Collaborate for Growth 2019

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Unknown soldiers of our economy

Who really makes all the growth in our economy? There is a great bunch of doers, who often go unnoticed. While we all recognize the role of entrepreneurs, only few understand the crucial role the big company creative experts and leaders play in our economy.

In their respective organizations these unknown soldiers lead the development of new products and services, establish new units, manage the game-changing external collaboration, ecosystems. They often carry titles like ”Head of smth”, most work long days, putting themselves on the line and “muddle through” taking their companies forward on very practical levels.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some of these people who have ventured out of their corporate boxes to help the startup entrepreneurs and learn about entrepreneurship, despite of their very busy day jobs. (#EEXjourney)

“Genuine desire to help and share their expertise.” “Sharp strategic insights.” These are examples how startup entrepreneurs describe their advisors. Many entrepreneurs have been positively surprised of the corporate participants’ level of expertise and openness for collaboration. Furthermore, the participating civil servants have shown that cross-sectoral collaboration is perfectly possible.

It’s not just about much hyped “intrapreneurs” or “innovators”. My thesis is that for the economy on the whole it is far more important that the “regular” key managers know how to work with internal and external entrepreneurs.

There is lots of talk about innovation, implementation of strategies, ecosystems and collaboration. However, walking the talk, i.e. actually doing is far less common and the doers rarely participate in discussion – we don’t often ask the people who actually make jobs and create economic activities. These are the people who renew our societies and, thus, ensure our continuity of our wellbeing.

Finland can succeed, “Keep Great”, only by bold collaborative action. The will and need for collaboration does exists, manifested e.g. by many ecosystem and open innovation projects. Now it is up to all of us – colleagues, CEOs, chairs alike – to support the unknown doers of our economy. For the future.

Happy 1st of May!

Tapio Peltonen

Founder, EEX

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