Oula Välipakka, Senior Manager, Tredea
At the beginning of this year, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, praised the vital work of engineers, saying that “everything not invented
by God is invented by an engineer”. I think this describes really well the bedrock of our high-tech business, our Finnish engineers –
the people who built the mobile phone giant Nokia back in the day.
I’ve spent quite some time living abroad in the United States, France and Malaysia, hence I have worked with many different cultures and engineers. Whilst engineers from various working cultures and countries have their own special characteristics, I think what makes Finnish engineers so unique is their honesty and conscientiousness and the ability to “walk the extra mile”. Oh, and not to mention being able to admit their mistakes, which plays an essential role in solving problems much faster, since you do not have to think about saving face. It still puzzles me how difficult it is in some cultures to admit an error. Or to dare say, “I don’t know”.
Finnish engineers are very initiative and keen on thinking outside the box. Here is an interesting story about what a Finnish engineer can do:
in 2007, two engineers from Tampere, Mikko Kuitunen and Pekka Virtanen, established a company called Vincit. The aim was to create a company that one can be proud of when working there. Or more casually (as Finnish engineers like to call it), create a company where you won’t feel pissed off when going to the office on Monday morning. The rest is history. With this mindset the company has grown to more than 200 people and has been voted the best workplace in Finland in 2014, 2015 and 2016. And last, but not least, this year Vincit was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange and voted the best workplace in Europe.
People from Vincit showing what innovation is about, how to do a group photo even remotely.
Speaking of great places to work – the employee turnover rate is very low in Finland. When a company hires a Finnish engineer, they hire a loyal employee. Personnel doesn’t change twice a year, as happens in certain countries. This is a true asset.
In the past year, the layoffs from Microsoft and Nokia have created a unique opportunity for companies to tap into our national treasure. The people who made Nokia a household name are now available for new opportunities. How often are you offered a goldmine of 2500 people, who are honest and conscientious and ready to create the next big thing?
Seeing is believing. Make your next stop in Finland and have a cup of coffee with a Finnish engineer. You’ll be surprised.
The author is a business-driven engineer from the Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea, which promotes Tampere to international investors.