Co-design as the tool for a radical organizational change

Established almost 150 years ago, this stock exchange-listed industrial technology company relocated to Sanoma House, which is a modern, glass-walled building in the heart of Helsinki. Our task was to design new premises that improve cooperation between different operations, make employees feel more comfortable, and enhance space utilization.

The move was a major change, not only logistically but also culturally. At the six-floor premises on Fabianinkatu most people had their own room offices, whereas at Sanoma House they were accommodated to a single floor and only the top-level managers have their own rooms. Thus, it was clear from the start that active change management was a prerequisite for the success of the project. This was achieved through systematical communication, manager training, support of staff in adopting new ways of working, and agreed office etiquette for the new premises.

On top of change management, another important element was the active participation of staff in every phase of the project. This was carried out in many ways: there were, for example, workshops, group interviews and a feedback event, where every willing participant could give out both compliments and criticism regarding the project. Towards the end of the project, a piloting of unnamed workstations was made, during which 16 volunteers gave up their own workstations and open-mindedly experimented on how working in a multifunctional space would pan out for them.

In interior design, choices were guided by Metso’s own brand. You can witness it in the color scheme, material choices and overall ambiance. For example, a big plant wall was brought to the lobby to bring out softness and coziness, and the company’s art collection tells a story about its origins. Ecology was a priority in furniture and material choices, and even in those the staff was included by bringing in, for instance, different chair options to the office for testing. The company’s mineral processing operations served as the basis for inspiration in the conference rooms, which is how they got named after different minerals.

Bringing the staff together without having separate workrooms has enabled Metso to break down silos and to improve cooperation and interaction. Daily encounters occur not only in the busy working café, but also in informal meetings and break exercises. Metso has received the change positively, and especially our transparent processes and co-designing practices collected lots of praise.

Read the blog text of the move’s project coordinator Juha Seppälä on the topic from here: https://www.metso.com/fi/metsoblogit/metson-yritysblogi/blogi-omasta-sopesta-avoimeen-vuorovaikutukseen/

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