Great case: Transforming Korea Telecom

We’re big fans of the Mix – Management Innovation Exchange. It’s a fantastic platform for sharing and developing ideas around management innovation, HR, strategy and innovation.

KT

Recently, our friends at Strategos was featured in a transformation case they worked on with Korea Telecom.
This is a great case and a wonderful example of the holistic perspective required to succesfully lead large-scale transformations.

For special interest, we invite you to read the in-depth case by Julian Birkinshaw and Ken Mark.

Great case: Transforming Korea Telecom

Finn.no gets innovation

Statoil ASA and Snøhetta Design are listed as Norway’s two most innovative companies*Now, Finn.no is aiming to top both of them for the title of “one of the world’s most innovative companies”.

Finn.no has a long history of innovation. The company was founded on the very idea of disruptive innovation itself. The idea that the newspaper industry was facing a significant disruption in the market for ads. While the realization hit management back in 1996, it was not until the year 2000 today’s business model was launched.  Resistance to launching what came to be called Finn.no was originally stiff, as it would cannibalize an existing cash cow for many of Norway’s leading newspapers. According to sources close to the process, “Finn.no just barely made it past the decisionmakers ”. Yet, as Clayton Christensen frequently says, “If you don’t have to courage to disrupt yourself, somebody else will”.

In Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Solution, he recommend “that organizations develop internal innovation programs, which operate independently within the organization for the purpose of creating disruptive innovations, even if they will eventually undercut their main business. Better to disrupt yourself than to have someone else do it for you”(Gamme, 2006).

For the founding newspapers, this of course, was just what happened. Today, Finn.no is both a shooting star and cash cow with 44 % profit margin on revenues of NOK 1.1 bn. I don’t think you’ll find a lot of Newspapers with that kind of result margin these days.  Today, Schibsted’s more traditional newspaper business units (Norway and abroad) hover between 2 % and 18 % profit margins.

Finn.no’s amazing numbers are all thanks to innovation.

Since 2006, Finn.no has been working to define and strengthen its innovation process. (recommend reading this excellent blog post by Eyvind Larre, Finn.no head of innovation lab).

Today Finn.no is building its innovation engine further. Jens Hauglum was hired as Innovation Manager in May. on June 14th, the company took out an ad for the position of Innovation Catalyst.

It’s this ad that got our attention. 

We meet a lot of companies that talk about innovation. Some hire for innovation. But this ad is perhaps the most insightful innovation job posting we have ever seen in Norway. Many CEOs could learn from it.

In our upcoming paper “Where’s Your Innovation Academy?” we map out a holistic model for building a truly innovative company. Analyzing Finn.no using this model reveals just this kind of a highly innovative company.

The holistic model for innovation has the following steps:

Why: Strategic Context

Finn.no er et av Norges mest lønnsomme og mest besøkte nettselskaper, og er ledende i verden innen sitt forretningsområde. Finn.no er derfor en av spydspissene i Schibsted-konsernet innen online-virksomhet.

(Finn.no is one of Norway’s most profitable web sites, and a world leader in its field.)

To stay grow further, innovation is an absolute requirement (our comment)

What: Vision
“FINN har ambisjon om å være blant de mest innovative selskapene i verden’’ (Finn’s ambition is to be among the world’s most innovative companies)

How: three enablers (people, culture and processes)

“Dette skal vi få til ved å etablere innovasjonsprosesser og innovasjonskultur i verdensklasse’’(We’ll acheive this by establishing worldclass innovation processes and innovation culture)

Speaking for the people side; the CEO is ‘’ Passionate about innovation and people development”. The company has a number of people working on innovation processes. And Finn.no is ranked as Norway’s #1 Great Place to Work. 

Knowing there’s a strong link between employee engagement (measured in GPTW) and innovation capacity, it’s reasonable to assume a strong people-practice for innovation at Finn.no

Based on our work in Norway, Finn.no should be a candidate for one of the country’s most innovative companies already.

We’ve allowed ourselves to paste the entire ad below. We will be showing this to a lot of Norwegian HR-directors. There’s no need to be based in Silicon Valley to develop the innovation engine for tomorrow. Finn.no is doing it right here, right now. Well done!

Finn.no seeking Innovation Catalyst
(see the full ad here)

FINN.no har på sine 12 år rukket å få praktisk talt hele Norges befolkning som fornøyde brukere. Det er vel ikke utenkelig at akkurat du har svidd av en time eller tre her også? Slikt blir det fornøyde eiere av, og etter hvert 330 engasjerte medarbeidere som sitter samlet i Oslo sentrum. Markedsplassen vår er en braksuksess, men vi har ingen planer om å bli late og fornøyde av den grunn. FINN er en viktig del av mediekonsernet Schibsted og består av markedene FINN eiendom, FINN bil, FINN jobb, FINN torget, FINN reise og FINN oppdrag.

