Focusing on values that embrace humanity and sustainability

Focusing on values that embrace humanity and sustainability

Rethinking work

To take care of the well-being of their employees, businesses need to rethink how they structure assigned work. This will depend on the internal workings and culture of the company. Employing technology, AI and automation can allow employees to have shorter workdays, work remotely and thus optimize their efficiency. Technology is changing the way we work, and the traditional approach to work is no longer sufficient to meet everyone involved in the business’ needs. We need new, efficient ways to conduct processes.

 

Authenticity

Gen Z are digital natives, and they are entering the world of work and simultaneously becoming the biggest consumer market. What makes Gen Z different is that they are extremely focused on authenticity, diversity, inclusivity, equality, sustainability, and ethical consumption. To cater to this population, businesses need to make sure that they are producing products that have small to non-existent carbon footprints. Authentic brands and companies embody their values and culture as well as conduct all their actions wholly based on this. They live and stand by their values and make decisions accordingly. Brands and businesses need to be inclusive of, or cater to, people of all ability levels. They have to embrace equality and diversity.

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is a massive trend and can be seen in all industries, from fashion to food to tourism and architecture. Consumers are highly eco-conscious, and they want to know where their products come from. This can be done by using technology in labeling or on the packaging that allows the consumer to see from where their product or produce originated, which path it followed to get to where it was bought, and what was involved in getting it there. The packaging of products should be minimalistic and 100% recyclable or reusable. Consumers are aware of their impact on the environment, and this makes them very focused on the ingredients producers use in their products. Producers need to be conscious and aware of their consumers’ needs and wants. The demand for natural and cruelty-free products is ever-increasing, and some cosmetic companies have even focused on the amount of water used in their manufacturing.

 

Ethics

Never before in human history have consumers had information at their fingertips via the accessibility of the internet as they have now. Scandalous acts that companies try to hide their misconducts can quickly become widely known. Consumers use readily available information, which has made them ultra-aware. Aware of what it takes to make the products they consume and what the impact of their consumption is. Investments have been made in companies that create artificial meat to curb cruelty to animals in the food and beverage industry. Luxury brands are now becoming vegan, ethically catering to the needs of their consumers. Consumers ultimately want companies that not only share their values but live them too.

 

Embracing nature

Companies are becoming aware of nature’s healing and calming qualities. Also, working environments aim to bring nature indoors. You may see treehouse meeting rooms and walkway waterfalls. And not only does this apply in corporate work areas but also retail. A new type of environment advances creativity and innovative thinking. Healthy employees have higher levels of productivity and thus making sure your employees have surroundings to aid in their well-being improves the efficiency of a business.

 

Companies that can embrace the changing standards associated with ways of working and production will be successful in the near future. When the well-being of all is taken seriously, and businesses align themselves with this purpose, they are well on their way to success. Sustainability should be a core value of all companies that hope to be top achievers in their field. Doing good makes a profitable business.

 

Power of stories in business

Power of stories in business

Stories have been told ever since humanity developed a language. As long as there have been campfires, humans have gathered around them and conveyed their view of the world using stories. Stories are memorable and powerfully connect us to our listeners. The use of stories properly conveyed, is actually how we prefer to receive communications.

Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders and organizations have, to influence, teach, and inspire. Stories can be used to sprinkle some magic on businesses, corporate cultures, services, and products. It is advisable to write and tell stories to stand out in the market, engage people, and make an impression. In the business world stories help solidify relationships in a way that factual statements encapsulated in bullet points or numbers don’t.

Storytelling also helps with learning because stories are more engaging than a dry recitation of data points or a discussion of abstract ideas. The subject is easier to adopt if it is linked to one’s work with an identifiable case-example. Good stories can contain multiple meanings so they’re surprisingly economical in conveying complex ideas in graspable ways so that they are easier to understand, remember, and apply. Stories are unforgettable, and things learned through stories are easier to bring back to the active memory from the recesses of your mind. Another storytelling aspect that makes it so effective is that it works for all types of learners.

Every business tells a story. It’s important to make sure your company is telling the right one. A strategy tells a story of why the company exists and what its purpose is. The entire strategy process can be storified, if the business so desires. The visions of the business are based on well-told stories about the company’s development prospects in the next five or ten years. In turn, the mission tells a story of why the company exists. A beautifully written and narrated story is both entertaining and interesting. Strategy stories create a sense of belonging for employees and help to form a common outlook.

What about the brand of the business? It is pure storytelling! Storytelling is a critical component in the building of the brand, as a good story encapsulates and addresses consumers. Each of us remembers a good brand story, right?

The story of the Halloween pumpkin

Have you ever heard the story of the Halloween pumpkin?

