Fourteen of this year’s ITMP students together with Luciana and Mike are on their way for the 20th ITMP Finnovation study visit.
It’s almost more exciting to be tracking this expedition from the distant Pyrenees than to be there in situ.
Twenty years is one generation.
So, a warm thought for Didier, Alexandre, Stephane and Philippe. They were the initial Finnovation pioneers in 2000, when our visit included the current capital (Helsinki) as well as the former capital (Turku) of Finland. For Pertti who organised those many visits and Seppo, who introduced explained some of the mysteries of the agglutinated Finnish language (where the prepositions are suffixed to the nouns so that « Turu » + « ssa » means to Turku).
On that first visit we went to Linus Torvald’s (still recent) office in the Computer Department of Helsinki University; we were welcomed in the boardroom of the rapidly expending Nokia headquarters in Espoo and taken around their factory in Salo; we were invited to dinner by Atulainen, the world’s first virtual medical service; we were shown the virtual Turku project, run by Turku telephone company…
Those enthusing visits were in the Zeitgeist of the first year of the 21st century.
At nights we sat in our flat, next to the Kauppakorkeakoulou, having interminable discussions and arguments about whether it was ethical to perform virtual medical acts and watching the internet bubble explode on the BBC and CNN. I think that was also when we discovered the wonderful Koulou brewery in the centre of Turku.
Philippe’s Sony digital camera memory card was limited to 9 pictures. Did he keep them? The 4 ITMPs went online in the Helsinki University of Technology library and consulted their e-mails on their AOL or YAHOO accounts. There was no wifi.
On the Saturday before we left, they got up at 4 in the morning, drove to Helsinki, went for a day trip to Talinn, came back just before midnight and joined Pertti, Seppo and myself for desert in a lovely restaurant (called I think the Victoria) which has since changed hands.
Turku has changed in 20 years. So has Finland. Estonia is in the EU.
Nokia has disappeared. Our attitudes to innovation have changed. The Zeitgeist has changed. The autonomous Turun Kauppakorkeakoulou is now the Turku School of Economics, part of Turku University.
But I’m sure Finland with its deep thinking and with its « sisu » will still prove to be stimulating side step for future innovation project managers.
So, from my outpost in the Pyrenees, I really look forward to hearing from you all.