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Rebirth! Now is the

time for new beginnings. It is time for... Virtual Teams New Aalto University Social Enterprises Learning from our past

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The global economic crisis has seen the birth of new social and cultural dimensions. We see life from new perspectives and fearlessly move forward.



Renaissance in Executive Education. I believe that success is based on a balanced combination of existing and brand new elements. This is something we have experienced in a very concrete way at Aalto University Executive Education (Aalto EE), launched on 1 April 2010. Strong brands and solid competence form the foundation for our operations. Our JOKO® program will turn 40 in the autumn, marking the fortieth anniversary of the management education offered by the Aalto University School of Economics. Our international operations are also well established: we have engaged in Executive MBA cooperation in Korea for 15 years, and our subsidiary in Singapore celebrated its tenth anniversary in March. Continuous renewal is a necessity, but revolutionary innovations The Profile magazine also sees renewal in the structure and and breakthroughs are also needed from time to time. We are now seeing layout. But what remains is topical a renaissance in executive education. treatment of executive education The Aalto University has chosen Leadership Lab as its spearhead issues from different angles. project in executive education. The Leadership Lab combines scientific Enjoy your read. research, experimental implementation and pedagogic innovations using an all-new, real-time approach. It will form an important part of activities at Aalto EE in the future. Among other things, the Lab enhances group functioning in the implementation of strategy, as well as the leadership skills of individuals through a new kind of assessment of personal activities. Alongside the Leadership Lab, Aalto EE will launch a discussion forum called “Aalto Leaders’ Insight,” targeting executives and decision-makers in autumn 2010. Aalto Leaders’ Insight provides an opportunity for cross-sectoral interaction and opinion exchange, and gives rise to discussion about future leadership. JOKO® will also adopt the Aalto approach by launching experimental methods and new content based on the Aalto University’s fields of competence. AaltoJOKO offers profound insight into versatile and fruitful ways to develop one’s own and the entire organization’s leadership skills. The Aalto MBA programs build on the strengths of the MBA programs previously offered by the Helsinki School of Economics and the Helsinki University of Technology. The first joint MBA program to be launched is the Aalto Executive MBA – a new high-profile degree program for business executives. The Aalto EMBA focuses on the challenges Stiina Vistbacka, faced by future leaders, making use of multidisciplinary modules and Managing Director, innovative learning methods in the spirit of the Aalto University. Aalto EE

Take part in creating the next issue:



It’s OK to be afraid of social media. But it’s a shame if it stops you from taking part.

The whole magazine is also here:

What have you learned about...

Marketing guru Bernd Schmitt explains the current hot trends.

Making mistakes. Multitasking. Keeping up-to-date.

A virtual team that works.

Food for innovation.

Social Enterprises

A reality or mission impossible?

Aalto University’s Design Factory is steaming over.

Is it all about social justice or for-profit?

Editor in Chief: Stiina Vistbacka, Publisher: Aalto University Executive Education Ltd, Mechelininkatu 3 C, 00100 Helsinki, Finland tel. +358 10 837 3700

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We filled the toolbox with nifty ideas for networking: real-time mobility, webinars, web slang, a pile of good links, the ten commandments of networking.

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You can also find this material from various web sources.

HSE Executive Education Pte Ltd, Singapore 25 North Bridge Road, EFG Bank Building, Unit 08-03, 179104 Singapore, Singapore tel. +65 6339 7338



Editorial office: Maggie Oy / Zeeland, Producer: Lotta Vaija, Creative Director: Miikka Leinonen Art Director: Sissu Muhujärvi Printing: SP-Paino Oy, Hyvinkää Address register:


Do you connect? Toolbox



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No one was supposed to want an MP3. The opposite happened. History teaches.

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EXPLAINED Fear of failure leads to mediocrity. Boring is easy, but rarely enough.

Agoraphobia a.k.a.

FEAR OF SOCIAL MEDIA “Agoraphobia is a condition where the sufferer becomes anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Triggers for this anxiety may include open spaces, crowds (social anxiety), or traveling (even short distances). Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public.” TEXT: RISTO PAKARINEN


ompanies aren’t really afraid of social media. However, when a researcher showed these monkeys Companies aren’t afraid of anything. It’s the videotape of a wild monkey in panic, the same reaction was people that run (and make up) companies that triggered in the monkeys born in captivity. The fear for are afraid – and not only of social media. snakes was in their brain, just never triggered. Being afraid of throwing yourself in the world The good news is that the same method can be used to of Facebook and Twitter is like suffering from many different cure the fear. Footage of a monkey not afraid of a snake helped phobias. The fear of social media is a mixture of things. the others not to be scared. Partly, it’s like the fear of being in an open space, with no The fear of social media is the least dangerous or even clear places to hide in. Partly, it’s the fear of losing control, restrictive of the fears mentioned above, but the same laws appand partly, it’s the common fear of speaking in public. ly. Facebook is an open forum where others get to comment on In the words of American comedian Jerry Seinfeld, you, and your behavior, in a way that you have almost no control “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public over. You can control a lot of things, but never everything. speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. In essence, you, and your organization, will stand naked in Does that sound right? This means to an open square, speaking to people, “FACEBOOK IS AN OPEN the average person, if you go to a about to board a plane. And there’s FORUM WHERE OTHERS GET TO nothing you can do about it, so funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” you might as well take the leap of COMMENT ON YOU, AND YOUR BEHAVIOR, IN A WAY faith, and trust people. MAYBE NOT. Like the fear of flying, THAT YOU HAVE ALMOST NO and even agoraphobia, the fear of THAT’S SCARY. The severity of CONTROL OVER.” social media could be more of a the fear of the social media seems to symptom than the diagnosis. Being afraid to fly may be related correlate with age because kids don’t seem to be afraid of the to other fears, just as being afraid of entering certain locations Facebook, or Twitter, or Flickr, or any other place where you can be a symptom of panic attacks that have been triggered out yourself. Kids let it all hang out. Kids share everything with in that particular place previously. the world. Kids swear by transparency, because like monkeys And being afraid is natural, fear is hardwired into our brain that have never seen a snake, they’re not afraid of something to protect us. With no fear, humans would take fatal risks. they’ve never been exposed to. Evolution has helped us. Those of us with some fear in the Yes, on the Internet, some people will make comments brain, and common sense, have been able to reproduce. The about you that you don’t like, and not everybody is in love fearless ones, they’re gone. In flames, with style, but gone. with your new slogan or your deals. There’s no way you Although, in a study made with wild monkeys – can control the conversation. Then again, you never could monkeys are afraid of snakes to the point where they control the conversation at water coolers, either. would rather starve to death than face a snake to You just didn’t know about it. get food, a sentiment often voiced by those who are It’s OK to be afraid. But it’s a shame if it stops anti-Facebook – it was found that monkeys you from having fun. Acknowledging the fear is SEE JERRY SEINFELD YOURSELF born in captivity didn’t have that reaction. They the first step to a witty status update and “Jerry Seinfeld: I’m telling you for the last time” a lively network on Facebook. weren’t afraid at all.



