRADDELL Unlike many other Asian societal experiments, in one of its book editions. UNT People love to remind about the no chewing Singapore has kept its doors open to the outside KO VA N policy, which both those who love and loath world. And unlike communist party leaders, LKY gum Tgenerously O A P AY O H explained his political views during his Singapore find tedious. N Can’t they think of anything else but the gum? lifetime. (His explanations were roughly along the SERANGOON Recently, a journalist of the local Business Times lines of:“This is Singapore’s model, because it’s the OWN wrote poignantly about Singapore being “antisepmodel.”) And of course, elections are Nbest OVEN A WOO D L held E I G H in tic”, although it should be unique and have plenSingapore. P Oin T Othe N G lab P A Saren’t IR ty of character to please the West. But today, the conditions quite LEY N E W TO N Aren’t the GDP growth, low crime rate, and as stable as in the early 2000s. So far, people have top-notch health care enough? Should there also mainly been coming Bin. Now the doors also fling OON KENG K I Btoilets U K I T out of orderQ – U Ato R RY P A R K out; Singaporeans travel and study abroad, social be a bit of grunge –K Alike WOODSVILLE media is buzzing, bloggers criticize those heading make Westerners feel superior even in Singapore? R E S E RV O I R TEM O RC H A R D MACPHERSON FA R R E R PA R K You get more of a fragmented feel of the counthe lab, and opposition is perhaps fragmented but GEYLANG BARU CHAI CHEE try along the metro ride compared to first impresbigger than before. A L J U N I E D E U N O S Even the residents of these apartment blocks sions. Political discussions overheard over a pint in BENDEMEER LITTLE INDIA SOMERSET used to live according to the rules of a set system, Chinatown could take place more or less anyKEMBANGAN BEDOK P AYA L E B A R where: but now there are options. RO C H O R KALLANG Some are upset by the power of the system, lack and the patronizing stance EA ST COA ST L A V E N D E Rof freedom of speech, D A K O TA DHOBY GHAUT of government leaders towards citizens. Instead of BUGIS meritocracy, the talk is about nepotism, and people BRAS BASAH T E LO K KU R AU M O U N T B AT T E N don’t think the elections will have an impact on decision-making. S TA D I U M Others are satisfied that crime, poverty, M Aand R I N EshabPA R A D E N E X T S TO P : biness have been cleansed from the streets, even if BRAS BASAH N I C O L L H I G H W AY CITY HALL under the threat of punishment. Would someone AT O W N Accompanied by two young Singaporean women, really want to go back to the old: dirty and smelly P RO M E N A D E we cross the Padang field, where Jubilee celebra- shacks, hunger, under threat by neighboring counRAFFLES PLACE tion constructions are in the process of being dis- tries? B AY F R O N T As in many other parts of the world, the U.S. is mantled. It’s Sunday, and hundreds of women from Myanmar are enjoying a picnic in a nearby both admired and accused of hypocrisy:“They call LANDMARK

TA N J O N G P A G A R

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UE

NG NEO

WHITLEY A DA M

P OTO N G PA S I R N E W TO N BOON KENG

AKI BUKIT ister’s speech outlined the fundamentalK assumpWOODSVILLE tions that Singapore has been built on. R E S E RV O I R O RC H A R D MACPHERSON FA R R E R PA R K “If you don’t share these fundamental assumpFA R R E R GEYLANG BARU tions and values, it’s difficult to copy Singapore’s EUNOS policies in practice.”A L J U N I E D BENDEMEER LITTLE INDIA SOMERSET Yeo Lay Hwee describes the idea of human nait democracy – the president’s child and wife as D VILLAGE P AYA L E B A R KEMBANGAN tureR Othat the Singapore model. candidates for leadership. Just like Singapore!” C H Ounderpins R ALLANG Firstly: peopleK are lazy. “This derives from People need N E X T S TO P : L A V E N D E R LKY’s thinking.D A K O TA DHOBY GHAUT to help themselves before getting help from others. O RC H A R D BUGIS to work B R A S B A S A HSelf-reliance. People need to be pushed M O U N T B AT T E N harder, otherwise they get lazy. Singapore is no Hotel Shangri-La is like a palace. The faint sound O N W E A LT H of classical music can be heard in the background, universal welfare state.” S TA D I U M Secondly: “People are clickish”. MA Q U E E N S T O Was N people stretch their legs and are engrossed in “This is why harmony among people and actheir mobile phones on the lobby sofas. A host of N I C O L L H I G H W AY C I Tof Y taxis H A L L outside: cepting diversity are emphasized so strongly in service staff attends to the flood C H I N Amadam! T O W N Welcome, sir! Singapore, whether it’s a question of language, Welcome, LL P RO M E N A D E DrYeo Lay Hwee, who works at Singapore’s EU ethnicity, or faith. The underlying thought is that RAFFLES PLACE without regulation, people fall out due to human Center, has arrived at the hotel to attend a seminar. G BAHRU B AY F R O N T But first she has agreed to give his views to a ques- nature.” Thirdly: Trust between people and the governtion on the lips of the outside world: O U T R A M PA R K ment.L A N D M A R K Can the Singapore model be cloned? “This is a strongly controlled, authoritarian Poor countries wanting to get richer and wealthy TA N J O N G P A G A R in dire straits are country. The thought is that people are steered countries with a public economy ONT through discipline and punishment.” eager to learn Singapore’s secret. M A R I N A B AY Do e.g.Western countries share these basic stateSingapore gets mentioned especially when talkS H E N TO N G ATing E W AY about the need to enhance health care and the ments? MARINA VIEW From the viewpoint of liberal democracy, it’s pension system.The country’s health care expendS E N TO S A iture is about 4 per cent of GDP compared to difficult to even begin to answer the question, as Finland’s equivalent figure of 9. Singapore is able values and basic statements vary in each country. to produce the world’s best health care services In Western democracies, politics is based on a battle between different views on humanity.  The with proportionally less money. Then there’s the unemployment rate: close to values that push through are the result of elections, rather than predetermined in the heads of the nazero. We make ourselves comfortable on the lobby tions “wisest”. So far, a single truth has been upheld in Singasofas. Yeo Lay Hwee, can Singapore’s success story be pore, as the same party has remained in power throughout its entire fifty-year history. copied? When LKY, the father of the Singapore model, Hwee responds by asking whether I’d watched Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech the was asked what he thought about the growth of night before. Yes, I sure did. The speech has been opposition, he said it doesn’t matter who leads the quoted in detail by the press and on Twitter. country - wise people will reach the same concluAccording to Yeo Lay Hween, the prime min- sion he had in any case.

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RO C H O R KALLANG O N A V I S TA

L AV E N D E R

DHOBY GHAUT

This is almost the total opposite to an idea of politics being about searching and offering alternaC O M M O N W E A LT H tives, continuous negotiations, and balancing between Q Udiffering E E N S T O Wopinions. N Elections were held in Singapore in September. People’s Action Party, PAP, continues to hold nearCITY C H I N AT O W N R Ely D Hall I L L political power in its hands. Despite its staunch critics, many experts are of the opinion has failed to come up with a conT that I O N Gopposition BAHRU vincing enough alternative. I chat withYeo Lay Hwee about the young genO U T R A M PA R K eration, coined as the Strawberry Generation over here. Wealth is a given to them, and they haven’t had to lift a finger to do chores around the TA N J O N G Phouse, AGAR H A R B O U R F RO N T as there’s always a maid around. Is the promise of constant wealth accumulation NGAH S H E N TO N G A TStrawberry E W AY enough for the Generation, or will it be demanding more political rights? S E N TO S A Yeo Lay Hwee believes that if the values of the young differ from the values of those in power, the Strawberry Generation will create another type of society. Why couldn’t Singapore change like any other country: gradually. Young people have more options and demands than Hwee’s generation did in its time.They have the opportunity to work in interesting startups, and especially the highly educated aren’t so gullible to a one-sided truth. “Perhaps they’ll learn to work smart instead of work hard,” says Yeo Lay Hwee. She herself grew up in a shop house along Singapore River. The houses have now been conserved as bars and boutiques that look like cute dollhouses next to towering high-rises. It’s been a tremendous change. Yeo Lay Hwee’s parents didn’t learn to read and didn’t go to school. The family of five children lived together with relatives and three other families, twenty people sharing the same bathroom and kitchen. Born in the 1960s, Yeo Lay Hwee received a public education, which was virtually free. Both he and one of his brothers went as far as univer-

vol 3

D A K O TA

BUGIS

sity. They part of the Singapore miracle: B R A S became BASAH MOUNTB poverty was conquered through education. It’s been a long journey to this serene afternoon S TA D I U M in the Shangri-La. “I don’t really comprehend it even myself.” N I C O L L H I G H W AY

HALL

P RO M E N A D E RAFFLES PLACE B AY F R O N T

LANDMARK

F I N A L S TO P : R A F F L E S P L AC E Next to the metro station entrance, there’s a small M A R I N A B AY park with a star-shaped sculpture: the Progress Star, which is accompanied by the following sign: A R I Nthat A V I ESingapore W There was a time when peopleM said won’t make it, but we did. A woman in high heels asks for her picture to be taken in front of the star. “Make sure the iPad under my arm is visible”, she says. Also a wedding party is being photographed in the park. 23-yearold Singaporean Jalel explains that the wedding couple met near the Sultan mosque on Arab Street and got married yesterday. Jalel himself has just graduated from one of the polytechnics in Singapore. He would like to work at the port, maybe as a navy officer.“But you know, right now I plan to enjoy life and take it easy”, he adds. Nazri, who works as head of design at a photography agency, regroups the bride and groom for their picture to be taken on a swing.The twenty-somethings laugh and bicker playfully, as they pose for the camera. Strawberry Generation. They are the ones who hold the destiny of Singapore in their hands for the next 50 years. I think about the female students I chatted to earlier in the day, who were eager to work in tourism. Definitely nothing to do with statistics that would match their qualifications.

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Then there was the mother, who said she always voted for opposition – not because she was really against the ruling party PAP, but to resist its absolute power. And that woman in her 30s, who was forced to quit school when her father took ill, and Singapore’s much-praised health care model doesn’t really work for those doing odd jobs. I think about the American businessman, who had spent twelve years in Singapore, saying that modern Singapore is a tough cookie for government, but better than ever for residents: there are now alternatives, you can disagree, there’s more freedom. I think about LKY’s interview book featuring journalists from Singapore Straits firing questions to the father of the land on politics, family, wars, gay people, foreign powers. A picture begins to form of an extreme ideology shrouded under the veil of extreme pragmatism. More pictures, same theme: Me and the Progress Star. It’s no wonder people are eager to copy the Singapore miracle. It is, after all, an incredible country. But copying is unlikely to work. It’s hard to imagine Western democracies succumbing to harsh discipline and authoritarian government, which are the hallmarks of Singapore’s success. Also the character of a city-state differs from bigger countries: there’s no rural population, long distances, or an emptying countryside here. Singapore is man-made. Even a large slice of its surface area was created artificially. The question whether the Singapore model could be cloned can be reframed: Is the Singapore model still relevant even for Singaporeans themselves? At the beginning of my journey around the city, Leonard C. Sebastian explained the secrets behind Singapore’s success: geography, economy, meritocracy, multi-racial harmony, language, and housing policy.

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He also said that Singaporeans had paid a high price for their wealth. An authoritarian model works up to a certain point, but these days people want more from life than food and a place to live. “The government used to have total control over information. Now people read about different political systems online, and travel around the world. People used to think they could do with less rights. Everything was so ‘wow’ compared to where they first began.” But now people ask: what about social justice, equality, and freedom of speech? In 2015, Singapore was ranked 153rd out of 175 nations in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. Yet a major revolution is still not in sight. “Who would fire the CEO, if the company’s making a huge profit?” asks Leonard C. Sebastian, revealing a great deal about Singapore at the same time. The country is led like a company. It’s like a successful startup: a self-developed concept of a functional society, highly-educated workforce, and plush office. So far, the company has been helmed by its founder, but now employees are ready to take on some of the product development responsibility. I take the escalator down to the metro. Singapore was built in a tropical rainforest, but the metro tunnel is lovely and cool. ◆

Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit 2015; BBC; Singapore government statistics 2014; expatarrivals.com; Singapore Ministry of Manpower; The Sunday Times (Mr Lee Kuan Yew Special, 29 March 2015); Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, published in 2011 by Straits Times Press. Also Paula Parviainen, Finland’s Ambassador to Singapore, and Teppo Turkki, leading expert on East Asia at Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, were interviewed for the article.

