25 Aug 2021

Accelerating renewal and innovation

Accelerating renewal and innovation

What a summer we have had! Warm and sunny days followed by still evenings and clear summer nights. There is no better way to charge batteries and get ready for new challenges – professionally and personally. Yet, while the summer has been a welcome break from the COVID-19 isolation, the pandemic is far from being over and urges us to prepare for the future.


Discovering opportunities for renewal and innovation is increasingly driven by partnerships and collaboration. In the changing business environment organisations and leaders need to find new strategic frameworks, tools and ways of working. This is what we have in stock at Hanken & SSE Executive Education.

Business environment

The fact that change in our business environment is accelerating is hardly news to anyone. However, the pandemic has demonstrated that we need new strategic tools to respond to changes in the short, medium and long term.

  • In the short term, we need flexibility, which is built on understanding changes beyond the industry in which we operate through dialogue with our ecosystem partners – customers, competitors and other organisations that we partner with.
  • In the medium term, we need tools to analyse opportunities for incremental and disruptive innovation and ways of working to address both simultaneously.
  • And in the long term, we need ways of working to ensure foresight as a part of our strategy processes to discover opportunities and view change more broadly and to define in what business are we in within 10+ years.

Managing different time horizons is however not the only change that we see in strategic thinking. The context has changed as well: It is not only about profit - people and the planet matter too. For example, climate change and the ageing population are both wicked problems and huge opportunities. Companies that are able to be part of the solution, will most likely be able to create new business and broader socio-economic and environmental impact.

Organisation and leadership

Renewal and innovation are strategic choices. But they call for new ways of organising and leading as very few organisations can succeed alone. Most need partners, and to attract and recruit the best ones there is a need to find new ways of organising and leading – the “what” and the “how”.

  • The “what”: From the organisational perspective it is about being clear about the purpose and systematic mapping of opportunities for innovation – and then defining what to do and what not to do. In other words, organisation for innovation and renewal start by defining strategy and aligning objectives related to profit, people and plane.
  • The “how”: A well-defined purpose helps with recruiting and retaining the best people – as employees and partners. Leadership changes as well – ecosystems are not ecosystems, and building and leading diverse teams begins with understanding self and accepting others.

Accelerate. Renew. Innovate.

The journey to renewal and innovation begins with understanding the context. The opportunities. The challenges. And the people. It is about thinking and acting in short, medium and long terms. It is about understanding that very few people and companies can make it alone and about adapting our leadership styles based on the context and situation.

Timing matters. And the time to start thinking about the future is now. If you feel that you need to accelerate your journey to renewal and innovation, join us!


About the author

Sari Kola, Doctor of Science (Tech.), Program Director and Board Professional, works as an entrepreneur and researcher on topics related to strategy, renewal and corporate culture, and ecosystems. She is in the boards of Finnish Consulting Group, Innovation Home, Futures Platform and Helsinki Partners. She is the author of Ecosystem Handbook (2020) and the Innovaatiotohtori blog. Sari is a global citizen with 20+ years of international experience in strategic management of innovation, sales and customer experience, of which 12+ years from outside Finland working for companies like Nokia Networks, Nokia, Elisa and KONE in global and regional positions. She is passionate in developing new business, ecosystems and bringing out the best in people.

Image for Sari Kola
Sari Kola
Program Director, Doctor of Science (Tech.), Entrepreneur, Researcher

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