According to Project Director Marianne Kukko, new visions can only be created by reserving enough time for their creation. She finds it important that employees meet face to face.
Not everything needs to be ready when the new higher education community starts in about a year and a half. Much is to be done and people will be busy, but Marianne Kukko, the new project director of Tampere3, says that rushing every aspect of the merger may pre-empt the opportunities offered by the new higher education community.
“We have the potential for great achievements! We should take our time looking at things in a totally new way in all areas: studying, research and support services,” Kukko says.
Because there is a lot to do, prioritising is needed. Things that have to be ready before January 2019 should come first. On the other hand, for example, the brand of the new higher education community must be prepared well in advance of the beginning of 2019 so that it can be marketed to prospective students.
According to Kukko’s doctoral dissertation, rush is one of the most important reasons why knowledge is not shared in organisations.
“If there is not enough time to share information, people will sit on what they know. If people do not have enough time for contemplating their ideas or stopping to absorb new knowledge, there is no basis for creating new innovations,” she says.
In 2013, Kukko defended her doctoral dissertation at Tampere University of Technology on the knowledge-sharing challenges that hinder the growth of software companies. According to her, the same challenges also concern the new higher education community.
Because she earned her M.Sc. (BA) degree at the University of Tampere and completed teacher’s pedagogical training at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Kukko is an alumna of all Tampere3 higher education institutions.
She became interested in knowledge management when she was writing her master’s thesis. At the time, Kukko worked in a small software company.
“The company grew rapidly and I became interested in how companies can hold onto the potential of knowledge-sharing when they are growing,” Kukko says.
If organisations are not good at sharing knowledge, the consequences may be unpredictable. For example, if the same people always share information, it is harder to create new perspectives or solutions.
“On the other hand, if the knowledge is shared in the wrong forum at the wrong time, misunderstandings or wrong decisions might ensue,” Kukko explains.
The flow of information is also hampered if the management is not providing an example. According to Kukko, managers and directors should reserve sufficient time for a dialogue and being available. People must also know and trust each other.
“Electronic tools cannot totally replace face-to-face contacts. Tampere3 must develop ways of meeting informally because it is not enough if people only meet in meeting-rooms,” Kukko says
Kukko started in her new post in April 2017. In the first weeks, she has tried to practice what she is preaching and has met with the leadership of the universities and the City of Tampere as well as with stakeholders, such as representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture. She has also met employees and students.
“When we are building a new entity, it is important to hear the views of many different people. If I just stayed in my office, I would run the risk of hearing only one message,” Kukko says.
In her third week, she attended the event organised at the Old City Hall of Tampere where the founding members of Tampere University Foundation signed the charter establishing the new foundation. The next major steps will be registering the foundation and forming the first Board. Hopefully, the new Board will be appointed by mid-summer.
Text: Mari Valkonen
Photo: Jonne Renvall