Seeing opportunities where others might not see them
Together we’re stronger and achieve even more impressive results. And as the 185X campaign is winding down, we wanted to finish off the anniversary year by showcasing some of our awesome teams. This story is about one of them.
Many teams are open-minded and ready to embrace new innovations – that is the case also with Wärtsilä’s global Training Development Team. Although, this team does more than embraces innovation; they’re on the edge of it, constantly looking into the horizon for new trends.
“One of our guiding principles is to enable smart innovations,” tells Tayfun Pisirici, Manager of the Training Development team. With Tayfun, there are currently nine teammates whose experience with Wärtsilä totals up to 145 years: Aleksi Kirjonen, Lasse Nikkanen, Mikko Siren, Kasper Söderlund, Terhi Wallin, Ari Kivikoski, Ismo Brander, Teresita Kauppila and James Payne, who is the newest member in the team that was founded in 2012.
This team’s focus on innovations and discovering novel things shows in everything they do – and not least in the way they develop training in Wärtsilä. “We aim to keep a student-centric mindset. Loving the problem instead of the solution ensures our team members have our eyes open for options all the time,” tells Aleksi Kirjonen, Chief Designer in the team.
And there is a point indeed. If you’re enjoying your own creation too much, you may miss opportunities to come up with even better solutions. But that is not the case with Tayfun’s team; they aren’t too excited about any existing training concept. Rather, this team is often the first to test novel solutions, such as new collaboration tools.
“For example, with Microsoft Teams software, our team wanted to be the frontrunner in Wärtsilä, using all its functionalities to their fullest potential. That way – investigating and sharing our tips and positive experiences – we can help our colleagues when they take new tools into use,” James tells.
The entire mindset – being on the edge of innovation – is both enjoyable but also crucial for the team’s work as they need to create brand-new training solutions for Wärtsilä Land and Sea Academy, where customer organisations are trained to manage their Wärtsilä equipment at all times. Hence, the content of the trainings developed by the Training Development team varies from operations to safety – there are courses for new engines and smart power generation but also zero injury courses.
“When we say we develop training solutions, we refer to training materials, simulators, eLearning, competence management and virtual reality solutions,” Lasse tells. Simulators can for example feature Wärtsilä software, products or entire power plants.
“What is common for these trainings is that we design them to trigger thoughts and innovation within the participants,” Lasse continues. Even if Wärtsilä’s customers and people working on the vessels and power plants are the main target audience, also Wärtsilä’s own personnel benefits from the trainings.
Barefoot for seven years
During the past years, the Training Development team has done a lot of different kind of development. And within 2019, the team finalised some major projects, that had been active for several years – which made the year feel quite special. “The oldest training project we delivered this year started in 2015, so it was a great achievement to finally deliver this extensive project. And to do it with positive feedback from the stakeholders,” describes Aleksi who had been working on this particular training solution since the kick-off.
However, the biggest highlight of the year was when the team implemented their own Competence Management System for Wärtsilians working in Wärtsilä Land and Sea Academy. “I believe that among our stakeholders, we’re known for the solid competence management work we’ve done. But as you know, the shoemaker’s children go barefoot. Even if we’ve developed these solutions for several other stakeholders, we didn’t have a system to manage the competences of our people before this year,” Kasper tells.
It’s the team spirit that keeps the team moving forward – with or without shoes. And with the same team spirit, things get always done in the end of the day. “We find it important to get together also as people – not just colleagues,” Teresita begins and continues to share a warm memory from last summer. “We went to one of our team member’s summer cottage. It was purely on our own time and cost, and it was great to be together – play some Finnish yard games, grill burgers, go to sauna and take dips in the cold sea.”
These joint memories strengthen the trust within the team and bring people closer to each other even if their backgrounds differ. “In this team, we have a good variety of people and different competence areas. But we share the passion for learning, and everyone is enthusiastic and highly dedicated to what we do,” Mikko tells.
Besides the team spirit, the company atmosphere and its values are supporting the training development work. “I feel that Wärtsilä is standing behind its values; our culture is open for innovation and our employees are truly taken care of. Consequently, there is a lot of focus to develop the training solutions, and it’s enjoyable that our team gets to do training development with a global responsibility,” tells Tayfun who has had the opportunity to eye Wärtsilä’s culture closely for 19 years that he has been with the company.
And with a team that is this on top of new trends, Wärtsilä will for sure discover new training paths in the near future. But what are they?
“In the next few years, we will investigate further the opportunities of digitalising our trainings – we believe in a more student-centric learning approach,” Terhi envisions. “In addition, we see an increasing demand for micro-learning and on-demand training – people want the learning to happen informally, in smaller pieces and along with the work on-board, on-site, or online – when suitable for them.”
Another topic the team plans to investigate further is tacit knowledge and various opportunities for transforming it. Even within this team there are two people, Ari and Ismo, who have over 30-years of knowledge and experiences with Wärtsilä. “Since the beginning of 1980s, Wärtsilä and the ways of working have changed considerably. You can see it in the office and how people focus,” tells Ari who has seen Wärtsilä’s transformation from the times when it had a shipyard in Turku, Finland.
And the pace of introducing new practices shows no signs of slowing down. “In the past decade, we have experienced a tremendous positive change of reusing the existing 3D assets meaning products’ Computer Aided Design (CAD) models in our daily work. And soon, we are also eager to reuse other elements from Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in our training content production,” Ismo explains.
On their way towards digitalising training, this team has already taken multiple steps, like taking into use mobile learning and Virtual Reality (VR) learning solutions. VR as one of the latest breakthroughs has also provided some fun moments for the team. “For sure we’ve shared good laughs within this team and with other people who have tested virtual reality. When people put on the VR goggles, they often throw themselves fully into the virtual reality. As they see things we don’t see in the real world, it’s quite hilarious to hear them reacting to and stepping over things that are not visible without the goggles,” James tells with a smile.
And with VR, the team has learnt that students – and younger generations in general – seem to be the most excited after trying out the digital learning solutions. Hence, the demand for digital training will increase in the future as these digital natives join the working life.
“Looking at the road ahead, we see that next decade is the time when e-learnings and remote workshops replace classroom training. In 2030, we could go further; perhaps there are no courses, but all training becomes customised as individual learning paths, according to one’s needs. And if we try to anticipate 2040, I hope to see a future where training is no longer planned but it happens ad-hoc – training becomes the way of life,” Tayfun says admitting that for sure, the aim for 2040 is rather ambitious.
Still, it is a good long-term vision. Keeping oneself relevant is common sense, so shouldn’t it be a natural part of our lives?