Meet the transformers

In times of change, do you cut costs or innovate? Most executives are trained, hard-wired to cut costs. Some, they innovate and change – radically. We call them the Transformers.
Meet them at Strategy Summit.

There are three kinds of innovations

According to one of the world’s leading experts on corporate innovation, Professor Clay Christensen, there are three kinds of innovations; Efficiency innovations, Performance-improving innovations and Market-creating innovations.

#1 Efficiency innovations allows you to do more with less. Often, this means cost cutting, downsizing and making more efficient use of capital. Improving production lines, LEAN and organizational restructuring are all elements of this first category of innovations.

This kind of innovation can easily be handled in spreadsheets and financial assumptions. It quickly gives you improved financial metrics and will often make the board both comfortable and happy.

#2 Performance-improving innovations replace old models with newer models. iPhone 6+ or iPad 3 are perfect examples of ever-improving products. Flexible business models with a high degree of learning and adaptability are performance-improving innovations.  This category has many known factors and any innovation can be reasonably estimated on cost/benefits/market size/customer uptake and future cash flow.

Often, this kind of innovation follow a linear logic, as the same core product or service keeps getting incrementally better over time. As such, these innovations often fall prey to the radically new or highly disruptive forces.

 #3 Market-creating innovations are a very different category. These innovations create things that does not exist. They deliver value to consumers you do not know in markets you have never been. They require a bold, forward-looking board and management team to take a number of calculated risks as most factors are yet unknown. Market size? Who can tell? Price Point? Only volume and experience will show, but it is likely to trend towards. Required technology? Plenty, some of which does not exist. Business Models? We hope we will figure them out as we go.

Recent successes; Tesla Motors, Amazon Cloud, SpaceX, Zaptec, Uber, Snapchat and Facebook.

This third kind of innovation makes most executives and boards highly uncomfortable. It requires risks, aspirations, bold ideas and a high degree of business model flexibility to master.

What did you learn in school?

We need all three kinds of innovations. But, the problem is, most executives and boards are trained in the first two, with most emphasis on number one, Efficiency innovations. Spreadsheets, economic assumtions and safe calculations are the fall-back reflex to most executives facing troubling times.

Today we read in Norwegian newspapers; ‘’we’re facing a crisis”. The oil price is dropping; from $€115 to $47, with some analysts predicting $20. Our Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, speak publicly on the need for “more legs to stand on”, on the need for Norway to develop new industries. Industries using our technology, our skills and our advanced know-how, onto new areas and new markets. The Prime Minister is calling for Transformation. The Prime Minister is calling for Market-Creating Innovations. Problem is, most executives do not know how.

Leading strategic transformations

An increasing number of companies are starting to realize they need to change, to innovate and in many cases deeply reinvent themselves. The assumptions they took for granted; market stability, rate of external change, customer loyalty, global oil prices are changing faster than any scenario predicted – if they even ran scenario analysis.

One client of ours discussed a scenario workshop his team ran a year ago. He suggested, as a scenario, that the oil price would drop to $70 – or just below. Most executives in the room laughed it of, stating “That would be a huge problem for us”. Well, today it’s sitting near $45 – and dropping rapidly.

Industries outside the energy field are facing similar scenarios. Increased competition from abroad, using newer technology and lower cost structure cause the base assumptions to come under pressure, leaving management and the board searching for a near-term, quick-fix solution.

Across these industries, what they should be focusing on is learning to lead strategic transformations. What they should develop is the deep capacity for market-creating innovations.

Meet the transformers

Strategy Summit 2015 Tranformation _Meet the transformers 1

Around the world, a handful of companies are busy developing the deep capability of transformation and repeat reinvention. DSM, Dutch company with 24.000+ employees have gone through five significant waves of transformation, most recently leaving the oil industry to transform itself into a global leader in advanced life- and materials sciences. Behind this transformation is a long-term, capability building in innovation and new business development.

Shackelton Energy Company is leading the development of the next phase of the global energy industry. Their transformation is on a industry level (see the Innovation Pyramid and Nine Levels of Innovation). Their aspiration; putting gas stations in space and – over time – become just another boring utility…. Says the company, “Our fuel stations will change how we do business in space and jump-start a multi-trillion dollar industry. Much like gold opened the West, lunar water will open space like never before.”. Interestingly, the company is now travelling to the Nordics to team up with mining, oil and energy experts to develop the industrial operations. It is, says the company, “It’s like building an offshore oil rig—only in space’’

Now you can meet them, and learn first hand from these transformative companies, on January 29th.

Welcome to Strategy Summit

We believe most companies need to learn how to develop the capacity for market-creating innovations. Most executives need to understand what transformation means for their companies and most boards need to handle the risks and uncertainties in deep transformations. That’s why we invite you to our second annual Strategy Summit: Transformation. Taking place in Stavanger, Norway on January 29th, Strategy Summit, this one-day conference is all about  how you can lead strategic transformation.

Program Highlights

Putting gas stations in space: fueling the space frontier
Jim Keravala, co-founder, Shackelton Energy Company

Making space investible: show me the markets!
Erika Ilves, co-founder Transplanetary

Leading strategic transformation: DSM’s journey from mining to sciences
Rob Kirschbaum, frmr vp open innovation, dsm

Newspace – it’s time to think outside the planet
Ole Gunnar Dokka, member of the board, think outside the planet and strategy & innovation director, INT

The architecture of strategy & transformation
Christian Rangen, Partner, Engage // Innovate, co-founder Innovation Dock

And network with change leaders and innovators and learn new strategy tools for transformation.

Hope to see you in stavanger on january 29th.
Learn more at

E-post signatur_UuberMvisma

Meet the transformers

Post-ONS 2014; Now What?

“Changes” the theme from ONS2014 was loud and clear,
But “Changes”, how and excactly what?

ONS 2014 is a few weeks away. This years’ theme, “Changes” was clear across speakers, conference tracks and all media fronts. Everyone, it seemed, agreed on the need for change.

But now, a few weeks later, where does the industry begin?

Finding growth or cutting costs?

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting.
The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament”

– Steve Jobs, 1999

The big question for any organization in the oil and gas industry; what’s our strategy moving forward? Should we be cutting costs; streamlining operations, making ourselves more efficient and show a stronger financial return in the short-term? Or should we be developing a more innovative organization, developing the people, culture, strategy and processes to truly stand out as a leading, innovative company?

The problem is, most executives in large companies today have the tools and training (and incentives) to cut costs. Yet, as Josh Linkner states; “I also realized how creatively bankrupt most companies are today. With a constant focus on cost cutting, efficiency gains, and top-down control, too many organizations have lost their mojo.”

Innovation: only getting harder

At ONS, “Innovation” was on everyone’s lips. Some of it marketing, much of it genuine. But what most people really talked about was usually “Technology innovation” or “Process innovation” – and then, even incremental in nature.

On our earlier work with Statoil, Aker Solutions, GDF Suez, Halliburton and other key industry players, we’ve identified an industry with a driving energy (!) around these two elements of innovation, “Tech” and “Processes”. While both are crucially important, these two areas are only two of the nine levels of innovation.

Using the Innovation Pyramid to understand innovation

The Innovation Pyramid - ONS2014








The Nine levels of innovation

  1. Design & marketing innovation

The external facing design, marketing and communications. This is where most marketing, ad and design-studios have their expertise. While creative in nature, innovation at this first level rarely induce significant change on the organization as a whole.

  1. Product innovation
    New or improved products. Much innovation here centers on incremental product extension.
  2. Service innovation

Developing new services is for many the “next big field of innovation”. Much research is currently going into service innovation development.

  1. Markets, customers and channels innovation

The go-to-market strategy offers chance for innovative thinking across markets, segments, customer profiling and of course channels. Today we’re seeing a significant growth in digital channels across established industries. Any retailer today needs to understand and innovate for a local-global, omnichannel world.

  1. Technology innovation

Developing and putting new technologies to use. The Norwegian oil & gas industry recently ranked #40 globally in putting new technology innovation to actual use, yet tech innovation still receives the largest focus of innovation.

  1. Process innovation

Changing how we work requires process innovation. Much of Statoil’s STEP program is focused on “simplifying the way we work”

STEP - Statoil technical efficiency program

7. Management innovation

Changing the way we build and lead organizations and networks requires management innovation. It is a little known and understood area of innovation, but rapidly gaining acceptance, through excellent work by Gary Hamel, Julian Birkinshaw and many others.

For the industry, Management innovation is a requirement for significant change, and something also Statoil addresses in its’s STEP presentation.