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BOOK 2 [ SELF-DEVELOPMENT ]

H OW TO CHOOSE A NEW C A R E E R PAT H ? On the following pages, Annukka Oksanen and a group of experts examine what a successful career looks like in the 2010s. Can a career be planned? What happens to the career path, when money and rising up the ladder aren’t the only defining factors? Illustrations Jack Hughes.


CHAPTER 1 A story about the way we ditched clocking in and the traditional bottom-up career path. The conventional definition of a career is as clearcut as clocking in. People used to go to work, do their job, and gradually make their way up the hierarchy.The way and pace for rising up the ladder were easy to figure out. The retirement of someone at the top of the ladder would cause the whole chain to shift up a notch. It was rare for people to do something as radical as change workplaces altogether. Subordinates, a pay rise, and, at best, appreciation were accumulated over time, as the career – or time – progressed. This is the way that also Professor Pekka Mattila, Group Managing Director at Aalto University Executive Education, began his ascent in the early days of his career. In his summer job at an insurance company as a 17-18-year-old, he soon learned the ropes of a traditional career path. “The head of department’s office was situated at the end of the corridor. I realized I could first advance to handler, then head of division, office manager, vice department head, and, finally, head of department. It was quite startling, when I was promoted to head of department at the age of 26, and the pattern emerged.” His career had progressed in the traditional way – and would have continued to do so had he not decided to change jobs. The insurance company didn’t become his life-

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long workplace. It’s a sign of our times; people are now ready to change companies, fields, and even countries at the drop of a hat, when it comes down to it. Despite this, proactive career planning is a remote concept in Nordic culture. Anyone who admits to planning a career is at times even shunned at. “Colleagues feel that someone actively planning their career has sharp elbows, while the boss can get the jitters over their own position”, explains Pekka Mattila. Mattila links these reactions to the notion of Nordic democracy: “Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re better than the rest”. “It takes maturity from a manager to hear that an employee is after their position, forcing the manager to plan the next move.” These days, management contracts often involve deciding, in writing or mentally, that tasks are changed, or at least reconsidered, in 3-5 years’ time.

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ompared to the Nordics, it’s another story in the U.S., where the twists and turns of a career path are often planned to the minutest detail. Liisa Välikangas, Professor of Innovation Management at Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics, shares an example about her American colleague: The colleague wants to nail a position as HR Director at a Fortune 500 firm. (The Fortune list ranks 500 largest U.S. corporations measured by gross revenue.) She finds herself a mentor within the firm for planning the next step, and they then

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“Companies of the future are no longer organizations of permanent employees, but serve as architecture for visiting talents.”

jointly analyze areas that meet the requirements for the position and merits that need to be worked on. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, where you collect an expertise merit, budget responsibility, HR responsibility, and so on, for the palette”, describes Välikangas. Her colleague now happily works as HR director for a game company after working for two different global companies – the other a Fortune 500 corporation. Välikangas estimates that only few people in Finland plan their moves with such precision. “It happens to a degree on LinkedIn, where people list their skills in a similar fashion. Even I’ve written recommendations on LinkedIn”, says Välikangas. The way it goes is: 1) A career is actually planned to begin with; and 2) The plan is divided up into segments, then you make a conscious effort to seek relevant experience for the required areas.

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n Finland and other smaller countries, determined planning isn’t necessarily much use with such a limited job market. “Everyone knows everyone”, says Professor Liisa Välikangas. “People aren’t recruited for their competence, but for being known within the work community. Helsinki is a very small place, and if networks are as important as they seem, career planning doesn’t help much.” Välikangas, who in addition to having lived in the U.S., Japan, and Switzerland has worked in a number of different countries, criticizes the culture of smaller markets, which favor hiring people who are already known.

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“Finnish work communities need shaking up, but they rarely dare hire people they don’t know. Networks are too important. At the same time, it’s easy to put each person in a suitable box.” Hiring those you know or know of fits in with a desire for safety and consensus, and is seen to minimize risks. However, Innovation Professor Välikangas reminds that a much bigger risk is involved in a situation where all employees share the same background and views.

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hat is the future of career planning for those who aim high? Turning our gaze to the Silicone Valley in the U.S. provides some clues. In Silicone Valley, talents move from one company to another chasing interesting projects. Often an entire team follows a particular project. Teams face the challenge of landing the most alluring project, while companies have the challenge of communicating internal projects externally to secure the best talents. For companies, this challenge can be perplexing, as they don’t necessarily want to give away too much about a product development project. “Who would want to get hold of a company that looks like a gray wall?” asks Liisa Välikangas, who lived in Silicone Valley for a lengthy period of time. Välikangas envisages a future where companies don’t even want to hold on to their top experts for fear of becoming “stale.” “Companies of the future are no longer organizations of permanent employees, but serve as architecture for visiting talents. People give their all

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for a brief moment. Then it’s time to move on work would make sense for some other perk than money, such as maintaining competence, netagain.” This way of working may sound utopistic, but working, and personal motivation. Work itself according to Välikangas, the signs are already out could be more of a risk investment: sometimes there. Take Kaggle for instance, an open commu- profitable, sometimes not. nity platform where people can add mathematical problems to be solved. Currently, 300,000 he Silicone Valley model is not a reality for mathematical geniuses are competing to solve many yet. Large corporations continue to various issues, gaining merit the further they get. principally hire talent for their own ranks – or for Companies like General Electrics have used their own pyramids. According to the pyramid Kaggle for problem-solving. “A certain type of model adopted by Citibank, employees advance data mass and competence accumulates around from managing themselves to managing others, the world, which can be approached. It doesn’t directing directors, and ultimately to top managemake sense for a company to contemplate how to ment and being part of the global talent pool. hire the best mathematician for its ranks, but to Citibank’s pyramid model is just one example. think about how to get the best mathematician to All large corporations have their own organizational contraptions these days. Silos are no longer solve its problem.” What does this way of working mean for em- in fashion, and things aren’t going too well for the matrix either. New forms have been invented in ployees? At least interesting tasks, contracting, uncer- an aim to create an image on the company webtainty, and possibly lucrative gains.The job market site of you – the employee – getting the chance is marked with a new dynamic, as future talents to flourish. This is ensured e.g. through crossare no longer willing to invest their competence functional activities for creating future leaders. Cross-functional activities? in just one company. The rhetoric of career contrap“It’s important to be involved in global business somehow”, says tions has taken on such a visionary P E K K A M AT T I L A Liisa Välikangas. “I don’t believe daze that it makes the reader laugh basic employment will garner and confused at the same time. Group Managing Director much more in the future. Some “It’s still about the basics”, states at Aalto University Executive work can be done on a voluntary Kerttu Tuomas, HR Director and Education and Professor at Aalto University School of basis, which needs to be backed up Member of the Executive Board of Business. Lectures on with some type of investment Finnish Kone Corporation. How management careers. portfolio. This doesn’t necessarily does Kone take care of basics, such mean monetary investments, but as the employer and employee ”An organization could entail involvement in estabbenefiting from each other as should be fine with lishing a company in the global much as possible? people leaving.When economy”, she visualizes. At Kone, a development plan is The model envisioned by Väcompiled for each employee, someone’s exit goes likangas would mean having a resmoothly, it can bring charting skills, positions that match source and competence portfolio the skills, and what the employee all sorts of selling with an investment section that still needs to learn. Also the right potential in the brings the livelihood, as work itself time for transferring to new tasks wouldn’t always be paid. Unpaid is considered. “The importance aftermath.”

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Winds of change are blowing on at least three different levels: the global economy, organizational changes, and people’s own, altering goals.

placed on career planning is extremely individu- In other words, fresh faces are also in the interest al”, Kerttu Tuomas says. “Mechanics out in the of the employer. According to the HR policy of field have certain logical career steps, while ad- Kone, 75-80 per cent of the recruitment of middle vancement isn’t necessarily so linear among ex- management and above should be internal. Regional units are mainly staffed by local employees. perts.” With its global operations, differences in career The right candidates are sought for global posiplanning between developing and mature markets tions without geographical restrictions. Kerttu Tuomas from Kone plans careers for othare evident at Kone. To put it bluntly: poorer countries are inter- ers for a living, but hasn’t really planned her own. “Someone born at the end of the 1950s has ested in a career for the money, while work needs to offer more than money in wealthier countries. been taught to take work seriously and do it well, “The economic model in China, for instance, and other things will follow. It’s turned out rather enables a considerable increase in livelihood, as well.” Tuomas isn’t interested in talkthe career progresses”, explains ing about a career path, which she Kerttu Tuomas. “With the preconthinks is an outdated concept. She ditions having been in place on prefers the term competence path our mature markets for a long due to its focus on skill – what you time, motivation is not merely need to know in a specific task. sought from making a better livThe definition of a career has truing.” ly changed. Less interest in seeking manageSkills were needed also before, ment tasks is a sign of our times. but a traditional career was also Tuomas ponders whether this boils K E RT T U T U O M A S largely shaped by the person’s posidown to self-directed thinking or HR Director and Member of tion, time, title, and ensuing assets. an unwillingness to be constantly the Executive Board of Kone These were also considered worth at hand. Many employers have noCorporation. Popular lecturer aiming for. ticed a rising interest in expertise, on working life. Now the career path, comperather than advancing via managetence path, whatever you wish to ment work. “A company with Kone values lengthy employcall it, rambles more wildly, and at only lengthy times people jump off the bandment relationships. But not alone. employment wagon altogether. “A company with only lengthy relationships closes This creates immense opportuemployment relationships closes in nities for employees. It’s the emon itself ”, explains Kerttu Tuomas. in on itself.”

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ployers who need to be on their toes: how to keep the best people?

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he latest story from the job market features millennials; those twenty-somethings coined as wealthy anarchists, set to revolutionize working life with their individualistic values and digital savvy. For them, being a boss, working hours, dressing up for work, and even slaving away for years are all things tucked away in the past to cater for the urge to spend a year or two surfing in Bali, or attend a yoga retreat up in the mountains. Are millennials also set to redefine success, leisure time, money, and work? In the view of Kerttu Tuomas from Kone, millennials will be transforming working life, but working life will also change them. Also Pekka Mattila from Aalto University puts the brakes on, calling millennials “people with commitments, just like everyone

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else”. According to Välikangas, millennials don’t form a heterogeneous group, but include a fair amount of those after a more stable living. To summarize, the job market of 2015 is restless to say the least. Winds of change are blowing on at least three different levels: the global economy, organizational changes, and people’s own, altering goals.

CHAPTER 2 A story about what to consider, when figuring out what you want from working life. Some pine for mandatory coffee breaks and tight line management, while others fall under the spell of dynamic chaos and its multitude of opportunities; end up in an industry they find interesting; or

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single out a specific company they want to work for. Many notice that they mainly drift into different tasks accidentally. People have highly diverse needs and wishes regarding their working life. The good news is that this is completely fine these days. People also have different attitudes towards work at different stages of their lives. “Having exactly the same attitude towards work at all times would be worrying”, says Pekka Mattila from Aalto EE. But how can you know what method of working or career path is the right one? What if you don’t know what you want? The usual story is that people apply for jobs after graduating, end up somewhere, and pretty soon get swept away by their job. This is a good thing, as it means people get interested in what they do.The strategy may work throughout working life. But to get more out of working life than hap-

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penstance, you need to dig deep down and do some soul-searching until you begin to know yourself.You need to be as honest with yourself as possible, considering at least the trends and factors that influence work mentioned below. Gone are the days of separate work and personal lives. The two now intermingle. You can more or less bring your whole persona to work these days, but also the demands are more full-on. Management and expert positions have practically no set working hours anymore. “I don’t differentiate between my work and personal life at all”, says Professor Liisa Välikangas. Her attitude is increasingly prevalent and perhaps also the most admired. But it’s not for everyone. Some want to travel, while others are interested in moving to another country, or want to leave work at 5 on the dot every day. In principle, personal preferences are easy to figure out, but work-

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“Regardless of gender, it’s possible to ruin a career by being demanding before even gaining any work experience or proof of dedication.”

ing through them and finding work to match is a more difficult feat. Sticking to mainstream ideals is the easiest route. In many fields, it’s almost a taboo to admit that work isn’t the main thing in life.

