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Transforming Ideation 

How Helen is using Viima to create a more agile organization


Industry: Energy   Size: ~1000 employees   Location: Finland

Helen is one of the largest energy companies in Finland, internationally awarded as the most efficient energy producer in the world, aiming to produce 100% climate-neutral energy by 2030.

Building a new energy future is not an easy task but their commitment to customers and the environment is evident in the innovative practices they work on constantly improving.

To help them reach their goals, Helen chose Viima as their main tool to engage their workforce in ideation, and to collect and develop ideas into actionable concepts and value-adding solutions.

In brief, the outcomes of a systematic, cohesive ideation process with Viima:

  • A step change in the number of ideas being implemented
  • Incremental improvements around technology and internal processes
  • Improvements to increase customer satisfaction
  • Less bureaucracy and more transparency both in collecting and developing ideas, as well as in internal communication
  • Increased employee engagement and empowerment
  • Increased agility and speed in decision-making
  • Flexibility in addressing strategic issues and engaging stakeholders in these areas of development, such as sustainability

The Helen Story

Technical innovations play a critical role in the progress of the energy industry, but they need to be supported by innovative processes, business models, and policies.

As one of Finland’s leading energy distributors and producers, with a district heating network covering 90% of buildings in the capital city Helsinki, Helen tailors its services to more than 600 000 customers.

Understandably, this comes with numerous challenges the group is constantly working to overcome and turn into opportunities for improvement.

The Challenge

Before Viima, Helen had a very structured process and a tool to support their ideation work, but it was actually too rigid. 

Submitting ideas was complex and took a lot of effort, discouraging many from getting involved. What's more, the lack of a transparent system meant that those who took the time to submit ideas had no visibility into what was happening next.

It also took a long time for ideas to be processed and for decisions to be made. As ideas were occasionally submitted with incomplete information, the decision makers couldn’t always understand the full context for the idea, and without a clear understanding of the problem, they would end up rejecting ideas with a lot of potential.

A lack of transparency meant that employees couldn’t learn from the ideas other people had already submitted, nor did they have an opportunity to develop and build on top of each other's knowledge.


Some of the most common uses for Viima at Helen:

Incremental and process improvements

Technical improvements in their facilities and power plants

New product development and concept validation

Customer experience improvement

The Solution

Helen recognized these challenges and wanted to modernize the way they did ideation.

The backbone of the solution had to be an easy-to-use tool that would enable everyone to suggest ideas quickly and easily, collaborate openly, exchange knowledge and provide a clear overview on how ideas are progressing.

After careful consideration and a systematic comparison and testing of different platforms to see which one can meet their needs best, Helen chose Viima.

The key criteria were the user-friendly and engaging interface, as well as the ease of use. The free basic plan also allowed them to easily test if Viima would work for them, which made the decision easy.

With Viima, Helen also modernized their processes to become more transparent, collaborative and decentralized. This has allowed to dramatically increase engagement and discover many opportunities for improvement, speed-up decision-making and innovation, as well as build the collective knowledge of the organization.

Helen's ideation process

To get the process off the ground, one project manager and one “idea secretary” are in charge of implementing Viima and supporting the good development of the process.

They initially allocated time to communicate to 40 different teams, the goals, the process and the “why” behind the initiative.

That’s how they got people engaged and excited about using Viima. They continue to support the teams and help them build a positive, collaborative culture around ideation.

At the core of their ideation process are 34 “Viima agents”. They act as facilitators, each in charge of a team or unit. They encourage participation, move things forward and follow up on the progress of ideas.

ideation preparation
ideation process Viima

Helen has created different Viima boards to manage the process and collect ideas. 

To collect ideas, they have the two main boards, one for ideas on technical improvements and another for functional ideas like sales and marketing, product development, customer experience, etc. These are public and accessible to anyone in the organization.

Each team takes 15 minutes each month, usually at the beginning of a team meeting, to decide on the ideas that should move forward, and how to then make that happen.

In addition, Helen arranges an “idea of the year” competition to highlight and celebrate some of the successes from this work. They also reward the ideas that were implemented the fastest, as well as the most active participants in developing ideas.

These efforts have helped them build a stronger culture of innovation.

The Results

Helen has been using Viima for over 4 years. The new, more decentralized decision-making process, together with a more transparent, engaging and easy-to-use tool have helped transform ideation at Helen.

  • The result has been a more agile organization with a culture of innovation where employees take ownership in making things better.

  • Ideas that used to take as much as one year to be validated, can now be approved, and implemented much faster. For example, some complicated technical ideas have been implemented within two weeks from the idea being created.

  • Employees are sharing more ideas, collaborating openly to develop them, and as a result, make more informed decisions faster.

  • Hundreds of value-adding ideas have already been implemented, and more are on their way.

Sari Kemppainen B&W

Together with our new ways of working, Viima has made it easier for us to make smart decisions and implement ideas faster.

With Viima we can easily get everyone involved, get feedback, communicate directly with the right people, as well as better structure the great number of ideas we get.

We are very happy with Viima’s ease of use, transparency and engaging interface.

Did you know?

20,000+ organizations across the globe innovate with Viima.

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Viima takes great pride in enabling innovation in forward-thinking organizations, like Helen.

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