STEP - Management Innovation -

  1. Business model innovation

Business model innovation allows us to change the revenue models, change the cost structure and eventually take a system-level perspective on all the aspects of your business model. Industries facing significant disruptions today, like media, newspapers, education and A multitude of business model perspectives exists, with Innosight, Girotra  Business Models Inc and Strategyzer offering the most common ones. Today, most firms also understand the need for a portfolio of business models and the tools, like Three Levels of Business Models, to make this happen.

9. Industry innovation

Industry innovation is probably the least understood and by far the most challenging aspect of innovation. How do you get started on creating a new industry? On radically upsetting and changing the norms, mental models and dynamics of an established industry? Disruptive cases like Nokia and Kodak shows us how strong established industry norms can be, as most significant innovations come from outside the established industry.

Much of the talk at ONS, while only implicit in nature, implied significant innovation required at both a business model, management and industry level. As we know from working with the Innovation Pyramid across organizations and industries, these three levels of innovations are significantly more difficult to succeed in.

For the oil & gas industry, the key players are really leading a move to Management innovation, Business model innovation and significantly, industry innovation. The talk at ONS 2014, was mostly “Tech” and “Processes”. But from our point of view, the story emerging is much more on the more challenging levels of innovation. This is crucial, for the ability to succeed, requires far more work and far stronger innovation efforts to succeed at the lower three levels of the Innovation Pyramid.

To succeed, new tools, new thinking and new collaboration models, revenue models, cost-sharing models, industry incentives and industry dynamics will be required.

Recommended thinking ahead

For the industry, moving forward, a significant level of change is to be expected.  This is also the core of our Executive education program, ‘’Strategic Innovation in the Global Oil & Gas industry”, run at BI – Norwegian Business School. In this program, we recommend the following four management books to best understand the forces of change, innovation and leadership.

The End of Competitive Advantage
Our #1 recommendation for strategy executives today.

Strategic Transformation: Changing While Winning
A fantastic piece of research on how to lead transformation while still running your old core business.

What Matters Now
On the challenges of leading in highly innovative and disrupted environments

Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World
Leading change – faster. The latest work by Change management expert John Kotter.

We feel strongly, the combined ideas in these four books, can help lay the foundation for change and build a roadmap for more innovation, faster change and better handling of multiple levels of the Innovation Pyramid going forward.

Because one thing is sure, looking back at ONS 2014, the industry will surely need it.

Early next month I will be speaking at a strategy and leadership session at Statoil. I’ll be sharing the stage with top Statoil executives presenting the next steps of the STEP program. I’ll be looking forward to learning more how Statoil will handle multiple levels of innovation here.

Post-ONS 2014; Now What?

The need for new strategy tools

What strategists need _ Engage Innovate Blog

Since 2010, we’ve been on a misson to “develop and share new strategy tools”. Our work goes under the title, ”Strategy Tools for the Next Generation“. In the the latest McKinsey Quarterly, the consulting firm lays out their case for a world in need of new strategy tools. It’s a strongly recommended read

The evidence is abundant. The world needs new strategy tools. The process of strategy; how companies shape their own future is rapidly changing. Yet the challenge remains; how do we solve tomorrow’s challenges using yesterday’s tools. Well, simply put. We don’t. Most of the strategy tools in actual use around the world were built for a time of slower change, less integrated markets, a more stable industry structure and a far longer life-time of most large companies.

This is just the reason we are in need of new tools, new thinking and a fundementally new logic around strategy. We’ve been proposing this for a number of years through “Two Lenses on Strategy“.

Two lenses on strategy
Two lenses on strategy by: Engage // Innovate’s Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

With this background in mind, we found McKinsey’s recent “What the Strategists Need: A Meeting of the Minds”, to be an incredibly valuable contribution to the field.  In a lenghty conversation between Strategy Officers, CEO’s, Strategy Professors and McKinsey’s Head of Strategy Practice, we get a great look into the current thinking around ”the state of the discipline,…with an emphasis on innovation in a changing world”.

We’ve chosen a few sections for summary of the talk (in italic) and our own comments below.

Old tools are actively misleading

”Yes, I think we may need new tools or frameworks. When the environment changes profoundly, the maps with which we navigate it may need to shift as well. For instance, from telco to healthcare to computers, sector boundaries are changing or dissolving, and new business models are redefining the competitive landscape. So tools such as Michael Porter’s five forces, created for a more stable, more easily definable world, don’t just lose their relevance—they become actively misleading”

This is a crucial point. The stable industry structure most strategists are comfortable with is increasingly getting challenged. Rita McGrath suggests “arenas” as fields of competitive thinking. A failure to acknowledge and understand these forces, will lead executives to view the world through wrong and directly misleading lenses.