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hankering to be the star of the organization is of course natural, but all types of employees are needed. That’s why it’s important to think about the type of position that feels genuinely comfortable. “I’d be managing a rather unusual organization, if everyone wanted to be the star of the show all the time. It’s good that employees have balanced stages. Although balance is of course relative, and doesn’t stop the organization from exceling in the race”, says Pekka Mattila. It’s easy to imagine how unbearable a team would be, if every member wanted to outshine the other. It’s also good to examine the influence of gender in working life. Naturally, people are individuals, but certain trends can be understood from the perspective of gender. A male soul-searcher is more unlikely to notice those intricate, sometimes even totally apparent social patterns at the workplace than his female counterparts. Women, on the other hand, are more prone than men to making sure they master things to perfection before daring to move forward. “On a larger scale, men more eagerly demand both better pay and training, while women will request these later on, washed down with too many explanations”, describes Mattila. He thinks social control is stronger among women than

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men: women don’t have the nerve to request training or a pay rise, when all the talk at work is about hard times. On the other hand, it’s not always the right time to demand. Mattila has home across a new phenomenon on the job market; young women who have “read their Sheryl Sandberg”. Here Mattila refers to the book Lean In by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, encouraging women to demand and advance their career. “Regardless of gender, it’s possible to ruin a career by being demanding before even gaining any work experience or proof of dedication. Sandberg is a member of Silicone Valley’s top elite with a track record that matches her demands. It’s hardly wise to start throwing demands at the first ever workplace or meeting.You have to prove yourself first.” Kerttu Tuomas from Kone agrees that women are generally more careful. Situations in life, children mainly, “perhaps show more” among women.“Of course the same goes for young men”, says Tuomas. According to Mattila, the ageing of the population can be seen at workplaces, as an increasing number of employees request exemption from travel in order to care for their ageing parents.

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n thinking about what you want from life and work,Tuomas reminds to keep in mind it’s not all over after hitting 35. No need to rush. Liisa Välikangas encourages career planners to define their innovation profiles.You can do this by

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“Although some people are natural risk-takers, they still need the right conditions for making a profit.”

thinking about your level of risk tolerance, work methods, ability to handle uncertainty, willingness to change, and also the way you deal with financial risks. “Enthusiasm for innovation is a question of both character and situation. Although some people are natural risk-takers, they still need the right conditions for making a profit”, explains Välikangas. The general situation and financial standing of senior employees would allow them take a whole lot of risks, but for some reason it’s a notion ascribed to the young. According to Välikangas, a person’s innovation profile and attitude towards risk-taking forms the foundation for planning the career path. Motivation for one’s career doesn’t of course have to hail from the confines of the field. “Learning from different cultures has been a guiding light throughout my life. I’m extremely curious about the surrounding world. I’ve worked in Switzerland, Japan, California, and Finland”, says Välikangas. Working among different cultures is a good way to learn about yourself. In a new culture, you can’t rely on surrounding, wavering norms, which forces to define both oneself and what one wants. After clarifying personal needs and values, it’s time to assess how they match daily life at work. Tuomas from Kone shares a practical example: An employee committed to quality thinking won’t enjoy working in a place where the sole intention is to minimize costs. In Silicone Valley, choice of workplace is strong-

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ly tied with making the world a better place. It’s a result of wealth and people wanting to give something back to society from their hefty wages. Liisa Välikangas takes another example from the U.S.: “The director of a large game company said that employees regularly ask about the company’s ultimate purpose. Making money or creating wealth isn’t a good enough purpose, as satisfying the needs of a consumer society doesn’t satisfy those at the top. It may sound naïve for someone outside Silicone Valley, but it’s a valid question. What is the ultimate purpose of a company?” According to Välikangas, an unwillingness among employees to work in companies that don’t take sustainable development seriously is another factor that’s evident in today’s labor market. It’s a good decision, as collaboration won’t work if the values of employees and the company are in conflict.

CHAPTER 3 A story about how to outline a five-year career plan. Five years. Enough time for in-depth learning of totally new skills or switching jobs. It’s also a good timeframe for career planning. Where do I want to be in five years’ time, what skills do I want to learn by 2020?

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S P R U C E U P YO U R C V I N 2 0 1 5 What are the hallmarks of a CV that will convince a potential employer? A CV can be in the traditional written form or a video. User-friendliness is the main thing. “Those who read through CVs are busy people. Keep it short and sweet. What sets you apart from the rest? What can you bring to the company? ” guides Kerttu Tuomas from Kone. “It’s essential that the CV tells a story”, adds Liisa Välikangas. Välikangas advises candidates to tell the story behind their efforts - their personal strategy. What have their choices aimed at? How do they justify their choices? Also conveying a softer side is relevant – how candidates want to influence society and the environment, for instance. Also Pekka Mattila thinks a CV should tell a story. This puts the applicant in a certain context: where I come from, what I’ve chosen, what lies ahead. “A CV should have enough sections, but not too many. A good test is if someone can tell my story after hearing it once. Also the CV’s language is a delicate matter”, says Mattila. “It shouldn’t be about me all the time, but a constant we isn’t good either, as it leaves personal achievements in the dark.” As a general rule of thumb, using the third person to talk about yourself should be avoided. Formal qualifications are just the first step. Finland has placed a keen focus on qualifications in the past, but this is slowly beginning to change. In other countries, competence has been valued over degrees for quite some time. That’s why it’s important to tell about yourself: what you can and want to do.

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Tailoring a position specifically for the candidate is still rare. Person-centered roles are more common in small and startup companies, while the organization comes first in the case of larger companies. There’s a wide variety of training, handbooks, and courses on offer for job seekers, and people are well aware what to do at a job interview: dress appropriately; avoid the dead fish handshake; make eye contact; ask questions that show you’ve done your homework on the company; pause for a moment before answering; smile, but don’t double up with laughter; question, but don’t be a show-off; and so on. The main thing is to be yourself, or actually your work-self. Don’t open up too much. According to Tuomas, who has plenty of experience in recruiting people at Kone, job application trends are easy to spot. At times everyone’s interested in working “close to the customer interface.” Now passion is the buzzword. In light of job ads, being passionate seems to almost be the main criterion for any job, applicants trying hard to prove it in one way or another. “Passion is a pretty strong word, but of course you need to be interested in the job”, assesses Tuomas. Pekka Mattila thinks it can be a little suspicious, if applicants are passionate about a job, especially if they don’t even have the experience. “Cheap talk about passion is not enough. Only a few people are genuinely passionate. After all, sometimes being passionate takes the form of quiet, persistent doing”, adds Välikangas.

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“You also need to deal with differences to a certain degree. No-one’s looking for clones.”

PHOTO JUNNU LUSA

“Five years is enough time to learn the basics in having all of the eggs in one basket. Right now, almost any field or function. It’s also enough time I’m thinking about what that new, fresh thing for attuning one’s behavior”, says Professor Pekka could be. I’ve written books and articles, but what’s next? It’s something to always keep at the back of Mattila. For a five-year goal, you first need to thorough- the mind.Thinking about the future doesn’t mean ly analyze your starting points. Where am I now? a lack of commitment towards your current work.” The portfolio can consist of diverse work, but What have I achieved? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What’s my market value? You need to it’s important to think about the direction. Does it lead towards the desired goal? be humble and pushy at the same And another thing: you must try time. It’s quite a juggle, as it requires more than once. both admitting and dealing with “I’ll be in some unforeseen place. weaknesses, and marketing I’m waiting for a lucky coincistrengths. But this paves the way dence, serendipity”, comments Väforward. likangas on her own career plans. In five years’ time, Pekka Mattila Kerttu Tuomas comes from sees himself still getting on with his another starting point. Of course current work, because “I’ve promplanning the next move and ised to see the organization into LIISA VÄLIKANGAS developing skills should be considyear 2020”. After that, he envisages ered, but “the most important thing working “perhaps outside Finland, Professor of Innovation Management at Aalto University is to do well in your present job maybe on the board of a large orand Hanken School of Economand think about what you can ganization, or heading a bigger ics. Examines innovation mancompany of experts, which could agement and renewed business learn”. In other words, you strategies. shouldn’t get so worked up about well be where I work now.” the future like many ambitious Mattila says that he practices ca“Companies of the people seem to do. reer stage planning, but not down “Networking internally and takto the minute details of each task future are no longer ing an active interest in new proor project.There’s always room for organizations of jects are good ways of getting nocoincidence. “I’ve gained more than antici- permanent employees, ticed.” Getting noticed – in a but serve as positive sense – requires profespated in light of my skills and expectations”, he smirks. architecture for visiting sional and social skills. Already your basic manners can Liisa Välikangas views her career talents. People give bring you positive attention: the in five years’ time in form of a porttheir all for a brief way you greet, thank, give feedfolio. “Some areas progress, others moment. Then it’s time back, and ask how your colleagues don’t. That way you don’t end up to move on again.” are doing. Many foreigners and

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Finns returning from abroad to work in Finland are met with a social culture that seems unfriendly. Instead of saying hello, colleagues glance downwards. In many other countries, people seem to be more sociable by nature. But you need more than good manners to really get noticed. “You need to be able to interpret situations, the mode of working.You can deduce whether a meeting is about a peaceful exchange of thoughts, or has a challenging vibe that creates something new”, says Tuomas.“You also need to deal with differences to a certain degree. No-one’s looking for clones.” Careers can easily be thought of as solo performances, but in truth they are largely made up of collaboration, networks, and social awareness. Even the careers of a go-getting alpha male or success-hungry female boss don’t amount to much without other people. Careers are always social constructions that can’t be built alone. A company that sees potential in employees will invest in them: give them interesting tasks, maybe a pay rise, send them off to management training. According to Pekka Mattila, completing an MBA program usually results in an employee rising to the organization’s management team from a couple of levels below. Sometimes training serves as breathing space or time out. “Lengthy, expensive training programs can be a way for a company to buy more time. Key people are given training possibilities, if a new, challenging role can’t be offered at the time. It’s a good move, but organizations could be more proactive in establishing what employees really want”, describes Mattila.“We don’t really have a tradition of genuinely listening to employees in this way. Too often, advancement continues to mean a management position.” The classic trap for a company is for an employee to return with an MBA or other top qualification in their pocket – only to change employers. This usually results from the newly acquired competence revolutionizing the employee’s world, while

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the company stays the same. The employee sees the former workplace in a whole new light. “I see two groups”, says Mattila.“The first has a clear aim of establishing their position in the current organization. For the second group, an MBA offers a ticket to freedom and something new.” Liisa Välikangas thinks companies need to ask themselves why an employee chooses to leave. “Why can’t the company offer a more appealing role? Should the company perhaps be sharpening its more challenging and risky spearhead projects?” Usually employees going away to do an MBA have a financial commitment to the company, and changing jobs sooner than agreed results in the employee footing part of the bill. But the company still needs to ask itself why a person wants to leave. Wasn’t it able to offer enough challenge? But an employee leaving doesn’t have to spell disaster. “You shouldn’t even assume that employees stay forever.A suitable expiry period for an MBA could be 3-5 years after graduation. The company’s dynamics would come to a halt without a change of people”, says Mattila.

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any fear resignation for no reason. It’s a step on the career path. Consulting firm McKinsey, for instance, goes as far as encouraging its corporate clients to grab experienced consultants to work for them.Young consultants can’t get ahead in their career, if seniors don’t move out of the way. In other words, employee turnover can be a welcome trend also for the employer.“Companies need to accept that everything has a lifecycle. An organization should be fine with people leaving. When someone’s exit goes smoothly, it can bring all sorts of selling potential in the aftermath”, highlights Pekka Mattila. According to Mattila, even key personnel shouldn’t be held onto at whatever cost. “Bought love won’t last.” ◆ This article in Finnish online: www.aaltoee.fi/blog

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Y L O TO I N U T N O IV F E V R I SI E W T

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KALEIDOSCOPIC CAREERS Riitta Lumme-Tuomala Director, Russia and Talent Management, Marketing and Alumni Relations, Aalto University Executive Education Riitta Lumme-Tuomala is currently writing her doctoral thesis (DBA) on Talent Mangement.

