November 12, 2014

Innovation and entrepreneurship are business critical for all enterprises

Kimmo Alkio

President & CEO , Tieto

When digitalization is the predominant state, along with social consumerization, businesses need to adapt, transform their models and find new opportunities. Kimmo Alkio reasons about the urgency for change not being a threat, but a huge possibility.

This is the third challenge blog post on the series where we challenge some of the business leaders in the Nordics. You can read the previous challenges here and here.

We recently carried out our Future of Business Transformation study together with Kairos Future. We interviewed 500 C-level respondents from Finland, Norway and Sweden. Almost half (44%) of CEO respondents thought their industry would ”bear little resemblance in 2020 to how it looks today”. This of course is something that business leaders need to think hard, because these changes that we are now facing are not small.

When digitalisation is a predominant state, along with the social consumerization, businesses need to adapt, transform their models and find new opportunities. I think that the urgency of change is not a threat, it is a huge possibility.

That´s why I would like to hear my colleagues discuss their ideas on how to ensure world-class services in the tightening competition. I have invited Google Finland´s Country Manager Anni Ronkainen, former IT and energy minister of Sweden Anna-Karin Hatt, Cisco Sweden´s General Manager Niklas Andersson and CEO Mikael Aro from the Finnish Railway Company VR to share their views on the topic.

Innovations count

How we provide greater services is for example through start-ups. I believe start-ups are successful because they value openness, individualism, creativity, innovation and a willingness to take risks. Also, large companies should adopt similar values ​​and goals. Earlier it took time to scale new services within the company borders – in the start-up world the scaling happens quickly in new ecosystems. This is the reason why we have built start-ups inside Tieto. Industrial Internet and Customer Experience Management areas lead the way in agility, quick adapting, ideas to innovation and new ways of working inside the company.

In the beginning of start-ups we measure also learning: how many ideas, how many ideas are carried out and what are the results. In our open source culture, all employees are encouraged to innovate in their everyday work. Anyone can come up with an idea and share it with either me or their other colleagues. Of course we have created tools to make sharing ideas and cultivating them into innovations possible inside the company.

Customers set the pace

Customers have the power. Opinions are shared, and the phenomena spread in an accelerating pace. We need to adapt, our expertise needs to be wide and customer-centric enough to keep up with the pace.

Our CIO Kim Lindgren wrote in his blog post few weeks back about the different aspects of talents that we need in the digital era: both leadership capabilities and digital capabilities. And the latter is something new, what many companies haven’t even thought about few years back.

Our study also shows that 39% of CEOs think that increasing competition for talent would be one of the most important factors to change how businesses in their industry operate. Of these, more than half – 53% – thought the increasing competition was already affecting their industry.

I think that the company cannot build the future and its strategy only on the current situation, but the growth is done by looking further in the future. I genuinely think that a way of working, which embraces both the current business, and also bold new innovations, is the only way we can succeed. The traditional way of thinking does not take far, and does not let innovativeness to flourish. The future is not to be predicted – it is to be created, as somebody has wisely put it!

Kimmo Alkio is the CEO of Tieto Corporation.

You can download our Future of Business Transformation study here.

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