Are there any hedgehogs in Africa?

Soon there will be at least two! Our Siilis Jari Rantala and Andrea Vianello are on their way to Botswana to coach lean, agile, and cloud to local startups.

Kick-starting SAIS 2 with Design Thinking and Agile in September

Jari and Andrea will join the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS) in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, on 18.–19.9. SAIS is continuing to its second phase SAIS 2, and the aim is to support the growth of new enterprises through knowledge, networking, and stronger innovation ecosystems. SAIS 2 is supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, in partnership with ministries from countries in southern Africa.

Siili was first involved in the program last year, and we are proud to be in again. SAIS 2 already kick-started in July with an on-line workshop. At the workshop event, hub managers supporting startups from southern Africa learned about Design Thinking and Agile methodologies, and what knowledge would be beneficial to startups at early stages.

During the workshop Jari and Andrea were extremely delighted to see that their skillsets were among the most requested ones, and the duo is more than willing to contribute to the events in Gaborone.

Teaching and learning from others make the best experience

Both Jari and Andrea are thrilled to travel to Botswana and coach the startups.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to work with people from such different cultures and backgrounds. I’m very excited to be able to coach with the methods and tools I have found good in Finland", Jari says.

"When I first heard about this program, I couldn’t stop bothering our colleague Michi – who started the collaboration last year – about the possibility to contribute. I have previous experience in coaching people from different cultures, such as teaching Human-Computer Interaction to Tibetan Buddhist Monks in India, and it was such a fulfilling and learning adventure", Andrea continues.

On his coaching sessions, Jari will focus on scrum and cloud computing and Andrea on how to achieve empathy at the beginning of a Design Thinking process.

"Getting to coach the people will also teach me a lot! With all the startup potential on the African continent it’s breathtaking to even think about all the possibilities there are to make the world a better place", Jari rejoices.

"Getting another opportunity to bring in the skills and tools I’ve learned during my academic career and at Siili makes me feel I can have a small part in helping people achieve their goals and a better life. But I’m sure that the experience and people I will meet will teach me more", Andrea ponders.

Besides Jari’s and Andrea’s September trip to Botswana, Siili will host an on-line session for African startups at the beginning of October and a coaching session to a selected startup that will visit Helsinki at the beginning of November. Siili wants to give back to the global society, and teaching others has proved to be a fruitful way to spread good.

The specs of the dynamic duo

Jari is a Serverless Cloud Competence Lead at Siili Solutions. Since 2000 he has held different IT positions and roles, from architecture to team leading and scrum mastering. Nowadays, he mainly focuses on cloud technologies and how they help organizations and teams to fully utilize their potential in agile way. Jari’s passion is to enable people to work together with modern technology and in a lean way towards common goals and visions.

Andrea is a Design Researcher and UX Designer at Siili Solutions, who is passionate in using research techniques to focus on users and understand their needs when designing digital technology or services. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher in Human-Computer Interaction at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and Aalto University, Finland (2015-2017). He received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Udine, Italy, where he worked in the HCI Lab (2012–2015).

Follow Siili x SAIS on social media!

You can keep up with Jari’s and Andrea’s trip on Twitter by following @j_rantala and @andreavianello and @SAISProgramme and @SiiliSolutions

On Instagram you can follow @rantalajari and @andreavianello and @SiiliSolutions

 

 

Written by Jari Rantala, Andrea Vianello, and Leena Viitanen

 

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