Reading the points of the article’s experts through the lens of talent management, my research area, I can say that the nail really has been hit on the head. (Talent Management is “simply” right people in the right place at the right time.) B OX E S Boxes where employees are placed, we call them job descriptions, should be moved to the attic, at least mentally, together with the competency lists drawn through an arduous process at the HR department. Instead, we should start looking at careers and jobs as puzzles, where many pieces move at the same time, and the only way for a promotion is not up the ladder, but sideways and back and forth, too. This suits many, who like Liisa Välikangas do not make a difference between the work box and the leisure box, and those who want to be flexible at different phases of their life adjusting work periods to travels and e.g. new kinds of temporary occupations. LADDER Not being expected to become a team leader or a boss after so and so many years as an expert, is a relief to many. You can, namely, be considered a talent or a key player even if your career aspirations do not include leading a team. On the contrary, actually; knowing yourself and being aware of your own

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strengths and how to use them, is one of the traits of a talent! Different types of careers and aspirations have to be allowed and respected, and opportunities should be looked for across (eventual) silos. Also, as Pekka Mattila points out, the boss should not expect to be able to occupy the corner office until retirement, but see talented individuals as a key to the future success of the company and make sure they get the support and challenges they need to excel! CVS Courage is called for in terms of trusting what does not meet the eye in a CV. The experience, competencies and skills the person acquired in the past might or might not be transferable to the new context. We normally see what he or she has done but not how. Is the person curious, willing to learn, able to share information? Also what Kerttu Tuomas alerts about “CV jargon” is a valid point; clichés take you nowhere. S TA R S A N D TA L E N T S The core of talent management is to know what a talent means in your company, to understand how to deploy, develop and keep them. It is a dynamic process; are the talents we need today stars of tomorrow, and do we really understand the huge changes we are facing as to work and how those impact our own environment.

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BOOK 3 [ BUSINESS CASE ]

A RT, T E C H N O LO G Y & P RO PAG A N DA Finnish design house Artek now continues its life as part of Swiss company Vitra. Mirkku Kullberg, Artek’s former CEO and current Chairman of the Board, talks to journalist Ville Blüfield about the way cultural heritage can be turned into business. Photographs Touko Hujanen.


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n 19 October 1935, a group of people meets up at König, a public house favored by artists. They had an idea. The location is somewhat surprising, as the set tended to meet at the town’s more upmarket establishments. König had a dubious reputation in the early 1900s, and was certainly no place for an upper class lady. Allegedly, Jean Sibelius’ wife Aino waited outside on the street, as composer friend Robert Kajanus went in to fetch her husband home to work on an unfinished violin concerto finale. But the town and times were changing, and on this occasion two women took part in the meeting at König: Maire Gullichsen, who subsequently became a renowned art collector and patron, and Aino Aalto, wife of designer and architect Alvar Aalto. In addition to Maire and Aino, the group of 30-somethings gathered around the table included Alvar Aalto, and art historian, critic, and multitalent Nils-Gustav Hahl. The foursome had turned their idea of a furni-

also about international relations, modern art, a new way of life – and propaganda. A manifesto, as people at Artek call it, still exists as a reminder of the König meeting. Typed in slightly crooked rows, it came to define all that Artek could become. The word Artek was typed on the top row, and functions listed below: Modern Art; Industry; Interiors; Propaganda.

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n 27 July 2015, Mirkku Kullberg is sitting in the basement floor of Artek’s modest-sized headquarters in Helsinki, glancing at a copy of the 1935 manifesto on her desk. ”For me this is the finest business plan ever written”, Kullberg says.“The manifesto still serves as the guiding light for Artek. For instance, I used to state that whenever we do PR, it has to matter. Rather than talk about what’s obvious, it’s a desire to really make a difference.” Examples of Artek propaganda during Kullberg’s era include the resale of second-hand Artek furniture branded as “2nd Cycle”, and advertising

“We don’t actually do communications or PR, we do propaganda. Rather than talk about what’s obvious, it’s a desire to really make a difference.” ture company into reality just four days before. The company was called Artek, merging the words art and technology to manifest the ideals of the Bauhaus movement. However, in light of the idea nurtured by Hahl, Gullichsen, and Aalto, calling Artek merely a furniture company would be a serious understatement.The company they were establishing would be much more than that. Albeit Artek signified furniture designed by Alvar Aalto and soon also a furniture store in the center of Helsinki, it was

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campaigns encouraging consumers to buy the last chair of their lives: ”Last chair I ever bought, One chair is enough!” Not your average marketing blurb. Kullberg has now examined the manifesto and philosophy of Artek’s founders for more or less a decade. In 2005, Kullberg was appointed as Artek’s CEO. When Artek was acquired by Swiss company Vitra in 2013, Kullberg became Head of Home Department of Vitra AG. Marianne Goebl is now the Managing Director

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In the following pages photo­grapher Touko Hujanen’s photo reportage captures the time-honored making of Artek’s classic chairs at Korhonen furniture factory. The familyowned factory was founded in 1910. In 2014 Artek acquired the factory and changed its name to a-Factory.

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of Artek dividing her time in Helsinki and Berlin. Kullberg, who usually works from Berlin, still serves as Chairman of Artek’s Board. ”Marianne’s efforts in doing everything in her power to defend Artek’s independence are invaluable”, says Kullberg. “Personally, I felt it would be good to transfer to Vitra and see the big picture from that angle. I felt also that I could be more useful in bridging Artek and Vitra while working inside the company.” The merge between the big Swiss and small Finnish design house continues, and the quirky Artek is trying to find its feet as part of Vitra.

consensus.We need heroes willing to go the extra mile and cross their own boundaries?”

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n spring 1936, Artek opened its first store – the futuristic neon sign also an Alvar Aalto design – and published its first adverts. Nils-Gustav Hahl described Artek’s goals in Arkkitehti magazine: ”To make propaganda in defense of sensible living and interiors. Artek was financially independent, but had close ties with a circle of international stores that shared a similar philosophy.” Internationality was a crucial part of Artek’s ethos from word go. Already during its first years

“Artek has never been a Finnish company.” In a sense, Artek is bigger than its actual size. Along with Alvar Aalto’s classic chairs and other pieces, Artek has had a huge impact on Finland’s design history. Similarly to Marimekko and Arabia, design companies that conquered the world in the 1900s had more cultural-historical significance compared to their turnover, and their products became Finnish icons. This Artek that in Kullberg’s words is worth “doing everything in one’s power to defend” is strongly rooted in its history and founders’ legacy. For a company like Artek, its unique cultural history is an inherent part of present value. ”This bunch, including Tapio Wirkkala and Armi Ratia in addition to Artek’s founders, had a mission: to build a national identity for a country that was still young. Artek was born during an era of movement, marked by various artist collectives and a desire to prove oneself to the world. Looking at Artek’s history has sometimes left me thinking how important it is to have an optimal combination of ambitions and passion”, says Mirkku Kullberg. “Today, we cannot live in a mediocrity and

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of operation at the end of the 1930s, Artek was supplying furniture to retailers in New York, Stockholm, London, Lyon, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Although history has made Artek a predominantly Finnish company, its founders had their sights set abroad right from the beginning”, Mirkku Kullberg reminds. “Artek has never been a Finnish company”, she says. “It happened to be born in Finland, as the brainchild of a group of intelligent individuals. But Alvar Aalto’s designs and the group’s philosophy have always been universal. They were cosmopolitans of their time.” And so it turns out that that Artek is now a Swiss company. Vitra has its headquarters in Birsfelden. The family-run company has factories in Germany, Japan, China, Hungary, and the U.S, as well as twenty or so sales companies in different parts of the world.Vitra was founded in 1950 by Villi and Erika Fehlbaum, and the company continues in the hands of the same family up to this day. Artek became part of Vitra’s furniture company in fall 2013, when Artek’s former owner, Swedish

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The Aalto stool is known for its three curved legs.

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investment company Proventus, began to look around for a new owner for Artek. The deal was preceded by a visionary work commissioned from former CEO Kullberg. ”I was contacted by the management of Proventus in spring 2012, who asked me to carry out an investigation: What was Artek like when I joined the firm in 2005; What had we achieved in seven years; and how I saw Artek’s future. I was on fire during the summer months going through all the

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nder ownership by Proventus since 1992, Artek’s turnover doubled, while Kullberg and her enthusiastic and committed team managed to double the turnover from EUR 10 million to EUR 20 million during the last seven years. Yet people still imagined Artek to be significantly bigger. ”Everyone was mesmerized by Artek’s strong brand. It had clearly become an opinion institute around the world – not just because of history or

Kullberg wanted to find a new owner with an understanding of Artek’s DNA: someone who knew it was a question of more than furniture. acquisition possibilities and Artek’s potential international visions inside my head”, reminisces Kullberg. She was invited to present her vision in Stockholm in the fall. ”It was the first time I’d met the board of Proventus in seven years. As I pressed the enter button after the last slide, I knew what question would be coming my way”, Kullberg recounts. And there it was:“How much would this vision cost?” Kullberg had an answer prepared. According to her vision, Artek needed continued investment to ensure business growth and to accelerate internationalization. “Artek was in a situation that needed the courage to make the next big move, so that all the work carried out so far wouldn’t go to waste.” The board of Proventus thanked for the presentation, promising to get back with their answer after thinking the proposal through. The answer came in the fall: Proventus asked Kullberg to begin searching for a new owner.

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Aalto’s classic designs, but also because of what we’d been doing recently. At the Milan Furniture Fair, we displayed 350 used Aalto stools that we’d scoured from the cellars of friends and secondhand markets.Top Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed our pavilion, which then went up for auction. We took part in the Venice Biennale, and so on.” Kullberg wanted to find a new owner with an understanding of Artek’s DNA: someone who knew it was a question of more than furniture. ”Idealism does have its place in business. I had, and continue to have, a desire to believe in a certain significance when it comes to Artek. Rolf Fehlbaum said to me: “I love the garage culture you have created at Artek with your team”. That felt good: he saw what we’d been aiming for.” ”Often acquisitions are based on simply looking at figures and making fantastic due diligence processes, disregarding psychological scenarios. Passion, growth potential, mutual relationships of companies - the integration process should be built with an understanding all of these elements, not only the financial opportunities”, Kullberg reflects.

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A-Factory still manufactures Aalto’s furniture in the small village of Littoinen near the town of Kaarina, in western Finland.

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The deal between Proventus andVitra was sealed in early fall 2013, Artek’s price tag remaining a secret. In public, it was seen as a natural progression, the press even noting how the original logos of Vitra and Artek had used the same font. ”Mirkku Kullberg has put in excellent work”, noted Nora Fehlbaum, who is a member of Vitra’s board and niece of Vitra’s head and long-term chairman Rolf Fehlbaum at the press event following the acquisition. “We know how Finns think of Artek as their own company. We will maintain Artek’s independence. Time will show what type of logistical, administrative and marketing support we will be able to provide.” Under Vitra’s wings, Rolf Fehlbaum promised to give Artek the international flair Kullberg was after. ”We’ll first head to the European markets that are riper for Artek’s design, such as Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, and Britain.Then it’s time for the U.S., China, and Japan.”

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ccording to Mirkku Kullberg, there are differences in the two companies. ”Vitra is is an authors house. The brand is connected to an amazing product portfolio. At Artek, ideology comes first. When I learned to know Artek better I always thought it to be more like a movement. Since the very beginning, it has also had an educational mission in the cultural field.” Artek pieces could be conveniently included in Vitra’s product catalogue, but an element of Artek’s identity would be lost at the same time. Although Artek has become almost synonymous with Alvar Aalto’s classic pieces, it was obvious that the range needed to be expanded. ”A model of in-house designers would whave worked best for Artek. In 2005 when we started revamping the design development was based in London, Tom Dixon being the creative director. It would be great o find designers ready to commit to the company and given enough ties with the production process.”

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Kullberg has noticed that her thoughts resound more closely with the younger generation of designers. There are more and more designers who are interested in meaningful projects, transparent process, and sustainable partners. ”I visited a fair in New York recently, where I met young designers who a decade earlier would have jumped for joy at meeting someone from an established design company. Now they were a little reserved, saying they didn’t want to become swallowed up by a big company. They want to build sustainable products – and when you reply: “Okay, but I guess you’ll need someone to make those products”, they come back with: “Thank you, but we already have our own production process”. This is something young designers share in common with Alvar Aalto: he and Artek kept manufacturing in their own hands or in close quarters. Throughout history, Artek furniture has been manufactured under license at Korhonen Factory in southwestern Finland. Now known as A-Factory, Artek finally acquired Korhonen factory in 2014. The next integration steps between Vitra and Artek may of course affect the manufacturing process; product lines at Vitra factories could just boost Artek’s efficiency.

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espite taking a few steps away from Artek, sitting here in the basement floor of Artek’s headquarters in Helsinki, Mirkku Kullberg has a deep interest in the company’s future. ”We need to take care of this company with a very special mission.” “We”, is a recurring word for Kullberg. It was also a decisive word in Nils-Gustav Hahl’s letter to Maire Gullichsen before the 1935 König meeting and the founding of Artek. Hahl came up with the idea, wanting to inspire Gullichsen, too: ”Why give up on this unexpectedly offered, vital stage for cultural propaganda? And why let this opportunity slip from our hands to, publically and

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A LVA R A A LTO : DESIGN SUITED TO T H E L I T T L E M A N 1 Alvar Aalto (1898-1979), main designer and one of the founders of Artek, can be described as the most notable Finnish architect of his time. He was also a celebrated designer of furniture, as well as a sculptor and a painter. Aalto’s works include both landmark and private architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware. The span of his career, from the 1920s to the 1970s, is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicism of the early work to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards. What is typical for his entire career, however, is a concern for design as a ”gesamtkunstwerk”, a total work of art. Together with his first wife Aino Aalto he would design not just the building, but give special treatments to the interior surfaces and design furniture, lamps, and furnishings and glassware.

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1. The manifesto. 2. The original neon sign, designed by Aalto. 3. Nils-Gustav Hahl. 4. Aino and Alvar Aalto.

”We should work for simple, good, undecorated things”, he said in a speech in London 1957, “but things which are in harmony with the human being and organically suited to the little man in the street”.

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Y L O TO I N U T N O IV F E V R I SI E W T

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B R A N D B E N T F RO M B I RC H A N D V E N E E R Pekka Mattila Group Managing Director, Aalto University Executive Education Professor of Practice, Aalto University

Artek is a surprisingly small company but an astonishingly big brand, making it a valuable lesson for any company with global ambitions. There is just one disclaimer: certain elements in Artek’s brand heritage have kept it small and confined to a box that’s too narrow. The small size brings rareness, and significantly helps in building a sustainable luxury brand. However, Artek doesn’t quite fit in the image of old-school luxury: Instead of being posh, it has always been bare, instead of being flamboyant, it has always been functional. Artek doesn’t show off - it is all no-nonsense with an aesthetic ambition. In essence, Artek is a great example of new luxury - a category where total consumer or user benefit really counts. Merely being expensive or loud doesn’t necessarily take you very far. Telling an authentic story and having a real functional purpose may take you further. Making the most of roots and origin is what counts. Artek has always been a household brand in Finland, slightly upmarket but yet accessible, and often visible also in down-to-earth public spaces. Now it has to establish its global position by deciding how to be Finnish while going beyond a Finnish mindset.

with determination, make the development of Finnish art and design known to Finns, which until now has been fully valued only abroad? From experience I know that foreigners are much better aware of that which can be perfected in our country: Finland is valued as a modern country of art, design, and architecture, yet lacks a visible center where this is demonstrated (…) This may sound

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The concept of “country-of-origin” plays a role: does the source give the brand leverage or is it a hindrance. “Made in Japan” resonates better today than it used to 30 years ago, when Asian manufacturing was a synonym for cheap and unreliable produce. Regrettably, as consumers we are not fair either: The concept of original French champagne helps boutique-sized and often mismanaged producers still avoid direct comparison with Spanish and Italian rivals potentially offering unparalleled value for money. What does the country brand of Finland stand for, and is it meaningful in the category of furniture and house décor? How does it compare to Italy, France, and Spain – countries with overwhelmingly rich cultural heritage? Should the category of Artek be relabeled as Nordic life, where being straightforward, purposeful, and not taking oneself too seriously matters the most. As the premium and luxury industry becomes increasingly global and international conglomerates play a bigger role, it remains to be seen how individual brands are able to leverage their country-of-origin effect in order to advance their pursuits. It is possible that being local, narrow, and stubbornly focused may be the next secret sauce for the global arena.

pompous and overly romantic to you, but I assure you that someone has to carry this out, so I proceed by asking: why couldn’t that someone be we?” ◆ This article in Finnish online: www.aaltoee.fi/blog The article also refers to Pekka Suhonen’s publication Artek – Alku, tausta, kehitys (1985).

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BOOK 4 [ WORDS OF WISDOM ]

I N C O N S TA N T CONFLICT Artist Riitta Nelimarkka is renowned for her strong style and doctoral dissertation that caused a scandal in its day. Journalist Ville Blüfield met with the artist at her unique atelier, discovering how the artist’s voice emerges through conflict. Photography Touko Hujanen.


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hat a peculiar place. Bonga Castle stands in the historic center of the small town of Loviisa, about a hundred kilometers east of Helsinki. Situated next to a church and enclosed by a grand garden, the building’s façade is nothing

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short of striking; the colonnade and steps that revolve outside the main entrance exemplify classical architecture, while the towers represent the more pared-down Art Nouveau style. An extensive glass veranda was added to the back of the building a few decades later. Stepping inside, the quirky feel continues. The

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wall – well, the head of an antelope to be exact. The creature was captured by Nelimarkka herself while she was in Africa. The lady of the castle, however, doesn’t seem strange at all. She swerves to the castle grounds in her jeep before ushering her guests in through the kitchen, where she puts the coffee on and digs out some cakes she’s picked up at a nearby bakery. “You have to taste the apple tart. The bakery is famous for those”, Riitta Nelimarkka exclaims. She then sits down, ready to talk. We have arrived to meet with the artist behind her work at Bonga Castle, which houses Nelimarkka’s studio and gallery. “Self-analysis is terribly difficult”, she begins. “All of the answers are sort of wrong.”

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Riitta Nelimarkka in her Loviisa ateljer home, the castle of Bonga.

castle walls and the floors of the grand hall are draped with artist Riitta Nelimarkka’s colorful works of art. Paintings, graphic art, and enormous tapestries - vibrant colors and characters that have come to epitomize her style. Eyes and motion, no matter where one looks. A large antelope stares down from the lobby

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iitta Nelimarkka, 67, has had a lengthy and impressive career as an artist, holding close to 100 private exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In Finland, she’s particularly famous for her paintings and tapestries – and her doctoral dissertation, which we’ll return to a little later. Over the decades, she has also delved into graphic art, poetry, and animation, among other things. “I want to be free. I don’t want to be tied down in any way”, states Nelimarkka. “Perhaps that’s an aspect I share with my grandfather.” Riitta Nelimarkka is the granddaughter of professor Eero Nelimarkka (1891-1977), one of the most prominent Finnish painters in the early 1900s. He was a modernist, who studied in Paris and elsewhere abroad, reviving the Finnish art scene. Renowned especially for his landscapes and portraits, Eero Nelimarkka left an even greater legacy to his granddaughter. “His life’s work was extremely versatile and extensive. In addition to painting, he wrote, spoke out politically, had an active social life, and was quite a wild one as a youngster. He was fierce. He was also a bit of a dreamer – completely devoted to his thing.” Riitta Nelimarkka reminisces on how at the age

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“For me, freedom lies at the heart of everything. And constant conflict, also with myself.” of seven she went up to her grandfather to show a watercolor she had painted. “He tilted his head and said it should have some depth. That I should remember both the light and the shadow.” Versatility, fanatically focusing on the creative process, determination. In the course of just a few sentences, Riitta Nelimarkka touches on several characteristics that bind together the two artists of different generations. “He retained a certain independence as far as the rest of the art world is concerned, which has always been important to me as well. I want to be as independent as possible. There’s no other choice. Even if I’d like to be mediating, it doesn’t always happen – if I’m being honest.” And just like that – in the space of a cup of cof-

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fee and an apple tart – we’ve already arrived at the heart of Riitta Nelimarkka’s art. The impetus behind the art that also overflows in this castle.

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or me, freedom lies at the heart of everything”, explains Riitta Nelimarkka. “And constant conflict, also with myself.” Riitta Nelimarkka herself doesn’t hail from an artist home. Both of her parents were engineers; her father also a successful businessman and inventor. “My parents weren’t exactly bohemians. Since my childhood, I’ve had to lead different lives and spend time in different circles. Throughout my career, I’ve had an active role in the academia and business life in addition to the art world. My true

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Nelimarkkas’s large-scale tapestries are also manufactured at the Bonga castle.

self is in a basic state of conflict in all of these realms.” In addition to her art sales, Nelimarkka engages in business life through the Nelimarkka Foundation, which she has chaired since 1987. In the academic world, Nelimarkka has progressed to doctor and professor (2008). Navigating in different circles has taught me to be sociable, but also distant. In addition to art circles, university, and business life, Nelimarkka mentions the church and religions. Four distinct worlds, bubbles, social groups, institutions, where the artist remains and constantly argues. “I’m genuinely interested and gladly dwell in all of these worlds, but certain anarchy is constant and alive. It’s fruitful for me as an artist. Understanding the distinct worlds, these small universes, and living among their conflicts is enriching. After all, art isn’t born in a vacuum, but through interaction.” This is the dilemma underpinning Riitta Nelimarkka’s art: her works emerge through interac-

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tion as well as alone. “Very alone”, she states. In relation to and in conflict with the community. Perhaps that’s why it’s hard to convey one’s identity as an artist in words.There’s no way to be sure whether others will understand the oddities that feel natural to oneself. One conflict follows the other in Nelimarkka’s language. Growing up to be a diplomat, but reluctant to mediate. Wanting to live in a community despite it creating a constant rub. She speaks about the absolute freedom of art – while successfully churning out substantial commissioned work with customer needs in mind. “So far, my commissioners have pretty much given me free reign. I create sketches, which we look through together. People are smart and without preconceptions. They come to me already knowing my art.That’s an easy and inspiring starting point.” Nelimarkka compares her identity as an artist to two acrobats balancing on a trapeze. “On the one hand, I value knowledge and have a huge thirst for

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“In fact, the examiners representing science were in favor of approving my dissertation. Objection came from the third examiner, who came from the field of art.” it. On the other hand, I’m aware there’s also another way based on intuition. I may see things beforehand that later turn out to be true.Without knowledge or analytical research. Intuition is a gift, just like the thirst for knowledge is. They don’t rule each other out in any way.” As an artist, Nelimarkka relies on intuition.“Although intuition can let you down sometimes.” As a businesswoman and Doctor of Arts, she dares to put her trust in knowledge. This leads us to Nelimarkka’s famous doctoral dissertation in 2000.

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iitta Nelimarkka worked on her doctoral dissertation Self Portrait, Elise’s Dissertation,Variation of a Variation for the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at the end of the 1990s, exploring the relationship of an artist with her own production. The dissertation consisted of art exhibitions and a written publication. Permission was granted to print the dissertation, and the opponents were in favor of approval. However, things took on a dramatic turn, as the school’s degree council announced its rejection of the work. Apparently the dissertation, which merged art and research, didn’t fulfill the then developing criteria for dissertations at universities. What made the case particularly dramatic was the fact that the degree council didn’t make its decision until after the actual public examination. The incident was a scandal among the art world and academic circles alike. It seemed as if Neli­ markka’s self-portrait served as a collision point for arts and sciences. Nelimarkka ended up in the middle, as the requirements for an artistic dissertation were being defined.

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Nelimarkka appealed the decision of the degree council of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and it was accepted. Self Portrait was approved, and Nelimarkka became a doctor the following year. Fifteen years down the line, Riitta Nelimarkka reminisces on the scandal with humor and an air of warmth. She does, however, deny that the doctoral dissertation would have served only as a battleground for drawing the line between art and science. “In fact, the examiners representing science were in favor of approving my dissertation. Objection came from the third examiner, who came from the field of art. But that’s just the way it goes. If a festival is arranged in Jyväskylä, it’s the locals who won’t attend. For some reason recognition hardly ever arises from within.” In hindsight, Nelimarkka claims that provocation wasn’t the starting point for her doctoral dissertation or research. Despite seeking out conflict with institutions in her art, it wasn’t the reason for her dissertation. The dissertation grew from pure joy of research, she says. “It brought me in touch with a more conventional, somewhat dull academic world, and perhaps my way of doing things brought aggravation. The same kind of mentality was offered to me – they way things should be – and it irritated me. It irritated me in my 20s and it irritated me in my 50s.” “Perhaps it’s just the way things were supposed to go. Maybe the farce was unavoidable.”

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iitta Nelimarkka bought Bonga Castle together with her husband Jaakko Seeck in

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Nelimarkka is known for her strong use of colours.

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“I don’t feel like an outsider, but neither do I feel the need to be an insider in artist circles – or any circles for that matter. I enjoy talking with all sorts of people, but I’ve never had the urge to belong.”

