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Juho Juutilainen / Business Designer - STORY

Helping organizations create new value and new forms of competitive advantage


Constant change as a permanent state of being

It was chilly Christmas night at Yokohama Port in 1968 when my parents set feet the first time on Japanese soil. They had no idea that Japan would be their home for three decades. They settled in port of Kobe and I was born next summer in Tokyo. I would be living in this country for at least 20 years and it would be part of my identity, my story and my destiny.

My parents spent the first two years in Japanese language school learning to read, write, speak and behave like a Japanese. My nanny was Suzuki-san who took care of me during the day time for all those two years. She was like my Japanese mother.

It took few years and I got one sister and four brothers. We went to the local kinder garden and preschool, got bunch of Japanese friends and finally though that we were Japanese as well. The first trip abroad to Finland was a shock. I was five and I realized that I'm not Japanese but not Finnish either. I had hybrid identity and that would define my career in the future. I would be middleman between diverse cultures, communities, domains and industries and would help them to understand better each other. While I focused on media and leisure related business, exploring the world and learning different ways of thinking became my passion.


I faced one of the most dramatic challenge in my life in 2004 when I got cancer, melanoma. That event started a new era in my life. Although I continued my extrepreneur daily life as usual, my physical situation got gradually worse. In the middle of my funeral arrangements I got a chance to participate a clinical trial and soon I heard the news that was too good to be true. I could cancel the funeral arrangements! The treatment worked dazzingly fast and I got suddenly a sequal to my life, kind of 2.0 life! Since then, alongside with my basic work, I have put an enfort to be a face and voice, a patient advocate for cancer patients in national and international forums.

Life goes on and I've learned that it's very short. There is no time to waste. Jacques Torres gives a good advice, "Life is short. Eat dessert first."

Read what it's like to be and live as a third culture kid (TCK) in the midst of constant change (only in Finnish).

suzuki-san and me

"Life is short - Eat dessert first"
- Wendy Mass

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