Knowledge Institute Podcasts
United Nations' Tiina Neuvonen on the Impact of Disruptive Learning on Our People and the Planet
Tiina Neuvonen, Thematic Lead in Education at the United Nations Technology Innovation Lab, discusses how rethinking education can make teaching and learning more effective and accessible in communities all over the world.
Hosted by Jeff Kavanaugh, VP and Head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute.
“Besides the personal learning profiles, I think tech has huge potential in kind of fixing the learning journeys when they are disrupted by epidemics like Ebola in Sierra Leone, for instance.”
- Tiina Neuvonen
Tiina talks about her professional career and background
Tiina talks about the United Nations Technology Innovation Lab
Many view UN as these big rooms were hundreds of people meet. What is Tiina doing to make this real and to make a real impact?
Tiina talks about the “leaving no one behind” agenda
This is early days for Tiina’s lab. What has she done so far and what are her plans?
What has Tiina learned by having developed partnerships across such diversity that maybe others might be able to take away?
Tiina gives an example of her technology partners and some kind of educational content that she found to be good so far.
Tiina gives an example of a tech partner or someone who's created a game or piece of module that might be able to use?
Tiina talks about frameworks and her approach to some of the models. How the UN is going to approach technology innovation for learning and what are some of Tiina’s plans?
Tiina explains an idea that people can still learn even while they're not physically in the classroom.
How do you get past the pilots and get to scale and can make the that big impact that you dream of?
As businesses think about their bottom line and reporting, whether it's IFRS or GAP and these financial regulations, very soon there'll be regulations or requirements to report on the impact on people and on planet for sustainability. What to expect?
Tiina gives a few recommendations on how people can apply learning in their own context.
Who or what has been a big influence on Tiina’s career and her life?
Jeff Kavanaugh: Welcome to this episode of the Knowledge Institute, where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. The information and views set out in this podcast are those of our guests do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of their organizations. Today I'm happy to be joined by Tina Neuvonen, lead for education at the United Nations Technology Innovation Lab. We're talking today on disruptive learning and its impact on our people and the planet. Welcome, Tina.
Tiina Neuvonen: Thanks so much, Jeff, for having me. I'm really excited to be talking to you today.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Before we dive in, maybe tell a little bit about yourself and your story.
Tiina Neuvonen: Well, thank you so much. We spoke a little bit earlier and I think it's fantastic that we share one thing. We both grew up at a farm and I think that's the perfect environment for a child to to explore and learn through play. And this is one of the things that I think has been forgotten by formal education systems that children learn by playing and there's less and less free play time and unsupervised play time, and I'm really glad that we got to enjoy that. I think since I was a kid I was explorer, and I wanted to always go to places where I haven't been and learn things I didn't know about. And I think I'm still on that journey, that lifelong learning journey. When I started my studies, I am actually a sociologist by training, but I'm always been interested in technology and how technology is shaping societies and opportunities for individuals as well.
Tiina Neuvonen: And I think that's how I kind of ended up in this role as well. And it's quite funny that we are in Finland, in Otaniemi, and this is the place where I started about 20 years ago working for Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, and I was the only sociologist amongst engineers and technical people. This was also a kind of alien territory for a sociologists, but I also discovered that when you associated with people who are not from your field, you learn so much. And that's a fantastic thing that I'm still trying to achieve in this role, bringing people from different disciplines together.
Jeff Kavanaugh: After you left Finland, did you go in the U.S. for some time?
Tiina Neuvonen: I didn't go to U.S. I did my University studies in UK. Then I did my masters here in Helsinki. But I also lived in the U.S. actually before coming back to UNTIL, United Nations Technology Innovations Lab, we call it UNTIL in Helsinki. And before that I was in New York working for UNESCO, which is the United Nations specialized organization and the lead organization in education as well. And I was working as the innovation focal point for UNESCO in New York, so I got to spend some time in New York as well and in America. And before that I was in East Africa also working for UNESCO on kind of managing the innovation portfolio in education.
