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Changing the World, One Company at a Time

We’re seeing a new bold generation of thinkers and doers.

 

They don’t complain, they lead the way and put their heads, hearts and hands in the game. They come up with solutions and inspire people they talk with.

 

Professor Pekka Mattila’s Large Company Study surveying 250 of the country’s largest enterprises showed that Finnish companies are in savings mode. Anyone can save money, but not everyone can grow.

 

In established companies, Pekka sees bottlenecks that prevent growth: they have difficulty sensing where to go, seizing opportunities, and implementing their strategies.

 

Big companies are also often slow-moving, risk-averse and have more to lose if they fail. Because of this, they need help reinventing themselves in order for growth to happen.

 

Enter Kasvuryhmä, the self-proclaimed “AA for crazy Finnish entrepreneurs”.

 

By entrepreneur, they don’t mean small business owners. Kasvuryhmä feeds on the entrepreneurial spirit that can be found within any individual or organization.

 

Literally translated as “Growth Group” in English, Kasvuryhmä requires members to make an “outrageous promise” upon joining. Most peer groups are about support, but this group isn’t afraid to put on the pressure: company representatives pledge to double their growth by 2020, and make sure that happens by keeping one another accountable.­

 

CEO Annu Nieminen says we need to have courage – courage to go from observing and analyzing to risk-taking, owning, and doing. If we’re going to talk the talk, we’ve also got to walk the walk.

 

Courage is needed within the government, too. At this spring’s New North Forum, Minister Anne Berner gave an inspiring speech that truly left an impression. There was one thing in particular that really stuck with me. She said that if you notice that the government is doing something right, speak up and give them credit.

 

The symptoms Pekka associated with bottlenecks are also not exclusive to enterprise. Government suffers from them, just like businesses do. During the first year of its term, the current Finnish government has also been in savings mode. We do see some courage in their efforts, however, and some seeds of growth have been planted.

 

Large organizations tend to over-plan and under-implement. They have a fear of failure and trouble accepting failure when it happens. I give credit to the companies that dare to enter the market with an 80% ready product and learn from the consumer as the product develops. I also applaud a government that dares to try and, if the objective is not met, admit the failure and try something new.

 

By Kimmo Collander

 

Amcham organizes more than 100 events annually. Annu Nieminen, CEO of Kasvuryhmä, and Pekka Mattila, CEO of Aalto EE have spoken at GIP Breakfasts and Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications spoke at the New North Forum.