When FreshSight acquired its first international project in late summer 2017, the entirety of FreshSight was hugely excited to see where it would take us. What we were not expecting was that it would actually take the team all the way to Helsinki to deliver the final presentation to the client. The project posed a number of challenges for the team, both logistical and creatively.
The client was Jalla Board, a Finnish start-up that manufactures wooden products by creating employment opportunities for those who are struggling within their local area, such as asylum seekers, immigrants and the long-term unemployed. In early November, approximately two-thirds the way through the project, we managed to secure funding to fly the consultants to Finland to deliver their final recommendations in person to the client. This was a hugely exciting prospect and unique chance to engage with the other inspiring third sector organisations in Helsinki.
For our 36 hour whistle stop trip to Helsinki, our cohort comprised of consultants Navya, William and Brandon with General Manager Josh, and Directors Lina and Andrew. In a beautiful café that was the definition of hygge, we met with Arttu and Santtu, joint co-founders of Jalla Board. With the rest of the team Skyped into the meeting from Scotland, the team delivered an in-depth presentation where they showcased their work and the extra mile that they had gone throughout their research. The meaning of the project was clear in the reactions of Arttu and Santtu, and it was an immensely satisfying and grounding moment for everyone present. All of those periods of hard work, from establishing relations with the client, training the consultants, and overcoming difficulties in the project, were instantly overshadowed by the clear impact project was going to have. That is what FreshSight is all about, making a difference to organisations that matter.
After a well-deserved lunch, the trip offered the opportunity to learn about the third sector in Helsinki. Throughout the rest day, we spoke to a social innovation accelerator programme, an innovation investment group, and a student focused ideas lab. We are always looking to meet new people, learn of exciting social ventures and start new conversations, and this provided an opportunity to so in an entirely new setting. It was refreshing and inspiring to meet other like- minded organisations in Helsinki and we hope that it was just the start of a much longer conversation.
Of course a trip to Helsinki couldn’t be complete some time spent in a sauna, and so in the evening we headed down to the docks in the south of the city for some well-deserved down time. Dipping into the Baltic Sea on the 5th of December was exactly what you would say in Scotland, Baltic.
Overall, the trip was a huge success and we look forward to keeping in touch with Arttu, Santtu and the rest of the Jalla Board team as they take the company to the next level.