Tiina Neuvonen: But I haven't been with UN for that long. I started in 2015 and before that I worked in innovation consulting. And in this current role I'm kind of trying to bring together all of those things like being a sociologist, understanding how people behave and kind of behavioral science point of views and combining that understanding of people with understanding of technology and the opportunities of technology, and then combining that with the whole UN agenda, the sustainable development goals agenda, and in this framework, forging new partnerships with players like Infosys, like yourselves. Yeah, I think that it gives a context.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Well, it's a fantastic context because I couldn't imagine if they had a mold and they created someone perfect for this role, it couldn't be any more perfect than you because you've got the sociologist background, you've got the UN itself, background with UNESCO and you've got technology.
Tiina Neuvonen: And this free range chicken from a farm as well. That helps.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Exploring and resilience. This United Nations Technology Innovation Lab, which is a mouthful so we might use the acronym UNTIL.
Tiina Neuvonen: Oh yeah, sorry about that. We're kind of too used to those acronyms in UN context so we forget that it's not ideal.
Jeff Kavanaugh: You said you have a lab, and we we're now here in beautiful Helsinki. Your lab is based here and it's on sustainable development goal number four, which is education.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yes.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Or learning. We'll get that in a minute.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Why do you think the lab was is based here?
Tiina Neuvonen: First of all, can I just say that we are actually a global network, the UNTIL labs, and we are headquartered in New York, and we are institutionally under the UN secretary general or UN secretariat. There is an office for information and communication technology that used to cater traditionally to the UN agencies internally, but UNTIL it's kind of interface of OACT with the outside world. So we want to engage with the innovators and bring that expertise to the UN and also see how the innovation happening in different sectors can be used to advance the sustainable development goals agenda across different verticals.
Tiina Neuvonen: We have this lab in Helsinki and that's the first of the UNTIL labs. And here we are focusing besides education to health, circular economy and peace and security. And then we have also other labs in India. There's one currently but there will be more. Then we have a lab in Egypt as well, and Malaysia, and we will have more opening in the near future in Rwanda, most likely, and Mauritius as well. So the feasibility studies are ongoing there.
Tiina Neuvonen: So we tried to work as a global network, not just in Finland. Of course, Finland has a good reputation in education. And actually, our host countries, they get a say what are the verticals the labs will be focusing on. But we tried to work on global projects and engage with the different labs and not just the UNTIL, United Nations Technology Innovation Labs alone, but also with the whole UN ecosystem. And we have the mandate in tech and frontier tech specifically. And then when you work with other UN agencies who have a substance mandates in different topics. But I think that big part of our work is to really engage with the private sector, with the innovators. So we like to think our innovation process through four different roles. So we have the innovators and these can be innovation platforms like cities or universities or then they can be private sector companies or startups. But this is where the creation of new magical things happens.
Tiina Neuvonen: And then we try to combine the inventions with the transformers and transformers can be governments or countries or UN entities who have the power to influence policies and really drive large scale transformations through that. But then they could be also entities like Infosys, industry leaders, big companies who set the standards for different industries. And then we have financiers as well. And we try to also work in innovative finance to ensure that resources that are also directed to development and to support the development agenda and not just to develop products for private sector or consumers in developed markets.
Tiina Neuvonen: And then our role is to bring these all together to be a broker. So we try to be a broker of take an innovation solutions to the UN system. This is how we are trying to operate and it's early days for us. So we're still exploring and kind of developing our offering to different stakeholders. And it's really exciting to be part of this journey from the beginning.
Jeff Kavanaugh: What are you going tot do? Save the world? I'm kidding. Quite literally.
Tiina Neuvonen: I think we should try and everybody should try.
Jeff Kavanaugh: I say that because, being serious for a second, there are those that sometimes say well the UN, they don't really get anything done. I see these big rooms were hundreds of people meet. What are you doing to make this real and to make a real impact?