What have You learned about

Making Mistakes

Nancy Wane?

WHO LOVES MISTAKES? I hate making mistakes, but I have accepted that it’s part of my learning journey as an individual, mother, wife and professional. In everyday life, I try to look at the positive side of events.


NANCY WANE Director at Pacific Management SARL, Member of Board of Director at SAGE Tahiti

Making mistakes is always a sour experience. I was taught that making mistakes is wrong. It’s no wonder that when I entered the professional world, my mind was pre-set with this misconception. What did I do? I read a lot, and one day I was introduced to the idea that in every mistake there is a lesson to be learned. It’s an everyday challenge for me to face the fear that goes with making mistakes, but, above all, it requires a huge amount of self-discipline to improve my mind-set.

DO YOU MAKE MISTAKES? I make mistakes everyday! At work, my most frequent mistake is how I communicate. I often expect people to naturally know what to do because it’s part of the job. Then, I get frustrated because the result is not the one I had sought. But, upon reflection, I realize that it’s my own fault because my instructions weren’t clear and direct enough. Too often, we expect the world to adapt itself to us when we are the one who should adapt to it.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE MISTAKES? I just take a deep breath and look at it straight in the eye. Then, I reflect on the reasons that brought me to do the mistake, and how I should correct myself the next time. I like to believe that we are capable of the best, if we are willing to do something. Sometimes we need help from books or people, but ultimately it depends on how reasonable we are in acknowledging with humility that we’ve screwed up and that we’ll probably screw up again. The more mistakes I make, the more humility I have about what I do, who I am, and who I aspire to be.

A MISTAKE THAT TAUGHT YOU MOST? I made a mistake when I thought I had the answer to an organizational problem. The funny part is that I kept wondering why the outcome did not bring the success I had targeted. I was attending a class at my EMBA at Aalto University when it dawned on me what a fool I had been. It really humbled me, but I faced it and made the corrections I judged the best. I may have again made a mistake or I may have made a good call, only time will tell. If I was wrong, then I’ll adapt and keep moving forward. 5

ON TOP OF MY AGENDA Marketing guru Bernd Schmitt shares his insights on the dominant trends impacting the world of marketing today. Profile magazine caught up with the best-selling author between lectures at Columbia University.

Everyone understands that social media is an important trend in marketing. Consumers are moving beyond the Internet with mobile platforms that create an experience that is immediate, highly responsive, and interactive. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn for business people, social media provides opportunities for brand interaction that enriches the brand and makes the brand more relevant to customers. It also places control of the brand, to a certain degree, in the hands of customers, which helps create customer loyalty. At the same time, this new form of brand communication also allows for cost cutting, which is why so many companies are so excited about it. Traditional advertising and mass media communications are very expensive.

What have You learned about

Multitasking Kaisa KAISA TARKKANEN Head of Region Scandinavia at Orion Corporation, Orion Pharma


HOW DOES MULTITASKING SHOW IN YOUR WORK? Multitasking means handling several things in parallel and in perfect harmony. My Scandinavian organization operates in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. We are a multilingual and highly mobile sales organization whose members are rarely seen at the office. We have several business areas with their own sales processes and customers in each country. Add to that the headquarters in Finland, and you see there’s a whole lot to juggle.

HOW DO YOU KEEP EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL? I prioritize all the time, and sometimes rather heavy-handedly, to put matters and schedules in an order of importance. I use Outlook like an old-fashioned paper calendar to remember things: I write notes and reminders, schedule tasks, add comments and make to-do lists. I conduct small performance appraisals with myself every day and keep up a positive attitude to work. I don’t waste time worrying about small things.

HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOUR STAFF? I’m basically on the move all the time, either coming or going. That is true of our whole organization. Even though we are nearly always in different places, the feeling of togetherness is important. We get together twice a year for four days or so, agree on meetings in advance for the next six to twelve months and hold performance appraisals at least twice a year. I try to make as much time as possible for employees whenever I’m there. Our telephones, of course, are in heavy use.

DO YOU EVER HAVE FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY? Inadequacy was a familiar feeling especially in my younger days. With experience, you learn what you can and cannot do. Experience also teaches you to ask for help and perhaps enjoy changes in a different way. I’m happy in this job, and it definitely gives me more than it takes. Things get hectic, but I find it to be an uplifting and liberating force. My curious nature also keeps me going. 6

The third trend is, broadly speaking, innovation. Innovation is no longer technical innovation. It’s not just engineering-driven innovation. It is customer-driven innovation. You can be innovative in a marketing concept whether it’s a new distribution channel going direct to customers, an innovation in your communications campaigns, or an innovation in your reach out to customers.

Cost analysis, or more specifically ROI, also underlies the second major trend in marketing – namely, analytics. While marketers have always argued that marketing is an investment and not just a cost, financial controllers today are saying, “show me.” From customer lifetime value to website statistics, analytics provides the essential tools to track marketing effectiveness.

What have You learned about

MIKA MONTO Development Manager, Aalto University Executive Education

Keeping up-to-date Mika Monto?

WHERE IS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CURRENTLY HEADING? We can distinguish two paths: customized training that focuses on developing company operations and open training that involves the development of individuals. Education for companies has long meant sending employees off to training to develop their skills and knowledge. This is no longer enough. Constant change and shorter employment relationships have led to competence flying out at an increasing pace. Companies are now looking for fast and visible results. General business management training is giving way to specialization.

WHAT ARE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OF CHANGING EDUCATION? Research shows that purely instructor-led training based on ready models is the least successful kind. Flooding listeners with information from an auditorium stage during a one-day seminar is often a waste of time, as well. Companies must be taught to solve problems on their own. Known as ‘problem-based learning,’ this approach has produced good results. A company manager can, for example, present a problem for roundtable discussion and joint solution-finding. The only restrictions on possible outcomes are set by the imagination – and sometimes by the fear of letting go of old habits. When a new idea emerges, we should try to find ways to put it into practice. Good ideas are way too often left on the table. Setting up an internal project for a new idea is an equally poor alternative. It is sure to dampen any enthusiasm for innovation.

HOW DO YOU YOURSELF KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH CHANGE? I remain alert and actively seek information also through less traditional channels, such as social media. I spend time online and follow opinion leaders’ messages and discussion, in general. You need the courage to propose options to customers that even you are not 100 percent sure about. You must be able to live with uncertainty and enter your discomfort zone. The more time you spend there, the bigger the zone grows.



KNOWLEDGE New ideas require walking into uncharted territories. Stretch your mind.

