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Midsummer is extremely important time for celebration for Finns. People flock into summer cottages and celebrate the long, light summer nights. No matter what is the weather, people leave the cities and head towards lake side cottages, festivals, camping sites – being close to lakes & nature, seems to be essential.

For nearly 20 years, we have spent Midsummer time  by Takajärvi, ” the Lake Taka”, by the summer cottage of my in laws, who have kindly offered a place for a crowd of  “Midsummer Orphans”.

This year the cottage become ours, and tradition continued.  And about 20 adults and 15 kids celebrated the summer again together. It was exceptionally rainy and cold – somehow it did not seem to matter, it was nice to be back to Takajärvi with friends. Some of our children have spend all their Midsummers here, with the “Midsummer Family”.

This year people shared their feelings also via Facebook statuses & discussions – and with Twitter, and with pictures in Flickr …

Merja … “observes nature’s cycles: the second generation of the Midsummer Family sits at the lakeside playing guitar. Suddenly we have a gang of teenagers instead of children.”  “… enjoys life …”

Kaisa … “ +10c and rain; several really new, fun-related innovations done. “

We were talking about social media, laughing to ourselves sitting next to each other, and posting comments on Facebook.  Social media enables us to stay connected also other times. Some are more active than others.  And we have been using social media for practicalities as well …  invitations are sent by -e-mail, including a link to Doodle – where we can see when people will arrive and leave. This year Rita co-ordinated responsibilities for various meals.  In 2007  we were using Kotikokki – for sharing menu & recipes.

This year my friend Kristiina was arranging at the same time “Midsummer Festival Simulation Party” in winter weather at Pretoria, South-Africa, which was far warmer than we had.  And we were also exchanging ideas how to simulate  Finnish midsummer into other side of the world…

Together we try out new things, share experiences and learn and enjoy life.   It is all about meaningful connections among people…  Even I enjoy experimenting with social media – I am also  already looking forward for the 20th Year Anniversary Midsummer Festivals by Takajärvi!

Last year I spent Mothers’ Day in Tokyo enjoying gardens there. It was delightful, but staying at home with family and enjoying gardens here is even better.

So we spend a lot of time in our own garden, enjoying flowers – daffodils and blossoming  forsythia  bushes – in Finnish – is it called  Happiness Bush (Onnenpensas),  wild white anemones (Valkovuokko), the garden is filled with spring flowers.  The flower benches  I made last autumn all seem to be doing well.

Our neighbors decided to renew their backyard – so I got plenty of new plants from there. Some of them  I have no idea they are, exciting!  Now they are all planted in my planting  boxes, so that I can see what they are, how high they grow and then can decide what would be the best place to plant them for longer term.

When most of the today’s in garden work has done, I took a wheel barrel load of braches, weeds and leaves to compost. On my way back it started raining and I saw the whole rainbow. Little things in life can be very enjoyable even though temporary.

In the evening planted some sunflowers, three different varieties: Lion Sangria and Sol, will be interesting to watch them grow.

Ideas are like seeds – they need plenty of nurturing, before they prosper and even more time until harvesting is possible. Luckily with plants you can also enjoy growing phase.

About a month ago my friend Elina blogged about free hugs in Helsinki and I commented that I could have one too …   Elina called me in Sunday morning, she wanted to do something around Hugging Monday and asked if I was in. And of cause I was excited  … so here started the idea to arrange something similar, but a bit different  for people at work.

Both of us have had our share of ups and downs and we we decided that we really want to do something – to cheer up our selves and others as well.

Elina ordered & created  the Hugging Monday website, I created a Hugging Monday  fan club to Facebook, and ideation continued…   with messages in Facebook, e-mails, phone calls etc.etc…

We wanted to keep things small – to remind us and others – that small things can make a difference.

And today was the official first “Hugging Monday” –  due to Swine Influenza, we decided not  widely share real hugs. Instead we decided to cheer up our fellow workers with sharing printed aphorisms, about life & joy&change &hope, piloted a small scale coffee corner event with chocolate, and sent out messages via e-mail lists and super hugs via Super Poke in Facebook.

In return we got nice comments and replies, smiling faces – also real and virtual hugs.  And life feels a little bit better!

On the road ….

On the road to my mom’s cottage I was testing out various things with my E90…  Uploading pictures was a bit challenging….have to find better way to do it faster…

Writing text, and reading worked well…

My family – in Japanese “Takala” means a treasure  and “Tomi” means “valuable& rich”  – so I’m married to Mr. Treasure and our son is  “Valuable Treasure” .  Ronja & Linda – our small dogs – spice up our living with their enthusiasm.

Gardening – some weeks ago  there were  Garden Exhibition in Helsinki – the signs of spring and summer are here…  The first snow bells are already here:-) And I see them from my armchair.  Gardening is a passion that I share with my sister & mom.

Friends – even we are far, and busy with our lives – it is inspiring to stay in touch, and share little moments &  joys – and gradually more friends are using social media as well and this is easier than ever…

Learning & sharing – small things, simple things, wide, complex and messy – always a joy…   as long as I live, I will scout out for new, weird, interesting, amazing things – especially related to human behavior & people. If my work enables learning & sharing in an appreciative context – I’ll stay, if not I’ll move somewhere else . Life long learner – still working on with my dissertation… when that is done, I will continue with pedagogical studies…

Home – chaotic collection of things, recycled furniture, – zen gardens – or sand boxes, 3 of them – large , medium and tiny, books, plants, and stuff – I’m definitely not a minimalist …

Summer cottage – The cottage by Takajärvi, the place that has been in my life nearly as long as Pete, is now ours. So many plans, for the yard, new terraces, changes inside, new peer etc. etc.  and after some years major renovation…   There I have finished my Master & Licentiate thesis, now its time to push through the final one – Ph.D

Well – being –  constant quest, looking for joy, spying hearts in everywhere. Trying out new forms of exercise, diets…   Looking for dynamic balances  in life – working & relaxing  – staying still & moving around – mess & order.  Enjoying living , the journey …

It is sometimes hard to stay true to your values – I need to regurlarly remind myself  – again, and  again, again, again …    I have done personal inventory of the well being for over 1o years.  Every year I revisit a long list a questions – self analysis – hmmm…  time to revisit them again.

