March 23, 2016

Innovation is all about action! Takeaways from Innoday

Ksenia Avetisova

Head of Enhanced Reality Lab & Strategic Innovation Lead, Data-Driven Businesses, Tieto

Erik Nyré

Head of CEM Consulting, Tieto

For companies who want to prosper in the new digital business landscape, we at Tieto see several trends that need to be embraced, and several of them were also addressed by the speakers at this event.

On March 10, we had the privilege of attending the annual Innoday conference in Stockholm. The event hosted around 500 delegates from primarily leading Nordic, but also global companies in the retail and consumer products sectors. 10+ speakers, several of them internationally renowned thought leaders, writers and business leaders shared their insights on customer experience, innovation and entrepreneurship.

1. Build your brand by building your customers

The leading expert on customer experience and author of award­winning “The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences” Matt Watkinson shared expectations management as one key principle of success. Matt also emphasized for example that great customer experiences should be stress­free, should be socially engaging, leaving nothing to chance and putting customer in control. Of course, this sounds like straight­forward advice, yet practice shows that companies struggle to deliver on most of these areas, especially when it comes to the use smart digital solutions.

Marty Neumeier, renown author and business advisor, connected to the importance of brand and not least the social aspect of brand and customer experience management. According to Marty, brand building today is not about pushing your own story, but rather about creating a platform for customers to create their own stories on. Customers don’t like to be told, they like to tell. Brands should help their customers to find meaning in their live. Marty is making a strong argument that brands should build customers, not the other way around. As a company, your goal should be to build a “tribe” around your brand and see them as an army who can advocate your brand.

Our view is that Customer Experience is built along the full customer journey, already from the customer’s first encounter with the brand. A strong and correctly positioned brand will help to manage the expectations of the experience, guiding customers to be delighted by the experience eventually delivered.

2. Break free from boundaries, embrace the open innovation

Breakthrough innovation happens when you leave your comfort zone, and draw inspiration from industries and people who are not in the same line of business as yourself. Tesla broke the industry barriers and enabled a completely new business by not only producing the most attractive product, but also working together with e.g. utility companies to accelerate the spread of the electrical charger grid, enabling their car to become a success. Innoday has demonstrated several excellent modern examples of how companies are embracing cross­industry thinking and collaboration between internal units.

Swedish retailer ICA is going through an omnichannel transformation, constantly looking to introduce new value adding services for their customers along the full customer journey. The long term vision is to have real­time analytics supporting flexible services and focusing on individual consumers and not segments. ICA’s omni­channel strategy is communicated by a a persona, MonICA, which is a beautiful move, which allows all the parties involved to relate to it much stronger.

Lantmännen Cerealia gave a great overview of their “Greenhouse program”, in which they show they have also truly understood the importance of collaboration, opening up innovation to researchers and also external entrepreneurs to join their innovation program.

Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden’s largest daily newspapers, are using open innovation across different internal units, physically co­locating IT developers, content editors and journalists in common spaces, constantly and quickly improving their capabilities to interact with their readers. Changes that previously could take several days or even weeks to perform are now carried out in a few hours. Such speed and efficiency is enabled by flexible content management systems, as well as.

Through Tieto Experience Hub approach, we are supporting leading companies in identifying new business opportunities and concepts, often building on the most modern digital tools and technologies.

In our projects, we put great emphasis on open innovation, combining the leading thinkers and doers from different backgrounds and across industries to innovate together. That is what we believe will create real innovation and competitive advantage in the digital economy going forward, and we have been proud to pick up similar thinking from the world’s top innovators.

3. Test & learn, don’t plan (too much)

Digital transformation is very much dependant on flexible/ agile ways of working. Long gone are the days of lengthy projects with hopes of great results at the end of the rainbow. Modern way of working is to test and learn, and to do that fast.

Linda Rottenberg, Co­founder and CEO of Endeavor, a global organisation supporting high-impact entrepreneurs, also stressed the importance of this from her experiences working with high­growth start­up as well as large corporations. Linda has introduced her own classification of entrepreneurs. One of the most interesting, to which most of the distinguished audience could relate, were so­called “skunks” ­ intrapreneurs who use the approach of learning, testing and developing e.g. MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), prototypes and similar before taking their idea to management for approval. This serves as a very powerful complement to the powerpoint business case. Linda also stresses the fact that agility and flexibility is actually a trait that is expected by millennials as a natural part of a modern successful company’s culture and way­of-working. Failing in this area may mean that you will lose out on key talent.

Closing keynote of the day was delivered by Cindy Gallop, who was provided a list of micro-actions as a toolbox for each participant to drive change at his own office already now, without waiting for next big milestones. Focal point of that list is an urge to “redesign the way you do business” by finding a small project and doing it differently. Concentrating on prototyping and testing and being agile in everything we do, including the organizational processes as well.

Another suggestion was to “redesign the way you make money”, which calls for unconventiona business models, which are created on the fly to match the speed of innovation and tech advancement which we are currently facing. Cindy finalized her speech with a strong call for action: “Don’t wait for things to change. Make them change.”

Main takeaways for our team were simple. Companies still have a lot to work on to become even more customer centric, to create a platform for customers to grow, become engaged and eventually turn into evangelists for the brand. In the digital world, companies also need to decide how to be able to deliver on the key principles of great customer experiences, using modern tools and technologies. As one of the most inspiring speakers of the day, Dietmar Dahmen said, “If you are not special ­ you are exchangeable. Be different!”.

Through our Tieto Experience Hub, we are happy to support you in transformation towards becoming an agile, customer­centric successful company. We are happy to share more learnings and insights from Innoday and other professional forums, as well as our own experience based on real life cases. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss any specific topics, or just have a cup of coffee with our team in Helsinki or Stockholm. 

Ksenia Avetisova,
Erik Nyré,

Read more about Cusmer Experience Management and feel free to follow us on LinkedIn to get our latest insights and news. 

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