When knowledge is The problem We


reason it sometimes scares us is because we do not want to consider the time we spent in school or in training as futile, nor do we like to consider our knowledge as potentially obsolete. Still, it is difficult to argue with the facts. Some of the knowledge you hold, right at the moment you read this, is obsolete. Even more of it is irrelevant. Knowledge is not a resource in the way gold or crude oil is, but rather something like fresh produce such as tomatoes or asparagus (see, a novel analogy). Decay will always set in, and the heat wave of creativity can only accelerate this. If you imagine that having learned something ten years ago will protect you today, you’re defending yourself from artillery fire with a wall of The 2009 Thinkers 50, included rotting vegetables. Alf Rehn on their Guru Radar, The point here is not that ranking him number 13 among the knowledge is bad, but rather that Up and Coming Business Thinkers. a fixed idea of what knowledge is For more, see:, can be damaging. Knowledge is a problem when we take it too seriously, when we treat it as something permanent and certain. It never is. Knowledge mutates, decays, moves along lines of flight. Our job is not to guard it, but to follow it, in its strange dances, weird gyrations. In the end, that is all that we can do – to not let it become a problem. PHOTO: JENNIFER NEMIE

live in an age that has an increasingly complex relationship to knowledge. On the one hand, we proudly proclaim that it is the knowledge worker and the knowledge-intensive company that drives value creation, and we gush over the latest technological developments, the newest books, the most cutting-edge new business model. At the same time, however, we frown upon elitism and valorize “common sense,” expect our politicians to deliver easy-to-grasp solutions, and dream of simplicity. Knowledge is many things, but it is never simple, never self-evident. Nowhere is this complexity more in-your-face than in the case of creativity. Unless you’ve been living in a cave during the last ten years, you can’t have escaped noticing that creativity has become the one issue that every organization and every pundit are actively promoting. Creativity has become the leading buzzword of business thinking, and countless books “KNOWLEDGE IS A and conferences have been PROBLEM WHEN WE dedicated to it and its TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY, wondrous ways. But what if WHEN WE TREAT the notion of creativity and IT AS SOMETHING the notion of knowledge are in conflict? PERMANENT AND For what is creativity? CERTAIN. IT NEVER IS.” Simply put, it is the process through which the new comes into the world, the way in which we can break with old understandings, old frameworks – old knowledge. On a very fundamental level, creativity is an issue of questioning knowledge, of stating that there is a set of knowledge that is hindering rather than helping us. In this way, creativity comes into play when there is a problem of knowledge, when we are too sure of how things work. This is also why creativity is so difficult to get our head around. We come into the world without knowledge, and then spend an enormous amount of time amassing knowledge and creating a somewhat stable frame of reference for ourselves. Growing up, becoming a professional, becoming good at something – all of these are, in part, a process of acquiring and fixing knowledge. Creativity challenges this, and the

Alf Rehn is a management professor, an internationally recognized business thinker, an author and a speaker. He is currently holding the Chair of Management and Organization at Åbo Akademi University in Finland.

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“The one key prerequisite of a successful virtual team is leadership.” Riina Kirmanen, Director of Global Marketing, Vaisala


Virtually none of them will succeed if you trust them to work well and achieve results on their own. While co-located teams can, and often do strive without hands-on leadership, virtual teams are like child protégés: they may produce amazing results, but only with constant support, fair rules and clear guidelines provided by a strong leader. 9

the other person, but rather, if you can trust them to carry out the task at hand. Thus a leader must provide team members with opportunities to show others their competence and succeed in their work. In essence, virtual team leaders should focus on tasks at the early stages, rather than on interpersonal relationships, and only switch to relationship building when the time is right,” pin points Gratton. Professor Charles Steinfield from the Michigan State University has studied virtual teams extensively for decades. He adds that a core issue with trust is not breaking a good start: “Trust has always been at the heart of group related research, well before virtual teams existed. An important aspect to note is that people will want to trust their team members, and in the very beginning, they inherently will. But in the end of the day, trust is a result of people being predictable. Without leadership providing everyone an opportunity to shine, this initial trust can easily be broken.”

DO I TRUST YOU (TO DO YOUR JOB)? Trust is at the

core of virtual team work. It should not be confused with personal chemistry. “In a virtual work environment, trust is foremost an issue dealing with the other parties competence and reliability. It has very little to do with whether you like 10

Lynda Gratton, Professor, London Business School

Professor Lynda Gratton from the London Business School is known as the mind behind, the creator of the world’s largest virtual research consortium “The Future of Work” and author of titles such as the 2009 release: Glow, How You Can Radiate Energy, Innovation and Success. A leading expert on virtual team management – and esteemed virtual team leadership coach for companies such as Nokia – Gratton does not stall: “The key to successfully leading a virtual team is to assume from the start that it will fail. As a rule, they do.” “One of the most crucial success factors in virtual team work is a purpose. Their task needs to be challenging enough, otherwise teams will rapidly break up into national teams. Another strong influencing factor to a team’s performance is stakeholder engagement. Teams that rely only on their own resources and do not involve stakeholders have a much larger failure rate,” emphasizes Gratton.


If a virtual team has a leader who creates equal opportunities for team members to show what they’re made of, the team’s working patterns can even evolve to disregard issues that often hinder performance in co-located teams: a newcomer fresh from college may get the chance to prove himself in a way that would take years if working through a hierarchical organization. A specialist nearing retirement will not face age related discrimination from younger members but will be judged solely on how she gets the job done. In a well working virtual team, age, gender, rank – and many other issues – can loose meaning. In essence, a virtual team can become a true melting pot of knowledge and talent where nothing else matters but skill and performance. Yes, a virtual team can be all this. Reality, however, is often quite the opposite.

Charles Steinfield, Professor, Michigan State University

VIRTUAL TEAM WORKING SKILLS ARE NEVER INHERENT. Virtual teams are all about working

together despite time difference, cultural difference, age difference and educational difference. In fact, if you can name a difference between people and the countries they live in, overcoming it is what virtual team work is about. Creating an environment of trust is crucial, yet many companies seem to think that a virtual team is virtually self-organizing. Give the employees the opportunity to play online with their Avatars and teamwork will magically flourish. While finding time for non-work related communication and socializing are absolute necessities once the team has started working together, simply encouraging socializing on its own will do nothing. Both Gratton and Steinfield concur that the key to failure is leaving a virtual team to its own devices and letting them self-organize and figure out how to work together. “You must assume that leaders do not know how to lead a virtual team and that experts do not know how to work in one. Then take the time to prepare people for it. Teach the members how to interact, and give the leader strong guidance on how to manage a virtual team and the tools to do it. Remind people of cultural differences and teach them to respect them, but don’t overdo it. Otherwise you will have a team perplexed and so fearful of insulting others that they won’t be able to work together at all,” says Steinfield. “Once a team is up and running, keep a close eye on its work. There are various sophisticated ways of doing detailed diagnostics on a team’s performance. Ideally, these can be carried out on a weekly basis,” Gratton reminds. “In the end, virtual teams always boil down to leadership. A virtual team leader needs to know what to do and when to do it. When to emphasize the task at hand, when to encourage socializing, be it face-to-face or via media, how to build and upkeep the team’s

