Wärtsilä: Ignite your digital heart – change communication in Wärtsilä’s digital transformation

Wärtsilä is enabling sustainable societies with smart technology. They provide the marine and energy markets with smart technologies and optimized lifecycle services. Wärtsilä wanted to accelerate their global digital transformation at the end of 2016.  

H+K Helsinki was briefed to tackle three main challenges:

  1. How to change the clock-speed of a 185-year old company?
  2. How to make a new digital strategy understandable and tangible?
  3. How to get all 18,000 people committed to digital transformation?

It was clear that people would be at the core of the transformation. People needed to understand their role and the company’s expectations to be able to contribute to the change. Cooperation started by defining user personas, tone-of-voice, visual identity and concept, messaging, strategy, and communication platforms for internal communications.

The concept of Digital Champions was created to answer to the challenges and to grow the communication network globally. The idea was to activate and engage 500 employees as Digital Champions to lead the transformation. This was supported by an 8-month communication campaign using both corporate channels and targeted marketing. New tools, such as a MS Teams based chatbot “WAI” was tested, and direct ask-me-anything sessions with the CDO were created. Different digital formats demonstrated the digitalization story.

The largest ever internal event, the Digital Champions get-together in Munich, Germany was organized. This bootcamp style event was full of keynotes, co-creation, demonstrations, and testing of new digital platforms.


  • The event achieved its targets in geographical and organizational reach. All together 33 countries and all job levels were present.
  • After the 8-month campaign, 98% of Digital Champions said that their digital heart was ignited and 64% of them said that their perception of digital transformation had changed.
  • Year after the event, tens of Digital Champions events had been organized around the world to deepen employees’ understanding of the digital strategy. Several new ideas about digital solutions have been further developed in Wärtsilä’s innovation process.
Sector: Energy + Industrials
Office: Helsinki