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How the Federation of Finnish Technology uses Howspace for co-creation

By Niko Nykänen on May 3, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Keeping track of many great ideas and conversations can be a challenging task.

The Federation of Finnish Technology Industries (FFTI) is a network spread over 1600 member companies and an internal staff of 100 voices – and those voices do not all share a physical office. FFTI’s Head of Renewal Management Tarja Ihalainen’s job is all about change: how to spot it, how to drive it, how to manage it.

“If we want to help our members to renew their operations, we have to renew ours as well,” she phrases.

Starting in her new position a year and a half ago, Tarja had an urge to look for a common understanding on leadership. So where to start? Gathering 20 team leaders in one room was a fairly easy task. Yet a relevant question popped up: how to include everyone else in the process? Tarja felt a need to shape understanding in a democratic manner.

She had the idea to get in touch with her old friend Ilkka Mäkitalo – CEO and Co-Founder of Humap Software – to chat about how his Howspace application might be the missing piece in the puzzle. And it was! 

Give a star

The Howspace software is an easy-to-use digital facilitation software: you can host workshops, events and whole change programs by making it effortless for any number of participants to have a structured dialogue, create, share and edit content, run polls, and vote on favourite ideas. It also gives tools for the facilitator to make sense of the ideas and comments the participants have shared.

Tarja tested it out by first running pop up workshops for a group of 20 supervisors to understand what types of roles there are in the company and what do they mean, then she posted pictures of the first Post-It ideas for all to see. Out of the staff of 100, almost 90 caught on to the easy idea – a simple voting of stars to start narrowing down the masses of ideas, with comments if they wished. No need to re-write anything, just using the hand-written materials as they were. 

Quick experiments and first impressions are key – especially when testing out new technology. Tarja decided not to even explain the functionalities beforehand: just go and see, give a star, leave a comment.

In a perfection-driven world, it’s a fresh breeze to offer something unpolished to then be shaped together.

The management team went through the ratings and now found it easier to really pin down what the company’s current “Role Map” could be. At the next personnel info, it was then easy to see what everyone had come up with together, and to continue the work in smaller groups: what is unclear, what could be added here or taken out there, what do these roles mean, what are some examples...

Using technology for people to engage even better with each other, face-to-face, or jumping in long-distance. Shared understanding seemed to surface not from a neat package of slides, but rather from the chance to interact, comment, ask questions and challenge ambitions effortlessly.

Mission = possible

All in all, what sounded like a mission impossible – how to involve everyone to make a company role map – came together in a way that was efficient, fun, transparent and managed to involve a big mass smoothly. Tarja found it to be both a process and a story.

People really participated, and not only thought they might have participated. When you are not just waiting for a final result, there is less barrier to make quick and useful comments, but also to state when something is not yet clear. Seeing in real life that your voice matters seemed hugely satisfying to many staff members. Many member companies also got interested in Howspace during the trial process, and as for Humap Software, such an experience is just as valuable as the whole storyline can travel back to developing the software even further. Win-win.

Now FFTI uses Howspace actively

With one good experience, the mind becomes open to other possible uses: now FFTI uses Howspace actively in internal events from personnel infos to innovation days, and even as a way to open up manager meetings with a chance for others to openly comment the agenda. And surely many other new uses to come! The software is taking new steps and Humap is eager to hear of experiences on new features like the recently added Sensemaking.  

Tarja feels that splitting into small groups to use Howspace together is one way to find shared views: you get your say, but also look for consensus together as a team.

Effective, creative, democratic.

If you'd like to see similar effects in your organization, why wait? Start your free trial today!