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Inspirers

Heikki Vihava: Resilient Leadership Journey

Heikki’s former work purpose was: through the Lennätin Learning Centre Hub in Finland, to support individuals committed to creating positive impact, by bringing them together and creating a community of inspiration and collaboration.

This story, based on the Wonder of One™ Journey, traces Heikki’s Resilient Leadership™ journey as he worked towards achieving this purpose.

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Heikki Vihava, former Development Manager at Lennätin in Viitasaari, tells:

The house of knowledge and know-how, Lennätin, is a residence for the academic, “Office AirBnB” and a co-working space for all. It is the place for companies, educational establishments and the public sector to collide. It is the satellite agency of the colleagues and universities in the periphery. It is the community for the locals and those just passing by. The three-phase project was started with a quick test of co-working and facilitating networks over the summer 2018. Now the stage two is focusing on the knowledge, education and evolving. The third part may be an investment on the final facilities that the experiences of the phase two will shape. And the fourth part is the digital competence centre for citizens.

Lennätin translates as “the telegrap“h, which refers by coincidence to the history of the building but also metaphorically to the leap communications took when the telegraph was invented. We want to make a giant leap in working life from the industrial age to the new era of knowledge work. There is no excuse to be isolated from the world as we are already globally connected, and there is no reason not to update the working culture as well. We wish to create an atmosphere that encourages new encounters and unexpected collaboration. This we support by bringing together all the public services for business, education and BtoB development and allowing them to mingle informally. ”One counter philosophy” is not a new idea, but removing any boundaries or formal structures between them appears to be a fresh approach.

The story behind Lennätin is quite long and relatively boring. It happens to be that making a change needs a lot of hard work, numerous discussions, research and analysis, but most of all, time. The lesson I learned during this process, which is still ongoing, is that there is no such a good idea that would break through before a vast majority or a strong minority is ready for it and thinks of it as their own invention. As I listened a few years to the silent signals and well-put opinions of individuals, I began to understand the need for the place. And when the time was right the idea arose from the strategy work of the city council. After that it was quite easy to get the funding for establishing Lennätin, as it was recalled in the official city strategy that Viitasaari needs a new house of knowledge to respond to the evolving needs of economic life.

In this case particularly I noticed that change is not to be made but to let happen. It is a rocky road to force new ideas through in old organisations, but with time and consistency one can influence others and let them buy into the idea nice and slowly. It is more about steering than leading. In other words, I am more of a process producer than director. I know what I want as a result but I don’t dictate every action on the way to it. In our organisation I am in a position with no staff directly under my responsibility. This has served my aspiration brilliantly, to avoid the natural tendency to micromanaging and to concentrate inspiring on bigger lines.

Lennätin is not my place but our place, made by us together.

We wish Lennätin to gather people that are hungry for meaningful work, deep connections and creative inspiration; to harness this energy in one place, so it can be strengthened and developed into a strong culture of collaboration within Viitasaari ´s community of citizens. It opens its doors for all dreamers, inspiration seekers, community workers, social entrepreneurs, conscious freelancers and curious wanderers. It s a space of mindfulness and authenticity, and a space of mutual inspiration, trust and respect. It is a space for networking and to work on projects that matter, where individuals can meet, learn, create, collaborate, get and give support.

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Written in April 2019 by Heikki Vihava, former processowner in Viitasaari Region, and Tertta Paananen, Mentor in Resilient Leadership™.

Contact: Heikki Vihava, Brado Oy heikki.vihava@brado.fi.