A hollowed, grinning pumpkin with a candle shining inside is a symbol of Halloween that is increasingly seen also at the doorways of Finnish homes during All Saint’s Day. Around the world, the pumpkin is called Jack O’ Lantern. The story of the pumpkin lantern is quite a grim one and tells about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack”. Jack tricked the Devil and made a pact with him with the promise that his soul would not end up in hell after his death. As you might guess, Jack’s soul never made it to heaven either. The devil kept his word not to claim his soul, but instead he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack had taken a turnip as a snack in the afterlife. He put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. To frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits, people began to make their versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors. Over the time the turnip turned into a pumpkin, which symbolizes Jack still trying to find his place and peace for his soul.

 

Behind every satisfied customer there is a satisfied employee

Behind every satisfied customer there is a satisfied employee

Creating satisfying customer interactions should be a priority for all businesses. It all begins with satisfied and happy employees who are more likely to have an energetic, enthusiastic and customer oriented approach to the employer and their own tasks. They are more likely to have a positive disposition when interacting with your customers.

One of your customer’s first experience with your brand is interacting with your employees. If this interaction is positive, your customer will associate this positive experience with your brand. If the customers have a positive experience at your business, you are more likely to have higher levels of customer satisfaction which leads to higher levels of customer and brand loyalty. It can also contribute to your business by word of mouth referral. When customers have a good experience with your brand, they will tell other people about your excellent service.

 Your frontline staff members that have direct and daily contact and interactions with your customers, should be seen as valuable assets. When you’re employees are valued, the customers’ experience of your business improves and it forms the basis for customer loyalty.

 According to Forbes, when employees feel emotionally committed to their organisation and its goals, they have higher levels of discretionary effort. They do their best at their job, because they value their job and the commitments and obligations as set out in their roles and responsibilities. Engaged employees are loyal and have higher effect of customer ratings, profitability, productivity, turnover and quality. They also contribute to the reputation of the brand.

 Customers who trust your brand are repeat shoppers, they support your business and love doing so. When you have proven to be reliable to your customers, whenever they hear of a friend of theirs having an issue that your business helped them solve, they will tell their friends about you. We live in a digital age and websites exist with the sole purpose of rating businesses by having consumers leave a review of the business. When your customers trust you, they will leave a positive review. This will boost your business.

 By treating your employees right, you show them how to treat your customers right. By increasing employee engagement, you will increase the value your employees attach to their job, which in turn, will make them perform better. What many businesses do not release is that in truth, their employees are their first customer and that satisfied employees not only contribute to satisfied customers, in some instances, satisfied employees cause satisfied customers.

Internationalisation made easy

Internationalisation made easy

Case Study

Internationalisation made easy

Gravicon Case Study

Gravicon is a Finnish based software and service company specialising in Building Information Management (BIM) services. In Finland, Gravicon services have been widely used in prominent and complex construction projects to support efficient and predictable construction processes.

Gravicon has developed SaaS-based Modelspace software to support information, task and project management of demanding construction projects e.g. in hospitals, schools and shopping centres. Information management in planning and construction phases have improved significantly, especially in hospital and public sector projects.

 Challenge

How to enter new markets successfully

After achieving a stable market position in Finland, Gravicon decided to set up international sales operations and chose Africa for its focus market. The main reason for choosing Africa as a target market was its huge potential with large number of hospitals, airports and other complex public construction projects in planning.

SaaS-based Modelspace software can be used from anywhere in the world. However, entering certain markets is as challenging for SaaS business as it is for other businesses. Market dynamics need to be understood, sales messages need to be formulated according to local market environments, sales capabilities need to be improved and local partners need to be identified. Intolead supported Gravicons’ expansion into Africa with its internationalisation consulting and growth services. In the first phase, a strategy was developed for South Africa, one of the Africa’s biggest markets.

 Solution

From research to action in three steps

In the first phase, Intolead looked at the South African construction industry and compiled a market evaluation including maturity level, market potential as well as a competitor and partner analysis. Based on the market research, Gravicon evaluated the local construction industry markets as lucrative and the company launched a search for potential consulting partners.

Intolead produced communication material to support the search and conducted in-depth interviews of potential partners. At the same time, in order to get a better understanding of the dynamics of this market, Gravicon participated in a few industry events and trade shows.

The next phase involved setting up the sales operations and implementing Modelspace piloting projects. With the help of Intolead, Gravicon hired and trained a country manager to support sales and new business development.

 Results

Head start for new business opportunities

Internationalisation is the championship sport of commercialisation. To properly understand new markets, cultural considerations specifically in sales and marketing is vitally important. With careful preparation, an accurate sales strategy, realistic goals and commitment makes it possible to succeed in these markets. The amount of preparation often comes as a surprise to companies exploring the process of internationalisation. Additionally, any sales strategy should be agile enough to adjust to any market related changes if need be.

“Intolead’s experience in developing international business and sales operations has been a valuable addition to this project. Intoleads’ knowledge of African markets has helped us to recognise and anticipate market risks well in advance and to react quickly when changes are needed to execute our go-to-market strategy. Intolead consultants have committed to the objectives that were set together and their co-operation has been flexible, goal oriented and dynamic.”