Tiina Neuvonen: That's a good question. And having worked with UN for a long time, I know it can feel sometimes really frustrating as well. There's a lot of talking and not enough doing, but there's also some fantastic programs I'm ongoing in the field. So it really depends if you add the what level you associated with the UN as well, whether you see the action in the field or you're in New York with the headquarters. But it's also a very different perspective to the UN and it takes a while to actually understand how the UN works as well. It's so big, and the work happens at so many different levels. And I think it's also beautiful when you go to places like General Assembly, New York and you have the decision makers, the leaders from the whole world come together and build a consensus on what kind of future, what kind of world they want to build, and then they come up with this vision.
Tiina Neuvonen: And then we, as a part of a UN and different entities of UN, we try to support that agenda and we try to support the member countries and through different interventions. And how we do it at UNTIL, I said the private sector, the innovators have a big role in this, specifically tech integrators, the people who are using tech to build a better world, or the people who have amazing tech solutions, but maybe they haven't realized yet what kind of impact potentially could have in certain development contexts or in relation to certain development issues.
Tiina Neuvonen: Let's say for instance illiteracy or improving the quality of education. There are huge issues globally right now, if we think about quality of education, for instance. Almost half of the children going through a K-12 education, they still don't have the minimum literacy and numeracy levels. So this is really shocking and it's not just developing countries but [inaudible 00:10:46] countries as well. So we have a huge quality problem there, and there's so much technology can do. And our role is to engage with the private sector partners who have the solutions and then connect with the developing countries or the countries with the needs and develop concrete products and programs to address those issues directly.
Jeff Kavanaugh: And that's one of the reasons why, Tina, I wanted to have you on because I think that that is a misconception sometimes about bureaucracy at the UN. There's some great work, and I think some of the problem with the UN often is in communications, getting the word out about the work because people do want to help. So hopefully, with UNTIL, with innovation labs we can do that. And especially with Secretary General's recognition that this digitization technology, it's so important to connect so that people aren't left behind, entire societies. And I think that's something that the rest of this discussion we'd like to go a little more into. I know you're pretty passionate about use of words, and I mentioned education before and you were saying no, no, no, no. So what should we use instead?
Tiina Neuvonen: Thanks for that. First of all I like the leaving no one behind agenda. I think this is what brings the whole world together and the whole UN together. And also one of the member countries discussed about these kind of specific wordings. Leaving no one behind was the kind of key element of the whole 2030 agenda, the sustainable goals agenda. So I'm glad you mentioned that. Everybody at the UN loves that, so thanks for that. To realize that leaving no one behind agenda, we need radical in innovation. We have already seen that we are not on track in reaching the sustainable development goals, and education is no exception. We are behind so we really need further commitments. And to really get somewhere we can't use the old recipes and old ways of learning, we really have to disrupt the system. And key thing in this is to rethink the concepts, kind of deconstruct the key concepts in education. And well now, I know I said it again, education. So when I mention education, what does it bring to your mind?
Jeff Kavanaugh: Rigor. Structure. There is a definite process from going from the beginning to then in the end you're educated.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yes, so it's the education system and sent this is the systems view. I think we should really move from the systems view to a more individualistic view. How do we empower every learner on this planet, depending on where they are and what are they good at to realize their full potential. I think this is the key shift to kind of move from a systems point of view to individual, how we support individuals point of view, and technology has great potential in this. And instead of education, I think we should talk about learning and learners because it kind of supports your mental shift so you don't just think about the school and formal education system, but really the learning journeys of people who are... We are all different, we are all different, we learn differently. We are good at different things, which is a beautiful thing, but I think the whole learning support system should be built around this notion. How do we really support the individual capacities?
Jeff Kavanaugh: Once again, you are listening to the Knowledge Institute where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. We are here with Tina Neuvonen, lead for education at the United Nations Technology Innovation Lab. We're talking today on saving the world through disruptive learning. Tina, you had mentioned learning, not education, or at least that's the new form of that. This is early days for your lab. What have you done so far and what are your plans?
Tiina Neuvonen: We are currently working on our innovation model, so how we want to work with partners, and also with the strategies for different verticals, and kind of really tapping into the innovation ecosystem in different verticals we work on. As a first step, we are trying to build partnerships. This is also SDG-17. So to really play this role as a broker, which I mentioned earlier, we have to connect with all these different stakeholders in the field. So we are trying to find the-
Jeff Kavanaugh: Right. As you're going through this, a lot of our listeners, they're also in businesses where they don't necessarily manage directly. They have to develop consensus or at least partnerships. What have you learned by having developed partnerships across such diversity that maybe others might be able to take away?
Tiina Neuvonen: That's a very good question. I think usually the more pragmatic you are, the faster you get moving. So the really key thing for us to identify real need, the real development need and to evaluate different solutions to that so we can really evaluate whether a project we are planning has real impact potential or not, if it's worth doing or not. Because there's a world of opportunities but you only have very little resources. So we try to focus on projects that have high impact potential and we are developing kind of metrics to work with partners to kind of identify early on if there's commitment from both sides to really work on something that has high impact. And sometimes when you work with the private sector as well, it just could be that you just don't share the same level of aspirations and then it's good to cut it short.
Jeff Kavanaugh: So shared purpose, shared vision.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah, I think kind of building that shared vision from really early on so you really know what you want to achieve, have this shared vision. And I think an innovation project as well, it's very important because you have to be also able to kill projects really early on if you feel like they are not going to contribute to the goal or where you want to go. So I think that's one thing. And we also tried to kind of develop screening mechanisms so we can identify partners that different technology maturity levels.
Jeff Kavanaugh: We'll tell you, why don't you give an example of maybe one of your technology partners, some kind of educational content that you found to be good so far?
Tiina Neuvonen: Actually this morning we just signed a letter of intent, kind of partnership agreement with X [inaudible 00:00:17:21], which is accelerator for EdTech companies, and they are quite brilliant and they are accelerating EdTech companies from all over the world. And we are partnering with them and launching this impact round, kind of impact acceleration round, this year. And we are developing model together with them where we can support the startups to kind of adopt the sustainable development principles and goals kind of as an integral part of the business from an early on, so we are developing kind of aspiring model with them.
Tiina Neuvonen: And this could, in practice, link to the business models because often the companies who have great solutions they don't originally target developing markets, but they could. And we tried to kind of figure out, or the business model could be in new markets. And then also how to contextualize the product to new contexts like learning environments. How the people learn in Finland is very different how they learn in Sierra Leone, and kind of identify and also their different learning context, which could be self directed or formal or informal, classroom based or something else. And what are the needs and the stakeholders in these different groups? So we try to kind of facilitate that kind of contextualization and we call it impact design.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Can you give an example of maybe a tech partner or someone who's created a game or piece of module that might be able to use?
Tiina Neuvonen: Yes. We talked earlier about these open company, and they have developed... It's almost like preschool for coding. So they have developed really great game models which also align with the curriculum, in the Finnish curriculum. And this is also great because I think tech can help a lot when new things are brought to curriculums because teachers are also struggling how are they going to address this, and coding is one thing that typical primary school teacher doesn't know how to code. And now they are expected to teach it. So they have developed these game solutions for... Actually, it's kids under five. And it's not really about coding per se, but it's about programming logic, understanding things like loops. And what I think is fun about their product, it's not just game alone, but they also have these activities, kind of play based activities.
