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An awesome start: Howspace supports business, growth and stability in new working conditions

By Hanna Liimatainen on Aug 11, 2020 1:00:00 PM , updated on Jun 01, 2021

During the first spring of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Turku's TSE exe worked hard to move events and training packages online as quickly as possible. TSE exe – the University’s program specializing in executive education and development – trains leaders for the changing needs of the future. Now TSE exe wants to take things in a new direction, where collaborative learning and working together can be constantly supported during and around training days.

“It feels like we took a five-year leap forward in our operations immediately when we started using Howspace. With Howspace, we have seen a big ideological difference in our entire operations compared to how it was before. Our previous learning platform was mainly a data storage facility or a document management place,” says TSE exe’s Education Manager Terhi Alatalo.


“With the help of Howspace, we can now build genuinely inclusive entities that enable us to monitor collaboration and the development of our own skills throughout the training process – during, before, and after joint events.”


Using Howspace got things off to an awesome start at TSE exe when the coronavirus pandemic forced people to work from home. For a long time, the organization had been looking for a platform that would enable interactive training. Previously, however, they had not found a suitable one that would have met the needs, wants, and dreams of the people using it.


“Then the coronavirus drove us all to remote working at a fast pace. The world was changing and we had just been in the middle of organizing one of our biggest events of the year. We had to quickly identify what kinds of new ways of working and what types of technology we needed. Luckily, we knew about Howspace in advance. It only took us a few days to go through the requirements and needs we had, and Howspace was already responding to our emergency call,” says Customer Relations Coordinator Miia Tammisto-Lehtinen.


“With Howspace, we immediately discovered a shared will to make everything happen quickly. We had to move our physical event online, and many details in the planning of the day changed. Howspace served us amazingly well! The next few days were a success. We exceeded all expectations of the online event,” says Tammisto-Lehtinen.


A shared vision, feeling of presence, and technical ease determine the success of online cooperation


According to Ulla Heinonen, Director of TSE exe, key to the success of implementing Howspace was that the events were not just streamed presentations that the participants could passively watch on their devices. With the help of Howspace, there was interaction between the participants in everything that was done.


“Lecture-type speeches by one person all suddenly turned into group work. With Howspace, we brought depth to the process. People were able to say what they were really thinking and pondering. Through Howspace, participants can share their own experiences and even produce their own presentations for everyone, and others can then join it,” Tammisto-Lehtinen explains.


Heinonen, Alatalo and Tammisto-Lehtinen all praise the straightforward setup and ease of use of Howspace. Customer comments, they say, have been “amazing” since the first events. The praise has come from the fact that there are no technical problems and people are having a lot of discussions.


“According to the feedback, we have managed to create an experience of presence, even though we are physically far away from each other. The discussion is moving forward wonderfully and we receive a lot of praise about the technical flow. We have managed to create a whole process around encounters. All the building of workspaces and the hustle and bustle on the platform is extremely easy, both for us trainers as well as our participants,” Tammisto-Lehtinen says.


“So, I have nothing but good things to say about it! Howspace and their people have earned all our thanks. Howspace has permitted us new ways of working and brought opportunities to track progress. It supports growth, business, and the stability of our operations. In addition, I would like to point out that the shared vision to succeed has been huge right from the start.”


Howspace naturally supports training packages and events


Heinonen, Director of TSE exe, paid special interest to the launch of Howspace. She says that throughout her five-year history at TSE exe, she has searched for suitable virtual tools that work globally and in real time and are easy to use not only for customers but also for those managing the tools. Having a customer service-oriented supplier has also been important.


“Thanks to the coronavirus, we are already in full swing with Howspace. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have started testing the tool until a little later, since we already had another tool focused on document management and sharing. Luckily, I already knew Howspace and after one phone call we got our workspace up and running in a week, right before our first event with over 100 people.”


“We placed an order with Howspace at really short notice. Contracts and orientations were done in a couple of days, and it was up and running right away. The presence of Howspace employees and the speed of customer service was great. The platform and collaboration felt easy from the start. Everyone was involved immediately.”


According to Heinonen, convincing people to accept a joint virtual event was a little challenging. Customers had been waiting for face-to-face meetings for a long time and they showed significant reluctance to move online. There were many requests for postponing the event until later, and online participation was not initially considered a good idea. However, the participants immediately gave a lot of positive feedback: No one went offline, and there were no technical problems.


“Usability is one of the most important things in Howspace. A prerequisite for success in training packages and events is that the technology can be easily tamed. However, we found that Howspace is already domesticated. It works almost on its own!”

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