In January I decided to start using Twitter (MinLii) …  My learning style is activist, so often I like to try out first, and them later to look in more details.

And now later has come.  I want to better understand how can microblogging, and micromessanging be used by global R&D teams, and what can be the possible benefits and possible dissapointments.

So first I checked our definitions from WikiPedia

  • “Micro-blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, digital audio or the web.
  • Micromessaging was not there yet – however people seem to use it alot.

And I realized that I have been micro-blogging with Facebook – for quite some time, used instant messging, and text messages for ages.  It seems to be that people take new communication practices in use – without knowing their definitions.  Well we live and learn.

Then I decided to use Twitter Search for finding related articles, blog posts etc. – and that was very successful, got some good, practical examples. All links are collected to my Delicious site – with tag microblogging .

So how could microblogging be used and help global R&D teams?

You would have to decide weather to use microblogging  application in-side your company firewall for your internal R&D team only, or would be benefial and possible to use open  microblogging system.

Here are commonly used examples for possible benefits of microblogging – applied in R&D context:

Emergency Broadcast System: – Messages of crucial errors & fast tracking of existing possible solutions & knowledgeable experts.  Active scouting among experts.

Knowledge Management: Sharing lessons learned & experiences among interested people – in serendipitous way.  Even if there are no problems/issues people can recommend each other examples, offer information, connections. With microblogging R&D people can combine their talent and tacit knowledge.

Training: Microblogging can help new team members to learn, offer communication channel for coaching, provide information of interesting new articles, research results etc.

Expert Identification: Microblogging can help to find experts and enables them to share their expertise. If they are willing to do so. Via microblogging existing solutions are not only shared the one that asks the question – it can quickly spread to wider user group. It also enables peer -review on the fly – if other team members are active. The messages can also be used and searched after wards. Using tags or other identifiers  (e.g. # in Twitter) can help.

Inclusion of External Stakeholders: in case of  working in open context, microblogging with external application can help work with external stakeholders. Widening your search globally.

This all would depend if  R&D people are  working as a global team, or are they rather isolated individuals focusing on certain detail aspect- who do not really benefit from sharing, but from being able to concentrate, think and work by themselves.

Microblogging can also be disturbing – the team would need to agree about basic principles for using  microblogging. If only few persons are willing to share & participate – the benefits will not be accomplished, social media tools need a group of active people to participate in order to work. Would R&D team members be willing to change they communication practices?

There are different kind of possible benefits for new, recently hired people, more experienced people, people with wide contact networks etc. etc.  Networking skills & positive attitude for knowledge sharing can help. However, the team itself will create the practices and see the benefits as well. How  could microblogging system to created in such way – that information would flow freely, create natural patterns?  The patterns in the ice are frozen… like information in databases. Microblogging systems are more dynamic – like waves…  Interesting theme – that seems come up again and again…

Have to think more about this…  I would like to develop a short, practical guide for R&D teams, how to set up a successful microblogging activites. Perhaps with a short reality check of their working context, then easy step-by-step instructions how to start, quickly and example of agreed ways of working, that could be modified… a sanity check after a while – does it work, or not, or what  …    and try it all this out with some global teams.

Yesterday I had opportunity to attend EVA – Seminar introducing Global Business Scenarios for 2020. While the near future seems to be rather turbulent for global business, companies and individuals as well, it is good good to stop for a while and consider alternative future scenarios.

In his opening speech Jorma Ollila -Nokia’s and EVA’s Chairman, reminded that no one has capability to foresee and predict the future, however we need to consider alternatives and choose our activities so that we can have impact toward desired directions. “In the current challenging economic situation we cannot allow fear to paralyze our thinking.” Wide group of people from Finnish companies, and other institutions had participated in the scenario process, while alarming news from global business world were creating dark storm clouds all over the world, making the work even more essential.

The report introduces 4 alternative global scenarioseva-scenarios

* West Re-invents Itself – quick economic recovery and strong linkages of Europe &  US
* Chinese Capitalism – Asia takes the lead in the global business world
* Battle of the Blocks – long difficult recession with slow recovery – linkages between Europe &  Russia strengthened
*Stimulus &  Decline – long, ever lasting , economic crisis, – international conflicts & crisis, decline of international co-operation

It was very interesting to hear description & reflections of these alternative futures. And think what could this mean for the future of Nokia. No matter how the world changes – there will always be business opportunities!

The study also provided some aspects in the future that will be inevitable, no matter what scenario will be dominant …

* Globalization will remain important
* Role of China & India will increase … also Africa
* Energy consumption will keep growing
* World’s population will continue growing exponentially
* Growing average age of population in OECD countries
* The importance of food production will increase
* Public sector will be challenged by demands of effectiveness
* Technologies will develop with increasing speed
* Role of information networks & Social Media will increase
* Ecological view & role of environment will increase
* More emphasis on security on global, national, and individual level
* Need for competencies & innovation capabilities will be strengthened
* The battle for talent will be more intense & number of mobile global workforce will rise
* Business models will be renewed

The report (in Finnish ) is available from here.