The concept of work is facing a revolution. New work is all about segmentation, entrepreneurship and diversity. How will the changes manifest themselves in Finland?


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What is the new synergetic working life like?

The Synergise Finland forum is all about finding the sources of Finland’s vitality. The first forum considered the concept of new work and tested its solutions in practice.

New work is, among other things, flexible, varied, facilitative, network-oriented, experimental and segmented; new work is also carried out adopting several simultaneous roles. People from all age groups and backgrounds have the right to meaningful work, and all potential must be put to use. In the world of new work, traditional borders are crossed flexibly.Work is no longer linear or tied to an annual calendar as in the old days; therefore, working culture must also change to better suit today’s world.

New work is created when we dare to try harder – and also dare to fail occasionally. If new things are never tried, nothing new can be created. Entrepreneurial attitudes and methods are increasingly needed in working life. This does not mean only taking on new responsibilities, but also increased freedom and meaningful work. Work can also be fun.

The challenges of rigid structures and the working culture of the industrial era

At the moment, the major challenges for Finnish workers are the heavy structures and the working tradition based on the line production of the industrial era; this tradition even prevails in sectors where work is already project-oriented, diverse and by no means straightforward.

Life is still considered as progressing from school to further studies and to a career where you proceed evenly until retirement. Failure and risk-taking is feared and huge potentials are wasted when employers don’t dare to employ population groups such as immigrants and the young.

Everybody benefits from the better utilisation of people’s strengths and potential. Working life should support, allow for and utilise diversity to a greater extent. There should be more flexibility in going beyond traditional boundaries in working life. An experimental, entrepreneurial way of working is better suited to today than a linear way of working, which is bound to time and place.

Towards new work


Great challenges require small acts throughout society

The first Synergise Finland forum responded to the challenges and objectives of new work by developing tangible suggestions for solutions and by testing them in practice. See the recommended content section for information on the success of the experiments and further activities in the area.

Public sector job rotation takes public sector workers out of their silos.

The vocational service kiosk experiment offers young people vocational counselling in a pop-up store format, taking information to the places where young people spend their time.

Drama trip for decision-makers lets public sector workers and decision-makers learn about the reality of working life for immigrants through experiential methods and genuine interaction.

Training for reporters concerning immigrants and immigration improves the factual content of news reporting.

Open vocational school offers an opportunity to try out various occupations. This will help young people who find it difficult to choose an occupation.

Coaching provided for HR professionals in varied recruitment processes, with immigrants acting as coaches and mentors.

Work experience challenge programme challenges companies to take on students with an immigration background for short periods of work experience.

Junior mentoring is a process where young people teach older employees skills that the older generation lacks. In turn, the young get to utilise the competencies of the experienced employees; they also receive work experience.

The centre for new work. New work exists in a society as atypical employment and through independent professionals, downshifters, cooperatives or other new kinds of activities. For this reason, counselling and information services concerning new work are developed to complement existing employment services. MindLab at Aalto University and the cooperative and voluntary sector experts of the Synergise Finland team are looking for additional financial support for the process.

Promotion of experimenting in primary schools will be launched to accelerate the adoption of an experiment-oriented way of working in schools. The first stage of the project could involve, for example, schools in a certain area. The aim is to find the means to propagate the idea of the school as a place of learning about the nature of things, not just about facts.

The failure campaign reminds us that you can only succeed if you try – and that you often need to fail first. In Finland, failure is still seen as something to be ashamed of. Take a moment to consider how many times ice hockey star Mikael Granlund’s high wrap must have failed before he hit the jackpot? The experiment was planned to support a national failure campaign at the time.

Using the skills of pensioners. Promotion of the existing good practices to involve pensioners and the elderly in active working life. Within the experiment, pensioners act as project mentors in companies, language café operators for immigrants and distributors of implicit information to children, among other things. Open network management training programme. Network management skills are sorely needed in Finland. The experiment introduced an open network, and all who are interested are welcome to join. The concept and basic idea of the network was developed by a leadership and innovation specialist team within the Synergise Finland programme.

Recognition of best practice in the public sector and wrapping them up as complete export products.

The Born Global certificate is granted to companies that primarily aim at the international market. The certificate is only to be granted to a select few, and the criteria will be strict. The certificate would help investors and companies to find such companies.

The game of life is a simulation of risk-taking and playing for higher stakes in business life instead of the usual “mortgaged house and barbeque in the garden” approach to life. The game provides a safe environment for testing your skills before engaging in real action.



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Contact us

Elina Kiiski Kataja
Hannele Laaksolahti
Senior Lead, Sitra
Hanna Häppölä
Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs