We are living in the middle of a data revolution. In a digitalising service society, value and wellbeing are increasingly being created through services and platform industries. Data is at the heart of this reform, enabling intelligent and human-centred services.

Organisations are striving to collect and utilise all available data; otherwise they may fall behind in terms of development and competition. They have difficulty distinguishing the important from less important things and – most frighteningly – they are unable to transition to data-driven operations.

Much is said about the importance of data, but too little on the importance of strategic work on data, and far too little on setting guidelines for MyData.

MyData – what are we talking about?

MyData refers to an entity that promotes people’s visibility and right to their own digital information. MyData becomes a model of personal information management and exploitation, where a person is given the right and the means to access, use and pass on their own information.

MyData should not be confused with open data, which means data that is open to everyone for free and is free for any purpose. MyData is only freely available to the person him/ herself, and he/she has the right to decide where to share – if anywhere.

Create a data strategy for your organisation

Data strategy is based on the value the organisation expects to bring to its operations. The data strategy can be divided into four tasks:

1. Set a clear vision for data utilisation.
2. Define the value of data to the organisation.
3. Create clear actions to implement the strategy.
4. Take MyData principles into account in your strategy.

The vision crystallises the organisation’s ideal situation for exploiting data. However, the vision alone does not motivate people to do the necessary things. Instead, there must be clear and simple tasks that people can grasp. It is the responsibility of management to set the vision and its value, and to get people interested.

Aurora AI: impact on societal level

In Finland, society is being developed to be more proactive and human-oriented. This work is being run and supported by the state. An example is the Aurora Preliminary Exploration Project of the National Artificial Intelligence Programme, where the strong background factors were:
– ethical sustainability
– trust in society
– safe technical solutions
– more comprehensive use of technological potential than before
– empowering citizens
– improving the overall wellbeing and vitality of people and organisations.

In Aurora, work was based on data and its different levels of utilisation.

We individuals will benefit the most

As we build a better and more sustainable society for us all, MyData’s role for the individual will be enhanced in the development of our services. On the other hand, organisations can use MyData to get more complete insight into their services as well as their strategic leadership.

Matti Saastamoinen
Kaija Puranen

Matti Saastamoinen

Matti Saastamoinen

Matti toimii Goforella vanhempana palveluarkkitehtina. Hänellä on pitkä kokemus julkishallinnon muutosprojekteista muun muassa sosiaali- ja terveysministeriön, Tampereen kaupungin ja Business Tampereen kanssa. Matin sydäntä lähellä ovat datan ja dataohjautuvuuden tarjoamat mahdollisuudet koko yhteiskunnalle ja hän on auttanut useita kaupunkeja ja organisaatioita Suomessa avaamaan dataansa kaikkien käyttöön.

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Kaija Puranen

Kaija Puranen

Kaija toimii Goforella johdon konsulttina. Kaijan työkalupakista löytyy niin perinteisten projektimenetelmien parhaat palat kuin myös ketterät menetelmät sekä niiden isoille projekteille ja organisaatioille skaalatut versiot. Ennen Goforea Kaija teki pitkän uran Microsoftilla ja Nokialla.Juuri nyt Kaijaa eniten työllistävät asiakaslähtöisyyteen liittyvät muutosprojektit, niissä erityisenä kiinnostuksen kohteena ovat johtamiskulttuurin muutos, rikastetun datan tuomat mahdollisuudet sekä GDPR vipuvoimana.

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Työntekijöiden yhdenvertainen kohtelu vaikuttaa yksilöiden kokonaisvaltaiseen hyvinvointiin, mikä pitää sisällään jaksamisen sekä työpaikalla että henkilökohtaisessa elämässä. Recoding-podcastissa pohditaan, miten suhtautua rasismiin työpaikalla ja purkaa mahdollisia epätasa-arvoa luovia piilossa olevia rakenteita. Jaksossa käydään myös läpi, miten meistä jokainen voi tehdä yhdenvertaisemman työyhteisön eteen.  

Vieraana jaksossa yhdenvertaisuusvaltuutetun toimistolta ylitarkastaja Michaela Moua 

  • 06:40 Voiko rasismista puhua, jos on itse etuoikeutetussa asemassa?  
  • 11:15 Mikä on merkittävä ongelma Suomessa käydyssä julkisessa rasismikeskustelussa?  
  • 12:32 Mitä on arkirasismi ja mitä ovat piilossa olevat rasistiset mekanismit 
  • 16:20 Miksi yhdenvertaisuus työpaikalla on tärkeä arvo? 
  • 19:15 Mitä yksilö voi tehdä yhdenvertaisemman työkulttuurin eteen? 
  • 27:00 Miten tulisi toimia, jos työyhteisössä havaitsee rasistista kohtelua? 
  • 27:45 Mikä on turvallinen tila?  
  • 35:30 Millainen olisi Michaelan unelmien työyhteisö?  

Lisää yhdenvertaisuudesta: 

How to be a LGBTQIA+ ally in a workplace

Things that made coming out as transgender at Gofore easier – or harder

Goforen Code of Ethics

Gofore Oyj

Gofore Oyj

Piditkö lukemastasi? Jaa se myös muille.

In this blog series I’ll tell you what are High-Performance Teams, their benefits for people and business, the most important factors of high-performing teams and how to build them. In this second part of the blog series, you will find detailed instructions on how to turn any team into High-Performance Team and unleash their full potential.
If you missed the first part of the series and you want to find out the most important factor a high-performing team, you can read it from here!

How to create High-Performance Teams?

Where to start? There are three things every team member can start doing immediately to foster team building:

1. Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution problem.

2. Acknowledge your own fallibility.

3. Model curiosity and ask lots of questions.

This is a great place to start. If you are interested in more detailed and longer approach, continue reading.


Two perspectives to building high-performing teams

Google's research on high performing teams

Google researchers believe people can do more working together than alone. Here is their proposal of the characteristics of a high performing team.
(Source: https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/)








According to Patrick Lencioni there are 5 hierarchical levels of dysfunction that might be blocking the way of the team being high-performing. (Patrick Lencioni, 5 Dysfunction of a Team )

The levels are objects that prevent the team from reaching their full potential. In other words, by winning all of these barriers, teams are able to scale their performance almost infinitely and in a sustainable way!

In my experience fixing the absence of trust is ”the 20% of work which you get 80% of results”.



Absence Of Trust, Level 1

We trust who we know.

How well do you know your work colleagues? Their hobbies, ambitions or personal background? Forming closer connections with your team members, leads to improved team collaboration. You’ll learn what fires their ambition and keeps them motivated.

– Personal Maps, Improving team collaboration


Absence of trust is the first of five significant factors which prevents teams from reaching their full potential and the high-performance state. It is caused by people are unable to show their weakness and true self in front of others.

Absence of trust causes:

  • Time, resources and energy are wasted because of people are building ”protective shields”.
  • There is a huge barrier to ask or even give help inside the team.
  • People feel the need to be invulnerable.
  • Team meetings (all) are ineffective.
  • People are trying to hide mistakes.

What happens when trust is achieved?

  • Innovations are enabled! People aren’t afraid to speak their thoughts and there is no need to be afraid of being mocked by anyone on team.
  • Cooperation improves radically.
  • Psychological safety is reached.
  • Failures and mistakes are shared openly and they are used as opportunities to learn.

How to reach mutual trust?

To practice vulnerability and to improve team spirit can be easily done with the Personal Map method. Personal Map helps team members to share experiences while everyone gets to know each other better (goals, passion, worries and so on). Psychological safety is prerequisite for teams to be proactive. Without trust and safety team members cannot trust that working for team goals also helps them to reach their own goals. Without trust and safety team members will set their own interest before teams interests when making decisions.

Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team – Lencioni.


Here is how to create a Personal Map (Absence of Trust)

(Picture: https://management30.com/practice/personal-maps/)

A) Personal map for the whole team

Use this in a team building or retrospectives. Any mind map tool can be used, but I prefer using tools like Miro or Mural. Here is a link to anonymous Mural login: team map. Please contact me, if there are any problems with the Mural.

You need to have an account to use Miro. If you prefer Miro over Mural, here is a team map for you.

Follow these steps when using the team map:

  1. Create copies of an empty Personal Map for every team member.
  2. Split the team into 2 person groups (or any other suitable group).
  3. Randomly give 2 team member names to teams where they are not part of.
  4. Fill Personal Maps for persons whose name you got.
  5. Time cap 20min (10min/person)
  6. Use Post-Its to fill Personal Maps.
  7. Fill everything you know about the target person in your group.
  8. Important thing is that in this phase target person is not allowed to participate in filling Personal Map information.
  9. After Personal Maps have been filled
  10. Group by group present your Personal Map to target person and rest of the team.
  11. Target person can fill ”gaps” in a way he/she wants.
  12. Target person can reveal as much or as little information as he/she likes.
  13. Go through every Personal Map
  14. This will take time about 5-10min/person.
  15. That’s it!
  16. Main point in Personal Map is that it is first created by other team members (that way teams find out how little they know about other team members)
  17. After that anyone can reveal as much as they like from themselves.

Note! Save your team’s Personal Maps to a common place where anyone can access them if needed.


B) One Person at a time

This is useful when a new member joins the team. The same links and instructions work with this option. The most important thing is that target person is not allowed to participate filling of their own Personal Map. Other team members must do it first. After the Personal Map has been presented to the new member, they can fill in the gaps.


There are also other tools that you can utilize to create psychological safety. Check them out in here.

”A team feels psychologically safe to its members when they share the belief that within the team they will not be exposed to interpersonal or social threats to their self or identity, their status or standing and to their career or employment, when engaging in learning behaviors such as asking for help, seeking feedback, admitting errors or lack of knowledge, trying something new or voicing work-related dissenting views.” – Amy Edmondson


The Personal Map is a very easy method to implement with any team. It is suitable for introverts and extroverts as you can reveal as much as you like from yourself. Do you know how you can grow the feeling of relatedness in your team in order to achieve trust and flow state within a team?

Sami Kutvonen
Technical Project Manager (Scrum Master, Agile Coach)


Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni










Sami Kutvonen

Sami on tiimien tehokkuuden jatkuvaan kehittämiseen erikoistunut Agile Coach. Pragmaattisella otteella haasteita lähestyvän valmentajan periaatteena on, että ihmisten ei tarvitse muuttua, vaan systeemejä muokataan niin että ihmiset voisivat loistaa! Sami auttaa tiimejä ja yksilöitä saavuttamaan täyden potentiaalinsa sekä Flow tilaa etsimällä, että kokeilemalla jatkuvasti uusia keinoja poistaa esteitä motivaation tieltä. Sami on erityisen kiinnostunut tiimidynamiikan kehittämisestä, ratkaisukeskeisistä menetelmistä ja todellisten syiden selvittämisestä "Miksi?" -kysymyksen avulla.

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In this blog series I’ll tell you what are High-Performance Teams, their benefits for people and business, the most important factors of high-performing teams and how to build them.


What is the most important factor of a high performing team?

According to Google’s research psychological safety is the most important factor in achieving high-performance teams (or groups with same interest). To put it another way you must feel safe to take risks in front of your teammates without feeling insecure or embarrassed.

High performance teams are build on trust. Research has revealed organizational trust as a key part of culture that directly influences how willing your employees are to go above and beyond in their roles. Frictions naturally occur when humans congregate, but at the same time, our brains are built to work in teams so there is a tension between wanting to be a team member and seeking to avoid conflicts with others by avoiding other humans. Research on the neuroscience of trust has shown that trust acts as a social lubricant, reducing social frictions so working with others is easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. And when people work more effectively together, productivity and innovation levels rise.

Google’s research revealed that those working in companies in the top quarter of trust, compared to those in the lowest quarter, have 106% more energy at work, are 76% more engaged at their jobs, are 50% more productive, and suffer 40% less burnout. Those in high-trust workplaces are 50% more likely to stay with their employer over the next year and 88% would recommend their company as a place to work to family and friends. Not surprisingly, employees in high-trust companies are 56% more satisfied with their jobs. When one enjoys being at work (high trust colleagues experience 60% more joy at work than those in low trust companies), satisfaction with one’s life outside of work is also higher — 29% higher for those who have the good fortune of working in high trust companies. Trust improves performance no matter how you measure it.

Benefits of a High-Performance Team

Googles research project (project Aristotele) found that psychological safety was both the aspect most reliably shared by high performing teams (among a set of five traits that separated high performing teams from the others with the remaining four being structure and clarity, dependability, meaning, and impact) and also the most foundational of these traits, that is, without psychological safety, you cannot have a high-performing team. Project Aristotle as well as other studies have found that psychological safety is strongly associated with objective (e.g. sales revenue) and subjective indicators of team performance (e.g. ratings of team performance by team members and managers, customer satisfaction with team products). The strongest effect of psychological safety on team performance appears to be through its beneficial effects on team learning with studies reporting psychological safety enabling the faster adoption of new technologies (process innovation), the faster adaptation to new market circumstances and customer requirements, the early identification of potentially catastrophic risks, and the faster development of innovative products.

In this text I’ll tell how to create create high performance teams and unleash full potential of every possible team.

When to invest on team performance improvement?

So how do you know when it is time to start creating a high performance team, is it even needed or is it already reached?

Think for a moment about your work and the work team you are a part of.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do people feel comfortable in team meetings asking about things they do not know or they do not understand, or do they generally try to maintain an image of perfect knowledge about work matters?
  • Do people feel comfortable in team meetings raising difficult issues, concerns and reservations about specific pieces of work, about ‘how things are done here’ or about how well the team works together or do these conversations take place informally outside team meetings?
  • What happens when mistakes, near misses, failures and critical incidents happen? Is people’s first reaction to distance themselves from them so they are not blamed or are they seen as opportunities for team learning?
  • How often do people give and receive feedback? Do people invite others who are not members of the team to give feedback on the team’s work?
  • In team meetings, are all team members invited to contribute irrespective of their rank or job title?
  • Do you feel that your skills and talents are valued and utilized? Are you encouraged to contribute in any way you feel able to? Or do you feel you are you expected to stay strictly within the parameters of your role and to seek permission for doing anything else?
  • Have there been times when you felt that your contribution and efforts were compromised by others in the team?
  • Do people ask each other and the team for help when they need it?
  • In team meetings, do people feel comfortable expressing disagreement and offering dissenting views? Do team meetings include discussions and debates about work matters?
  • How much do you know of your team members as people outside work?

What picture do your answers to these questions paint of your team? How much would you say this picture relates to how happy you are with your team and your place in it, and to your team’s performance?

Teams performance can be measured by asking following questions from all team members. If their scores are low then it is time to start investing in performance improvement.

Questions for the team: 

1. If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.

2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.

3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.

4. It is safe to take a risk on this team.

5. It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.

6. No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.

7. Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.

Tools to help understanding status of teams performance here.


If you think of teams in which you have been a part of, how would you answer to these questions? What are your thoughts to these questions with your current team?

Be sure to check Secrets Of High-Performance Teams Part 2 and Part 3, if you want to get concrete actions on how get your team members to answer ”Yes” to these questions and truly improve you team performance!

Sami Kutvonen
Technical Project Manager (Scrum Master, Agile Coach)



Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni













Sami Kutvonen

Sami on tiimien tehokkuuden jatkuvaan kehittämiseen erikoistunut Agile Coach. Pragmaattisella otteella haasteita lähestyvän valmentajan periaatteena on, että ihmisten ei tarvitse muuttua, vaan systeemejä muokataan niin että ihmiset voisivat loistaa! Sami auttaa tiimejä ja yksilöitä saavuttamaan täyden potentiaalinsa sekä Flow tilaa etsimällä, että kokeilemalla jatkuvasti uusia keinoja poistaa esteitä motivaation tieltä. Sami on erityisen kiinnostunut tiimidynamiikan kehittämisestä, ratkaisukeskeisistä menetelmistä ja todellisten syiden selvittämisestä "Miksi?" -kysymyksen avulla.

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Suomalainen julkinen sektori on jo kohtalaisen hyvin digitalisoitunut yksinkertaisten perustarpeiden hoitamisessa. Ihmiset osaavat käyttää erilaisia portaaleja ja mobiilisovelluksia, varata lääkärin tai päiväkotipaikan, mutta millaisia katvealueita järjestelmiin jää, kun ihminen muuttaa uuteen opiskelukaupunkiin, eroaa tai hänen läheisensä kuolee? Miten paljon työllistymiseen vaikuttavat ihmisen terveys, koulutus, asuinpaikka ja taloudellinen tilanne?

– Nämä ovat umpisolmuja, joita on vaikea avata; solmun avaamisessa haasteena ovat etiikka ja juridiikka, huomauttaa tekniikan tohtori ja datatieteilijä Pasi Lehtimäki, joka työskentelee digitalisaation asiantuntijayrityksessä Gofore Oyj:ssä johtavana konsulttina.

– Jotta dataa voidaan käyttää palvelujen kehittämisen apuna, tarvitaan väistämättä henkilötietoja. Moni ihminen ajattelee, että tietoja ei voi kerätä ilman rekisteröidyn lupaa, mutta tietoja esimerkiksi lapsiperheiden tilanteesta voi käyttää, kunhan henkilötiedot anonymisoidaan tai tietoja ei voida yhdistää yksittäiseen henkilöön. Datasta voidaan louhia esille relevantteja ilmiöitä, joita ilman perheille tarjotaan helposti vääränlaisia palveluita tai he eivät saa palveluita lainkaan, Lehtimäki jatkaa.

Datan hyödyntäminen on luottamuskysymys

Ihmiset pelkäävät, että tietoa käytetään heitä vastaan, mutta laki suojelee hyvin tarkkaan ihmisten yksityisyyttä. GDPR vaatii, että ihmisten identiteetti irrotetaan datasta mahdollisimman varhaisessa vaiheessa.

Toinen oleellinen kysymys on keneen ihminen voi olla yhteydessä, jos algoritmi loukkaa kansalaisen oikeuksia? Digitalisaatio on tuonut mahdollisuuksia, joita juridiikka ei tunnista. Tässä tarvitaan etiikkaa.

– Emme voi käydä yhteistä vuoropuhelua mitä haluamme tehdä ja mitä emme, jos emme tunnista omia ajatusvääristymiämme. Tekoäly kykenee yhdistämään tuhansien syöpälääkäreiden kokemuksen ja datan kymmenestä miljoonasta potilaasta. Yksittäinen potilas voi hyötyä, kun tekoäly tekee syöpädiagnoosin. Tieto kumuloituu tekoälyyn, mutta johtaako se siihen, että kolmenkymmenen tai viidenkymmenen vuoden päästä meillä ei ole ihmislääkäreitä, jotka ymmärtäisivät syy-seuraussuhteita? Kumpi on tärkeämpää, auttaa nyt mahdollisimman montaa potilasta vaiko säilyttää ihmisen kyky tehdä diagnooseja? Emme voi keskittyä yksittäisiin sovelluksiin ja niiden kehittämiseen, vaan on käytävä yhteiskunnallista keskustelua pitkän aikavälin tavoitteista, sanoo Lehtimäki.

Koneoppiminen on muuttanut ohjelmistokehitystä radikaalisti. Tietokoneelle voidaan opettaa lähes minkä tahansa ongelman ratkaisu kirjoittamatta yhtäkään riviä koodia, kone oppii sille esitetyn datan perusteella. Mutta data on usein vääristynyttä. Sairaaloissa ei kerätä terveys- vaan sairausdataa. Poliisin data koostuu pidätyksistä. Näin alkuperäinen asennevirhe vahvistuu.

– Kun ajattelutapoja ja tietoja dokumentoidaan, on oltava tarkkana, että samalla ei siirretä ajatusvääristymiä. Haasteena on, miten saadaan realistista ja objektiivista dataa. Jos halutaan älykkäitä kaupunkeja, näihin asioihin on kiinnitettävä huomiota, Lehtimäki painottaa.


Alkuperäinen julkaisu 26.6.2020, Kehittyvät kaupungit

Pasi Lehtimäki

Pasi Lehtimäki

Pasi on johdon konsultti, jonka sydän sykkii analytiikalle. Hän auttaa asiakkaita hyödyntämään dataa ja analytiikkaa digitalisoituvassa toimintaympäristössä. Hän kehittää Goforen analytiikkatarjoamaa ja innovatiivista, analytiikkaosaajien yhteisöä.

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To honour the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S., each year June is celebrated as the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender etc.) Pride month. Rooted in protests and fight for equality, Pride month is not only about celebrating and recognising the LGBT+ community and its history, but also an opportunity to bring awareness to the issues the community is still facing, and to peacefully protest. (Though Pride events, such as Helsinki Pride, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure we’ll still see plenty of rainbow flags and LGBT+ -related discussions and articles on social media and in different publications.)

But what about the other eleven months? We are here all the rest of the year too and the issues that Pride month provides a larger and more visible platform for do not go anywhere after the surge of Pride posts and rainbows fades away. Showing support for the LGBT+ community does not require waving flags or adding rainbow Facebook profile frames. Surely it is a lot easier, for example, for a company to slap a rainbow on their logo than to actually improve the work environment for LGBT+ employees. But if you want to support and show up for your LGBT+ employees and co-workers for the rest of the year too, here are a few things you can do.

(It’s important to note that these are not all my original ideas but rather something I’ve learned from others in the LGBT+ community or from allies. I was heavily inspired for example by a video Franchesca Ramsey made on being an ally. This also is not an exhaustive or perfect list. I too am still learning how to better support people in my own community – especially those that are not just LGBT+ but belong other minorities by being, for example, non-white or disabled.)

However, before I get to the meat of this article, there are two things I want to say.

Firstly, I’ve occasionally come across the attitude that a person’s LGBT+ identity does not belong to a workplace because it is not relevant for their work. Openly being who we are is made into a political act or something that belongs in our personal lives, but not our professional lives. Of course it is a person’s own choice what information they disclose about themselves at work. But the same way as straight people have the right to talk about their spouse, kids, hobbies etc. to their co-workers, LGBT+ people should too. You have every right to think that me being trans and queer is unnatural, wrong, sin, or not real, but whether I deserve the same human rights and respect as everyone else, is not a matter of an opinion.

Secondly, you don’t need to know all the terminology or to understand someone’s experience to respect them and their identity. It’s okay if you can’t wrap your head around the disconnect I experience from my body as a transgender person or how someone is attracted to the same gender they are – or doesn’t feel sexual or romantic attraction at all (asexual and aromantic folks exist too). And there are so many different terms and identity descriptors that I cannot keep up with them either. But that does not make them less valid. Some people find comfort in labels by being able to give a name to what they are feeling. Labels allow us to talk about these different experiences and to form communities around them. Meanwhile some find it difficult or unnecessary to select specific descriptors and prefer more generic labels (such as queer*) or no labels at all.

Now, how can you be a better co-worker for LGBT+ people?

Understand your privilege

Having privilege does not mean that your life hasn’t been hard or that you have not struggled or had to work for where you are in life. Privilege just means that there are things that you will not experience or need to think about simply because of who you are. For example, I am an able-bodied person capable of walking up the stairs so I’ve never gone to a place only to find out that I can’t go in because there are steps and no ramp. Or I’ve not been cat-called because I look like a teenage boy. It is important for me to understand that there are challenges that I don’t face because who I am but that those challenges are still very real for others. I could also, without realising, misuse my privilege by, for example, speaking over someone that will be taken less seriously because of who they are.

Having privilege is not your fault or makes you a bad person. But it is important to understand your privilege so you can start to see how it impacts you and others.

Listen to LGBT+ people

Overall, the first step of showing support to someone, whether they belong to a minority or not, is listening to them, to their experiences, and to needs. Franchesca Ramsey gave a great example in her video about being a LGBT+ ally: ”Imagine your friend is building a house and they ask you to help but you’ve never built a house before. So it would probably be a good idea for you to put on some protective gear and listen to the person in charge. — It’s the exact same idea when it comes to being an ally. An ally is a person that wants to fight for the equality of a marginalised group that they are not a part of. We need your help building this house but you probably should listen so you know what to do first.” In addition to listening to your co-workers, I highly recommend seeking out people on social media or otherwise online are reading and listening what they have to say.

Speak up – but not over

Now that you have listened to LGBT+ people and want to help, you can use your voice to amplify theirs. Spread the message, educate others, and use your privilege to get people to listen, we appreciate that. But still keep your ears open for what the community itself has to say. Try not to speak over or take credit from the people you are trying to support.

Respect people’s names, pronouns – and even ask if you’re unsure

This should be a no-brainer. If someone asks you to use a certain name or pronouns for them or not use gendered language for them (like call them miss or mister), just comply. Though pronouns person uses are often called ”preferred pronouns”, using them is not optional. Those are their pronouns. This might sound like a lot but think of it this way: you are able to remember a person’s name, right? Pronouns aren’t that much extra information.

Also, they/them pronouns are your friend. If you don’t know someone’s pronouns and don’t want to assume, you can ask for their pronouns or just refer to them with ’them’. (Like I just did.) ’They’ can also be used to replace the clunky phrase of saying ”he or she” when speaking in more general terms. It is shorter, easier, and more inclusive. (James Acaster has a great bit about pronoun they.)

Opt for more gender-neutral language

No worries, you have every right to use whatever gendered terms for yourself or your friend group – if those apply to them. Nobody is trying to take your gender or its expression away from you. But using more gender-neutral language for other people does not take anyone’s gender away from them – it just is more inclusive meaning it includes everyone. For example, the phrase ”ladies and gentlemen” can be replaced with ”guests”, ”colleagues”, ”dear friends”, ”honourable guests”, ”folks”, ”everyone” – or ”friends and enemies” if you’re feeling spicy (wink). Learning new phrases and words doesn’t need to be serious and you don’t need to be perfect – treat it as a process of discovery or interesting exercise instead.

However, something that really is not cool is singling people out based on their gender – or assumed gender. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said ”what do you think guys (jätkät/äijät)… and [insert my birth name]” or ”alright gentlemen… and a lady”. Even before I understood I was trans, such phrases made me feel othered and opposite of included (which was the intention of the speaker). It sounds like a stupid gripe, but over time, things like this add up and make one feel like they don’t belong.

Do your own research and educate yourself

This point is not about needing to learn everything, but rather that you should educate yourself and not expect the minority to do all the emotional labour of teaching you. When there’s something you don’t know or understand, research it yourself first. Find out what people that the issue applies to have written about it and try to learn from existing material. If there’s something you need to process and work through, try to do that with other allies that are also learning.

If you want to ask, for example, a LGBT+ co-worker about an issue, ask first whether they have the time and energy to talk about it. Sometimes we are up to sharing and educating – like I am doing in this post and in some of my other writings – but other times we’re not. Especially if you are not willing to listen and rather want to debate, we’re probably not going to want to engage in that conversation. Not because we don’t have anything to say or an argument to make, but because we’ve had or seen that conversation play out tens or hundreds of times in your lives and we’re tired of it.

Don’t tokenise people

The Oxford Dictionary defines tokenism as ”the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce”. For example, including a person of colour or a member of the LGBT+ community in a working group, but not actually making the changes they suggest, is a form of tokenism. Similarly someone saying that they’re not racist because they have a black friend, is them tokenising their friend.

You’ll make mistakes and it’s okay. Apologise, learn, and move on

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we say something we didn’t fully think through, or did not realise was offensive, or inaccurate. It happens. But when you get called out for it, don’t start a debate about it. Just listen, apologise, learn from that experience, and strive to do better in the future. And then move on.


* In the past ’queer’ has been used as a derogatory term against LGBT+ (mainly gay, lesbian, and bisexual) people. However, over the 2000s, the LGBT+ community has slowly reclaimed the phrase and it has become and umbrella term to describe a broad spectrum of non-normative sexual and gender identities. Not all LGBT+ people like or identify with the term, while others like the broadness of the term. There is also other more complex discourse around the term and differences between LGBT+ and queer.

Ossian Rajala


Ossian Rajala

Ossian on ohjelmistokehittäjä, joka rakastaa huonoja puujalkavitsejä ja vastaa Goforen eloisimmasta sisäisestä chatbotista. Hänen suurimpia kiinnostuksen kohteitaan ovat käytettävyys, saavutettavuus ja vähemmistöjen oikeudet. Työn ja opintojen ulkopuolella Ossianin aika kuluu valokuvaten, matkustellen ja rymyten metsissä - sekä eläinten että geokätköjen perässä.

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Rakennustyöläisen ensisijainen työtapaturma on putoamiseen, kaatumiseen ja liukastumiseen liittyvät vammat. Tätä estämään rakennustyötä tekevillä on useita erilaisia suojavarusteita kuten kypärä, valjaat ja turvalliset kengät. Jaksamisongelmia voidaan pitää tietotyöläisen tavallisimpina työtapaturmina. Miten johtaa hyvinvointia itseohjaututuvassa organisaatiossa ja suojata tietotyötä tekevien työtapaturmat?