Tiina Neuvonen: So you don't really need any hardware to learn about programming logic. But you can make it into a game that's fun for kids and kind of helps them to understand the key concepts, and also for teachers, also for adults. And and so what's fun about this product as well is it's developed for kids but when adults see it they also want to play because they also want to understand. And I think this is also a good example about the shift that is happening that we kind of have to question the whole teacher student dynamic because keeps are often smarter and better using tech than teachers and they can actually help the teachers to learn. And also like teachers might somehow sometimes not want to use technology in classrooms because they might be even afraid that okay, tech's going to take over their jobs, that teachers are not going to be needed anymore because we have tech, which is not the case in my view at all. It's just that rethinking the role of the teachers as well and enabling better learning and better teaching by tech.
Jeff Kavanaugh: I know earlier today we had spoken somewhat about frameworks and your approach to some of the models. I don't know if you want to go into some of your thinking about how the UN is going to approach technology innovation for learning and what are some of your plans?
Tiina Neuvonen: Oh, yes. This is an exciting one. And I think I can also say here that we are partnering with you as well, with Infosys?
Jeff Kavanaugh: Yes, the Knowledge Institute and Infosys.
Tiina Neuvonen: Which I'm really, really excited about, and this kind of links back to the what we discussed earlier about empowering every learner. And how does this start? I think it starts with becoming reflective of ourselves. What are we like as learners? And I think this should be the first thing for everybody to learn at school or even before we go to school. How do we learn? People learn differently. Some learn by hearing things, some by doing things, some by seeing things, and so we have this kind of primary way of learning.
Tiina Neuvonen: Of course, your capacity of learning also changes from context to another, but you still have your basic profile. And this would have helped me a lot in my journey learning, if I know how I learn. I just used to remember that when I was reading something for exams and then I took the exam, I remember that there was this picture on the page where the matter was... But I couldn't remember anything. I just remember the picture. So if I had known that I'm actually visual learner, it would have been so much easier for me to kind of tell the teachers how I learn so they could have supported me.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Like handwriting, that kinetic connection when you draw something on a page.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So this is kind of idea behind our project that we are thinking of doing together to empower every learner. And it's about making a standardized framework to identify different learning profiles and create a test that everybody can take to understand how they learn better. And ultimately, I think it could create a new industry standard for content developers as well. So anybody in e-learning business could develop a content in a way that it can be customized to-
Jeff Kavanaugh: Those individual styles.
Tiina Neuvonen: Exactly, exactly.
Jeff Kavanaugh: And even the platform, our wingspan platform, which we're worked with you on, is massively scalable. So you can plug it in and have hundreds or thousands of modules for different industries, for different countries, languages and filtered through that, or contextualized through the learning profiles that you mentioned so people can be delivered to them, not just in their language but also in a style that maybe they learn more effectively through.
Tiina Neuvonen: Exactly. And just imagine what kind of impact that could have. And we have this massive issue with the quality of learning and quality of teaching and this could be one of the key things to solve that problem globally.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Level the playing field.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah. So people are learning better and they learning more efficiently and staying more motivated as well when they get better results. So I think this is really a fantastic thing.
Jeff Kavanaugh: You brought up something earlier, too. Whether it's a displaced group, it could be refugees or someone that's a group of people who are displaced. It also doesn't have to be quite as dramatic. It can be if people are sick, there's an epidemic or or even just another countries, people are sick at home, they can still learn even while they're not physically in the classroom.
Tiina Neuvonen: Exactly. So besides the personal learning profiles, I think tech has huge potential in kind of fixing the learning journeys when they are disrupted by epidemics like Ebola in Sierra Leone for instance. People, they couldn't go to school for a long, long time. And then it's really difficult to establish a school system as well. Again, when people have been out for a long time and kind of their journeys have been distracted already. So we could always have a technology to support or enable continuing learning when people can't go to school for instance. And this is already possible, but it hasn't been really applied in a wider scale yet.
