Get to Know Us | Taina Tenhunen, Head of Tech & Innovation
17 March 2021
For this instalment of our Get to Know Us series, we interviewed Taina Tenhunen, Hannes Snellman’s Head of Tech & Innovation. Taina has extensive experience from working at a law firm and as in-house counsel at international industrial companies. At Hannes, Taina heads a team working with knowledge, learning, data, technology, and innovation.
Taina, you have a background as a lawyer and engineer. What made you choose this combination?
My main aim was to get into law school and study law. But, as it was (and still is) difficult to get into law school, my plan B was to study technology (for at least one year). Well, I got into law school and university of technology and enjoyed both. It took me some time, but I did manage to do master’s degrees in both law and engineering. Both worlds are fascinating but in different ways — what I like about science is that it is absolute, the answers are either right or wrong, whereas law is often open to interpretation, and the shades of grey are many.
You are currently responsible for Hannes Snellman’s technological development, among other things. Why does technology matter in the legal industry?
Technology matters irrespective of industry. In our industry, we have seen a rapid expansion of the use of technology, and the number of tools specific to our industry has increased dramatically in the recent years. Technology can make our daily life easier and free time to the activities that really form the core of the legal profession. So, with the help of technology, we can be more productive and use more time on the things that puzzle our minds the most. The current pandemic has also made it evident that technology matters. It is unbelievable how well we have been able to continue providing our services in the current situation.
You also work with the firm’s innovation processes. Can you share how you lead innovation in a law firm, which perhaps traditionally is not the most innovative industry?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Our industry is maybe not seen as the most innovative industry, but when you look at all that is happening in the legal tech area, for instance, I see a lot of innovation. Also, when I look at our people at Hannes, I think they are really creative. They always find a solution, whatever the problem or challenge is.
As early as 20 years ago, Teresa Amabile stated that challenge, freedom, resources, work group features, supervisory encouragement, and organisational support are managerial practices that affect creativity, and I definitely agree with her. In order to encourage innovation, we need to constantly monitor, discuss, and work on our daily practices, encourage learning, treat each other with respect, and continue building an inclusive work environment. In addition, we need to discuss what we want to achieve as an organisation. This requires input from us all.
Hannes Snellman is cooperating with Technology Academy Finland this year. Can you tell something about this cooperation?
This is one of the many really awesome things Hannes Snellman does. Technology Academy Finland promotes innovation for a better life. We are very honoured to cooperate with Technology Academy Finland, as we share a common goal — a better world and innovations that benefit our planet. On a societal level, our industry can contribute to justice and the existence of strong institutions, which are elements that support the goals of the foundation. I am so happy about this cooperation, and I am looking very much forward to the announcement of this year’s winner.
What would you say are future lawyers’ top three qualities from the technology and innovation perspective?
In short (in no order of priority): a curious mind, desire to learn, and willingness to try (and sometimes fail).
Lastly, can you share what your all-time favourite innovation is?
Such a difficult question! So many come to mind, but in these peculiar times, my vote goes to vaccines.
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