Technopolis Expat’s Dear Diary
I moved to Oslo at the beginning of the year for a six-month stint as the first expatriate in Technopolis. The company had made its biggest investment to date in December by acquiring the IT Fornebu campus in the Oslo region. My duties include ensuring that the Technopolis concept, tools, systems, and practices are adopted at our new campus and that the new campus with its team becomes part of Technopolis. In other words, I help in making IT Fornebu into Technopolis IT Fornebu and the IT Fornebu team into part of the Technopolis team.
The time spent in the new environment has been interesting, instructive, and challenging. Let’s take a peek inside the diary…
Thursday, February 27
The first illuminated Technopolis signs in Norway are installed on the walls! Not in the familiar blue though, but in black and white because their tones are the only permitted colors in the Fornebu district. The city wants to keep the look of the area uniform and controls illuminated signs carefully.
We went to the city hall to discuss the permits with the officials in charge of illuminated signs. It turned out that our matter was processed by Kauko, a Finn from Oulu who moved to Oslo 25 years ago. He was also familiar with the early days of Technopolis, and it was nice telling him about the growth and internationalization of recent years.
Our campus ”Terminalbygget”, the terminal building of the former Oslo airport with its magnificent halls and Kai Fjell’s murals is living history that must be preserved for future generations. The reception is located in this building, and a reception service point that takes the regulations of the museum authorities into account and is in line with the Technopolis concept is being designed.
Tuesday, March 4
The morning starts at 8 a.m. with a videoconference with the integration team. Held every other Tuesday, the meeting paces the integration work well and promotes the flow of information. Those with responsibilities for specific areas report on their progress, and the team solves questions extending over several areas of responsibility together. The meeting goes quickly and is over in an hour and a half. There is still a memo to write about the agreed measures and publishing it on the intranet workspace.
In the afternoon, we meet our customer Ny Vri As. We discuss the Technopolis event concept and its implementation at the campus with the representatives of a company that specializes in events and event marketing. There is a lot of enthusiasm and there was no shortage of ideas!
Sunday, March 9
Already when I agreed on the post in Norway, it was clear that I simply had to get to the Holmenkollen Ski Festival.Having grown up in an enthusiastic family of sports fans, I remember these legendary games from the time before color TV. As is the custom here, we travelled to Kollen on a local train, with packed lunch in our backpacks, wearing warm clothes, and equipped with miniature flags. The women’s 30 kilometer cross-country race is on the program, with Finns Kerttu and Aino-Kaisa ranking nicely third and fourth, while Norwegians came first and second. This time, the Finns’ ski jump results were not as dizzying as the jumps themselves and views from our seats on the high bench rows of the ski jump arena. The Norwegian skill in organizing the event made an impression on us, as everything was so systematic, disciplined, smooth, and friendly. Oslo is applying for the 2022 Winter Games, and the case is clear for us, the result of our vote: twelve points to Norway.
Friday, March 21
Siva, the Norwegian organization responsible for growth of industry and innovation structure, wants to have an article on Technopolis IT Fornebu in their customer magazine. We meet the reporter with Kjell Kalland, the Director of the unit, and Kjell describes where we have come from and where are we going. We all get excited about the opportunities that matchmaking services and events offer to companies in the Technopolis community. In addition to MoneyTalks, the Talent Match service that offers companies and international talent the chance to meet is of particular interest.
Monday, March 24
The hectic week starts with systems training, and today we learn about the CRM system. Matters related to financial administration and systems have played a central role in the early phase of integration, and the aim is to have common systems deployed quickly. The new Technopolis employees have a lot of new things to adopt on top of everything else, and some relief is given by realizing that a lot of manual work will be eliminated with these systems.
Thursday, March 27
The first Technopolis Business Breakfast of the campus is at hand. As always in new locations, besides introducing ourselves, we focus on listening to the wishes, expectations and feedback of our customers. Keith is also coming to Oslo for the event.
We review the presentation of the morning with Laura Krusius and the key account manager of the restaurant operator, ISS. It has been amazing to follow all of the things that have happened in the restaurants after we adopted the Happy or Not devices known from all of our campuses here. I’ll say more about it some other time!
Moving my own office disrupted the day’s schedule, but it was a routine operation in the end. Alterations are being made in the lobby and the IT Fornebu sign has been removed. The familiar blue letters now stand on a new white background. The Technopolis lobby displays are fitted, too, and text in Norwegian appears on the screen. The schedule target for the first phase of the lobby was by the Technopolis Business Breakfast, and we made it! When I leave in the morning, I stop for a moment in the quiet lobby and thank everyone who took part here and in Finland in my mind. I take a photo and upload it to Yammer: Starting to look familiar?
Friday, March 28
It’s Technopolis Business Breakfast morning, and there is a short bulletin before the guests arrive, with an introduction by the prospective new sales director. The talks at the breakfast arouse so much interest, questions and discussion that the schedule runs fifteen minutes late. The feedback from customers as well as our own people tells us that Business Breakfasts are here to stay, too!
Then it’s time to leave for the airport and head towards Helsinki. It’s been four weeks since my lasts visit, and there’s a lot to do during the weekend and on Monday at the Ruoholahti office. My calendar tells me that I’m halfway through my post in Norway.