Jeff Kavanaugh: It's a similar thing that I see on... Putting my business hat on for a second. It's interesting that a lot of companies do what's called... I was at a conference in Berlin a couple of days ago where they talked about pilot hell, the idea that we're doing all these little pilots and experiments, but they were calling it hell because they never could get past the pilots. They couldn't get to scale where they can make the big impact. So how do you see, Tina, going from these pilots and experiments to trying to scale and make that big impact that you dream of?
Tiina Neuvonen: That's a good question and I love your way of thinking, or you always kind of add to everything, this at scale, and I think that's how we should think. We should be really ambitious and how we think and we should always design... That's actually one of the principles for digital design as well. There's other things like design with a user and you use open source standards. One is a design for scale. And that, by the way, if somebody is interested, there is this digital principals.org website where you can find more about these principles that we are also endorsing at the UNTIL.
Jeff Kavanaugh: And many of the things that Tina's mentioning, sorry to interrupt, we're going to put in the show notes. So a lots of fascinating sources, and go to the show notes on the site infosys.com/iki in our podcast section and you'll be able to see them.
Tiina Neuvonen: But I just wanted to add actually something to your previous point as well. It kind of links to the scaling up as well. Technology is already exponentially becoming smarter. So I think one of the things we have to think as human beings is that what are we good at? What are our competitive advantages in relation to technology? And what are the things that we can outsource to technology? And because without having this understanding, we are going to focus on wrong skills and wrong skill sets. It's really important in this process that we have better understanding of ourselves as individuals, as learners as well. Because we have to be really more self reflective and understand how humans learn and how we learn so we can understand what are the complimentary relationships to technology and how we can kind of use tech to become better learners and and what are the things that we shouldn't be focusing on because technology can do that.
Tiina Neuvonen: So this is also kind of thinking the future of skills at scale. What are the things that tech can do at scale? And what are the things that tech can't do at scale that humans can do? And what are the skills that we should be focusing on at scale? What are the new foundational skills? Scaling up should be definitely in every project component there, but I don't really like thinking about scaling up. Because scaling up, also people mean different things by that. And I think it's really about thinking how do you create value for people, maximum value for maximum number of people in different contexts? And it's really about value.
Jeff Kavanaugh: On a one to one basis.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah, exactly. So it's not really just about scaling up. Scaling up will happen if you're able to create value for people. So that's what we should be-
Jeff Kavanaugh: Right. Make it compelling.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah. What creates human value and what is aspirational? What drives motivation? Those are the things we should talk about, human motivation, human incentives, things like that because that constitutes... What constitutes value in different contexts and cultures and focus on that instead of talking about scaling. Because I think we talk too much about scaling and too little about creating value and kind of contributing to the realization of the SDGs. And if you talk about that, if you create value for planet, for people, for businesses, then those things are going to scale up.
Jeff Kavanaugh: As businesses think about their bottom line and reporting, whether it's IFRS or GAP and these financial regulations, very soon there'll be regulations or requirements to report on the impact on people and on planet for sustainability. Most companies already include some kind of sustainability or governance report. Soon though I think it will be required. In fact, you mentioned in Finland, I believe it already is.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah. Companies are already reporting about their sustainability and that's compulsory. And we don't really have other way. I don't see any other way than that becoming a global standard because we only have one planet for the time being. We haven't found other Earths in the universe yet.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Discussion for a different time.
Tiina Neuvonen: Yeah, maybe you have someone in your network who's working on that. I'm sure you have, but it's still a work in progress. So I don't think there's any other way than making it our standard. And I think we also have to drive the policy changes and drive incentives for private sector as well to shift, kind of support them in the transition in becoming more aligned with sustainable development goals and triple bottom line.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Yes. Yeah. As people are thinking about how to apply this in their own life or their own businesses, are there a few recommendations you have on how people can maybe apply learning in their own context?
