Team Leader of Acoustics, Jussi Väisänen

“Everyday in R&D is a day with problems. You have to endure uncertainty, since you never know how the planned schedules will translate to real life. Since it takes rather a long time to finish products, the feelings of success are also rather small. This is humble and persistent work, maybe it is suitable for a Lutheran mentality? It can be a big challenge to find positive moments in everyday life,” says Jussi Väisänen.

When the problem is, for example, some noise in a monitor, you need to find the root cause. When you start to measure sound, a huge number of variables appear. But actually understanding the causal relationships between these variables isn’t a clear task at all. Purposeful problem solving skills are a necessity: The ability to recognize the problem and cut it into small pieces.

A young physicist, Jussi Väisänen had been working in the Genelec R&D department for around four years when, in 2008, Ari Varla passed away. Replacing the technically incomparable and extremely respected acoustician seemed an impossible task. “Suddenly I was the head acoustician,” he recalls. “The boots I had to step into were big, and my journey from student to master was too short. The development of the 8260 weighed heavily upon me – I even developed an irregular heartbeat, the only time in my life that it has happened. But it was pressure that I put onto myself – the company didn’t put it on me, and I came out of it far stronger.”

Jussi Väisänen started doing his job by being himself, working in his own way. He now emphasises the importance of social skills at work, and he is a union representative.

“It doesn’t always work to adopt the attitude that you know absolutely everything. Soul searching and empathy help you to understand how others work. Many of us have learned habits, and painful things in life cause cynicism and negativity.” The difficult issues have to be discussed and solved. After that only the unintentional communication problems remain.

Jussi also believes in the importance of sharing his knowledge with others. “Team work is a good tool for the quiet sharing of wisdom. You have to share what you know and learn how to work together. If I share what I know with others, I don’t know any less.”

Jussi appreciates that in Genelec, if a problem arises you can always go and ask for assistance.

“It is good to work in here, but this is not a charitable organisation. I respect the ownership, this is a familyowned company. It means continuity, commitment and investment in R&D.”

In recent years, Väisänen has concentrated on developing the new three-way coaxial speakers that have become known as The Ones. As such, his days have been spent considering the detail of each new design and idea: how does the material respond to extremes of temperature? How does the shape affect performance? How does the glue behave? Will production run smoothly enough to ensure it can manufactured profitably? Is there a way to reduce the number of parts, and thereby the burden of stock? Each answered question leads to another. What will Genelec do in five years, or in 10? In which direction is the world of audio headed? What does the customer really need and how we can deliver it? Is the solution in line Genelec’s company values?

“In a beautiful, finished loudspeaker, one cannot see the technology or our sweat. The loudspeakers are valued based on their sound quality, not on the blinking lights,” Jussi smiles.