Recoding-podcastissa Antin vieraaksi saapuu Heltin perustaja Timo Lappi. He pohtivat, mitä itseohjautuva organisaatio oikeastaan tarkoittaa, mitä tekijöitä itseohjautuvan organisaation on huomioitava toiminnassaan, mitä sudenkuoppia Timo on Heltin toimintaa kehittäessään täyttänyt ja mitkä ovat hyvinvoivan itseohjautuvan organisaation menestyksen mahdollistavat tekijät.

Itseohjautuvuuus ei ole helppo tapa toimia

Jo ennen Heltin perustamista Timolle oli selvää, ettei itseohjautuvuus ole helppo tie luoda toimiva ja onnellinen organisaatio. Itseohjautuvassa organisaatiossa onkin pakko oppia sietämään rosoja ja keskeneräisyyttä ja sitä johtaessa on myös ymmärrettävä luopua omista vastuista sekä luottaa työntekijöihin.

”Luottamukseen vastataan luotettavuudella”, kiteyttää Timo itseohjautuvan organisaation ytimen. Tämä tarkoittaa sitä, että työantajan on luotettava työntekijöihinsä. Tämän luottamuksen avulla työntekijä pystyy tekemään itse päätökset, joiden avulla hän voi hoitaa työnsä parhaalla mahdollisella tavalla.

Timo alleviivaa jaksossa myös sitä, miten on oppinut asioita tekemällä. Hän on esimerkiksi coaching-palvelun avulla tuonut Helttiin mukaan esimiehen palvelupuolta, mutta välttänyt rakentamasta esimiehen valtaa. Samaa on ajatusta on hyödynnetty myös Goforella, jossa esimiespalveluita on tarjottu jo vuosien sananmukaisesti palveluna. Goforelainen voi aina ottaa yhteyttä omaan niin kutsuttuun People Personiinsa, jos tarvitsee mitä tahansa työsuhteeseen liittyvää tukea. Coaching löytyy myös Goforen palvelutarjonnasta. Sitä on käytetty tiimien ja työntekijöiden tukena, kun organisaatioita on alettu muovata ketterämmiksi. Lisää coaching-palvelustamme täällä.

Työ ei vain kuluta vaan se myös lisää hyvinvointia

Jaksossa Timo myös alleviivaa, miten työtä ei pitäisi vain ajatella kokonaisvaltaista hyvinvointia heikentävänä tekijänä. Onnistuessaan työ lisää myös yksilön kokonaisvaltaista hyvinvointia. Parhaimmillaan työstä yksilö voi saada sosiaalisen yhteisön, onnistumisen kokemuksen ja mahdollisesti tunteen, että on muuttamassa maailmaa parempaa.

Siirry näppärästi aiheesta toiseen:

9:00 Mitä tarkoittaa pallomeriorganisaatio?
22:56 Millaisia tukirakenteita itseohjautuvalle organisaatiolle kannattaa luoda?
26:06 Aika jossitella. Mihin Timo olisi panostanut, jos saisi rakentaa Heltin toimintaa uudelleen?
26:26 Voiko biljardipöytä olla yhteydessä työhyvinvointiin; mikä on työviihtyvyyden ja työhyvinvoinnin yhteys?
28:10 Älä ainakaan johda työhyvinvointia näin: mikä on työnhyvinvoinnin irvikuva?
30:00 Mikä luo työhyvinvointia työpaikalla?
36:58 Mikä on tutkimusten mukaan loppuunpalamisten ensisijainen syy?
38:13 Onko hyvinvoinnissa jotain, mitä itseohjautuvassa organisaatiossa ei pitäisi jättää yksilön varaan?
43:00 Mikä on Timo Lapin henkilökohtainen tavoite itsensä ammattillisessa kehittämisessä?

Kuuntele myös podcast-jaksot työntekijän onnellisuuden mittaamisesta sekä työnimusta!

Gofore Oyj

Gofore Oyj

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What kind of data companies have the most? Most likely text data like Word and PDF documents. For example, there could be documents about customer feedback, employee surveys, tenders, request for quotations and intranet instructions. International companies have those documents even in multiple different languages. How can you analyze multilingual documents with Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques?

NLP is a subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI) where the goal is to understand human’s natural language and enable the interaction between humans and computers. The interaction can be both with spoken (voice) or written (text) language. Nowadays, many latest state of the art NLP techniques utilize machine learning and deep neural networks.

One of the NLP tasks is text classification. The goal of text classification is to correctly classify text into one or more predefined classes. For example, customer feedback text document could be classified to be positive, neutral or negative feedback (sentiment analysis). Request for quotation document could be classified to the backlog of the correct sales team of the company. Thus, the NLP model gets text as an input and outputs some class.

During the last couple years, NLP models based on the neural network “Transformer” architecture, like Google’s BERT model, have broken many records of different NLP tasks. Those models are really interesting and have even made headlines like too dangerous to be openly released. However, they mostly have only supported English or other popular languages. What if you would like to classify text in Finnish or Swedish or both?

Multilingual text classification

Until recently, openly released multilingual NLP models like Google’s multilingual version of the BERT have not performed as well as monolingual models especially in low-resource languages like Finnish. For example, monolingual Finnish FinBERT model clearly outperforms multilingual BERT in Finnish text classification task.

However, at the end of 2019 Facebook’s AI researchers published a multilingual model called XLM-R supporting 100 languages including Finnish. XLM-R was able to achieve state of the art results in multilingual NLP tasks and also be very competitive against monolingual models in low-resource languages. This new model looked very interesting so I decided to try it out for multilingual text classification.

Hugging Face’s “Transformers” Python library is really awesome for getting an easy access to the latest state of the art NLP models and using them for different NLP tasks. XLM-R model is also available with the Transformers library. We can take the pre-trained XLM-R model and utilize “transfer learning” concept to finetune the model to for example classify news article texts to news category classes. In the context of these NLP models, transfer learning means having a pre-trained general-purpose NLP language model which has been trained on a large text corpus (XLM-R was trained with more than two terabytes of text data!) and then the model is further trained with a lot smaller dataset to perform some specific NLP task like text classification.

For this experiment, my goal is to finetune the XLM-R model to classify multilingual news article texts to corresponding news categories. That is a supervised machine learning task so the dataset I am using is a labeled dataset containing news article texts and their category names. Another really interesting feature of the XLM-R and other multilingual models is their “zero shot” capability meaning you can finetune the model with a dataset of only one language and the model will transfer the learned knowledge to other supported languages as well. Since I am especially interested in Finnish language capabilities of the XLM-R model, the dataset contains only Finnish news articles with their categories. Thanks to the “zero shot” capability, the XLM-R model should also be able to classify news articles in other languages too in addition to Finnish. You can see an example of the dataset in the table below.

In total, there are only 3278 rows in my dataset so it is rather small but the power of earlier introduced “transfer learning” concept should mitigate the issue of small number of training data. The dataset contains 10 unique news category classes which are first changed from text to numerical representation for the classifier training. The dataset is also splitted into train and test sets with equal distribution of different classes. Finally, the XLM-R model is trained to classify news articles.

In the picture below you can see training and validation losses which both follow quite nice downward trend on training steps which means the model is learning to do classification more accurately. Validation loss is not increasing in the end so the finetuned XLM-R model should not be overfitted. Overfitting means that the model would learn too exactly classify text in the training dataset but then it would not be able to classify new unseen text so well.

