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Learning Journey 2023 & Podcast: What’s Up in The Swiss Team Novio?

Kirjoittanut: Katrina Cirule - tiimistä SYNTRE.

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Learning Journey 2023 & Podcast: What’s Up in The Swiss Team Novio?



In the middle of March 2023, team SYNTRE welcomed Novio in Proakatemia, to collaborate for a Learning Journey. Novio is a team company in the Swiss Team Academy HES-SO. They visited us for two weeks so that we could support each other on our learning goals. In this essay, I will explain the idea of Learning Journey, my takeaways from it, as well as tell more about Novio and their projects in a podcast we recorded together.



Learning Journey is a part of the English-speaking teams’ curriculum. The idea of it is to identify what the team needs to learn together, specify the learning objectives, plan how we can do it, as well as ideate how we wish to execute the learning journey overall. Although Learning Journey is counted as a 5-credit course, the point is not to count the hours in order to pass it. The optimal result is to be responsible for leading one’s own learnings, as well as actively contribute to achieve team goals. (Tampere University of Applied Sciences 2021)



Novio is a team company of 13 wonderful entrepreneurs in HES-SO Team Academy. Their motivation to visit Finland was to practice international business and learn about the Finnish culture. Novio’s current projects are Formula Student, KPROD branding agency, a freestyle skiing event, a comics magazine about social issues such as bullying and mental health awareness, and many others. If you wish to learn more about the Swiss corporate life, Novio and what they are up to, feel free to visit the podcast I, Doneé, Diogo, and Maël recorded together. You can find it here: https://soundcloud.com/doneebarendze3/swiss-audio-final


IMAGE 1. Katrina, Diogo, and Maël recording podcast.



Our focus during the two weeks was preparing for the Sales Days, networking, and learning more about the Swiss and Finnish cultures. The key activities were visiting different companies to see the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Tampere, planning for the strategy of the Sales Days, as well as simply enjoying the sauna, avanto, and learning fun facts about Switzerland. I believe something worth mentioning about those is that it is illegal to own only one hamster in Switzerland, and they also have one of the thickest toilet papers in the world (7-8 layers in one paper). (Alden 2020)


IMAGE 2. SYNTRE and Novio team picture.



When it comes to my learnings, they are not immediately obvious and will most likely take some time to reflect in my life. However, I would like to highlight my 3 biggest takeaways from this experience: expectations of myself and others, the power of having fun, and the team dynamics of SYNTRE.


5.1 Expectations of myself and others

I believe I am a person with high expectations of my work and attitude, and, therefore, strive to be present and actively contribute to the team. Based on the feedback I have received, the way I involve in team activities is usually quite visible and I am open with my thoughts. However, I have learned that there are different ways one can be active, and it doesn’t always have to come off as something vocal or front stage. There is a lot of work that is done “behind the scenes”. Although I trust that every person of my team is doing their best to the capacity they have, I have sometimes wondered… is it so?

I am not sure where this doubt is coming from. It could be the obvious differences in responsibility that different teammates hold. But it could also be that I am projecting my own expectations onto others. And don’t get me wrong, I believe there is nothing wrong with having standards for the quality one is creating. At the end of the day, we can’t keep standing in the same place we did a year ago. However, I also have to be understanding and ask myself: “What is my right to hold expectations towards others?” Especially, when those expectations sometimes come from a place of perfectionism and people-pleasing, which I have faced in my experience both as a team member and leader.


5.2 The power of having fun

As mentioned, one of the Learning Journey’s objectives was to create a strategy for the Sales Days. For two weeks, 30 people were working on creating a lead list, marketing materials, door-to-door maps, pitches, and so on. However, the general feedback of this experience was that we were lacking direction, meaning behind the tasks, as well as commitment from the teams.

Whereas on the last day of our Learning Journey, we had one final task to do which was simply creating memes about the experience. We were all having fun, and the amount and quality of memes produced was a surprise for everyone.

In the feedback session, we were all wondering what was the deal breaker in these situations? Why did the strategy creation feel like a burden while during meme creation we were all collaborating and focusing on the task? Of course, sales strategy and memes are not the same thing.

However, I learned that having fun and using humor can be crucial when trying to improve productivity. As Dave Crenshaw, an American writer and time management expert, mentions in his book The Power of Having Fun: “Fun is a priority. It’s not something we get to do when we earn it for good behavior. Rather, it is something we must do to be more successful and productive.” (Crenshaw 2017)


IMAGE 3. A meme created by Pierrick, which I can personally very relate to.


5.3 Team dynamics of SYNTRE

For some time now, SYNTRE team has been struggling with the topics of commitment and responsibility. Based on the conversations we have been having in feedback pajas, there are a few people who seem to “carry” the team.  But what happens if those individuals get too tired of always taking up the responsibilities? What if one day those more active members take a more passive role?

I am not completely sure how I feel about this situation, but I wish to share one realization about team leadership. Leading by example is a powerful approach to increase trust and team engagement. If what the leader says and does are inconsistent, it can create a lot of frustration in the team. Whereas, modeling the right way by getting involved and listening to understand, can inspire others to come along. (Martins 2022)

However, I believe it is not only about leading by example but also about leading through influence. As David Marquet, a retired US Navy captain, writes in his book Turn the Ship Around, leadership can no longer be one person in charge who solves all the problems. Modern leadership is about everyone on the team being a leader and solving problems. “Leadership is about cultivating other people around you to think and lead, not to simply follow your lead.” I believe this is something that we as SYNTRE’s members should pay more attention to… How do we lead ourselves and the team? How do my actions influence others? (Shaw 2020)



In conclusion, I believe Learning Journey was a challenging, but also very valuable experience to learn about the Swiss culture, meet and bond with new people, work on strategy creation, and see the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Tampere once again. As mentioned, you are very welcome to visit our podcast about Novio’s projects, such as Formula Student, here: https://soundcloud.com/doneebarendze3/swiss-audio-final. Thank you SYNTRE and Novio… It was a pleasure sharing this journey with you!



Alden, N. 2020. 32 Facts About Switzerland. Read on 26.3.2023. https://theworldpursuit.com/facts-about-switzerland/

Crenshaw, D. 2017. The Power of Having Fun. Read on 26.03.2023. https://powerofhavingfun.com

Martins, J. 20222. How to lead by example, according to Asana leader. Read on 26.03.2023. https://asana.com/resources/lead-by-example

Shaw, P. 2020. 5 Ways to Lead Through Influence. Read on 26.03.2023. https://medium.com/ringcentral-ux/5-ways-to-lead-through-influence-c26c310e016d

Tampere University of Applied Sciences. 2021. Learning Journey I 3Y00FC72. Read on 25.03.2023. https://opinto-opas-ops.tamk.fi/167/en/37/193914/2834/0/35247

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