The future is here already, you built it yesterday

The future is here already, you built it yesterday

To come up with new ideas, even bad ones, we need to be able to imagine, to move our thinking and to stretch ourselves in everyday lives.


A few weeks ago, I was attending a session around future thinking. We learned how to monitor environment and how to notice changes around us that could be meaningful in the future. Most important learning for me was that our attention and thinking is very selective – we pay attention to what already makes sense to us, and thus easily keep our vision of the world the same as it was. Understandable. But not enough if you wish for renewal.

When being a company in a transformation track – like Finnair – we need to nourish and enable new connections daily to build new thinking and innovation. At Finnair, it means various actions. First it means that we really build the future ways of working together. A recent example being SkyPay – our mobile payment system for our crew. Without building the new ways of working and going through the pain points during planning and testing together, the new thinking would not have flourished and we would not be able to enjoy the benefits of the new work enablers. Another great example is our #Hotthack where we enable office workers to innovate together new ways of working around physical and digital space.

Secondly it means different possibilities for our hungry people to meet new colleagues in new surroundings, in a new way. Slush – Pitch for Future innovation challenge, where we invited our own people + Slush participants to innovate together, is a great possibility to move our thinking. Our brand-new Talent programs “Transformers” and “Customer Service Future Leaders” were also both built to support the movement of thinking and to make people from different parts of Finnair work together in a new way. We challenge the thinking of participants with learning expeditions, with intensive shadowing and with different learning, sharing and influencing assignments.

Thirdly, it means we drive the joint discussion on learning and encourage people for new ways of working and curiosity. And why? Because curiosity is the key for innovation. Esa Saarinen has said that “more important than new knowledge is the movement of thinking”. For me this means that to come up with new ideas you need to make same space in your brain. You need to stretch your thinking with new things, that are hard to understand. Even the small things in our everyday lives can make a difference. You can take a different route to work, have a lunch with a stranger, sit in a different floor at work, start a day with a task you normally would do in the end of the day. Anything that forces you to move your thinking.

1. Create the space > Remember to sleep and rest enough (and no, spending the whole evening checking e-mails or going around in social media is not a rest of your brain)

2. Meet new people > Force yourself to a new lunch table and open a discussion from whatever. Listen and be present.

3. Pause to think > What are the things easy for me to understand, why? What is difficult? Why? What could I learn from this?

And just remember: Future is here already, we built it yesterday

Finnair invites start-ups and creative individuals to take part in Pitch for Future challenge. Read more from here and come and meet us at Slush!


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