Another model evaluation metric for multiclass classification is the Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC) which is generally regarded as a balanced metric for classification evaluation. MCC values are between -1 and +1 where -1 is totally wrong classification, 0 is random and +1 is perfect classification. With the testing dataset, the MCC value for the finetuned XLM-R model was 0.88 which is quite good. The result could be even better with larger training dataset but for this experiment the achieved performance is sufficient.

The most interesting part of the finetuned XLM-R model is to finally use it for classifying new news articles what the model has not seen during the earlier training. In the table below, you can see examples of correctly classified news articles. I tested the classification with Finnish, English, Swedish, Russian and Chinese news articles. The XLM-R model seemed to work really well with all of those languages even though the model was only finetuned with Finnish news articles. That is a demonstration of the earlier mentioned “zero shot” capability of the XLM-R model. Thus, the finetuned XLM-R model was able to generalize well to the multilingual news article classification task!

Multilingual vs monolingual NLP models

In the original research paper of the XLM-R model, researchers state that for the first time, it is possible to have a multilingual NLP model without sacrifice in per language performance since the XLM-R is really competitive compared to monolingual models. To validate that, I also decided to test the XLM-R against monolingual Finnish FinBERT model. I finetuned the FinBERT model with the exact same Finnish news dataset and settings than the earlier finetuned XLM-R model.

Evaluating performances of the FinBERT and XLM-R with the testing dataset showed that the monolingual FinBERT was only a little better in classifying Finnish news articles. In the table below, you can see evaluation metrics Matthews correlation coefficient and validation loss for both models.

This validates findings of Facebook AI’s researchers that the XLM-R model can really compete with monolingual models while being a multilingual model. While the FinBERT model can understand Finnish text really well, the XLM-R model can also understand 99 other languages at the same time which is really cool!


Experimenting with the multilingual XLM-R model was really eye-opening for me. Especially, the “zero shot” capability of the XLM-R model was quite jaw dropping at the first time when you saw the model classify Chinese news text correctly even though the model was finetuned only with Finnish news text. I am excited to see future developments in the multilingual NLP area and implement these techniques into production use.

Multilingual NLP models like the XLM-R could be utilized in many scenarios transforming the previous ways of using NLP. Previously, in multilingual NLP pipelines there have usually been either a translator service translating all text into English for English NLP model or own NLP models for every needed language. All that complicates the pipeline and development but with multilingual NLP models everything could potentially be replaced with a single multilingual NLP model supporting all the languages. Another advantage is the “zero shot” capability so you would only need a labeled dataset for one language which reduces the needed work for creating datasets for all languages in the NLP model training phase. For example, for classifying international multilingual customer feedback you could only create the labeled dataset from gathered one language feedback data and then it would work for all other languages as well.

This is mind-blowing and groundbreaking. One NLP model to rule them all?

Aapo Tanskanen

Aapo Tanskanen

Aapo Tanskanen

Aapo on erikoistunut vapauttamaan ihmiset tylsistä tietotyön tehtävistä yhdistelemällä uusien teknologioiden mahdollisuuksia. Hänen ydinosaamistaan on chatbotit, data-analytiikka, ohjelmistorobotiikka ja tiedolla johtaminen. Aapo on ollut mullistamassa jokapäiväistä työelämää kehittämällä esimerkiksi juttelevia chatbotteja ja puheella toimivia virtuaaliassistentteja työtuntien kirjaukseen ja junalippujen ostamisen automatisointiin.

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Koronaepidemia loi nopeasti uudenlaisia haasteita niin akuutin tilanteen ratkaisemiselle kuin organisaatioiden ja yritysten toimintamalleille. Erityisesti digitaalisille ratkaisuille ja digitaalisesti kerätylle datalle on ollut nyt poikkeuksellisen suuri kysyntä. Teemme Goforella useamman julkisen organisaation kanssa yhteistyötä asiakasprojekteissa koronaan liittyen.

Tämän lisäksi Gofore lähti keväällä auttamaan pro bono -periaatteella monia hankkeita, jotta koronatilanteesta selvittäisiin mahdollisimman vähin vaurioin – ja toisaalta, jotta monet yhteiskunnallisesti merkittävät asiat eivät jäisi koronan jalkoihin. Tutustuin tarkemmin pro bono -projekteihin ja ilahduin siitä, että osallistuminen on usein lähtenyt yksittäisten goforelaisten innostuksesta vaikuttaa, auttaa tai osallistua useiden toimijoiden yhteisiin yhteiskunnallisiin hankkeisiin.

Maankoodauskurssilla etsittiin dataa koronatilannekuvan kehittämiseen

Koronaepidemia on luonut valtavan tarpeen saada oikeaa ja tutkittua tietoa. Reaaliaikaista tilannekuvaa tarvitaan kaikessa päätöksenteossa, jotta koronakriisiä voidaan hoitaa ja rajoituksia purkaa mahdollisimman hyvin. Gofore on ollut mukana Teknologiateollisuuden ja Digi- ja väestöviraston (DVV) touko-kesäkuussa järjestämällä maankoodauskurssilla. Kurssilla huippuammattilaiset suunnittelivat kampanjan, jossa joukkoistetaan erilaisten reaaliaikaisten datalähteiden löytäminen ja kokoaminen. Goforen lisäksi ammattilaisia osallistui myös IBM:ltä, TietoEVRY:ltä ja DVV:ltä.

Maankoodauskurssilla ratkaistiin tarkkaan valittu haaste. Ratkaisu ja haasteesta saadut opit hyödyttävät julkista sektoria. Samalla annoimme vauhtia suomalaisen yhteiskunnan digitalisaatiolle.

Fast Expert Teams -verkosto tutkii tehokasta etäyhteistyötä

Miten suomalaiset yritykset ja organisaatiot pysyvät tehokkaina ja toimintakykyisinä, vaikka yhteistyö tehtäisiin etäyhteyksin? Miten vuorovaikutus pysyy laadukkaana ja miten etätyö muuttaa johtamista ja asiantuntijatyötä? Näitä kysymyksiä on tutkinut ja ratkonut Fast Expert Teams -verkosto, jossa Gofore on mukana asiantuntijayrityksenä. Verkostossa testataan uutta dynaamisten tiimien toimintamallia ja tuotetaan päätöksentekijöille tietoa ja toimenpide-ehdotuksia toimintamallin kehittämiseksi Suomessa. Digitaalisessa verkostossa on mukana yli 70 asiantuntijaa yliopistoista, tutkimuslaitoksista, yrityksistä ja ministeriöistä ja se on käynnistetty LUT-yliopiston aloitteesta. Verkoston tuottaman raportin tuloksia on tarkoitus hyödyntää valtakunnallisesti.

Lisää Fast Expert Teams -hankkeesta täällä: https://gofore.com/julkaisut/goforelaiset-estamassa-suomen-halvaantumista-koronakriisissa/

Hengityssuojainten puhdistushanke – uusia ratkaisuja innovatiivisin menetelmin

Fast Expert Teams -verkosto tarjosi kanavan Goforen asiantuntijoille osallistua kriisin ratkaisemiseen jakamalla osaamistaan konkreettisissa hankkeissa. Yksi näistä oli laajaa kansallista huomiota saanut hengityksensuojainten puhdistushanke. Hankkeessa kehitettiin ja testattiin innovatiivinen menetelmä, tuotanto ja logistiikka korkean suojaintehon hengityksensuojainten puhdistusta ja uudelleenkäyttöä varten, mikäli uusia suojaimia ei olisi saatavilla.

