It’s just an illusion

What’s the illusion?

The illusion is that it’s easier to report Finnovation from the Pyrenees than on location.

Yet Mike’s stream of WhatsApp messages, pictures and videos has been providing lots of information.

Monday’s food start up was Entis

Chocolate covered insects. The packaging looks tasty. I asked Mike for verbatim’s from the ITMPs. How did it taste? Did you like them? But no reply yet.

After that lunch at TSE. The sight of all those amazing breads made me very envious. I would not come to the Ariège for the bread.

Then, Tuesday afternoon there was a long innovation seminar with Peter and Birgitta and others. Any hot emerging topics?

Tuesday evening in glorious sunshine of Naantali and Moomin island. Lucky ITMPs!! Here it was raining.

Finally a shot of the almost empty Koulou brewery for an evening drink. There is nowhere like that in France, Germany or the UK. I miss those comfortable leather armchairs and the linen maps of pre-WW2 Finland which included Karelia.

More news on yesterday and today’s visits to follow soon.


Publié dans Finnovation, Vie ITMP | Laisser un commentaire

Finnovation kick off at 8am

In the Turku School of Economics with Eeva’s French class.

This intercultural francophone exchange has been of great value to the Finnovation concept for both French and Finnish participants. Having it at the start of the trip is ideal. Congratulations to the planners! The TSE students can mix with « real » francophones and the ITMP students get great Turku local contacts.

On the agenda were presentations of commissioned projects done in France and Finland.

Mike has sent me a stream of WhatsApp photos which I will download as soon as I make space on my phone.

Eeva and Luciana both look very happy.  Students actively sharing projects like making partner Santa Claus villages in Russia (TSE) and Health networks for Ivory Coast rural communities (ITMP).

How wonderful it is to be ending the 6 month academic cycle on such a high note.

Now the group has moved on to meet a very innovative and original Turku startup in the food sector.

Publié dans Finnovation, Vie ITMP | Laisser un commentaire

ITMP. Finnovation#20. Turussa!

To Turku!

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.


Publié dans Finnovation, Vie ITMP | Laisser un commentaire

ESIEE alumni awarded Turing Prize

It’s always a pleasure to see former ESIEE students doing well. Yann Le Cun has long been internationally recognised for his work on machine learning and I’d been wondering for some time  whether something like this would happen.

And it has.

So congratulations to Yann and his two colleagues for winning this year’s Turing prize….

…and to my former colleagues in the ESIEE Computer Science department who provided the fertile environment that started him off in the 80s.


Publié dans Annonce, ESIEE | Laisser un commentaire

Water music in Turku tonight

Tonight, Wednesday 27th February, the young Finnish pianist and composer Anniina Lehtinen, who has been living in Paris for over 5 years, is playing in Turku. The concert is at 1900 in the Sibelius Museum. Here is a short interview I did yesterday.

You have a piano recital in the beautiful Sibelius Museum in Turku this Wednesday. What’s on the programme?

Actually it’s a performance in collaboration with the Finnish visual artist Iiris-Lilja Kuosmanen. I’m playing 11 solo piano compositions of mine (60 min.) and she has filmed in various locations (Finland, France, Iran, Nepal, Italy) videos, that will be projected as I’m playing. The theme is water.

How I wish I could be there to hear you both. How did you and Iris-Iilja create the material for this performance?

We met a couple of years ago and were very interested in each others artistic work. We both liked each others artistic universe and thought it would be fun to create something together. First we had no idea what it should be about, but she started to shoot some video material (in Paris and during her time in various artistic residencies) on some of my piano pieces. I already had some pieces about water and finally it became really all about water.

How long have you both been working on it?

We’ve been working on this since the beginning of 2018 and it has evolved with every performance (new videos, new music). During each performance there are also some photos taken by Iiris and a photo installation.

So it’s a growing, flowing work? Is there room for improvisation by either artist during the performance, or have you worked everything out before your workshops and rehearsals?

Exactly! Growing and flowing work. We’ve worked everything out before the performance. No improvisation during the show, although that could be an interesting direction to take.

Just behind your concert venue the river Aura in February is usually icy and snowy. Maybe this year it’s melted. In any case, whether static or flowing, it’s all water, and I’m sure will be a very supportive listener to your concert. All the best and I hope there will be a clip soon! 

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The « A 3XX » controversy

That was the title of a controversy poster at the Ecole des Mines first year student exhibition in the late 90s.

« WTF is that? » I thought, and then listened to the first year students’  team’s list of reasons for why the Airbus A380 project might not be such a good idea. I seem to remember it was mainly about markets.

But the project went ahead.

Then, around 2006, we discovered that two assembly sites were using different versions of the cabling software and that the wings arriving in Toulouse did not match the fuselage.

« An industrial problem » the press called it. We, in ITMP, saw it more as a project management error.

Karthik, an aerospace engineer on the ITMP programme, got his internship in Toulouse at the heart of the trio that was set up to produce and feed the indicators that would resolve the mess. When I visited him down there, we clambered inside the huge fuselage.

« Do you see those red wax seals? » he asked… »Each one is an issue. There are over 6000. It takes 6 weeks to sort them out. Our aim is to get that figure down to a thousand. That way the plane is assembled in a week and can fly back to Hamburg to be fitted out with seats and stuff. That’s a normal delay »

It was undoubtedly my most memorable internship visit.

Boarding an A380 to fly to Pretoria, to teach a one week PM course in summer 2012, reminded me of getting onto ferries in Calais or Turku. It was huge. And full. And very silent and stable. A nice user experience. « There was no controversy » and remembered that June morning at the Ecole des Mines. « Silly students » I thought.

But now the A380 programme has been stopped. « Clever students » I admit.

I wish I’d taken a picture of their controversy poster.

Meanwhile, every afternoon, between two and four, my silent, blue, February 2019 Pyrenean sky overhead rumbles as some new AXXX goes through its test flight protocol.

The latest Pole transmit(ting) the Preludes through his hair and finger tips?… 


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Savoir « killer » un projet

Arrêter un projet est une compétence de management de projet que feu AFITEP avait ajouté aux 46 autres de l’IPMA.

Une ITMP de la promo 2003 avait vécu en direct la mort d’un projet SAP dans une grande multinationale, et par la suite fait sa thèse sur les « Controverses au sein des projets ERP ».

Cette semaine le cours en ligne à Turku tourne autour de « méthodes agiles vs méthodes classiques ». Ca passionne les étudiants plus que le sujet des compétences de la semaine dernière! L’un d’entre eux vient de poster cet exemple d’un projet ERP de 500 M d’euros qui a été killé cet été pour des raisons d’inflexibilité.

Suivez le lien.

Publié dans agile, Controverse, project management, Vie ITMP | Laisser un commentaire