Seeing the Forest for the Trees or the Pig and Chicken Story


I am glad that a majority of the contents of the newly opened blog box of the business school has been produced by our graduate students. The old saying about not seeing the forest for the trees means in an educational context not seeing the students. In other words, considering them more like someone to teach, because they do not know much yet. This sort of one-directional thinking is, fortunately, becoming old-fashioned.

We have namely already witnessed at least some elementary crowd sourcing in innovation, entrepreneurs and start-up companies are recognized as genuine alternatives for renewing entire industries, and many of us have realized the enormous power that we have as individuals and families on the market.

How to benefit from and support the seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees attitude in a business school? Everyone should be committed and not only involved. By this I refer to the famous “Pig and chicken” story often told in connection with the modern agile and lean methods:  A pig and a chicken were walking down the road. The chicken says: "Hey pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!" The pig replies: "Hmm, maybe, but what would we call it?" The chicken responds: "How about 'ham-n-eggs'?" The pig thinks for a moment and says: "No thanks. I'd be committed, but you'd only be involved!"

In principle and also in practice this would mean that we would all commit to work together in education, research and external collaboration. At this moment we have, in my opinion, several important efforts going on, where no one can be merely involved. To start from the accreditation, I see it not only as a certificate to get, but as a genuine competing advantage and a possibility for continuous improvement.

Related to the core of accreditation, assurance of learning, we have a major revision of our study program on the planning table. We are already among the most effective, what comes to degrees and studying progress, but we can be even better. Notice that I am not using the word efficient, but effective!

Last but not least, we may be more involved in international joint research than committed yet, at least in terms of euros and the number of collaborating parties. There are excellent opportunities for us to benefit from what the world desperately needs – genuinely insightful and innovative solutions for business and economic problems. This is easy to see everywhere, from digital services to health care and arctic developments. We should and can get ourselves, also the students, committed to addressing these.

Veikko Seppänen
Director, Martti Ahtisaari Institute

Last updated: 25.2.2013

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