The Others


Scientists…are they team players or lone wolves? For some reason it’s thought that scientific work is a solo performance, it’s you against the world kind of situation. The Finnish culture doesn’t really ease the situation, Finns aren’t very talkative and information in given on a “need-to-know” basis to others. But you are not alone, in fact, did you know that you do have co-workers? That you are not alone? That there are people in the same situation as you?

Who are these people, and what are they working on?

Have you seen them? Those strange people that are some how affiliated to you at work place. They work near you, walk in the same hallways, use the same lavatories as you, eat in the same cafeteria as you. And last time you checked….they even work in the same team as you! One of them even tried to greet you while passing by in the hallway!

Yeah, they are called co-workers. Why are they called co-workers and why are you guys in the same team….because your work is supposed to go together. You are a Team.

Yes, Team, I like that, but I don’t know anything about their work!

This is quite common in research institutes, probably in all professional service industries as well. Individuals are experts and experts have a weird tendency to get isolated and work alone like hermits. But we are not hermits, we are social animals!

Best results happen when experts come together, and expertise’s get mixed up. And you get know you co-workers as well (it’s polite to greet back you know…)

To make this happen, we have introduced “Substance Quarter”  in our team. Every Friday at 08.30 AM (I know, brutal time, isn’t it 🙂 ) someone from the team will give a 5 minute introduction on some topic he/she is working on currently, or finds interesting. This way we get to know what interests scientists in the team and what are their viewpoints and methods. Remaining 10 minutes are reserved for discussion, questions, drinking coffee, being amazed from the presentation, eating pastries (remember, we work on “pulla, see post by Kaarina).

And this activity is, again, completely voluntarily.


Yes, again. Giving presentations about you work is excellent practice and makes you really think about what you are doing. Especially because you need to be able to mainstream your work for people who are not experts in your particular field.

So if you feel like Sting, like a legal alien (Englishman in New York) in your team, start the substance quarters today!

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