We use what we know

”One reason our frameworks often seem out of date is that managers persevere to the point of desperation with the familiar things they learned 10, 20, or 30 years ago”

This is something we see often with clients and workshop participants  – and it also explains why the field of strategy is moving slowly in established companies. Today’s top executives went to school 20-30 years ago, and the theories and tools they learned were already getting out-dated. It’s no wonder, and quite a natural explanation on “the stuff we learned, is the stuff we feel comfortable using”.

Our tools are getting out-paced 

“A major problem is that the theoretical and empirical research in strategy has moved so quickly… that its distillation into intuitive concepts and frameworks applicable to strategy-making processes of firms has lagged far behind”

Yet, the challenge is not only the executives learning slowly (see our previous point). It’s also very much a problem of academy moving too slowly. A typical strategy research project can take years to design and complete, and yet several more years and multiple reviews to get published. In the meantime, the research and emerging tools simply get out-dated. Erik Wilberg, a senior lecturer on strategy at BI – Norwegian Business School and a long-time researcher on the media industry stated, “by the time my research gets published, it’s already out-dated”. Yet, this is changing. Crowd-sourcing, built on an open, global platform is now driving speed in academic research and time-to-market. The best example has been the “The Capitalist’s Dillemma“, with it’s unique approch to research. We can expect to see more creative, disruptive models of research in the future.

First, think. Different

My view is that we need …to help executives rethink what they do”

A key starting point for any strategy process; what’s our mind-set.Our starting point is always to help explore existing dominant logics and thinking modes. Without this, most teams simply fall into the mental trap of “more of the same, within our hidden, predominant view of the world”, i.e. trapped deeply in the box.

Innovation Thinking Modes -by Strategy Tools for the Next Generation
Innovation Thinking Modes -by Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

There’s a superb selection of books, helping Strategy Officers challenge their existing mind-set. We recommend:
Creative Confidence, by the Kelly Brothers
Creating Minds, by Howard Gardner
Mindset, by Carol Dweck

Questions drive creative thinking

”Framing questions is the other tough challenge, and it’s one of the most important yet underappreciated parts of strategy development”

Yes! A core skill for any Strategy facilitator, Strategy Officer and CEO, is the ability to find and ask the right questions at the right time. The skill to ask mind-opening, exploring and energizing questions, while most people around the table simply expect another PowerPoint presentation is a trigger for good stratey processes.

Strategy is fundamentally a creative excercise 

”A strategy is not the obverse of an analysis. It usually comes from some creative insight”

Gary Hamel, Clayton Christensen, Rita McGrath, Bill Fischer, Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Costas Markides, Scott Anthony and Mark W. Johnson are just a hand-ful of the strategy experts arguing strategy being a fundementally creative excercise. Yet, few executives are trained in the skills and tools to make this happen. Yet.

Strategic innovation is challenging 

”…but it’s darned difficult to create truly innovative strategy options.”

Strategy; from "linear plan" to "a portfolio of business models"
Strategy; from “linear plan” to “a portfolio of business models”

We see the field of strategy moving from “a linear plan” to “juggeling a portfolio of overlapping and competing business models”. Rita McGrath calls this “balance a transient portfolio” of business models.

Developing a series of strategy options is one thing. Developing and running a series of business models, and reinventing the company again and again around these various business models, that’s a whole other challenge. Today, Amazon and Apple are the two leading examples. Tesla Motors is emerging as another. Yet, the truth is, for most strategy executives today, ”…it’s darned difficult to create truly innovative strategy options.”

This is why we find our work around Strategy Tools for the Next Generation to be highly energizing and a fantastic challenge. The world is learning to work differently with strategy – and we hope to contribute to that movement. The McKinsey Roundtable is another great conversation on the topic and we will see more of these in the future. For us, the next will be in Vienna, in November, we’re we’ll be joining the 6th annual Global Drucker Forum, The Great Transformation. With many of the world’s leading strategy academics in session, we’re looking forward to the conversations on changing how the world works with strategy and innovation.

The need for new strategy tools

On Tesla’s TV

It’s kind of cool to get picked up and featured on Tesla Motor’s internal tv stream.