FINNs verdier som preger oss i alt vi gjør:
SULT – PRESISJON – TAKHØYDE – HUMØR

Innovasjonskatalysator

FINN har ambisjon om å være blant de mest innovative selskapene i verden. Dette skal vi få til ved å etablere innovasjonsprosesser og innovasjonskultur i verdensklasse. Innovasjon er en kjernekompetanse i FINN og sammen skal vi skape de beste markedsplassene, både nye og eksisterende. Sentralt i arbeidet med å oppnå dette er teamet som jobber med FINN Way of Innovation. Teamet eier målet om innovasjonsprosesser i verdensklasse og er sentral i arbeidet med å sette retning for, og implementere, måten FINN jobber med innovasjon på.

Vi er nå på jakt etter en ny kollega. Du skal, som stillingstittelen innebærer, være en katalysator for innovasjonsarbeidet i FINN. Du vil også være en viktig kulturbærer for innovasjonsarbeidet. Stillingen rapporterer til leder for innovasjon.

Arbeidsoppgaver:

Gartner: sørge for at det er jordsmonn, næring og hageredskap nok til at ideer sås, spirer og gror. Dette innebærer bla. at man skal eie prosesser og verktøy knyttet til idegenerering og verktøy, både online og ved hjelp av workshops og kreative teknikker. En viktig oppgave blir å hjelpe markedsplassene med å kjøre idekampanjer, verdiøke, prioritere og score ideer

Los: hjelpe nye og eksisterende markedsplasser med å implementere innovasjonsprosesser og verktøy. Dette innebærer bla. å være subject matter expert på innovasjon og ha sterke prosesslederegenskaper. Du må samtidig være dyktig på å bringe lærdom fra markedsplassene tilbake til den felles utviklingen av innovasjonsarbeidet i FINN

Kvalifikasjoner:

  • Erfaring fra innovasjonsarbeid, helst i større virksomhet
  • Erfaring fra å drive Idea Management prosesser, gjerne med erfaring i bruk av verktøy
  • Fasiliteringskompetanse og people skills
  • Prosess- og prosjektledelse
  • Metodekompetanse innen innovasjon
  • Gjerne erfaring fra startups
  • Erfaring fra konsulentvirksomhet vil bli vektlagt

Vi kan tilby

  • Konkurransedyktige betingelser
  • Gode pensjons- og forsikringsordninger
  • Bedriftshytter og leiligheter
  • Fri avis, telefon, nettbrett og internett.
  • Treningsmuligheter med eget treningsrom
  • Kontorer sentralt i Oslo sentrum
  • Et stimulerende, sosialt og utviklende arbeidsmiljø med dedikerte mennesker.

* note
Listed as in being the only two Norwegian companies in the most widely used international rankings. These include BusinessWeek’s , Fast Company’s MIC50, CNN/Fortune Magazine, and more.
Other rankings might provide other results. Valid as of time of writing.

Gallery

Kodak and its inability to change: a tale for many

The Jan 14th issue of The Economist published a truly excellent article on disruptive innovation and change management. We’ve long known of Kodak´s troubles. But few mainstream newspapers or magazines have written such an insightful piece as this.

Kodak was, as the Economist writes, the Google of its days. Highly inventive, highly innovative and successfully rolling out new, sustaining innovations. This lead to a 90% market share in film (can you spell market leader) and 85% of camera sales in the US. Well into the 1990’s, Kodak was rated as one of the world’s most valuable brands.

“By 1976 Kodak accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in America. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world’s five most valuable brands”. In fact, In 1996, Kodak was ranked the world’s fourth most-valuable brand behind Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s….

Then digital hit. At least, that’s what most people seem to believe.
But in reality, Kodak had been sitting on the Digital Camera and digital technology since 1973. Only they were afraid of the consequences…

Kodak engineer, Steven Sasson is credited with inventing the first digital camera in 1975 (first prototypes in 1973). Only to put it away for years…..when the company started developing its digital strategies, it was too little, too half-hearted and eventually too late. Starting 2000, the speed and size of the digital shift increased to the point of driving Kodak into a death spiral. Yet, Kodak was attemting to innovate. Using the framework of the Innovation Pyramid , Kodak did innovate on level one (Design and marketing) and level two (Products). The company failed, however, in level eight (business model innovation). So despite its launch of digital products, the lack of transformation on the business model level led to the eventual death of Kodak.

On January 19th 2012, Kodak officially announced the results of some 15 years of failed transformation. The company filed for “Voluntary Chapter 11 Business Reorganization” or Bankruptcy. For special interest, you can read the filing here.