motivation. None of these talents are inherent. But you can learn them,” Gratton concludes. VIRTUAL VAISALA. What does it take to make virtual teams

gold in the real world? Although successful virtual teams are often considered somewhat of an oxymoron, rumor has it that is can be done. Vaisala’s story is unique. Between the World Wars, Finnish meteorology Professor Vilho Väisälä was approached by a Finnish farmer who had found a Russian radiosonde in the woods. Väisälä studied the design and soon realized he could build a far better one. The rest is history. Vaisala’s first order was placed by MIT in the 1930s, and through years of forerunner work – often in close cooperation with leading universities and research teams – Vaisala has grown into a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Today, Vaisala is gaining recognition in another field as well – virtual team leadership. Profile visited Vaisala in order to find out the secret behind its virtual success. Riina Kirmanen, director of global marketing, greets us with a warm smile. “Vaisala has cooperated closely with virtual team researchers to map ways we can truly leverage our potential,” Kirmanen begins, showing the company’s virtual team guidelines that are a result of research collaboration conducted together with TKK, now part of Aalto University. “My mission was to bring far-reaching practical experience to the picture in addition to Vaisala’s research-based knowledge, and turn the ship around, so to speak, when it comes to Vaisala’s marketing organization. It all links to our new strategy from the beginning of 2009, of evolving Vaisala from being a product-oriented world class expert to a global solution-oriented service provider,” says Kirmanen. Her previous credentials include considerable success in leading

“Without leadership providing everyone an opportunity to shine, the initial trust is easily broken.” 11

WWW.HOTSPOTSMOVEMENT.COM offers a world-class newsletter on issues regarding the future of work – such as virtual team management – as well as information for global companies interested in getting involved in Professor Gratton’s newest research projects.

virtual teams at Unisys on a northern European level. Her work is all but finished, but already Kirmanen has shown how true leadership can create an effective work environment for virtual teams. “My task was to create procedures that in principle would empower each and every member of a virtual team to lead it. This means building a virtual work environment where knowledge workers can trust that the processes work. Where everyone knows how things will be done,” emphasizes Kirmanen. “A virtual team requires strong leadership and yet you must give creative experts enough freedom to carry out their tasks as they see best,” she adds. “It is a constant negotiation of keeping people empowered and motivated, giving them the tools to work with and reassurance that there is always someone to turn to, and that there are sound reasons why procedures must be mapped out step by step for virtual teams.” In addition to this, virtual teams need to have a system that ensures each and every member feels they have someone to contact if something is getting in the way of them succeeding in their work. “In my teams, we have a simple red flag e-mail system. Everybody knows that the moment they face a predicament preventing their success, they can email me a red flag note and know that I will step in and solve the problem for them ASAP. It sounds simple, but it works wonders.” Another issue that Kirmanen emphasizes is the need for a virtual team leader to have rules and processes for their own conduct. “I have a reminder for many steps that I must take care of each month, such as a monthly best practice boost, or ‘prize,’ if you will. Without a calendar reminder, these things might be forgotten in the hassle of it all. But with a virtual team, you cannot forget,” says Kirmanen. Riina Kirmanen Director of Global Marketing, Vaisala

“Virtual teams are all about working together despite time difference, cultural difference, age difference and educational difference.”

BENEFITS OF VIRTUAL WORK. Vaisala has already seen many benefits from virtual team work. One of the clearest benefits is a point also brought up by Professors Gratton and Steinfield: how virtual teams may enable talents to shine, independent of rank. “In our virtual teams, anybody can be given the 12

Q&A opportunity to really show what they’ve got. It took some time getting used to – and convincing all members that they really do have the power to take charge, but now we are seeing great benefits. Hierarchical organizations hide talent and slow people down. The talent potential that virtual team work can help surface in a matrix organization is amazing.” Virtual team literature often emphasizes problems caused by time differences. Vaisala sees this as something working in their favor. “When we are pressing a deadline, global virtual teams are unbeatable. We start, the Americans take off from where we left it, and when their work day is done, Asia continues. When we come back to work the next morning things have advanced remarkably,” Kirmanen smiles. As for problems relating to time differences, Kirmanen believes in the greatest amount of sleeping hours for the greatest number of people. “We tried rotating meetings so that each country had an equal number of meetings at practical times. It was pointless. Count the numbers. The country with the largest number of people participating gets the reasonable time slot. Our solution is to record all meetings. When a team works well, not everybody has to participate in every meeting. If the time is inconvenient, watch the meeting the following day and comment online. Anything important will be written down and open for comments, in any case.” Another benefit comes from the freedom of speech. A virtual team that uses both real-time and delayed communication gives room for all individuals to take part in the work equally. Less dynamic communicators who are hesitant to voice their opinion during real-time and face-to-face meetings can write down their contributions on the message board – and have the time to explain their points thoroughly. As a final point, Kirmanen emphasizes the potential that virtual teams provide for matrix organizations. “If a company’s strategy requires working as a matrix organization, I believe that virtual teams may well be the answer. Virtual teams are by no means an easy solution, managing one requires much more from a leader – but they are a solution that you can use to make a matrix work.”

Should virtual teams meet face-to-face before starting their joint venture? “No. If you bring people together too soon, the meeting will be meaningless. The best idea is to get people together after they have worked on a joint task virtually for some time. This way the meeting will be much more fruitful,” says Gratton. Are there any prerequisites to must-have technology? “Yes. A virtual team needs to have an ecology of communication methods, both real-time and delayed. Awareness is also key. Finding the right way to communicate when your team members are available for communication is crucial, yet you must do this without pushing information in a way that annoys people. Teams also have a tendency to habitually stick to the communication tools that they know from the start, it’s what we call, media stickiness, so a rich mixture right from the beginning is a good idea. A recipe for disaster is relying solely on e-mail,” explains Steinfield.

The do’s and don’ts of virtual teams

What about social media? “This is the hot topic right now. Many companies tend to emphasize social media as a way of keeping in touch with stakeholders and forget about their own employees. Or then they assume that coworkers will want to use their private social media, such as Facebook, to keep up social relations with colleagues. The problem with social media and virtual teams is the thin line between private and professional. Employees should be allowed and encouraged to keep a personal life in social media as well. Companies that have set up their own internal social media for employee socialization have had great success with them; take, for example, IBM’s Beehive. Some 60,000 users in six months and great collaboration,” Steinfield ponders. What is the one key prerequisite of a successful virtual team? Gratton: leadership. Steinfield: leadership. Kirmanen: leadership.