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“Works of art mature over a lengthy subconscious thought process before suddenly activating.” 1987.The building had been left in dire straits, and the couple has gradually restored it back to glory. The cellar serves as a weaving facility, allowing the artist to take part in creating her large-scale tapestries. To supervise and steer each stage, make changes and remake.“The original pictures need to be drawn in actual size. Then the weaving process is a collaboration with weaver Nils Neu­vonen.” “Sometimes the speed of creating different draft versions feels almost embarrassing. I may come up with a constant stream of new variations at such an intensity and pace that it makes me wonder whether any concentration has really gone into it”, the artist admits. “In reality, processes are always slow. Works of art mature over a lengthy subconscious thought process before suddenly activating. People are often keen to know how long it took to create a particular piece. From very early on, I haven’t considered it a particularly interesting criterion.” Nelimarkka’s strong, half abstract, playful signature style is just one of her forms of expression. Behind her swift lines lies a mastery of precise, classical drawing. For Nelimarkka, it’s important to master traditions and know the rules before they can be broken. “For a long time in the world and history of art, attention has been paid to meticulous activities that require patience and skill. I guess for example harmony is a value in itself in those types of works, but it’s nothing new anymore. These types of works of art can be valid in that they have been created so well. They may be undeniably masterpieces, but they’re nothing new. And to turn this around: something new isn’t necessarily good. But without stepping into the unknown, you can’t find something new, ingenious, that’s also good.” It’s clear that Nelimarkka identifies herself with

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the latter. She’s not interested in copying classical skills, but seeks out something new through her individual expression instead. ‘That’s when you also make mistakes.” Here – in the realm of an artist’s professional skills and ethics – Riitta Nelimarkka finds she has more in common with her father the engineer than with her grandfather the painter. “My father could tell me to stop doing the same thing and make something new. Once he confided in me in a state of dissatisfaction how an engineer at work had shown him a draft. One draft! My father taught me you have to show at least five. I think I was about fifteen when we had this conversation. It was an important mental testament for me.” Riitta Nelimarkka talks a lot, yet considers her words, sometimes quietly mulling over her answers. She comes up with a constant stream of new threads of thought. “Usually it’s good to contemplate things over for a little longer. The first version may well turn out the best, but still.”

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elimarkka has assembled her books to help our conversation along: in addition to her dissertation, her published works include: Elisen epämuistelmat (Engl. transl. Elise’s unmemoir), a biography of sorts; and Giovanna Idiaatta Pallo Medissi, a book of poetry and images telling the fictional story of a young artist girl living in Florence during the era of the Medicis in the 1400s, which, too, is a type of self-portrait. “It’s an important book to me for some reason. Many others have enjoyed it as well.” Nelimarkka recounts how her publisher insisted on having the manuscript of her poetry book assessed by independent experts before publication

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T H E E Y E WA N D E R S Riitta Nelimarkka created a large triptych Omnipotentia for the biggest hall in Aalto EE’s new premises – the hall itself named Nelimarkka after the work of art. “I was looking at the finished work of art in the space, thinking it actually had turned out rather well. I

without disclosing the author’s name. That’s how questionable it was for a visual artist to jump into the shoes of an author. The experts chose the manuscript for publication from among many others. “It did make me snigger.” Once again, a hint of warmth can be traced in the artist’s voice, as she reminisces on the minor conflict.The social dance.The test she had to take. “I don’t feel like an outsider, but neither do I feel the need to be an insider in artist circles – or any circles for that matter. I enjoy talking with all sorts of people, but I’ve never had the urge to

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was concerned whether something was wrong with the composition, but it was actually just that that brought the work to life. A more harmonious composition would have led it to a standstill. Now the eye wanders, which should be the case with a work of art. It breathes. A work of art that doesn’t carry on living in the viewer’s mind has failed.”

belong. Perhaps I speak a slightly different language to many others. I’m odd to myself, too!” Here, in the tiny kitchen of a small, quirky castle, among expansive, colorful works of art, under the gaze of an hartebeest antelope caught by the artist herself, this self-analysis feels befitting. Riitta Nelimarkka is a dilemma herself. Politely, in the warmest of ways, staring openly in the eye, in a state of constant conflict with her surroundings. ◆ This article in Finnish online: www.aaltoee.fi/blog

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BOOK 5 [ LEADERSHIP ]

B AC K TO S C H O O L Esko Aho, Finland’s former Prime Minister and Nokia’s former Executive Vice President, starts as a lecturer at Aalto University. We asked what the man who steered a small state and large corporation wants to instill in his students.Words Reetta Räty, photography Touko Hujanen.

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Esko Aho started as a Prime Minister at the age of 36. In this article, he looks back, and gives some advices on leadership.

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e still looks pretty much the same, even after more than twenty years. Esko Aho was a familiar sight in Finnish living rooms during his years as Prime Minister between 1991-95. It was the era of linear TV, when most Finns would routinely sit down to watch the evening news at 8.30 pm on the dot. Finnish domestic and foreign politics were going through dramatic stages, and night after night the Prime Minister would give his comments on the headlines of the day. Finland was in the depths of recession, plagued by mass unemployment, a banking crisis, and the weakening of the Finnish markka. Its economy took a sharper downward turn compared to many other European countries. Trade union leaders protested against the budget cuts of the bourgeois government, and industry representatives demanded devaluation. The Soviet coup d’état attempt took place less than three months into Esko Aho’s premiership. The situation dissolved, yet was tumultuous. Estonia and Latvia declared their independence, Estonia seeking Finland’s recognition. Meanwhile, Sweden was suddenly keen to join the European Community. Also Finland wanted to submit its application to the western commu-

we get to ask what leadership lessons Aho came away with during those years. True to his character, Esko Aho can’t resist reframing the question. Sitting in a café on the edge of Helsinki Market Square, he divulges some background. After leaving politics, he served as Head of Corporate Relations and Responsibility and as an executive board member at Nokia.According to Aho, both politics and his time at Nokia taught him a great deal about leadership, and there’s no need to separate these overlapping experiences. “Although the recruitment and success indicators of politicians differ from the corporate world, the two realms share a great deal of leadership lessons”, says Aho. So, let’s ask again. What did Aho learn about leadership while serving Finnish people and Nokia?

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irst lesson: A leader mustn’t be afraid of anything or anyone. “You mustn’t be afraid of issues, people, the future, or making decisions. As a result of the global economic situation, decision-making is increasingly complex, and fewer and fewer people grasp

“Putting fear aside is the first piece of advice. Otherwise your hands are tied.” nity, but had signed the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance with Soviet Union in 1948… One crisis after the next landed on Esko Aho’s desk. He was only 36 years of age at the time of his election, with no ministerial experience. Despite harsh criticism that was fired at Esko Aho at times, his government remained in office until the end of the term. Now, twenty years later,

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the big picture necessary for making decisions. Putting fear aside is the first piece of advice. Otherwise your hands are tied.” In Aho’s words, the context in which leaders make decisions has changed.As a result of digitization and global value chains, the future is hard to predict.The situation needs a broad understanding and courage. This is where lesson number two comes into play.

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Aho says he now feels at home both in San Francisco and in the Finnish countryside.

Second lesson: Repair measures are usually inadequate. “In a state of change, repair measures being too excessive is hardly ever a risk. Inadequate repair measures are more of a risk. Nothing repairs itself. Nothing. This goes for both the private and public economies. People often think that perseverance gets you through the other side, but that’s not the way it goes. Success needs to be earned, and change has to be created.” According to Aho, repair measures and change are the responsibility of leaders. Courageous leaders don’t hide behind conditions, or expect their decisions to be welcomed with open arms. As many as nine ministers left Aho’s cabinet, some because of differences in opinion. Eeva Kuuskoski-Vikatmaa resigned from government and her post as Minister for Social Affairs and Health as a protest to cuts implemented under Aho’s leadership. This brings us to lesson number three. Third lesson: Don’t expect praise.

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“The third lesson is not to expect praise. People don’t come to thank you in a crisis situation. Leaders may be praised in good times, no matter what they do. During bad times it’s a different story – no matter what they do.” “This applies to companies, organizations, and states alike. It may seem unfair, but fairness isn’t the issue; it’s about a delayed response. Decisions that lead the course from bad to good times aren’t always nice and rarely praised. Subsequent leaders get the credit.” Aho mentions Nokia as an example.“Who is to blame for mobile operations ending up in crisis?” he asks. Many point the finger at Stephen Elop, the CEO who jumped on the scene from Microsoft. Aho explains that he saw from the sidelines how Elop became a leader at a time when there was very little left to do. Elop simply sowed the decisions made by his predecessors. Fourth lesson: A normal, balanced life to counteract pressure.

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“A leader’s private life needs to be in balance. I had small children at the time I was Prime Minster, which kept me grounded. I always had my hands full to balance out work life. During those rare moments to spend with family, I immediately landed in the middle of normal life.” Fifth lesson: Surround yourself with better people. “Leaders need a good team to trust.They should dare to surround themselves with people who bring something extra to the team, and excel over the leader in some area. This requires leaders to have a humble attitude and admit they can’t do everything themselves. It also requires team members to understand their roles.” During his years as Prime Minister, Aho wrote his key speeches himself. According to Aho, preparing them took a great deal of time. Teamwork was the applied method, sitting in front of his machine surrounded by 4-5 people. He wrote, while bouncing his thoughts with others. Aho sees writing as a vital tool. It’s like thinking,

tiae. Similarly, good leadership isn’t about delegating practicalities. A leader isn’t an electrician or plumber, but an architect.” Aho highlights that many organizations simply don’t think strategically anymore; they focus on operational activities and react to their surroundings, rather than looking into the future. Corporate strategies become operative implementation programs instead of actual strategies. “The purpose of a strategy is to adjust the concept early enough to maintain balance with the surrounding, changing reality – the context.”

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hese days, Esko Aho is a free agent, dividing his time between being an expert in Russian affairs, an international consultant, and board work. In the fall, he will take up a position as Executive in Residence lecturer at Aalto University. He heads the annual Business and Society course, focusing on global and local changes in corporate environments. He will also be lecturing on economic themes relating to Russia. The ap-

“Good leadership isn’t about delegating practicalities. A leader isn’t an electrician or plumber, but an architect.” forcing to crystalize what you pursue. Rather than getting preoccupied with thousands of details, leaders need to decide which issue, change, or policy they want to personally steer. “Leaders decide on issues nobody else can. Although it’s important to listen to your circles, in the end you have to make your own decision.” This points us to Aho’s final piece of leadership advice. Sixth lesson: Don’t micromanage. “A common scenario is for a leader to get absorbed with minor details. Strategic leadership goes on the back burner, as they focus on minu-

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pointment is for a five-year period. Aho, who is now 61 years of age, doesn’t wish to make a distinction between work and hobbies. “It’s all about self-development.” We meet up at the end of the summer, and Aho tells me about the past golf season with his friends – “talking about things that matter at the same time” – and how he has finally managed to read through a pile of International New York Times and Financial Times papers he didn’t have time for in the winter. He prefers to read his newspapers in print, cutting out interesting articles for his extensive archives as he goes.

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“I keep anything that seems useful. I have a very old-fashioned archiving method: cutting and filing away newspaper clippings.” Aho explains how he feels just as comfortable in a San Francisco beach café and the Finnish countryside. He first left Finland after losing presidency to Tarja Halonen in the 2000 elections, and became a fellow at the Institute of Politics and adjunct lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Also his second stint abroad in 2012 led him to Harvard, when he spent two years as senior fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. In Aho’s view, there’s still plenty of work to be done in opening up Finnish universities to the outside world. He appreciates the U.S. model, where the transition is extremely smooth. He feels that both the university and external staff benefit from open doors. “Visiting professorships enable an exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Let’s just think about former U.S. politicians and their roles at universities…” You can’t help think Esko Aho would have appreciated an invite to lecture at a Finnish university already earlier on.

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teaching role probably comes naturally to Esko Aho, who takes a lecturing stance even during the interview. It’s a familiar trait already from his time as Prime Minister. He doesn’t shy away from giving advice and instructions. So let’s ask what Aho would like Aalto students to learn on the new course. Is there an underlying thought he’d like to leave with the students? Aho comments that the public sector and its influence on the operating conditions of companies is the most vital issue. “In my view, this is the main problem today. In Finland, key private sector operators have difficulties understanding and accepting the role of the public sector.”

In August, Esko Aho gave a speech at Finlandia Hall. Aalto EE and a local newspaper Helsingin Sanomat arranged an economy course for Finnish politicians there.