Tiina Neuvonen: Yes. And first of all, I think this is something, the sustainable development goals, it's not a UN agenda alone. It's everybody's agenda and everybody has the mandate because it's basically all the world leaders from all member countries have come together and kind of creating the plan, a roadmap, for 2030 and what needs to be achieved. And we need everybody on board. This is really ambitious agenda.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Quick jump in here, one recommendation and I will make on behalf of Tina here is, if you haven't already looked at these 17 goals, do so. Number four is education. All 17 are interesting and important. We're talking mostly today about number four, but just go to the UN, do a search and you'll see in a nice graphic them laid out, and just think how they can apply. A public service announcement on behalf of you, Tina, but it is important because I think all of a sudden you'll see that everything you do in your business and your life relates to one of the 17.
Tiina Neuvonen: Thank you. That's very important. So I hope everybody's doing that, if not now then right after the podcast. But I think it really boils down to your values as well. Because what do you value that becomes your thoughts and then it translates into into your actions as well. And that's why I think kind of the whole basis for for the UN's work, the sustainable development goals and universal declaration for human rights, I think those are really beautiful embodiments of the values that the the UN nations share.
Tiina Neuvonen: And I think this is also a good starting point for everybody in their own life. Just really think about your values and your impact, not just within your family, about how you treat yourself, how you treat your family, and then everybody, the environment, the other people outside of your immediate circle. And what is your impact there? What is your triple bottom line in your own life? So kind of these goals, they are quite abstract and ambitious. But if you look at the individual targets under them, and if you look at the kind of values in the UN mandate and human rights and all that, it's for everybody. And that's why I think we should talk about these things much more because I said, the more you talk about it, it becomes your thought.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Even if you apply this in a self interested way, most everyone is negotiating. They have things they need to get accomplished. There is no better negotiating tactic than to appeal to something and fix on something that transcends because you are no longer competing with someone. You can all get behind a common goal. Maybe you have different perspectives, but you can get behind the common goal of education, of responsible consumption, production, whatever the goals happen to be. And all of a sudden, those conflicts become more cooperation. So just an approach I think that also can be embedded into the day to day business.
Tiina Neuvonen: Absolutely. I think you kind of said it, that there's more perspectives, more diversity, the better the impact. So I think this is also one thing that it's not always easy to manage diversity and complexity, but when you manage to do that you can really create something new, something unique and create a big impact.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Well, we could speak for a long time and I know it's been a long day already for you. So we'll close it out. But before we do wanted to see who or what has been a big influence on your career and your life?
Tiina Neuvonen: I think I have to say probably my grandma. I again, going back to the farm where I grew up, my parents were really busy working, so I was taking care of my grandma. And Finland was still a developing country in the '50s and we went through the war and we kind of rose from the poverty really quickly, and education had a big role in this as well. But she was fantastic. The things she went through were really hard and they would have broken many, many humans. But she just went on and she was always very kind to everything. And it's just like this being kind and seeing opportunities and moving forward and never feeling sorry for yourself or thinking what you lost, but always looking forward and appreciating the things you have. I think that's just wonderful because all we are is in our thoughts. That's what no one can take away from us, and it's really like your life attitude that carries you forward. And I think she really taught me a lot about that.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Well, everyone, you can find details from our discussion with Tina on our show notes and our transcripts at infosys.com/iki in our podcast section. Tina, thank you so much for your time, and a very interesting discussion, and a very important one. You've been listening to the Knowledge Institute where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. Thanks to our producer Catherine Burdette and the entire Knowledge Institute team. Until next time, keep learning and keep sharing.
About Tiina Neuvonen
Tiina is a sociologist. She is passionate about observing the drivers of change from a human perspective and applying this knowledge in development and innovation initiatives, service design and branding.
She is currently a thematic lead in education at United Nations Technology Innovation Lab. She has worked for the UN since 2015 and was an innovation specialist at UNESCO. Tiina was also an innovation consultant at Gemic, a human-centric strategy and innovation consultancy bringing together the behavioural understanding of social science, the analytical rigor of strategy consulting, and the solution focus of design.