Facebook: Aalto Design Factory

Work is going on at the Design Factory in 24/7 rhythm. The breakfast buet is a popular meeting spot.

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The Aalto University Design Factory is a new research and learning environment for product development. Located on the Otaniemi campus, the multidisciplinary community devises new solutions in cooperation with international university and business partners.


Watch Design Factory through webcams:

Lotta Hassi is encouraging ideas to fly in the MIND project.

“The facilities have been designed for flexible 24/7 innovation use.”


Product Development Project

BREAKFAST GET-TOGETHER. Melissa Arni-Hardén arranges freshly baked rolls on the kitchen counter. Breakfast is a popular time for students and staff to meet. Multilingual conversation floats around the tables. “This is a great way to boost team spirit and encourage newcomers to get to know the building. It provides both mental and physical nourishment for innovation,” says a smiling Arni-Hardén, who works in the Otaniemi International Network project. Mikko Koski has already finished his breakfast and is now heading

off to a meeting with a group participating in the Shanghai World Expo. “I’m a fourth-year student in the information networks degree program at the School of Science and Technology. What I enjoy most is the independence of studies, group work and the fusion of talented ideas and views,” he explains. In Shanghai, Koski will take part in the Aalto LAB project, which looks for solutions to challenges presented by urbanization, such as housing issues. The future engineer says he prefers to put ideas into practice after a brief design period. In recent weeks, he has been working on a transfer service that would help mobile phone photographers to easily put their shots online.

Aalto on tracks

The Design Factory’s main building is a 3,000-square-meter, twostory, red-brick building erected on a pine-tree plot in Otaniemi, in Espoo. We park in front on a spring Tuesday morning. The place is right by the sea – yet only a twenty-minute bus ride from the center of Helsinki. The facilities were refurbished two years ago to house three disciplines. Of these, the field of technology is represented by electrical engineering and electronics, automation, architecture, engineering, materials science, information technology and industrial management. The School of Art and Design, in turn, is represented by textile and clothing design, industrial design and environmental art. The School of Economics rounds the whole thing off with marketing and international business. Launched in 2008, Design Factory is one of Aalto University’s three collaboration and development platforms known as Factories. The method of work combines conceptual design and testing, which both teaches students and creates product application proposals for industry. Joint proto workshops, seminar and meeting facilities, café and social amenities provide an environment for various forms of cooperation. The facilities have been designed for flexible 24/7 innovation use for students, instructors and the staff of business partners.

COLLABORATIVE COCKTAIL. Kalevi Ekman, the director of Design Factory and a professor at the School of Science and Technology, obviously enjoys the atmosphere at breakfast. “Business designers and technology wizards around the world are cooperating to understand one another. What Design Factory aims to do is create a foundation for Finnish multidisciplinary competence that will still be of world-class quality 40 to 50 years from now.” As he explains, Design Factory has adopted a studentcentered approach to work, which creates multiple resources for working life. “Students change – and along with them, so do we. Here, people can try out their ideas in practice. They can also learn about project management and

Niklas Nemlander is figuring out if an electric generator can be attached to a military stove.

AaltoTongji Design Factory Innovation facilities are open for business partners.

self-management and improve their language skills,” says Ekman. Decision-makers in the government, universities and business life believe that new experts will help the country to stay on top in worldwide industrial design and product development. The goal is to make Design Factory into a community of excellence, yet keep it radical, playful and open-minded enough to pioneer new thinking. The Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design and the Helsinki University of Technology officially merged to form Aalto University at the beginning of 2010. The University’s two other Factories are Media Factory and Service Factory. NEW ENERGY. Wycliffe Raduma, a student of engineering and

research assistant at Design Factory, passes through the restaurant on his way to the open-plan office. He is working towards a minor in International Business Design Management (IBDM). “I’m currently in a team of four studying whether the mass ground by a waste crusher could be used as fuel. Two of my co-workers are from the School of Art and Design and the third is from the Hanken School of Economics.” “Pilot projects enable us to put the results of students’ work into good use in the development projects of companies. Good solutions may find their way into industrial production, and research always provides companies with new information,” Ekman points out. TESTING FOR MANY NEEDS. On our way from the restaurant to

the common room, we come across Niklas Nemlander putting a metal tube with electric generator relays attached to it on a side table. “This is a project called Kipinä (“Spark”). We’re studying whether a generator attached to a military tent stove chimney can produce power for lighting – or, say, for charging batteries. Conducting hot air

A 700-square-meter Design Factory will be inaugurated on the Tongji campus in Shanghai in May. The Factory will provide an environment where Chinese and Finnish students, instructors and business partners can cooperate to produce new solutions for society’s benefit. Established in 1907, Tongji is one of China’s most highly esteemed universities, offering studies in architecture, technological disciplines and environmental sciences. “The Aalto-Tongji Design Factory will function as a multidisciplinary platform, where creativity, discussion and joint learning expand the results of work carried out by students, instructors, researchers and business partners,” explains Viljami Lyytikäinen, who works on the Tongji project. Cooperation between the Finns and the Shanghainese evolved from projects carried out at the University of Art and Design. Professor Yrjö Sotamaa, who helped to launch them, now visits the Tongji College of Design and Innovation in the role of instructor, professor and advisor. The first collaborative student project, known as Aalto LAB Shanghai, will begin in May. Aalto LAB is built on the idea of making the world a better place to live through a culture of sustainable development, learning and sharing. Among other things, Aalto LAB Shanghai will study the impact of urbanization on rural depopulation. The object of study is the village of Xianqiao on the island of Chongming. Activities will also involve work at the Finnish pavilion, Kirnu, at the Shanghai World Expo. Anne Liiri, a 23-year-old aiming at a master’s degree in the management and innovation program at the Aalto University, will join Aalto LAB to get a different perspective on the world. “I’m inspired by different people, new experiences and the chance to make a difference. We have a great team and objective at Aalto LAB. My role in the team is often one of collecting competence and helping the project to develop,” explains Liiri.


Vi Van and Pyry Taanila are testing a multimedium tent.