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What does this actually mean? “Dysfunctional societies with good companies simply doesn’t exist. A well-functioning society is an advantage also for business.This is the key issue that students should grasp during the course.”

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s for leadership lessons, Aho is reluctant to differentiate between public and private sector experiences. The basic underlying principles are always the same when it comes to leading people. Although leading a state does differ from managing a company. As Aho left politics behind and headed into business life, he noticed that the key difference between the two realms was that politicians continued to be responsible for people also after tough decisions. A company that lays off people is no longer responsible for those people, whereas the state operates according to a different logic. When an organization in society cuts down the number of personnel, those people are still part of society.

“A well-functioning society is an advantage also for business. This is the key issue that students should grasp during the course.” They don’t disappear from the system, even if they disappear from the salary slips of a government office. During a tougher economic climate, it’s common to talk about the state as you would about a company: as a financial unit that needs to maintain its competitive edge through harsh financial measures. But the state is a whole lot more, with an economy that has its unique logic. “Companies have a limited responsibility and politicians a limitless responsibility for people. They remain part of society even after decisions have been carried through”, explains Aho. Aho thinks that decision-making in society is a whole lot more complicated than managing a

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business. “People tend to think it’s the other way round.” The corporate decision-making model provides a relatively fast and linear progression. It follows a clear order: the biggest boss decides. The democratic principle, on the other hand, is to ask just about everyone before making a decision. According to Aho, the quality of public sector decision-making is inferior to that of the private sector. He thinks consensus doesn’t work as a decision-making model, if society is going through tumult. “Consensus reaps good results in a stable context. When the context changes radically, reform

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“Trade unions want to hold on to the past with all that they can, and defend people’s rights where they’re at. It’s the wrong way of going forward.” is needed, as consensus no longer works. That’s when a breakthrough is vital, yet someone always has a way of watering down decisions.” In Finland, the strong role of trade unions is an integral part of decision-making in society. It became clear already in the early 1990s that Aho didn’t think too highly of their role or operating principles. His thinking follows similar lines today: “Trade unions aren’t concerned with the overall interest of employees.” “They want to hold on to the past with all that they can, and defend people’s rights where they’re at. It’s the wrong way of going forward. It’s more important to think about new opportunities for replacing what’s been lost.”

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n his course, Aho plans to present an alternative to “defending the past”. A good example is the Nokia Bridge program from 2010-13, at a time of one bout of co-operation negations and layoffs after the next. “People leaving Nokia were supported to find something new.A total of 18,000 people left in the space of two years, yet 60 per cent had found a new job before the end of their employment contract.” During the Bridge program, ex-Nokia employees founded a thousand companies, 400 of which were established in Finland. The idea of the program was for employees having to leave to be given an opportunity to plan their future with an expert, whether it would involve a new job, setting up a company, or something else. The program also provided financial support for studying or starting up a company. On the other hand, ex-Nokia engineers and

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ICT professionals would have probably found employment rather easily even without the program. But could the model be adapted to, for instance, industrial companies? At least Aho thinks so. “What’s the alternative? Standing by, as 20-30 per cent of all jobs disappear over the next twenty years?” Aho thinks that society and businesses should prepare for the future together. Sectors facing transition should consider in advance how to create new jobs to replace ones that are lost.Aho reminds that this is a question for every sector set to be transformed by digitization: “That means nearly every single one.” “On the course, we will be thinking about models for developing something new before the tough transformation hangs on our heads.”

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oday, those born or raised during Esko Aho’s premiership make up for a large share of university students. In Finland, this generation is known as “children of the recession”.They would have only briefly seen the evening news sitting on their parents’ laps just before bedtime. Even if Esko Aho’s face isn’t imprinted in the minds of young people of today, as children they lived through the fearless decisions of leaders: EU Finland, huge welfare service cuts, aftermath of the banking crisis. Against this backdrop, it’s fascinating to ponder on the extent of the responsibility of leaders, and the potential of alternative development paths. In Aho’s own words:“A politician has a limitless responsibility for people.” ◆ This article in Finnish online: www.aaltoee.fi/blog

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“ P O L I T I C I A N S S H O U L D N ’ T A DV I S E C O R P O R AT E M A N A G E M E N T – A N D V I C E V E R S A” “What seals this country’s destiny?” posed Esko Aho at the beginning of his speech at Taloudenpuolustus­ kurssi (the Defending the Economy course) held at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki in August. Arranged jointly by Aalto EE and Helsingin Sanomat, the course was designed to help MPs take note of issues that needed to be addressed in order to boost Finnish companies. In addition to politicians and experts from Aalto EE, key business and organizational influencers were gathered at the event. Esko Aho gave a resounding answer to his own question: “It’s the wave of digitization. It will transform everything, just like industrialization did in its time.” Aho believes that Finland increasingly needs joint, seamless efforts between the private and public sectors. This requires breaking down attitudes.

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“As politicians, we advise what corporate management should do. We think we know how companies should be managed and marketed to increase product sales”, said Aho at Finlandia Hall. “For companies it’s the other way round: CEOs always think they know how to run the country, readily giving their instructions to politicians.” According to Aho, collaboration based on advising others simply doesn’t work. Politicians aren’t much good at creating corporate strategies. Similarly, managing directors don’t have what it takes to solve government problems. His advice is for politicians to approach business life, especially new, agile startups, as follows: “Let them do things in peace. They don’t need money, they need peace. Don’t start advising.”

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I M PA C T & EXPERIENCE THE SINGAPORE SUMMIT PA RT I C I PA N T S & FA C U LT Y

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SUMMIT PHOTOS RAY CHUA

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Alex Chee (left), Yudhistira Marcel Harry Knoch, Jacqueline Nora Pinto, Melissa Cheah, Lauri Kerman, and Camilla Wiik discuss at one of the conference rooms.

Professor Matti Suominen (left below) from Aalto University explains how to measure and capture value in the times of uncertainty.

NAVIGATING THE SINGAPORE SUMMIT 2015 Aalto Executive Summit was held in Singapore in August 2015. In total, 154 Aalto Executive MBA students from 6 locations and 24 nationalities joined the summit under the theme “Strategic Foresight – Navigating Uncertainty”. Next year, the Executive Summit will be held in Helsinki, followed by Singapore again in 2017.We gathered experiences and insights from participants at the summit. How has the EMBA journey been so far, and what are the thoughts of the professors teaching the classes?

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Mari Kiviniemi is responsible for the strategic oversight of the OECD’s work on Efficient and Effective Governance; Territorial Development; Trade and Agriculture, as well as Statistics. Ms. Kiviniemi was Finland’s Prime Minister from 2010 to 2011.

Pekka Mattila opened the Aalto Executive Summit.

Anna Ratala (left), and Alex Chee are taking part in Aalto EMBA program in Singapore. In the Summit, they got to know Sanam Mahoozi, and Alireza Kolahi from Iran. a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

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C O M M U N I C AT I O N S K I L L S

“ SUCCEEDING IN I NTERNATIONAL BUSINESS REQUIRES EMPATHY ”

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ECD’s Deputy SecretaryGeneral Mari Kiviniemi gave the opening words at the Singapore Summit, which was held under the theme “Strategic Foresight - Navigating Uncertainty”. According to Kiviniemi, the OECD has also been working on this issue  of navigating uncertainty for a long time now.  She reminds that there is also a bright side to the uncertainty: “If the future could really be fully predicted, we would not be able to change it.”  Former prime minister Kivi­ niemi says that the leaders of our time need to be able to “see around corners”. The key question is: How can we navigate the new opportunities and threats of a shifting global ocean of uncertainty? One of the issues she mentioned was repeated also during the rest of the summit and over coffee table discussions: In order to be successful in the inter­ national scene, whatever the level, requires strong analytical competencies on the one hand, but also interpersonal and communication skills as well as em-

pathy and emotional intelligence. This is something Kiviniemi emphasized afterwards: empathy and  emotional intelligence are skills. They can and should be learned. “They are important to forging common understanding of policy issues and challenges, making compromise, building consensus, making the case for and selling ideas, and engage in relationships with new business partners.” Kiviniemi talks about the need for humility in effective management of the 21st century. “Being able to reflect deeply about what we know and what we don’t yet fully understand is vital. It is critical for engaging in strategic  knowledge exchange and lifelong learning.” Kiviniemi also pointed out that the current situation demands a deep and critical revision of the role and curricula of business schools.  A world  is characterized by digitalization, shared and circular economies, virtual communities and globally connected urban socievol 2

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ties. “No doubt it will also demand you will need to learn ways to balance the value and vulnerabilities of a more connected world using a mix of competitive and collaborative strategies.”  Pekka Mattila, the Group Managing Director at Aalto EE, says that the conventional business school rankings emphasize the financial gains when measuring the impact of the programs – but that is not the whole picture. “Leadership development has a well-established tradition of fluffy definitions for its impact and return on investment. Financial Times rankings – the dominant global review of top programs and schools – has straightforwardly emphasized the importance of financial gain in terms of salary increase and total salary.Yet, there is so much more in it. ” “At Aalto EE our challenge is to develop a more holistic frameworks for tracking the longterm impact of our flagship programs. Having a more meaningful career and being yourself with more skills are highly valuable outcomes that don’t easily fit into any criteria in Excel.” ◆

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A A L TI O M P EA EC TI M &P AE CX TP EI RN I ENNUCME B E R S

O V E R A L L F E E D B A C K O N AV E R A G E O N A S C A L E O F 1– 6 , Y E A R S 2 0 1 4 – 2 0 1 5

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A A L T O E X E C U T I V E M B A G L O B A L LY Finland since year 1988 Poland since year 2002

Iran since year 2014 China since year 2003

South Korea since year 1995 Taiwan since year 2003

Singapore since year 1999 Indonesia since year 2012 a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

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Aalto EMBA participant Anna Ratala CEO, Pine Cone, Singapore

Aalto EMBA participant Karim Hadj-Hamou General Project Manager, Alcatel-Lucent Middle East & North Africa JLT, Dubai

A J O U R N E Y I N TO D I F F E R E N T PERSONALITY TYPES

GLOBAL VIEW

“ M y way of com muni cating has b e gun to make more se n se ”

“I t rave l to Si ngapore EMB A prog ram from D ubai eve ry month”

PineCone is a Singapore-registered business helping software and digital companies enter the South East Asian market. CEO Anna Ratala is taking part in the Aalto EMBA program in Singapore. “During the first module, we discussed and found out each participant’s personality type.This was really useful for my work. I realized that if I present things in a certain way, other people with a different personality may not buy my ideas or thoughts immediately. My way of communicating has begun to make more sense in this way. I’ve understood that it’s worth taking a slightly different approach to the other person, if you notice your ways of communicating don’t meet. This has been important to me, as I work in sales.” “The module held by Ben Nothnagel gave me loads of energy and ideas. Although I realized that personality type may be a weakness in certain things, it also made me see that it can be corrected and adjusted as needed, as long as you are conscious of it.”

Back in Dubai where he lives, Karim HadjHamou manages telecom programs for customers like Sictel and France Télécom. Hadj-Hamou is completing the Aalto EMBA program in Singapore, and flies from Dubai to Singapore every month. “I chose the program by putting up a list of my criteria: price/quality, international exposure, flexibility, content, location, and so on. Aalto EMBA in Singapore ticked the boxes best”, he says. “I get to discuss with people from other countries and industries. It opens my mind, and makes me think everything is possible, the limits are in our minds, and almost all of them are breakable.” In his program, there are people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan,Austria, Netherlands, and Italy. He himself has lived for example in France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, and Brazil. “The EMBA is a lot of work, but I think it is okay to sacrifice a couple of weekends for this experience.”

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“You don’t have to be in health care to innovate in health care” Lecturer at the Aalto Executive Summit, Dr. Ayesha Khalid, believes that sometimes you need to leave the workplace to be able to redefine yourself and what you are doing at work.

