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The Finnish Brain Association aims for the forefront of knowledge management – focusing on the impact

In addition to operating as a traditional patient organisation, the Finnish Brain Association promotes brain health in Finland. As the association is managed with public funds, accountability for business results is one of its key requirements. The Finnish Brain Association and Netum launched cooperation to build the foundation for new, impact-based knowledge management. This enables the association to promote brain health in a more impactful way.

From describing the operations to specifying the impact

After becoming the Executive Director of the Finnish Brain Association in August 2021, Mika Pyykkö immediately began to envision a new direction of knowledge management for the association.

– Organisations in the social welfare and health care sector are used to describing their activities and setting various operational goals. I wanted to turn that tradition upside down and define the results that we want to achieve with our activities. What types of goals do we want to meet in order to support the lives of our target groups? What are the socially groundbreaking targets we want to set?

This required the association to adopt the mindset and practices of knowledge management. It was time to let go of the previous, scattered combination of different information systems and data retrieval policies. The impact was to become the focus of all activities. The work with Netum was launched in the spring of 2022.

Roadmap to the future

Netum’s Managing Consultant Jari Jokinen helped build a vision and a roadmap of knowledge management for the Finnish Brain Association. The development focused on strategic goals and defining the association’s future direction.

– The project helped the Finnish Brain Association understand the practical steps they needed to take in knowledge management to ensure that the association would achieve an impact-based management method. The roles and goals were clarified. Knowledge management will become a key tool for the Finnish Brain Association to reach their vision, says Jokinen.

Future steps include building the architecture and harmonising the information systems. Now, the association is building the foundation for genuine knowledge management.

– Before we cooperated with Netum, we lacked the prerequisites for knowledge management. Now, we have the framework that will enable us to live as we teach, or, in other words, focus on the impact, in a few years, says Pyykkö.

Netum’s Managing Consultant Jari Jokinen

Harnessing knowledge for decision-making

The Finnish Brain Association is a non-profit organisation with a key task of supporting those who have a developmental language disorder or have experienced a stroke, as well as their loved ones. The association owns the company Aivoliiton palvelut oy, which offers rehabilitation classes, therapy, interpretation services for those with speech disabilities, professional training, housing and outpatient services.

In other words, knowledge pours in from various sources and is produced by a wide range of experts and volunteers.

– It is important to identify the ways of collecting and analysing the knowledge created by the activities and using it for operational development in the best possible way, says Pyykkö.

The activities of the Finnish Brain Association must produce added value for both people and society.

– Essentially, it is a question of rehabilitating a person in the most efficient way possible after a stroke.

Accountability for business results and efficiency

The impact-based approach is slowly gaining ground in the system of organisations, and the Finnish Brain Association wants to be at the forefront of this development. Brain diseases are some of the most expensive diseases in Finland in terms of medical care.

– Organisations managed by public funds must also be able to show accountability for their results to society. In the future, the Finnish Brain Association’s competitive strengths should include the ability to report the results achieved in people’s lives as well as the financial benefits of the activities, particularly from taxpayers’ point of view, says Pyykkö.

Efficiency is at the heart of all this. Efficiency is best practised by addressing the underlying causes and, thus, preventing problems and diseases.

– The processes must always serve the goals. Even if a process is stylish, it may be a completely wrong one unless it serves the goals.

Mika Pyykkö, Executive Director of the Finnish Brain Association

Netum creates authentic added value

The project was launched by interviewing the executive team to analyse the association’s starting point. The work was then carried out in four workshops, each with its own theme. The vision and roadmap for knowledge management were created as a summary of the workshops.

Netum’s Managing Consultant Jokinen believes that the Finnish Brain Association will achieve its goals.

– The executive team was highly committed, motivated and willing to find solutions, says Jokinen.

Pyykkö was impressed by Netum’s way of understanding the nature and patterns of the Finnish Brain Association’s activities. Netum certainly did their homework before the first meeting.

– I’ve worked with numerous consultants over the years, and this was by far the best encounter I’ve ever experienced. Netum’s experts asked many questions, listened to us and did their best to understand our needs. There was none of the song and dance usually performed by consultants, says Pyykkö with a laugh.