SNOwMan Midterm Conference March 13 2019

The participants travelled from Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Finland to Häme University of Applied Science Ltd (HAMK) in Hämeenlinna where Principle Lecturer Minttu Lampinen welcomed everyone.

On March 13 2019, the SNOwMan partnership and associated organisations met in beautiful Hämeenlinna, Finland to mark the midterm point of the SNOwMan project.

The participants travelled from Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Finland to Häme University of Applied Science Ltd (HAMK) in Hämeenlinna where Principle Lecturer Minttu Lampinen welcomed everyone, followed by project manager Susan Dalum who talked about the achievements in the first half of the project. Jelena Stankeviciene from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Max Hogeforster from Hanseatic Parliament went into more detail on the gathering of data from interviews with owner managers and a questionnaire answered by intermediaries.

Learnings from the tests of the 6-step counselling process

They presented the learnings from the tests of the 6-step counselling process, which took place in Lithuania, Poland, Denmark and Finland in January and February. We learned a lot from the tests about the importance of trust between the owner manger and the intermediary and about what aspects of the 6-step process that worked and what need to be altered to ensure the best possible outcome for both owner managers and intermediaries.

We were fortunate enough to have two exciting guest speakers join the conference. The first being Harri Koski. Harri talked about his experience as CEO of the Mad Professor Amplification Ltd, a Finland based company that produces guitar effects pedals and amplifiers. He emphasized the importance of building a good team, but also reminded us that luck and improvisation is important for a company to succeed.

The importance of increasing our non-technological skills

The second guest speaker, Essi Ryymin, Principal Lecturer from HAMK, shared the importance of increasing our non-technological skills in an increasingly technological world. Skills like complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence will be amongst the most important skills to have in 2020. Essi’s presentation reminded us why it is important to help SMEs increase their non-technological innovation.

After the two guest speakers, one of our own project participants, Mikko Mäntyneva, Principal Lecturer from HAMK spoke about lean management inspired process innovations. The philosophy behind Lean Thinking is to eliminate any components in a process that does not create value. Mikko gave us valuable tools to help us think lean in our daily work.

Learning bazaar with three themes in rotation

For the second half of the day, the participants started working on the ongoing SNOwMan activities. Everyone joined a learning bazaar with three themes in rotation. The first theme, “Input to second concept”, focused on optimizing the 6-step process based on what we learned from the tests. With the second theme, “Online tool development”, we worked on ideas for the online version of the tool that we will make later in the project.

The third theme, “How to organize 2nd testing round” utilized the experiences from the first test into plans for the second test. In all three themes, many good ideas and suggestions were brought forward, not least due to the diverse set of participants.

Delicious dinner in the historic Häme Castle

After a short summary of the results of the learning bazaar, the conference concluded and the participants had a few hours to explore Hämeenlinna or relax in their hotel before meeting again for a delicious dinner in the historic Häme Castle. 

After a successful conference and before leaving Hämeenlinna, the Finnish team had arranged for a short sightseeing bus tour around the city where we got to see more of the town and the amazing nature surrounding it as well as learn about the town’s history.