Mukana ollut Kaija Puranen kertoo projektista näin: “Sain yllättävän ja ilahduttavan mahdollisuuden työskennellä LUT-yliopiston akatemiatutkija Katri Laatikaisen koordinoimassa hengityksensuojainten puhdistushankkeessa. Ensimmäisestä puhelusta Katrin kanssa ei kulunut montaa päivää, kun työ lähti liikkeelle suurella rytinällä. Siinä ei tullut katsottua päivittäistä työmäärää eikä kellonaikaa. Johtotähtenä minulla oli alusta alkaen auttaa muuta ryhmää, ja erityisesti Katria hankkeen vetäjänä, pitämään kaikki pallot hallussa. Nyt voin taustapeiliin katsoen todeta, että noin parissa kuukaudessa kävimme läpi parin vuoden hankkeen vaiheet, niin onnistumiset kuin vastoinkäymisetkin. Toimeksianto oli intensiivinen oppimiskokemus ja todisti verkoston sekä erilaisuuden voimaa. Koordinoinnin kokousta kuunnellessa ei ikinä olisi voinut uskoa, että suuri osa osallistuneista ei ollut koskaan tavannut toisiaan, fyysisesti siis.”

Virtuaalisen asiakastyön johtaminen

Eeva Kiiskinen ja Mari Wuoti pitivät Turun kauppakamarin pyynnöstä näiden jäsenille koulutuksen siitä, miten asiakastyötä tehdään etänä ja virtuaalisin menetelmin. Teemana oli myös se, miten kriisi on mahdollisuus kokeilla ja tehdä toisin. Koulutuksessa puhuttiin siitä minkälainen kulttuuri tukee nopeita ja ketteriä muutoksia ja miten resilienssin ja muutoskyvykkyyden mahdollistavan työkulttuurin rakentaminen on kaikkien vastuulla. Lisäksi kerrottiin käytännön esimerkkejä onnistumisista ja toimivista työkaluista, sekä siitä miten ryhmähengen luominen onnistuu myös virtuaalisesti.

Miten onnistua etätyöpajassa?

Digi- ja Väestötietoviraston tuoteomistajat pyysivät Goforelta apua, koska he halusivat oppia fasilitoimaan etätyöpajoja aiempaa tehokkaammin. Jonna Iljin piti virastolle 1,5 h tiiviin koulutuksen aiheesta. Koulutuksessa käytiin läpi tehokkaat etätyöpajakäytännöt ja etätyöpajan valmistelun prosessi valmistautumisesta työskentelyyn ja jälkitöihin. Etätyöpajojen haasteena on usein se miten osallistujille luodaan fyysistä työpajakokemusta vastaava aktiivinen ja vuorovaikutteinen työskentelyilmapiiri. Tästä syystä koulutuksessa annettiin myös käytännön vinkkejä ihmisten aktivoivimeksi ja tunnelman energisoimiseksi.

Koulutus sai erittäin positiivista palautetta osallistujilta. Sekä tunnelmaa että laadukasta faktasisältöä kehuttiin. ”Oikein hyödyllistä asiaa tiiviissä ja helpossa paketissa”, kommentoi yksi osallistuja. Toinen taas totesi lyhyesti: ”Hyvä meininki.”

Kristiina Härkönen

Kristiina Härkönen

Kristiina työskentelee Goforella kestävän kehityksen johtajana – unelmatyössään. Hän on ollut aina intohimoinen paremman tulevaisuuden rakentaja niin ihmisille kuin planeetalle. Hän uskoo, että teknologia ja digitalisaatio voivat olla merkittäviä tekijöitä aikamme isompien haasteiden ratkaisuissa. Samaan aikaan ne ovat usein myös haasteiden aiheuttajia. Teknologia itse on neutraali asia, ihmiset päättävät kuinka sitä käytetään. Meidän täytyy määritellä mihin tarkoitusperiin osaamistamme ja resurssejamme käytämme. Yritysten tulee ymmärtää vastuunsa kestävän tulevaisuuden rakentajina. Kristiina on ollut Goforella vuodesta 2003 ja sinä aikana nähnyt yrityksen kasvun kuudesta työntekijästä 600 henkilön työyhteisöön. Hän on työskennellyt ohjelmistokehittäjänä, arkkitehtuurin ja projektijohtamisen konsulttina sekä myynnissä liiketoimintajohtajana. Vapaa-ajalla Kristiina nauttii luonnossa rentoutumisesta, metsäseikkailuista koiransa kanssa.

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Most companies want to be a good workplace for everyone, right? I know Gofore does; that’s why it is our first value. But how do you meet the needs of someone whose experience and needs you might not understand? Things that are invisible or insignificant to you, might be borderline life-changing for someone else.

While each of us is an individual with our specific needs and desires, belonging to a minority (of any kind) can mean that you have some different needs or face barriers that the majority of your co-workers can’t relate to, or haven’t thought of. Hence you might also be alone in advocating for those needs. That can be both taxing and feel like “maybe this isn’t worth all the fuss if it is just me”.

There are not many minorities I can speak for as an able-bodied, white, masculine-presenting, native Finnish-speaking person. However, I’m a part of the LGBT+ community and this past fall I came out at work as a transgender person, more specifically a trans man (in Finnish transsukupuolinen or transmies). In short, this means that at birth doctors declared me a female based on my physical characteristics, but that identity or body has never felt right. I see myself and identify as a young man.

When I came out, I had been at Gofore for a little over five months. And frankly, very little changed. I’m still the same employee working on the same code with the same tools. I’m not here to say that transgender employees need a lot of accommodation. Rather, I want to point out a few things that Gofore actually already happened to have in place that have made my life significantly better both before and after coming out. I say happened to have because I doubt that specifically trans people were in anyone’s mind. I am open to being proven wrong.

Why did you come out at work?

  1. As I’ve chosen to transition medically, I felt that coming out was inevitable. There’s no magic switch or “the operation” that will suddenly turn me from this pre-teen look into a bearded dude that doesn’t look 10 years below his actual age. Medical (hormonal) transition is a slow, gradual process (of taking hormones for the rest of my life) and I will go through ”a second puberty” once I start hormones.
  2. A bit before coming out at work, I had started using my new name in the university context. As my academic and professional circles weren’t isolated from each other, confusion arose and I started to feel like an incompetent spy trying to maintain two identities.
  3. Also, constantly watching how I talk about myself is exhausting and causes me stress that takes away from my work.
  4. I had then reached a point where hiding my identity caused be more stress than the potential risk of bad reactions.
  5. Finally, I have the privilege of having family and friends that accept and support me. If something were to go wrong with my coming out at work, I knew I could lean on them.

Not every trans person is this open about their identity. Due to stigma, prejudice, safety concerns, or some other reason we (transgender people) may choose to “live stealth”, meaning that we live as the gender we identify as without disclosing to others in our life that we are trans. Also, many are still in the closet, not being able to be fully themselves. Whatever the reason is for a trans person to keep their trans identity to themselves, I support their decision. Whether or when a person comes out, is their choice, and their choice only. They don’t owe it to anyone to come out and outing someone is wrong. And if someone is, for example, to out their colleague, it does not give anyone a right to tell, for example, a prospective client.

