Making boldness visible

Kone Foundation wants to advance bold initiatives in research and the arts. Last year we discussed this goal from the perspective of communications: how to bring out the boldness of the people we support, how to be bold ourselves and how to foster boldness.

The discussions evolved into our new communications strategy, for which Hanna Nurminen, the chair of Kone Foundation, came up with an insightful title: Making boldness visible (Rohkeus näkyväksi in Finnish).

In Finland, foundations do not have a very flattering media image. The activities of the majority of foundations are entirely beyond reproach, and foundations do great work for important causes, but very few people know what they actually do. We and other foundations are partly to blame for this since in our modesty we have not publicised our activities very well. Often, we have not publicised them at all.

This is a topic that has recently raised concern and discussion among foundations, and has led to action, too. The Council of Finnish Foundations has recently set up an internet magazine titled Sarana (in Finnish only) for news about foundations and their activities. We, too, intend to provide more visibility for the work that is done with funding from Kone Foundation and the work we do ourselves. In December we carried out a pilot of our new strategy in collaboration with professionals in various fields and made videos of the projects that we support. In the future we also intend to try out various forms of communication and to improve our visual skills.

We have given a lot of time to discussing the nature of boldness. Sometimes it is fearlessness but usually it is about doing things despite one’s fear. Boldness involves experimenting and being part of an on-going process that cannot be pre-defined, but it is not about lack of planning or goals, or rushing into things. A bold person is usually also alert and engages with new and current issues and even reaches out to the future. A bold person can tolerate conflict, take risks and overcome barriers. We believe boldness also involves the confidence to step outside the mainstream. We do not believe that we have yet exhausted the essence of boldness in our discussions and there are countless examples of boldness yet to be discovered ­– in this blog, for instance.

But what are the conditions that would encourage new bold ideas? We believe that they include the opportunity to concentrate on work and the freedom that grants provide artists and researchers. In addition to money, opportunity and freedom, we believe that bold ideas emerge when people from different fields meet. In the future, we will foster such encounters by organising a larger number of varied events and expand the Well concept we use at the Foundation’s Saari Residence to other areas of our operations. Our goal is to create an atmosphere of trust and openness where it will be easier to meet new people and step into unknown territory.

Boldness is also about exposing one’s self to new things and submitting to evaluation by others: in other words, we hope to get feedback from you. While dogs don’t usually bite the hand that feeds them, we encourage everyone to give their views critically, for us to learn and improve our work. Of course a happy wag of the tail or a merry woof is ok, too!


Anna Talasniemi

Executive Director, Kone Foundation