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yesha Khalid is a Board Certified ENT surgeon, a systems thinker, and a healthcare innovation enthusiast. She thinks mobile phones are revolutionary for the health care industry. The underlining mission for her class in the Summit is: “You don’t have to be in health care to innovate in health care.” How do the doctors in class react to that mission? “Terribly!” Ayesha says and laughs. She is not being entirely serious, and says that for example lawyers and teachers have the same attitude if somebody from the outside tries to innovate in their field: we know better, do not interfere. She thinks the opposite. We have a lot to learn from each other. She thinks that’s part of the power of the Aalto Executive Summit as well: the shared knowledge. When giving lectures,Ayesha won’t let anybody in class to be quiet. “Everybody has to talk and engage! The point is that we are supposed to learn from each other here.” In the Summit Ayesha Khalid lectures on “Managing Complexity in Organizations”. As a pre-assignment she wanted the participants to describe a complex scenario they have faced at work and how they handled it.“Be open and honest”, she instructed. In class, the group discussed problems together. a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

“It is critical problem-solving that these people need at work. First they need to figure out what really is the problem they are solving.” How do you do that? ”I ask you to go around in your organization and figure out who knows what is going on.That is something you won’t see by looking at the official structures. These so called connectors know the history and context of the organization; they know what is going on.They are people to whom other people talk when they are stuck.” According to Ayesha Khalid, she enjoys teaching such an international group in Singapore. ”Here you can have an Iranian online retailer commenting on health care innovations in the US. It is great.” “Every afternoon, we do a case study”, she explains. Next, the group will be having an assignment on a case of unemployment crisis among young adults. The point of the assignment is the system map she introduces to class. “You can map any dilemma. When they go back to their work place, they can map and analyze their own work and organization.” “As part of EMBA program, you are supposed to redefine yourself and what you are doing at work. Sometimes you have to leave the work place in order to do that.That’s why these kinds of summits are great.” ◆

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AYESHA KHALID A Board Certified ENT surgeon. Khalid has completed her own MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management in a program focused on innovation and global leadership. While at Sloan, Ayesha joined MIT H@cking Medicine to help promote disruptive thinking in health care. Prior to Sloan, Ayesha served on several boards for medical organizations. She is involved in an innovative venture - Collective Healthtech - that is innovating the way hospitals collaborate on a global level. Also, Ayesha Khalid is committed to her passion of promoting girls to study scientific fields as well as technology and engineering.

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” You gai n new pe r spective s and hear tough stateme nts that challe nge thinking” Aalto EMBA and AaltoJOKO participant Rami Hakala says the programs have given him more knowledge and self-confidence in different fields: finances, HR, sales, marketing, to name a few.

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ami Hakala, a participant in the Aalto EMBA program, is sitting along the corridor of a congress hotel in Singapore. It’s Friday and the last day of the Aalto Executive Summit, marking the end to a busy week of lectures and networking, countless cups of coffee, and a stream of conversations over lunch and dinner. The afternoon’s topic ”Circular Economy – The Future Shape of your Business and Social Landscape” still lies ahead. The session is held by Mark Esposito and Terence Tse, a pair of intense and energetic lecturers, who make sure they get the undivided attention even of those sitting in the back row. The lectures take the form of a workshop, involving discussions, assignments, group work, and shouting out potential answers to the lecturers’ questions. Participants from Singapore, Iran, Taiwan, Finland,Algeria, and dozens of other countries discuss the topics and give their guesses, sharing experiences from their own countries. What will Rami Hakala take home from the Singapore Summit, as he returns to work? ”You gain quite a lot of new perspectives, and hear tough statements clearly designed to challenge conventional business thinking.This in turn challenges your own thinking. It’s good to look at issues from many different angles and be critical towards the initial impulse that comes to mind, a alto leade r s’ i n si g h t

going further than the most apparent viewpoint.” ”It stuck in my mind from yesterday how the micro and macro levels shouldn’t be considered as separate entities. Today, we’ve been thinking for instance about ways to create business models around recycling.” Hakala thinks it’s refreshing and eye-opening to think about topics and scenarios also beyond one’s own sector. He manages a staff of 30 at his office in Vantaa. He has worked in the same industry for fifteen years, of which the last six for family-run company SKS. Advancing from Sales Director to Managing Director at SKS Automation, Rami Hakala felt that more in-depth financial expertise would be beneficial to him. With the support of his supervisor, he began his studies on AaltoJOKO program in 2012. ”It provided plenty of tools for strategy work and corporate management.” A few years later, Hakala began his studies on the EMBA program. What made him return? ”Aalto EE felt like the natural choice after such a good experience from the JOKO program. Aalto has the best reputation in EMBA programs, so the decision was easy.” ”I began to see how challenges in general management became more prevalent in my position as Managing Director. You have to master all the company’s different operations at least on a mod-

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RAMI HAKALA Aalto EMBA and AaltoJOKO participant. Managing Director, SKS Automation, Helsinki. Hakala works at SKS Automation, which is part of SKS Group, a 90-year-old family-run company with approximately 670 employees. SKS operates in Finland, China, Poland, Sweden, Russia, and Estonia. SKS Group provides product and service solutions for machine and equipment manufacturers.

erate level. The EMBA program gives a general view on many different areas. Instead of detailed information, I’m after gaining a general understanding; seeing how different elements affect each other.” ”In my view, the program is good for those after a clearer perspective and knowledge on general management: finances, HR, sales, marketing, selfmanagement, strategic thinking, and so on.”

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akala feels that the program has equipped him in better being able to challenge his colleagues on the management team, for instance, who have more in-depth financial knowledge. ”Experts in just one thing have a narrow view, from their own silo.” Many participants find it important for Aalto EMBA program to be international right down vol 2

to its roots. ”At least in the mechanical engineering sector, small and middle-sized companies need to become more international. An international aspect goes hand-in-hand throughout the program.” Breaks during the Summit are a good time to get to know others – but also to take business calls back home. Telephone conferences take place in hotel rooms, while evenings are taken up by commenting on memos. Today, Hakala needs to delve into his company’s Polish business at the end of the day. How has the program’s workload been so far – is it too much for someone who works at the same time? ”I’d say the amount of work didn’t come as a surprise. I knew well what to expect. My advice is to talk with your family at home before joining the program, so everyone understands what you’re embarking on.You’ll get through it!” ◆

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Aalto EMBA participant Saija Heikinheimo Sales Director, A-Lehdet, Helsinki

Aalto EMBA participant Michael Yeh General Manager, Inhon Computer Co Ltd, Taiwan

DEEPER FINANCIAL K N OW L E D G E

REAL LIFE CASES INSTEAD OF BOOKS

“T he le c ture s ope ne d up a new si de to th e p rof it and lo s s state m e nt ”

” I n c lass, we g o th rou g h busine ss case s and di sc u ss th em”

Saija Heikinheimo began her studies on the Aalto EMBA program in Helsinki in February. Her eyes light up, as she explains how the Corporate Finance module opened up a new way to look at financial figures. “It was exactly what I’d been after: deeper financial knowledge. Up till then I’d viewed the profit and loss statement and balance sheet as passive reporting. The lectures opened up a new world: these figures were perfect tools for creating corporate value. They are influenced by active decisions.” Heikinheimo praises the professor’s attitude towards beginners. “People feel that the topic is among the most complicated in the program, but the professor was able to show clearly how all the dots connect, even for the complete novices among us. It was mind-blowing!” “Already during the first module, everyone felt that EMBA was a new, broadening journey into the self.The professor also made sure we learned to put it all into practice in our daily lives.”

Michael Yeh has a background in mobile phones and IT products. He lives in Taipei, Taiwan, and is does business mainly in Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar. Yeh is taking part in the Aalto EMBA program in Taipei. ”I started the program in January. So far it has been great. We have a chance to talk to people and professors from different fields and cultures. Different people have different thinking, and we can bring their ideas into our own business.” Yeh says the best thing for him is that the teaching is based on cases, not so much on books. “In class, we go through business cases and discuss them with the professor. It is much more effective than reading the books.“ “Yesterday, we went through a case of an Indian company called HCL. It was about how their strategy failed, total revenue dropped, and they had to build a new strategy.The discussions we had made me think: Oh, this is a good case, we can all learn from this.”

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A A L TI O M P EA EC TI M &P AECXTP EI RN I ENNUCME B E R S

A A LTO J O KO ® AaltoJOKO is Finland's leading business executive training program:

45 90 years of history

programs run

2,000

leaders and decisions makers Over in Finnish business life have experienced the AaltoJOKO and given the program top feedback

The AaltoJOKO has met the expectations of the participants by

91%

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Aalto EMBA participant Suzanne Ho Standard Chartered Private Bank, Director Investment Advisory, Singapore

Aalto EMBA participant Veikko Kunnas Head of Division, Cultural Office, City of Helsinki

HELP IN FUTURE CAREER OPTIONS

PERSPECTIVE A N D N E T WO R K I N G

“TH E E M B A P R O GR AM M AKE S Y OU T HIN K AB O U T HOW TO L E AD P E O P L E ”

”Li ste ni ng to someone from I ndi a b ri ng s new pe r spective”

”Aalto EMBA program? Oh, it has been a very relaxing and fun exercise that I look forward to at the weekend.” Susanne Ho is from Singapore, and works in a bank in the city. She says that the EMBA makes participants think about where to head next in their career. “The Aalto EMBA is a very holistic program. On macro-level, I’m looking forward to being able to think about where I want my career to head next. It may well be the same thing, it may be the same but on another level, or it may be something completely different.” “In principle, the Aalto EMBA program makes you think about how to lead people, not only officially as a manager, but also in being a personal leader in the way you can influence others.”

”The program is coming towards its end for me. One of the best parts of this program tailored for the City of Helsinki is that people in the City’s different offices have got to know each other. Networking is beneficial, as daily work involves everyone pretty much sticking to their own production silos”, explains Kunnas. The Singapore Summit made him think about the similarities between large, traditional companies and the public sector. “There were clear analogies. Also cities compete with each other, over residents and businesses, and as such they should become more customer-oriented and think about issues from the perspective of residents.” He explains that just like businesses, also cities think about ways for maintaining their identity, while transforming at the same time. “Listening to cases from Indian or Chinese companies gives perspective to one’s own activities.”

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Aalto EMBA participant Alidad Varshochi, Rana, Agro-Industry Corp., Tehran, Director of Business Development

M O D E R N M A N AG E M E N T S K I L L S

” I rani an manage r s taking th e a alto EMB A rec eive mode rn e ducation and inte rnational pe r spective” Alidad ”Ali”Varshochi from Iran works in the date palm trade, which in his country means big business. After all, most of the 80 million people in his country are Muslims, who consider the date to be holy fruit. According to Varshochi, 3.5 million date palms were destroyed in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War between 1980-88. It could take up to a hundred years for the trees to once again flourish as they did.Varshochi’s company has succeeded in recultivating about 1.8 million date palms, and the growth prospects are astonishing. Iraq lost a significantly larger amount of trees compared to Iran. Alidad Varshochi has a PhD in Science. He says vol 2

that the EMBA program is very useful to him. Iran is opening up to international trade, and the management of Iranian companies will be requiring a clearer international vision. Dates are a major export product. ”I come from a country that severely lacks management trained in modern ways. The Iranian market will hopefully open up soon, and directors and managers will have to have modern education for doing business abroad.” Varshochi himself has a purely scientific background: ”Before taking the Aalto EMBA, I had no idea about corporate finance.After my studies, I can make better decisions based on financial figures.”

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A A LTO L E A D E R S ’ I N S I G H T Editor in Chief Pekka Mattila

Editors Reetta Räty Ville Blåfield Columnists Riitta Kosonen Mikko Laukkanen

Executive Producer Anu Sirkiä

Creative Director Jarkko Hyppönen Translations Rebecca Watson

Contributors Touko Hujanen Annukka Oksanen Jack Hughes Joanna Sinclair Concept Räty-Salovaara-Blåfield Ateljee Hyppönen Online Producer Kati Kiviniemi

Publisher Aalto University Executive Education Ltd Mechelininkatu 3 C, 00100 Helsinki, Finland tel. +358 10 837 3700, www.aaltoee.com Aalto University Executive Education Pte Ltd Singapore 25 North Bridge Road, EFG Bank Building, Unit 08–03 179104 Singapore, Singapore tel. +65 6339 7338, www.aaltoee.sg Strandvägen 7A, 114 56 Stockholm, Sweden tel. +358 10 837 3700, www.aaltoee.se Printed by SP-Paino Oy, Nurmijärvi, ISSN 2342-3986 Address Register aaltoleadersinsight@aaltoee.fi


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EXAMPLES F RO M T H E D I G I TA L C O N T E N T : Miki Kuusi: “I’ve decided each Slush would be my last. But each time I’ve been left with a hunger for more.” In the midst of change, do not forget people. Read Christel Berghäll-Högström’s advice. A wise investment of time and money: a self-paid MBA in a year. David Schär shares his story. Dive deep into the customer’s needs with service design expert Mikko Koivisto. + All the Books and other contents from Aalto Leaders’ Insight Magazine, Vol. 1 and 2

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