Jussi Ketonen, Development Director at Family Rehabilitation Centre Lauste, started Itla Childhood Builders during the first leadership training in early 2020. The training expanded Ketonen’s own network and gave birth to a new outlook on his own habits and perceptions.

The first course of leadership training at Itla Childhood Builders was completed by 22 leaders from various fields of expertise. The training consists of six modules, as well as intermediate tasks to strengthen systemic understanding of leadership and welfare issues, development of management of people-oriented organisations and service activities, and to promote diverse and effective use of information as well as the inclusion of children and families.

Participants included decision-makers, leaders and influencers in child welfare issues. Jussi Ketonen says that being involved with different people was a wealth for education.

“The phenomena of leadership are quite universal. We will consider the same types of questions, regardless of in which industry we are professionals. I have always felt that the wider and more diverse the set, the richer the conversation”, Ketonen says.

“By examining the good experiences and trajectories of others in relation to one’s work, you learn much more. It is interesting to hear people in different industries and organisations share their work and think about what the same phenomena mean in their working environment.”

Ketonen has worked in expert and development roles in child protection for nearly 20 years. Leadership training has brought new perspectives on how to view one’s own field of work.

“Child protection involves a lot of legislation and peripheral conditions that define activities. However, in order to achieve service development and welfare impacts, it was important to turn the gaze on how we could get more co-development in child protection and ecosystem development based on service thinking. We need new types of operational structures and service innovations that can transform the entire industry.”

Ketonen says that he deliberately finds himself in situations where he has to consider issues related to his own work and occupation in a more broad perspective. No good comes from isolation, because the interfaces of industries and services provide opportunities for learning and development. The same is repeated in personal professional encounters.

The first course of training eventually stretched into two years, although its original length was destined to be 10 months. According to Ketonen this stretching was not beneficial for the learning process.

“It would have been good to see more live because not only the actual training but also the conversations that take place in those other moments are important and useful. It is from those discussions in informal moments that good ideas and reflections arise”, Ketonen adds.

“On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic have also brought a positive addition to work as we now have managed to solve current problems surrounding the circumstances and have had to look for new perspectives.”

Ketonen praises leadership training for its knowledge basics and the fact that phenomena and management were examined from different perspectives, led by different experts. Despite Covid, the group also got to meet in person a few times to explore child-centric services and to observe activities driven by a successful customer experience.

“I have gotten to know a large number of people during the training, and had the opportunity to about what I perceive as important in my work and to mirror my perspective in a wider context.”


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