This week it’s been exceptionally easy to see where the world is going. Every company I’ve spoken with is busy nordifying itself.
Let me give you three examples. I’ll buy you a bottle of sparkly if you guess the companies’ names right.
A centuries-old family-owned business can no longer submit bids for a cutting-edge operating room for one Finnish hospital as it used to. No. The customer now needs a plan for a large number of operating rooms across the Nordics.
A car company is starting to build its Baltic arm out of Finland. But it has no office in Finland. The Nordic operation is run out of Copenhagen.
A global provider of information technology and process outsourcing doesn’t see the Nordics as countries but as one powerful market. Everything is a matrix. The Nordic CEO sits in Zurich, the technology wizards are based in Helsinki, and the marketing department is in Stockholm.
There are two trends at play:
- Globally, the units are getting bigger. It’s clear that the Nordic and, often also, the Baltic countries are seen as one unit. It’s not always unified or united, mind you, but it is of feasible size – 8th biggest in the world to be more precise – as well as super-advanced and sophisticated.
- If companies wish to operate in Northern Europe, they will have to have capabilities in all the Nordic countries. But they no longer get organized along national borders but on competencies and efficiencies they identify anywhere within the Nordic market. There is a new logic to building a presence in Northern Europe.
For the Nordic countries themselves, this is a welcome development. They should embrace it. None of them alone is viable in the global market. Together, however, they can be something quite unique and interesting.
My colleagues Peter in Sweden, Jason in Norway, Daria in Estonia, and Niina in Denmark see the exact same thing. These developments will fundamentally change the way national business environments fare and the dialogues Nordic companies should be part of.
That’s why we have the New North Forum, a peer-to-peer network for Nordic CEOs.
The leaders of each of the three companies described above will attend the two events this week in Helsinki: the dinner with Minister Anne Berner on Wednesday and the New North luncheon with Erkki Liikanen, the Governor of the Bank of Finland, on Thursday. He will give us an economic outlook. We will also release a small survey on how Nordic CEOs see the political turmoil affecting their businesses.
We look forward to an inspiring, fortifying and, first and foremost, nordifying program. Welcome to Helsinki!
Kristiina Helenius, CEO