Joel acting as a news anchor in a preparedness exercise.

4 - 8 - 2021 - Career stories

Morning as a preparedness service consultant − afternoon as a news anchor

Project manager Joel Muujärvi does not face two similar days in his work in preparedness exercises and consulting. In addition to diverse work tasks, he is motivated by great team members, the opportunity for continuous development of his skills and business, and the concrete benefits the work offers for the client.

Crisis and cyber exercises

I studied at Laurea in the English-language BBA degree program, which I wrapped up last year. I added extra flavor to my studies in exchange in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where I studied in a criminology degree program.

I came to Insta for a traineeship related to my degree in the fall of 2017. My first job was to introduce a new version of our exercise platform, and it gave me a good overview of our team's exercise activities. Pretty quickly, I got to do the exercise implementations with an experienced colleague: to plan the exercises with the client and learn how to implement them. I was also able to get acquainted with business development in many ways already during the traineeship period.

After the traineeship period, I went back to school to start my dissertation. When I was offered the opportunity to return to Insta, I went for it, as this is precisely the job I wanted, and the employment soon became permanent. I also got the dissertation done in connection with my work - and it benefited our team.


Varied work on preparedness

As a trainee, I could observe different types of exercises in the company of seasoned experts, done for public administration organizations and private businesses, and I started to take more responsibility in the team as I gained confidence in doing things more independently.

After the first year, my title changed to Crisis Management Specialist as there was much more to the job than just exercise activities. In addition to Trasim exercises, we do preparedness consulting and specialist work, and in those projects, I got to update or analyze the continuity plan for clients. This provided an excellent opportunity to deepen my skills from a broader perspective of preparedness and continuity management.

In our five-person team, everyone does a little bit of everything. In addition to expert work, we all are involved with sales, manage customer relationships, organize seminars and morning coffee events, and handle billing and data maintenance. Our operations are very self-managing.

In the exercises, there is someone in charge as the project manager and usually at least one team member as support. Typically, we have 20 to 40 exercise projects per year, depending on the calculation method. I have had a dozen different projects this year where the implementations have been in the spring, and now there are a few that are planned for the fall. A large part of my week goes to planning meetings with the client, and then the arising points need to be clarified, and the contents are added to the exercise platform and materials.

"Good afternoon, this is an additional news broadcast from Yleismedia"

I'm usually involved in all of our exercises that include some sort of media productions: I'm an on-call videographer, editor, and often also news anchor when doing news stories for the exercises. In many cases, the scenario is enlivened by, for example, additional news broadcast from "Yleismedia" that simulates the national news media - sometimes a participant in the exercise is interviewed directly - typically, for example, the CEO of a customer organization. Making almost live "newscasts" is always heart-pounding and brings a great sense of pressure to both participants and facilitators. I'm also heavily involved in hands-on marketing stuff; I just made a new marketing video of our Trasim crisis management exercise concept.

Because I have a media production background, I have helped develop the media side of communication-focused exercises. We built a virtual studio with green screens for our Espoo office, and we get to place ourselves in different locations if necessary to give a news report, for example. As the latest element in building a media game, I have studied the use of deepfake technology - it has allowed us to do really interesting dis- and misinformation exercises.

My days are varied. One day, I edited a news broadcast from home in the morning, went to the office for a couple of customer meetings, then photoshopped a few product packages to include things they shouldn't for an exercise scenario, wrote an analysis for a final report, and sent some invoices. Sometimes, I stop to think about how I would sum it up if someone asked me what I do for a living.

An excellent environment for development

I have been able to seek interesting roles and take responsibility within the team. For example, I have been interested in developing our exercise concept, and I have boldly brought my thoughts to it and sparred with the team. We only need to say that I would like to do this thing, and once we think it is a sensible use of time, then go for it. It has been inspiring. Indeed, one of the best parts of the job is working with this incredible team.

In addition to doing the exercises, I have also been coordinating the exercise platform development project, and I get to discuss new technologies regularly with Insta's skilled developers. This has also been a place of continuous development; coding or product development were unfamiliar to me from my previous working life.

In addition, I have been able to onboard and support newer employees and trainees. You can spark up inspiring discussions with newer team members about different training methods, for example, and I have been able to develop my own ways of working. Onboarding newcomers is also self-updating because you look at things outside the box, which is refreshing.

In the future, I want to study strategic analysis, deepen my skills and thereby add even more value to the consulting gigs and exercises of our preparedness services. We want to develop our operations so that more and more companies can utilize our services to self-spar their readiness to face crises. In my opinion, the full potential of our exercise activities has not yet been fully realized, and our vision is to increase the number of exercises and enrich the team with new experts.

The greater meaning of work motivates

What motivates me the most is that there is a real benefit to our work with continuity and preparedness. We systematically collect feedback from our customers, and they say that this genuinely helps them face emergencies or crises. Meaningful work is really important to me.

I appreciate that Insta wants to build a safe society and do long-term business. The employer clearly values its committed employees, and the long careers here indicate that many things are done right.

Although it is a bit of a cliché, in this job, I can say that I get into real vantage points, sparring with the management teams of big companies and public sector organizations, and thinking about preparing for and acting in a crisis or emergency. The exercises always reveal areas for improvement: although they have certain recurring elements, the findings are just as different as the participating organizations. On the other hand, organizations that train with us regularly always find something new to develop. Then you also see the development in people and the organization in concrete terms, and you can raise the level of challenge of the exercises.

To counterbalance the work, I spend much time at our cottage. We have built a home office there with my lovely fiancé, and after the working day, you can immediately do something completely different, the tinkering that the cottage always provides. Right now, there are 13 cubic meters of beach sand in the yard waiting to be put in place.

Joel Muujärvi

Joel Muujärvi

Project Manager Insta Advance firstname.lastname (at)

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