Hi all, it has been a while, I am sorry for being away so long, my brain, body, soul got sucked into a vortex of being a CEO for a start up company, I am still there but, somehow, I have found the head space to sit at my laptop and tell you about some things.
For those of you that follow my social media it may not be a surprise to you that I have managed to find some space, for, you will know, I am in Finland – and one of the first things I found out when I arrived in Helsinki was that Finns are big fans of space, literal and metaphorical – in fact I was told that the “worst fear” of a Finn was having their personal space invaded. I am stereotyping a whole nation, however, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, I am in a country where some parts are as sparsely populated as 1 person per square km.
I think that space is subconsciously is the major reason behind the decision to come to Helsinki, I am here to be part of the xEdu accelerator,
What is an accelerator?
Many people who are reading this may not have heard of the concept of an accelerator – it is an “instrument” that small companies can use to accelerate their development or growth. Accelerators are beginning to get a bit of a cynical reputation because there are so many of them popping up in many different sectors all over the world – many charge a lot of money or aren’t always effective, however we have hit the jackpot with xEdu because they give us the space to create focus on making an excellent, impactful product for learning. A focus which drive the development of Nano Simbox so it is ready for schools around the world to buy.
Which brings me on to the other reason for being here: Finland, land of space, design and progressive education.
Why is Finland so special?
Finland is well known and generally very well respected in the field of education. It has consistently been close to the top of PISA tables and it is revered around the world for being progressive, high achieving and holistic in its approach to education – my view after the first few days here is that this is just an extension of how the Finns aim to approach all of life; an ethos also expressed through the commitment to lifelong learning.
Perhaps it is because Finland is a small country, but somehow they have harnessed the trick of creating space without halting progress – there is a lot of evidence of stripped back approach to life and design which drive excellence in Finland, making sure that you don’t clutter with things that don’t serve a purpose, keeping your mind, education system, UX design and life with unnecessary clutter.
They know, so deeply, that if you try to do it all you will fail, it is built into their lifestyle and it is so refreshing to be around. I was working with a team of Finnish people yesterday and they said that they have absolutely no feeling of need to talk to fill a silence – ummm – me neither?!?……
I intended to write a bit more about the Finnish Education system today, and in some ways I have – ever since I have been working in education I have had a goal to visit Finland, I had read the news articles about how excellent the Finnish Education system is, how it is not exam driven, holistic, child centred. I have also heard that other people are dubious about the Finnish education system – apparently in some circles education is referred to as “the F Word”. What I realise from spending a few days of getting to know Finland and a little bit of the University of Helsinki is that there is no difference between talking about the Finnish way of life and talking about the Finnish education system. My experience is that it is no-nonsense, fit for purpose and because of that it creates the space to be forward looking.
I have had an intention to create more space in order to grow, which has been a part of my journey for a little while – space to get the groundwork right then the rest will follow. I did it by getting on a plane and heading to Finland, running away from the baggage of being at home. The real talent is finding a way to create space in our everyday life, I’ve tried Yin Yoga, walking, breathing but I still haven’t found the key to simplifying my life to the things that really matter the most. To remove the clutter from my mind, my space, my work. Any tips much appreciated.
I will be back soon to tell you more about education, Finland and my quest to find my space in this world. Have you been to Finland or perhaps you are Finnish – let me know if your experience is the same as mine, or if I am just blinded by the refreshing offer of something new.