Things that made coming out easier:

1. Supportive colleagues

I joined Gofore in May 2019 at the Turku office, which at the time had around 15 employees. It was – and I believe still is – a tight-knit but very warm and welcoming group of people and I immediately felt at home there. Over the summer I built relationships with my co-workers in Turku – as well as in the Helsinki office, which I visited frequently, and then transferred to in the fall. I found people I trusted and felt supported by. At company of Gofore’s scale (we have almost 600 employees in 10+ offices), it is impossible to know everyone’s attitudes, believes, and perceptions. But because I felt there were people that would accept me and even have my back, coming out felt quite safe.

The worst I expected would be seeing occasional slurs on Slack, or having someone question my identity. And even that did not happen. The response I got and the messages I received were 100 % positive and supportive. This of course doesn’t mean that everyone is 100 % comfortable with my identity and presence and believes me – and I don’t expect or require that – but they were kind enough not to bring that to my attention.

It is not a given that a work environment feels safe for a transgender person to come out. It is not even obvious that a trans person wouldn’t be discriminated against, bullied, or even fired from their job because of their identity.

2. Gender-neutral single stall bathrooms

At least in the Helsinki, Turku, and Tampere offices, all restrooms are single-stall and not gendered. This caught my eye already when I came in for an interview and immediately raised Gofore’s points in my eyes. Public restrooms are anything but calming for me and many other trans people. I don’t feel safe or welcome in either binary option. I’ve been screamed at in a women’s restroom and using the men’s scares me because I am a tiny, weak man with a high voice. And while I was still in the closet, even picking a gendered single stall bathroom felt stressful. Either I would betray my identity or potentially raise questions. There really is no reason for gendered single-stall bathrooms. So I am glad Gofore doesn’t do that. After my house, the office is the least stressful place for me to use the restroom. I am a more relaxed and more productive employee because I am not stressed all day about where I can go to the bathroom.

3. Having the ability to change one’s name in systems

Finnish name law states that one’s name has to align with one’s legal gender – unless five other people that share one’s legal gender also have that name. That meant I couldn’t change my name to Ossian whenever I wanted. Instead I had to wait to go through diagnosis process at Tampere University hospital’s trans clinic. Once I was diagnosed as transgender, I was given a document that I could attach to my name change application to get around the name law. But that diagnosis process was still underway last fall and I knew any official changes would be months or even a year away. (I did get my diagnosis this April but processing of name change applications takes several months.)

I cared about the name change so much because I did not want to come out but then still have my legal name popping up everywhere – especially at work. I was already in that situation at university – and still am – and it was stressing me out. To my relief, Gofore had no issues with updating my name before legal changes. Thanks to payroll operating on the basis of social security numbers, my name could be changed, as far as I know, in all the systems (except maybe employee healthcare). The first time I sent an email from an address that had my chosen name on it, I teared up a little bit.

Had I not had the option to at least change my email, I might have waited until my legal name change before coming out (which at this rate won’t be before next fall).

4. Flexibility of work locations and hours

Part of being a transgender person and wanting to medically transition (take hormones, get surgeries) is having a lot of doctor’s appointments – first for diagnosis and later related to those hormones and surgeries. Because waiting lists are long and demand far exceeds available capacity, one cannot pick and choose their appointments. When you get an appointment, that’s when you’ll have to go, or you’ll have to wait another 2-6 months go get a new one. Additionally, there are clinics only in Tampere and Helsinki. At Gofore, I have a lot of flexibility regarding where I work from and when I get my work done and thus I never had to stress whether I could go to my appointments. When I had to travel from Turku to Tampere in the middle of a week, I did not need to take a day off or ask for special permissions. I brought my laptop to the train, and as I couldn’t get a full workday in that day, I made my hours back later.

This flexibility – and co-worker’s respect for my privacy – also allowed me to keep the reason for these trips to myself. I could either just say I was seeing a doctor in Tampere or simply say I was doing a remote day. Either way, I went to an appointment or two before coming out at work.

5. Low threshold for internal communication

One of the challenges of coming out at work is finding not just the right words but the right medium for telling people. A mass email would just get lost in everyone’s inboxes and this was too complicated of a topic to address in a single Slack message.

At Gofore we have an internal blog on Confluence where anyone can make a post. Usually people use it to introduce themselves when they join the company, publish proposals for public blog posts, or share internal information. It also provided me a great venue to come out. I wrote a blog post explaining my identity, some personal history, why I’m coming out, and finally explained what I expected of my colleagues: that they use my new name and pronouns (he/him). I also provided a summary section for those who wouldn’t be able to read the whole thing. Then, to make sure my post would reach people, I shared the post in Slack in the company-wide channel that, despite its reach, has still quite low threshold for posting and isn’t ”strictly business”.

Things that made coming out harder:

1. Being the only one

Though I likely wasn’t the only one among almost 600 employees, I did not know of any other trans people in the company. There was no success story I could take solace in nor nightmare I could fear. I couldn’t talk to anyone that was or had been in the same situation without first outing myself. I did eventually spot another LGBT+ person that I felt safe reaching out to. While I found comfort in that conversation and hearing their perspective, they aren’t trans and thus couldn’t tell me how I would be received.

This feeling of being completely alone is one of the reasons why I am sharing my experience. I hope not only to educate people but serve as representation I would have needed. However, that is my choice. No trans or other minority person has any obligation to provide visibility or education. We are not educational tools or diversity posters; we are people.

2. Slack conversations

In my process of evaluating risks and mentally preparing for coming out, I did the potentially very unwise thing of looking into my company’s Slack history. I used every search term I could think of to find conversations regarding LGBT+ people and read through every single result. While I didn’t find anything horrible or condemning, I left my search wondering whether I’d eventually end up debating my rights or identity with someone on Slack. At the same time, the limited number of conversations amplified the feeling of being alone. And though my colleagues are supportive, there are times when minorities are left to fend for themselves while others watch in silence.

I am not trying to deny your right to have conversations or make jokes. But when you are talking or joking about a minority – especially online – try to step back and look at your messages as if you were in that minority – or at least as if someone from that group was present. Would you say the same things aloud in an office that you’re writing on Slack? Does the lack of tone and facial expressions change how your message is viewed? Also, for me personally, it’s not the joke or comment that I am worried about, but potential attitudes and believes behind it. Will the person making a distasteful joke have a problem with me? I can’t know.


Gofore’s commitment to being a good workplace for everyone has laid a foundation that benefits all sorts of employees, including trans people. This is a great start, but I hope Gofore takes being a good workplace a step further by intentionally considering the needs of minority employees also, including trans people. Not because it’s good for the employer brand or gives us content to post during Pride month or other events, but because we want to make everyone’s work life better. And that is done by addressing their needs regardless of whether those needs stem from them being LGBT+, disabled, not speaking Finnish, having kids, having physical or mental health issues, going through a divorce, losing a family member, or whatever else. Some experiences, like being trans, are less common, have fewer advocates, and thus may not naturally come up. Hence supporting such groups requires intentional effort. I am looking forward to Gofore and other companies putting in that work.


Ossian Rajala

Ossian on ohjelmistokehittäjä, joka rakastaa huonoja puujalkavitsejä ja vastaa Goforen eloisimmasta sisäisestä chatbotista. Hänen suurimpia kiinnostuksen kohteitaan ovat käytettävyys, saavutettavuus ja vähemmistöjen oikeudet. Työn ja opintojen ulkopuolella Ossianin aika kuluu valokuvaten, matkustellen ja rymyten metsissä - sekä eläinten että geokätköjen perässä.

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