Pauli Jantunen,
CEO

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Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

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From basketball courts to online

From basketball courts to online

Case Study

From basketball courts to online

HNMKY Basketball Case Study

HNMKY (Helsinki YMCA) is an organization that is part of the worldwide YMCA movement based in Helsinki, Finland. HNMKY was founded in 1889 and is known for its pioneering youth work. Throughout the years, HNMKY has been launching many significant new activities in Finland, of which one of the most well-known is introducing basketball to Finland back in 1927.

 Challenge

How to support the independent training activities of basketball players during the Corona outbreak induced standstill?

Amongst other things, HNMKY is running one of the largest and most successful basketball clubs in Finland with approximately 1200 players. As all the training activities came to a halt because of the Corona restrictions, the coaches were facing an acute challenge. How to support and encourage the players in their independent training? How to take the training online and retain visibility to the independent activities of the players.

 Solution

Digital platform supports coaching and training

We at Intolead wanted to do our part to help mitigate the crisis and offered our help to HNMKY on a pro bono basis. Together with the HNMKY coaches, we co-created a solution in an agile way. Within two weeks we had the first prototype of the concept including a digital training diary for the athletes and a dashboard for the coaches to follow up the activities on a team level. After initial testing, the concept was taken into use by all of the HNMKY Basketball’s 10 varsity teams with approximately 400 players.

The next iteration was a lightweight app-like interface for the players with enhanced features, such as a dashboard, plus feedback channel for the coaches. This was taken into use within 6 weeks from the get-go.

With a wealth of positive feedback from both the players and the coaches, we then proceeded to brainstorm new features together with HNMKY coaches.

 Results

Mobile Training app for the players and coaches

The result of our joint effort is a native mobile Training app tailored to suit the needs of both coaches and players. New features include e.g. a possibility for the coaches to add and share training plans, set goals and send push notifications for the players. Players have also a possibility to set goals for themselves. We are currently testing the app and deploying it shortly.

“The path from idea to prototype and an implemented solution has been fast, iterative, co-creative, and user-centered. For HNMKY Basketball teams, players and coaches the digital training platform has offered new possibilities. Not only it enhances the coaching and training activities off-court and between the breaks, but also provides a powerful tool for boosting team practices during the season.”

Juuso Milén,
Head of Coaching

Check out more of our case studies

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Case studyLet’s go global with the Finnish schoolPolar Partners Case StudyPolar Partners is an expert company specialising in export of education. The company’s school concept covers a child’s school path from early childhood education and care to the end of upper...

read more

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Case study

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Polar Partners Case Study

Polar Partners is an expert company specialising in export of education. The company’s school concept covers a child’s school path from early childhood education and care to the end of upper secondary education. The school concept developed by the company includes the design of learning environments, the curriculum, teacher and management training, and learning materials. Polar Partners’ school concept is based on the Finnish education model and suits as an alternative for instance schools in developing countries.

 Challenge

How to support global growth with sales

Polar Partners aims for global growth, supported by a clear sales strategy to guide growth and choices that support growth. The aim was to create an easily updatable sales strategy that serves as an agile sales management tool.

 Solution

Effective sales built upon an agile strategy model

The sales strategy was built through five sparring meetings and supporting tasks during spring and summer 2020. The process utilized Intolead’s Insight architecture model, where the sales strategy is built through areas that have a major impact on sales. These include the company itself, customers, ecosystems and partners, as well as the market conditions and competitors. In the light of the information gathered from the various areas, the final strategy was created and documented. The strategy was also visualized to make it more illustrative.

The sales strategy highlighted Polar Partners’ strengths, attractiveness and winning themes, as well as the value proposition to which the partners also wanted to commit. The value proposition created through strategy work emerged to communicate in an understandable way the benefits that the customer derives from cooperation with Polar Partners.

 Results

Strategy helped to identify right focus areas, partners and customer profiles

Polar Partners’ sales strategy was documented in an easy-to-understand format and supported by an OKR model utilizing agile strategy implementation methods. With the OKR model (Objectives and Key Results) the results of the strategy are monitored systematically and regularly. The strategy was implemented immediately as part of sales and partner recruitment and has been used to guide the focus of sales to the agreed geographical areas and buyer personalities. The sales strategy has been integrated as an important part of the practical implementation of sales.

“The collaboration with Intolead was straightforward and clear. The work progressed according to the agreed schedule and the sales strategy resulting from the cooperation was exactly what we ordered and needed.”

Maria Haapaniemi
CEO
Polar Partners Oy

Check out more of our case studies

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Let’s go global with the Finnish school

Case studyLet’s go global with the Finnish schoolPolar Partners Case StudyPolar Partners is an expert company specialising in export of education. The company’s school concept covers a child’s school path from early childhood education and care to the end of upper...

read more

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