The company´s success and downturn makes for a world class case study in the failures of leading change.
This 2006 Businessweek article “Mistakes Made On The Road To Innovation..
.” paints some of the inner life challenges Kodak had. Analyzing Kodak against the likes of Apple, DELL, IBM and Cisco, reveals what could have been if the company had been able to change.

At it´s peak Kodak employed 144.000 people. Today it has less than 14.000. Soon, only a handful. Analyzing this article reveals layers of layers of innovation challenges. The last Kodak moment? is an article students and executives should study and learn from. It holds a series of truths valid for all companies across all industries: successful innovation requires successful change management.

For a truly amazing 368 slide journey in the history of Kodak, we urge everyone to view this incredible presentation by Christian Sandstrom.

Trying to understand the decline of Kodak from a stock market analyst perspective is also very revealing. For an analysis of how stock analysts look at the paradigm shifts in disruptive innovation, lean back and enjoy this slideshow.

All images from The Economist.

Gallery

On the ground in the Brazilian growth engine

On the ground in the Brazilian growth engine
Much like China over the last 20 years, Brazil is experiencing an economic boom. But while a lot of the attraction has been focused on Rio de Janerio and Sao Paulo, you probably have to go off the beaten track to see the real story. Places like Campos, Quissama and Barra do Furado is where the future is happening – today.

I recently had the privilege to spend a few days in the area, seeing events unfold first hand. Meeting with Brazilian firms gives an opportunity to understand the challenges and opportunities from the Brazilian side of things. To understand business possibilities in Brazil, you need to go out and get your shoes dirty, off the beaten path of the big cities. Here are some of my reflections.

Think bigger – and execute
20.000 inhabitants, 1.800 employees in the municipality; yet the ambition is to build an offshore supply and logistics base four to six times the size of Dusavik, Stavanger, Norway. Complete with Heliports, training facilities and shipyards. And while you’re at it, the housing and hotels to influx of workers
That’s the kind of thinking I find. This is the kind of “Think Bigger”, that’s happening in Brazil today. But it is more than just thinking. It’s already being executed.

Today, Zones are regulated. Zoning regulation is something that can take 4 – 6 years in Brazil, due to highly complicated environmental laws and bureaucratic procedures. That’s done.

What used to be beach huts and kiosk, are now seeing the first buildings go up. Petrobras’ engineering arm is hard at work on phase one of the construction plan. And the first four firms are already signed on. (See also our previous post Port O’hoy)

Using Youtube to attract foreign investments
As a small municipality, the economic development team could easily blame scare resources. They don’t. Instead they are using a series of innovative strategies to attract foreign investments. Youtube, being one of them. Asking if we could get a copy of the well produced movie, the reply was “Claro, na Youtube”. (You can watch the two clips here and here)

Meeting with the local press

During our meetings, we were joined by local press. More than just reporting, they were obviously curious to learn more. The kind of questions they were fielding, indicated a desire to gain more knowledge into how to construct the solutions for Brazil’s future growth. My experiences from working with the Norwegian oil & gas industry proven interesting to them, as we dwelled into similarities and differences between the two countries on-going economic development. Special attention was given to the historical development of the entire oil industry in Norway and the growth of supply bases along the coast.

Some of my meetings centered on a small prefeitura some hours outside of Rio. Coming from a history of sugarcane farming, slavery, coconuts and pineapple, today it is located in the middle of the oil adventure that is Brazil. But with a lack of experience, expertise and training, they were learning on-the-go, as the economic development was shooting up around them.

Massive management education
As we describe in our upcoming blog post “A growth model for Brazil”, this preifetura is in the middle of stage one; Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Roads, airports, harbors, rail, electricity, sewage, water supply, Internet, 3G, 4G and housing are just the top of the list. But to get this right, long term perspective and good management is required. And this often requires education. The next decade is ripe for corruption, mismanagement and wasted resources. Education, in particular executive education on a massive scale could be the key to successfully sustain Brazil boom.

A significant challenge
Brazil’s human capital challenge is significant. But the country is progressing quickly in the right direction. Foreign firms considering a Brazil strategy, should get on the ground to understand both the political, economic and social aspects of developing your business model for Brazil. Few places gives you this kind of insight as learning from these rapidly evolving prefeituras in the south of Brazil.

On the ground in the Brazilian growth engine

Azul; Innovation case study

Diptic

Working up new case studies for the Innovation Pyramid. Azul fits the bill perfectly. Understanding how the airline become one of the most succesful airlines worldwide – in recordtime, in the world’s 127th country when it comes to ease of doing business. Now, that’s a fundamental innovation strategy at work. Doing on the ground research on Azul here in Brazil.

Azul; Innovation case study