Earlier this year we held the Strategy Summit: Learning to Work Differently with Strategy.
29 CEO’s and business leaders gathered in Stavanger, Norway for a full day of hands-on strategy tools and strategy cases. One of these tools, and one of these cases was Tesla Motors.
We used the company as a case study on the “Three Levels of Business Models” tool.

Today, we noticed Tesla Motors is running this on their company internal smart tv solution.

On Tesla’s TV

Why we need new strategy tools – and how to use them


(full interview from the FEI blog, Jan. 20th, 2014)

We recently had a chance to do a Q&A with Christian Rangen & Elisabeth Ovstebo, founders of Engage // Innovate and Strategy Tools for the Next Generation: Q: Chris, over the past four years, you and Elisabeth have worked to develop a series of new strategy and innovation tools. Tell us about the background. A: Sure Valerie. The field of strategy has changed significantly over the last 10 – 15 years. But the tools and practices in most firms around the world hasn’t changed at the same pace. Columbia Professor Rita McGrath, author of ‘’The End of Competitive Advantage’’ – strategy book of the year 2013- , says “Strategy is stuck”. We very much concur with her. Q: So what are these big changes that are happening in the field? A: When we look at the world of strategy today – the big picture – we see five major trends. #1 Business models are getting broken faster #2 The life time of large firms is declining rapidly #3 The speed of x is increasing exponentially #4 Trying to handle these forces, some firms are learning to cycle through a series of business models #5 Disruptions are quickly becoming the new normal

Q: So what should companies do? A: We recommend two steps: Number one: companies should move from “strategy as analysis” to “Strategy as innovation”. This requires a fundamental shift in how strategy is perceived and requires a change in mindset, ambitions, perspectives on the future and business model logic. This is also where most innovation heroes should direct their energies – connect their burning passion to the strategic context of the firm.

Number two: strategy should shift from a “linear plan built around defending a core business model” to a “continuously shifting through business models, spread across a time horizon”. This is the simple core idea behind one of the tools, the Strategic Innovation Canvas. Think of it as juggling a high paced innovation portfolio at a strategic level. This requires constant innovation, proactive change and a series of new management skills. Rita writes well about it in her book.

Q: So why is this so difficult? A: Well, it shouldn’t be. We have ample research. There are stacks of excellent books on the topic, including ‘’The End of Competitive Advantage’’, ‘’Game-Changing Strategies”, “Strategic Transformation”, “Business Model Generation” and “Seizing the White Space” to name a few. But there’s a big gap between reading the material and “doing”. We need to move from primarily theories and text, to clear, visual thinking and hands-on training and doing. Q: And this is where your work around new tools comes in? That’s why we’ve spent the last four years, not only on original research, but on developing visually strong, hands-on, action tools. Tools that are easy to use. Tools that can be learned in a matter of hours. Tools that help executives be more successful with strategy and innovation. Tools like the Innovation Pyramid, Innovation Thinking Modes and Innovation vs. Reaction, to name three, all build on extensive research and background work. But they are easy to understand and easy to put to use, without having to go through all the textbooks themselves. That’s the key. So far we have 14 tools online, with more designs in the pipeline. All of them available for free at, under the Creative Commons philosophy. Q: Elisabeth, what are some of the effects you’re seeing with firms putting these new tools to use? A: Well, there are three main effects. First, innovation quickly comes an integral part of strategy. People see that new thinking and new ideas – strategic creativity – becomes a core asset. Tools like Strategic Innovation Canvas and Three Levels of Business Models just enables this very natural move of strategy = innovation Second, strategy becomes much more of a dynamic and inclusive process, through more creative workshops and lots of visual thinking. Working with visual strategy facilitators, like Holger Nils Pohl is just a fantastic experience. He will also be joining our workshop, by the way. Finally, people develop a shared understanding, a shared language and shared action around strategy. Alex Osterwalder has worked energetically to design a shared language around business models. We’re seeing the same thing around the wider field of strategy. We should also add, for most clients, we make strategy fun and exciting again – like it should be. Teams we work with drive strategy with a far more innovative mindset and as a result a more innovative strategy follows.

Q: And you will cover some these tools in your workshop? A: Yes, we will. We are very happy to get a chance to present and share our work at FEI. This is a fabulous arena with fellow innovators from around the world. We always learn so much. Our workshop will be very much a hands-on, doing, working session. It’s pretty exciting to put 25 – 30 executives in the same room and see them work with each other, quickly helping each other solve actual strategy and innovation challenges. While we will use some cases, like Tesla Motors, Google and Amazon; our focus is doing and learning. We want to see people master new tools in 3 hours – rather than just hear about them. We try to stay very interactive.