Kalevi Ekman listens to Mikko Ikola´s planned trip to Shanghai.

through the generator does not reduce the heating output,” he says. “Kipinä is a preliminary study to see if the solution is viable in the first place. The team started-off by burning wood in a stove for one whole day and measuring the amount of heat energy. Information about what not to do is also valuable to companies,” Ekman explains. We pass a big machine room, where the axles of a field robot are machined with a metal lathe. The robot is destined for an inter-university competition in Germany. All of the technology, including the automation software, has been developed here. CALIFORNIA CALLING. In the common room, Pyry Taanila, from

LETTING THE MIND FLY. Our round ends at the first-floor offices,

where the national MIND team works under the lead of Lotta Hassi, M. Sc. (Econ.). MIND aims to build a prototype of a world-class innovation system around the core of Aalto and to bring social and business


which will be set up at Aalto University Executive Education, aims at a breakthrough in the development of leadership abilities. It will integrate scientific research, experimental application and pedagogic innovation. 18

Aalto entrepreneurship society

the Lahti Institute of Design, and Ville Sundberg, from the Aalto University School of Science and Technology, sit in a tent made of white touch walls where they project theme images of YLE’s, the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s, popular programs from a computer onto the wall. The images grab your attention in the closed space. “YLE asked us to look for the best ways to develop program concepts. We will also present our solution at the California science fair in the spring and compare it to the solution developed at the Stanford University,” the two explain. Back in the restaurant, we meet a team of Finns and Germans devising ways to make helicopters more maneuverable. The project coordinator, Mikko Koskinen, stops to explain the idea of usercentered product development. “We want to take care of people so they feel good at work. In a multidisciplinary team, we need to prioritize between product functionality, usability and price. Purchase decisions depend on whether they are made by the end-user or the purchasing department.”

players, researchers and students together to create strategic innovations. “Anything can be approached critically: the structure of the Finnish forest industry, the daycare system – even the national hockey league structure,” says Hassi. Hassi and Ekman believe that the traditional “sauna meetings,” where ideas crop up but fail to be implemented, will eventually disappear from Finland. “Small tools encourage big changes. The license to act differently is a plastic card easily drawn from the jacket pocket when needed. The gym of management cards, in turn, provides good exercise for the brain. Twenty minutes of repetitions makes for a good workout,” Hassi assures. MIND includes all of the Factories, along with some twenty of Finland’s leading professors and research managers, as well as numerous commercial and voluntary participants, such as Finnish companies KCL, RDNet, Techvilla and Active Life Village. SAVORING FRESH KNOWLEDGE. Hannu Seristö, Vice President of the Aalto University, believes that the new University and its Factories will attract more and more international students in the future. Jointly devised solutions are more valuable than the results of lone work. The over 400 students who graduate annually from the EMBA and MBA programs are sought-after employees everywhere. A small group of students of engineering and high tech production will now begin studies in the School of Economics’ EMBA program. “We also hope to attract students from the School of Art and Design in the future. Good MBA graduates have a good understanding of all three fields: technology, management and creativity,” says Seristö.

“The Lab will offer an inspiring environment for doing visionary thinking, gearing up, implementing strategy and developing as a leader,” says Stiina Vistbacka, Managing Director of Aalto EE. The result will be a multidisciplinary, real-time scientific bedrock and laboratory. Leadership innovations will quickly be put into practice, and the results of experiments will be shared with customers. The learning and test environments can be physical or virtual. Cooperation will be promoted with both

researchers and pioneering companies. Collaboration forms the basis for seeking new opportunities in the operating environment and learning to seize them. Individuals can test the results of changing one’s own way of acting. Leadership training will also teach calmer thinking. Groups will analyze the functionality of activities, for example, by testing new tools, such as virtual environments or visually different spaces, or by regulating the amount of information.


Feature3 Rebirth of



“If you u are a e runni u a social soc a e enterpr ep right, ght, you shou sshould b ope be operating ating go business metric THE HEART OF THE MATTER. As with many grand social experiments, proponents of social enterprise find it challenging to reach a common definition. Most adherents would, however, agree that social enterprises share two fundamental core principles: social justice and for-profit. According to Jonathan Bland, founder of Social Business International in the United Kingdom and Finland, and former CEO of the London-based Social Enterprise Coalition, “social enterprise is about trading for a social or environmental purpose and using a business model to explicitly achieve social or environmental aims rather than to simply maximize profit for private shareholders.” After a lengthy consultation process, the UK government enacted legislation in 2005 to allow the formation of community interest companies (CICs), which operate for-profit in an area deemed to be community interest. Bland hastens to add that the CIC is just one part of a larger spectrum of for-profit, socially-involved organizations. Social enterprise is “more about what a business does, than its actual legal form.” Bland notes that by the UK government’s own estimates there are already some 62,000 social enterprises in the United Kingdom, adding £24 billion (€27.4 billion) to the economy and employing more than 800,000 people. Of those, only 4,000 are CICs. Robert Lang shares much the same opinion about social enterprise’s underpinnings. As the creator of the low-profit limited liability company (L3C), the US social enterprise legal framework, Lang likes to joke that there is a misperception that “if you run a charity organization that raises money and then has a shortfall, you can have a bake sale and suddenly think that you’re now a social enterprise. It really isn’t the same thing. If you are running a social enterprise right, you should be operating on business metrics.” By law and by design, charities are not permitted to operate at a profit, which often leaves many charities and their respective recipients at the mercy of external forces. Naturally, this affords the social enterprise model a key advantage. As CEO of the Mary Elizabeth and Gordon B. Mannweiler Foundation, Lang helped draft L3C legislation in Vermont and promoted its passage in 2008, effectively giving L3C legal status across all 50 US states. THEORY INTO PRACTICE. “The prevalent view of business ethics today is decidedly altruistic,” says Dr. Jaana Woiceshyn of the 20

Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. “Business is asked to sacrifice some of its profits for the sake of others. According to altruism, for business to be ethical, it must ‘give something back’ to society – beyond creating value for customers in the form of goods and services and providing employment,” she adds. And yet Woiceshyn contends that despite their apparent altruism, there may be inherent barriers to the effective operation of these companies. “Michael Jensen of Harvard Business School, for example, argues convincingly that you can only maximize one objective function. In business, that has to be profit making. If a company says they will maximize their social and environmental performance as well, decisions become arbitrary: which projects are chosen, and why? And how to decide which performance dimension should get priority? Wealth creation is the best way business can help solve social problems.” Interestingly, there is a regulatory difference between the L3C and CIC models that may eventually confirm Woiceshyn’s point on profit. The CIC includes caps on aggregate and individual profits and has an asset-lock that prevents asset liquidation. While many UK social enterprises advocate the merits of these restrictions, there is recognition that it limits capital investment in CICs. LEARNING BY EXAMPLE. Fairtrade has been a particular boon to advancing the cause of social enterprise; it has highlighted the social impact these programs can have and justified its existence by achieving prices that are competitive and fair for producers in developing countries. Co-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, the UK’s Divine Chocolate, for instance, purchases the farmers’ cocoa at a fair price and shares the profits with them. With help from Fairtrade and other organizations, Divine Chocolate grew rapidly. Today it produces

