One such initiative was the recent Active International Mikkeli: Innovation Camp 2023, a one-day interactive workshop that aimed to generate some actionable solutions for an inclusive environment in Mikkeli, Finland.
The event brought together people from diverse backgrounds, including international students, job seekers, employees, and Finnish individuals interested in sharing their ideas and working in teams to propose solutions to relevant challenges.
At the heart of the event was a multifaceted set of objectives, all aimed at empowering international talents to thrive in Mikkeli.
These objectives included fostering leadership and entrepreneurship, promoting collaboration with local businesses, and identifying social and economic barriers to integration.
With these goals in mind, the event focused on three main themes: inclusion and community building, employment and job-seeking, and skill-building and cultural integration. By tackling these themes head-on, the event provided a platform for participants to share their experiences, exchange ideas, and propose actionable solutions to the challenges faced by international talents in Mikkeli.
During the event, several important topics were raised and discussed, including:
- Lack of access to information about available opportunities, hidden job opportunities, and understanding employers’ needs
- Language barriers and their impact on job search and integration, as well as the need for personal recommendations in job hunting
- Inclusivity of HR processes, navigating cultural differences in the workplace, and creating a supportive environment for international residents in Mikkeli
- Importance of community connections, building a diverse community, and fostering connections outside of work hours to enhance integration.
These discussions shed light on the multifaceted challenges faced by international talents and provided valuable insights for developing potential solutions during the event.
The event employed various activities and methodologies to stimulate innovation and collaboration, such as icebreakers, future prototyping, Ishikawa diagrams, and Six Thinking Hats.
These tools aided in generating and refining solutions for the challenges faced by international talents in Mikkeli.
The event provided a structured approach for teams to develop and refine ideas, with networking opportunities for potential collaborations among participants. Overall, it was a great success and demonstrated how different methodologies can facilitate collaboration and idea generation.
The East & West team proposed the creation of a new department within the city government focused on inclusion matters. The department would be composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds who have encountered and overcome challenges faced by international talents.
The team believes that such a department would increase motivation and commitment among its team members and create long-term value by effectively addressing inclusion matters and improving the lives of international talents within the city.
To implement this idea, approval would be needed from the City Council and the Mayor, along with investments from the city to establish and sustain the new department.
The All Inclusive team identified several hindrances to the integration of foreigners in Mikkeli, including a lack of connections, accessible information, and social division.
To address these challenges, the team proposed creating an app that serves as a platform for exchanging events, ads, helpful guidance, suggestions, maps, and chat rooms. The app would be designed to be the main tool for communication between locals and internationals in Mikkeli.
During the jury evaluation, concerns were raised about the potential cost of developing and maintaining the app. However, the team addressed this concern by highlighting that IT solutions are generally affordable and can be cost-effective in the long run.
The Metsä team proposed a platform-based community, titled Diverse Community, which aims to address the systemic challenges faced by internationals in Mikkeli in terms of accessing information, finding employment, and developing their careers.
The community would provide a space for participants to connect, chat, and exchange information, as well as connect with different industries within the city.
During the jury evaluation, a suggestion was made to consider hosting the community on social media platforms to overcome potential barriers to participation.
All the teams emphasized the need for tailored solutions, communication tools that are convenient and accessible, and platforms that foster diversity and integration. After all, what good are a million opportunities if you lack the connections, knowledge, or language skills to access them? Next, the solutions are delivered to Mikkeli City Hall for future consideration by Integration Officer.