Q: Chris, what are some of the challenges you’re facing when working with these tools?
A: Throughout our executive education programs, our workshops and consulting projects, we see two key challenges.
The first is “lack of time”. Over and over again, we find key management groups being simply too busy, too operational to contemplate fundamental shifts to their strategic logic. For many, replying e-mails and handling current clients gets all their attention. The day-to-day operation gets in the way of time to seriously dive into new strategy tools and radically change the trajectory of their futures. We call it the “pull of the present”. In our experience, this is clearly the biggest challenge.
Second, is a perceived a lack of strategic creativity. “I’m not a creative person” or even worse, “we are not an innovative team”. We hear this a lot. But it’s not true. Building on the words of David Kelley of IDEO, “Anybody can be strategically creative  – you just have to learn how’’ (ok, so we added strategically). His recent book, Creative confidence, is a great read on this subject.  But really, we spend a significant amount of time building creative thinking skills and revealing how the mind actually works – and how this impacts and inhibits our innovative thinking. Once teams crack this code, creative strategic options flow forward and truly create engagement and buy-in.
Q: On a closing note, what would be your top two advices on what not to do for firms moving into 2014 on the topics we are discussing?
A: Number one; don’t believe your present core business model will last as long as you think.
With the speed of change increasing exponentially, a lot of companies will face disruption and industry upheaval in the coming decade. Start laying the groundwork for your next series of core businesses models today.
Number two; don’t treat strategy and innovation as two separate disciplines.
The strategy people and the innovation people should be connected at multiple levels. They should run joint programs, workshops and company-wide processes. Working together, they should define strategy roadmaps, experiment with new business models, run innovation portfolios and redefine the way strategy gets done. This is truly where innovation needs to be happening, at a strategic level.
Editor’s Note:
Christian Rangen & Elisabeth Ovstebo are founders of Engage // Innovate and Strategy Tools for the Next Generation. They are strategy & innovation consultants, business school lecturers, authors, frequent innovation speakers and happy owners of a Brazilian management camp. Christian is also a member of FEI’s advisory board.
Since 2010 they’ve been on a mission to develop new strategy & innovation tools. So far, 14 tools are published at They work with multinational companies to establish new innovation and strategy practices. They also run Engage // Innovate Ventures, investing in disruptive business ideas.
Meet Christian & Elisabeth at their half-day workshop, “Your Future Innovation Tools: Strategy Tools for the Next Generation” at Front End of InnovationMunich and Venice.
* All illustrations by Holger Nils Pohl and Christian Rangen.
Why we need new strategy tools – and how to use them

Joining the MIX

Welcome to the MIX. The global Management Innovation Exchange.
Mission: reinvent manangement

Today is the final day of entering this round of the global innovation competition; Innovating Innovation Challenge. Set forth by Harvard Business Review, McKinsey and the MIX, the competiton gathers global thinkers and doers around innovation for mutual learning and inspirations. Among Norwegian firms, Statoil has been duly noted in 2012. This year, and our client Peanuts have both entered the MIX. We’re proud and delighted to see more Norwegian firms entering this global innovation network.
We’re also delighted to share that Strategy Tools for the Next Generation is now featured as one of the “Hacks”. Read more.


Joining the MIX gets innovation

Statoil ASA and Snøhetta Design are listed as Norway’s two most innovative companies*Now, is aiming to top both of them for the title of “one of the world’s most innovative companies”. 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 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, “ 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, 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.’s amazing numbers are all thanks to innovation.

Since 2006, has been working to define and strengthen its innovation process. (recommend reading this excellent blog post by Eyvind Larre, head of innovation lab).

Today 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 using this model reveals just this kind of a highly innovative company.

The holistic model for innovation has the following steps:

Why: Strategic Context er et av Norges mest lønnsomme og mest besøkte nettselskaper, og er ledende i verden innen sitt forretningsområde. er derfor en av spydspissene i Schibsted-konsernet innen online-virksomhet.

( 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 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

Based on our work in Norway, 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. is doing it right here, right now. Well done! seeking Innovation Catalyst
(see the full ad here) 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:


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.


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


  • 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.