ng g rise s d on o cs.” 25 products with a turnover of £11 million (€12.6 million) and was named Best Social Enterprise of the Year at the 2007 Enterprising Solutions Awards. A cursory inspection of UK registered CICs will quickly illustrate what is surely going to be one of the most dramatic impacts of CICs. Traditional municipal services will in all likelihood experience a major shift toward privatization, becoming social enterprises. Faced with falling tax revenues and facility closures, Greenwich Council opted to create a social enterprise to operate the London borough’s leisure facilities. With 4,000 employees and 70 leisure centers, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has successfully transformed a vital local service. By reinvesting all of its profits back into services, GLL saw its membership of 7,000 in 1993 rocket to 250,000 by 2006. Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, Citing the current UK system, Bland showcased in the TV series “Jamie’s Kitchen,” is a social enterprise that points out the government has adopted trains disadvantaged youth as chefs. a social enterprise policy that may vastly increase the number of social enterprises. Social Enterprise may revive The Right to Request rule will allow “up the flagging newspaper sector. to 260,000 healthcare staff in 56 primary Formed by Tribune staffers, the non-profit Chicago News Coop care trusts across England to move into a plans to become an L3C. social enterprise model if they can demonstrate that the service can be delivered As the voice of UK Social in a better way. If the Right to Request Enterprise, the Social Enterprise goes ahead, they have the right to run the Coalition is launching the official Social Enterprise mark service with a contract for three to five for better brand recognition. years before they have to compete in the http://americansforcommunitymarket.” Bland sees the Right to Request as a major empowerment of staff to A champion of L3C development, innovate services leading to greater staff the Americans for Community Development website has a wealth of morale and retention.

More on social enterprise: Social Business International offers extensive consulting services and event planning for international social enterprise initiatives.


social enterprise law is limited to a single act, which came into effect in 2004. Essentially, the law was an employment

22 23 24 25


social enterprise resources.

outreach program aimed at the 180,000 persistent long-term unemployed and 45,000 unemployed disabled people. As of 2008, most of the 170 enterprises were micro-enterprises employing only two to three people. While Bland insists this program is more wage subsidy than actual social enterprise, he is fairly optimistic about the opportunities for Finland: “Like all developed economies, we have some really big challenges with public service delivery and, as our population ages, with healthcare, in particular. We have limited resources. We have to find some innovative ways to solve the needs of older people. Social enterprise can also help in some of Finland’s rural areas where there are real economic and social challenges as a result of wider economic trends. Currently in Finland, the approach has not been developed at all, but I think the prospects are very interesting.” Given its versatility and success, the social enterprise model provides an ideal tool for Finland to help address its many social and environmental issues. As Bland contends, it’s a model that can help not only Finland, but the rest of the world, as well.

Netwo NETWORKING involves more than collecting business cards. It’s an activity where human relations skills are key. The rest consists of choosing the methods best suited to your needs and putting them boldly to the test. While electronic media offer many new opportunities for networking, it’s important not to forget the value of face-to-face encounters. We put together a compact toolbox – take your pick.


Find the networks that are right for your needs. New sources are springing up.


Business networkers might find the following services useful: Ecademy, LinkedIn, Plaxo, XING, Entrepreneur Connect and Fast Pitch Networking. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Ning and FriendFeed are typically used outside of work, while Smug Mug, Flicker, You Tube and Slide Share are services for sharing photos, videos and presentations. However, the line between private and business use keeps blurring, and new applications are introduced all the time. Anu Sivunen, a research manager at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology who is currently visiting at Stanford University, explains that business representatives and researchers typically have profiles both in LinkedIn and on Facebook. LinkedIn is used for work-related discussions, to share information

and to provide references for colleagues. It also shows the contacts of your network acquaintances who you can turn to and ask for an e-mail introduction to an interesting contact. Facebook is more of a tool for personal and leisure time networking. Some organizations also use it for their internal networking. “In Silicon Valley, the key people in social media and new technology are active users of Twitter. They often have thousands of followers,” says Sivunen. “Twitter also plays a key role as a marketing channel for companies. Foursquare, a location-based service, has also grown popular in Silicon Valley. It enables users to tell their friends about their location and nearby services by mobile phone. The game-like features make the service even more interesting. Other mobile networking services are also growing in popularity, what with people wanting to quickly inform their network of their status updates. New services spring up around older ones, but Twitter and Facebook, for example, seem to have established themselves pretty firmly.”

ork! 2

Use webinars to make work more productive.

Webinars, or web seminars, enable cost-effective learning. To participate in a seminar you no longer need to reserve hotel accommodation, pay for taxis and air travel, spend hours on end at airports or suffer from jet lag. Event organizers, in turn, are freed from having to rent seminar facilities, arrange coffee and catering during breaks and ensure the participants’ safety. Nevertheless, learning and interaction are no less efficient than they are at on-site seminars, because the medium enables participants to ask questions, carry on conversations and make versatile use of presentation tools. More reserved participants may actually find it easier to express their thoughts in chat

WWW.SECONDLIFE.COM. Seminars are also held in virtual worlds.

discussions. Moreover, the useful life of webinars can be extended by recording the event. Despite the medium being different, organizing a webinar does not differ much from arranging a traditional seminar. You must draw up an agenda, agree on the speakers, notify the target groups, arrange registration and invoicing, ensure that the summaries are available online, host the event and the related discussions, collect feedback on the event, thank the participants afterwards and save the lists of participants for later use.


“We talk about mediated presence. Feelings and emotions are conveyed individually through phone calls or by text and multimedia messages. Messages are short, fast and instantaneous.”

Real-time features and mobility are now the hot issues in networking. Mikko Villi, an education coordinator at the Aalto University Media Factory, studied the use of camera phones in visual communication for his doctoral dissertation. According to Villi, the use of mobile phones changes as more and more applications sprout up. Mobiles are now miniature computers that bring together every type of media: the Internet, TV, radio, camera, video, newspapers, magazines and social media. Irrespective of their location, people want to enjoy the presence of their friends and networks. In Villi’s opinion, the increasing mobile use of social media is a clear trend.

You can use Toolbox materials at work, to link with your blog, when giving a presentation – or forward it to colleagues. The background ideas are available in a variety of web sources.

In slides: In pdf-format:

The whole magazine: 23



4 In their book called Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts Into Connections Ivan Misner, David Alexander and Brian Hilliard reveal their networking secrets, which are based on the trio’s wide experience. Among other things, the book offers advice on creating a networking strategy and getting networked online, in addition to providing practical tips about meeting new people. It also contains a Networking Scorecard, which makes it easier to plan, carry out and evaluate networking.


Mark McGregor, a non-fiction writer, lecturer and instructor in business processes and human relations, offers handy practical tips for networking. The following ten items, loosely adapted from McGregor’s ideas, can get you started.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Be your true self. 9 10 Define your goals:

what do you want to achieve from networking?

To get you have to give. Mutuality is a central principle in networking. Start by giving good tips and making suggestions to others.

Do not expect to immediately get something from a new contact.

Follow-up on good tips without delay. Remember to thank the giver.

Regularly feed your network using the tools best suited to your needs. Sharing information shows you are committed to your network. Meet people face-to-face, not only through technological means.

Keep in mind that the quality of the network is more important than its size.

Networks come and go, but the relationships established in them may last for decades.

Source: Mark McGregor, 10 Commandments of Networking


Importance of personal relations in Asia. In Asia, networking is a way to open doors, consolidate relations and distribute information.

Technological tools can be used to examine different opportunities, but a culture based on human relations requires relationships to be established face-to-face. If a presentation is made on a digital forum, it is a good idea to cement the relationship in person. In many countries, both parties are expected to represent the same level of seniority. A small gift is given to the other party at the meeting, and the relationship is cultivated at a shared meal. “It’s important to save face. Do not put your conversation partner into an embarrassing or awkward position. Blunt behavior and criticism are considered bad behavior,” says


Do you find digital networks difficult to navigate at times? Not to worry.

Jennifer Cheong, Assistant Director, Finance and Marketing, at the Singapore office of Aalto EE. “Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are popular networking tools also in Asia. However, Facebook and Twitter are mainly used for personal networking and to market leisure products, spas, holiday trips and cosmetics. LinkedIn is thought to be better-suited for professional use. Blogs are used mainly by the leisure industry and the media,” says Cheong. “The mobile phone market is enormous in Asia: nearly everyone has a phone, but not necessarily a computer. I believe we will see increasingly sophisticated networking services for mobile phones in the future.”


P.S. real Sometimes you may benefit from the etiquette used by true networking pioneers and experts: teenagers. They mix face-toface and virtual interaction fluently in their everyday lives. The Internet lingo used by the young is full of acronyms and smileys. If in doubt about their meaning, Wikipedia’s continuously expanding dictionary of netspeak may come in handy. Here are a few useful picks: Avatar/ava – an icon related to the screen name people use on Internet forums BIB – back in business DND – do not disturb FYI – for your information GR8 – great HTH – hope this helps IRL – in real life IVL – in virtual life L8r – later np – no problem OTOH – on the other hand paw – parents are watching

After all, tools are only tools: successful interaction between people is still based on honesty, openness and good will. Polite manners and consideration for the cooperation partner’s cultural background will help to build new relationships. The only way to find the networking methods best suited to you is by boldly testing them.

we – whatever YW – you’re welcome WWW.NOSLANG.COM Internet Slang Dictionary & Translator Confused by net slang? Can’t read a text message? Translate Internet slang and acronyms.


Follow Aalto EE

Finland and Kirnu on show at the Shanghai Expo TEXT: SATU ALAVALKAMA, PHOTO: JKMM ARCHITECTS THE SHANGHAI WORLD EXPO – Better City, Better Life will run from 1 May to 31 October.

HTTP://EN.EXPO2010.CN Profile is also taking part in Shanghai’s World Expo.

Finland will participate in the Expo with its Kirnu (“Giant’s Kettle”) pavilion under the slogan Sharing Inspiration, which refers to innovation for a better urban life. The Shanghai World Expo will be the biggest ever, expected to host 70 million visitors and 200 participating nations. The Finnish government’s partners include Nokia, KONE and the Greater Helsinki Promotions. The fingerprint of the Aalto University School of Art and Design can be seen in the Blue Wall, a huge textile wall designed for Kirnu, and in the guides’ clothing. Aalto LAB will operate throughout the Expo. The higher education offered in the metropolitan region will be presented at a two-day seminar, and around 100 representatives of Aalto students and staff will travel to the Expo’s Finland Day by train from Helsinki through Russia.

Facebook: Aalto Design Factory

Some picks from the Singapore EMBA summer 26

Professor Bernd Schmitt from the Columbia University Business School in New York is coming to HSE EE, Aalto EE’s subsidiary FOR MORE in Singapore, to teach INFORMATION brand management on the Executive MBA in Singapore: in July. From the same university also comes David Rogers, who just completed a book on social media. He will be teaching Innovation in Customer Networks in August.

Inside Aalto University we actively use different kinds of Facebook groups. New groups are also formed, as needed. If you want to find out more, go check out these: Aalto Social Impact Aalto Venture Garage Aalto Entrepreneurship Society Aalto Design Factory Aalto Design Factory Shanghai


Lesson in history – acceptable is enough –


Slimming sounds ritish actor Stephen Fry (you might know him as Jeeves) had bloated to enormous proportions. Yet here he was, slim and healthy, explaining how he’d lost 38 kilos. It was a delight, he said. He would slip on his MP3 player and listen to books as he strolled away the kilos. The MP3 is everywhere, yet it’s hard to believe how recent it is. The MP3 player is that little plastic sliver with fiddly controls, a tangle of slender wires and little buds that you pop in your ears so you can listen to Lady Gaga, or Beethoven, or the Beatles, wherever you are. Or if you’re like Fry, you can hear books or otherwise educate yourself. You can even record your own sounds on it. Grannies have them, kids have them, we’ve all got them. Perhaps several. Well, the MP3 is not a thing, and its birth was far from straightforward. And the fact is, the experts – in the music industry, at least – were as surprised by its success and present ubiquity as anyone. Perhaps they should have remembered Sony, which had already stunned them a decade before with the Walkman. Sony took a daring step backward by ripping out the loudspeakers and amplifiers from a cassette deck and supplying only a transport system and a pair of earphones. This meant you could, for the first time, listen to decent music while you walked. A novelty, a flash in the pan, the sceptics sneered. You’ll never get acceptable music that way. The public disagreed. Now you could take your previously immobile record collection with you. Sony and its followers made a fortune. In a sense, MP3 is also a step backwards, since it makes music worse, but acceptable. In the 1980s, the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) needed an industry standard audio compression system for the tiny hard drives and low capacity transmission lines of the day, and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institut patented its MP layer 111 (later MP3) in 1989. It is a highly sophisticated digital code that takes in the most complex music and slims it down like Stephen Fry into a much simpler – and crucially – shorter form that still sounds like the original. “A txt msg cn do ths wth wrds,” and we can still understand it. But shrinking a musical

signal by as much as 12 times was a feat of genius that took years of effort from numerous international brains from a variety of disciplines to perfect. Our ears are fussy, but they can be fooled. We perceive certain sounds better than others, and sometimes we think we hear sounds that aren’t there; audio illusions instead of optical illusions. The science of psycho-acoustics helped the encoders to write algorithms that could cut out all the informaWWW.STEPHENFRY.COM tion that we don’t actually need to listen to a piece of music. Silences and deep bass Go see the newest notes can be dumped and other sounds artificially adventures of Stephen Fry. emphasised in a complex matrix we call audio. Purists are not fooled by “heavy” compression, and many feel their MP3s are less than rewarding. But the staggering success of the iPod, which hugely boosted Apple’s fortunes, proved that millions are content with the sheer portability and convenience that MP3 provides. It seems we often prefer pure convenience to notions of quality and fancy packaging. 27









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Aalto University Executive Education's Profile magazine. Order a printed magazine by email:


Aalto University Executive Education's Profile magazine. Order a printed magazine by email: