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M AG A Z E X E C IN E O F A A U T IV E L E D U CT O U N IV E R AT IO N S IT 3 .2 01 Y 1

Give and take Mutuality is key to networking success

A tale of a start-up Comments by Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka

Go East Asia is ready to make history


The future is uncertain. No one can predict what the world will look like this time next year. But one thing g we already know. The world has become truly


global. l b l

This issue of Profile is communicating it mildly: the balance of powers is changing. Asia is quite rightfully claiming the leadership of the global economy. This poses a paramount challenge to leadership development and executive education. The legacy of leadership development is inherently Western or, to be more specific, Anglo-American. The best practices of Western management have been exported to the South and the East. This mission has served its purpose well. In a world where the economy is being driven from Asia, imported Aalto EE’s web pages, leadership ideals are not enough. There is less and less space for scholarly Facebook page and blog arrogance, justified by the glorious history. Personally, I learned one of my keep you up to date on most valuable lessons, when, during a consulting project in Southern India, the latest happenings. Check out I realized that the company seeking my advice had way more advanced and HR processes than the Nordic best practices I was eager to deploy. Today, more and more companies seek tangible solutions for building a truly global leadership culture, where national cultures do not hinder development or compromise agility. In order to reach the league of truly global players, many organizations need to let go of many practices and guidelines hardwired by the culture of the headquarters and its birthplace. Nevertheless, the next generation of organizations is already here. The article about Angry Birds is a good illustration of a business model that is born global. The supply chain, marketing and customer experience are not confined to one single county, country or region. The concept is targeted to the multi-cultural global market straight from the beginning. Most growing organizations do not have this kind of advantage. They must reinvent themselves multiple times and undergo genetic transformations. This may be a painful process, and the associated discontinuities are always risks. I believe that by fostering shared leadership cultures and practices companies are able to mitigate these challenges Pekka Mattila, in the best possible manner. D.Soc.Sc. is the And on a lighter note, not everyone has to become global. There will managing director of always be a market for local players with great heritage and compelling Aalto EE. He also works brand stories. They are also tomorrow’s winners. Only those who are stuck as an adjunct professor in the middle – not aspiring to become global players nor embracing their at the Aalto University local origins – will have increasingly hard times. School of Economics.

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Better World Through Better Leadership


Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE) offers high-quality executive development services, supported by the competence of the new Aalto University. The organization has a hub in Singapore since 2000. Aalto EE’s mission is to build a better world through better leadership and to educate a new generation of leaders. The organization’s strengths lie in its global operating model and versatile offering. Aalto University has brought Aalto EE a multidisciplinary approach to executive development, along with innovative learning methods. In 2010, the turnover of Aalto University Executive Education Ltd was €9 million and the headcount was some 50 persons.

The entire magazine is also at:

What have you learned about...


Everybody brings their fears to the airport. You have to see your fears in order to conquer them.

Cultural diversity. Global business. Multicultural organizations.

Cathy Huang encourages you to forget your assumptions about China.

The Asian Decade

Once upon a time, Frank!


To succeed, we need to go East – or lure the East to us.

A tale of a start-up. If you want to make an impact, have lots of ideas.

Know your networks to understand how the new economy works.

Editor in Chief: Pekka Mattila, pekka.mattila@aaltoee.fifi Publisher: Aalto University Executive Education Ltd, Mechelininkatu 3 C, 00100 Helsinki, Finland tel. +358 10 837 3700

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We filled the toolbox with tips on how to use storytelling techniques to succeed in business. We also take a peek at the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a management tool.

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You can also find this material from web sources.


Aalto Executive Education Academy Pte Ltd, Singapore 25 North Bridge Road, EFG Bank Building, Unit 08-03, 179104 Singapore, Singapore tel. +65 6339 7338 Editorial office: Maggie Oy / Zeeland, Producer: Annamari Typpö, Creative Director: Miikka Leinonen Graphic designer: Sissu Muhujärvi Printing: SP-Paino Oy, Nurmijärvi, ISSN 1458-2058 Address register:



Stories to succeed Toolbox



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It was not so long ago that people believed the world was flat. Now we know it is. The global playing field is leveling.



EXPLAINED You have to see your fears in order to conquer them.

Crash landing a.k.a.

FEAR OF TRAVELING Hodophobia. Most people’s fear of traveling is associated with a fear of flying, while some suffer from a fear of trains or a fear of driving in cars. Some are afraid of strange places, closed spaces or the inevitable contact with strangers. TEXT: RISTO PAKARINEN


a fearful person, there can hardly gelotophobic persona that is simply afraid of being laughed at. be a worse place than the airport. And then you get on the plane and have to let go of all control. An airport offers a concentration of people – and fears. There are OF COURSE, YOU CAN ALWAYS AVOID going out and take your the crowds, the closed spaces, the impending airplane ride. business online instead. No more germs. Well, there are threats of Public places mean lots of germs and lots of strange people. viruses, but of the other kind. Foreigners who do not speak your language are everywhere. But it is to the airport that you must go, because it is from For many of us, there is the common fear the airport that the plane takes off. As a famous of buying a cup of coffee and realizing at the “EVERYBODY IS dotcom era proverb goes, “a 747 is the best register that you do not have enough money and accessory to the Internet.” A FOREIGNER cannot speak the language – and are naked, too. Even with Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku, Tumblr, Flickr, Qaiku, LinkedIn, Ning, Plaxo, YouTube and SOMEWHERE. BUT MOSTLY, AIRPORTS ARE HAPPY PLACES. all the services that begin with Google – Buzz AND NOBODY and + and so on – it is the human contact that People are waiting for their loved ones to return IS LAUGHING seals the deals and builds the bridges. and their business partners to arrive – or are going on a trip with their loved ones or business Networking is still a contact sport, and it is AT YOU. ” partners. still something that we do together. Of course, it is not the airport you are afraid of. Turns out We want to connect to share ideas and, somewhere deep there is even no such thing as a fear of airports, or if there is, down, to feel good about ourselves and the world we live in. It is no one has a name for it. so much more difficult to call somebody’s idea idiotic to his face than on the Internet. And on the net, it is also impossible to give a hug or a really loud, slappy high-five to a buddy. MYSOPHOBIA, THE FEAR OF GERMS AND BACTERIA, may make you use a handkerchief to open the door to the bathroom. You see the irony, as you are going there to wash SURE, YOU CAN GIVE THUMBS UP on Facebook or claim that your hands. Maybe you want to use a face mask to feel safe. “smaller than 3” equals love, but nothing beats looking another You sit in the lounge, reading a book, escaping the thoughts person in the eye and saying, “we’re going to do it, together.” of boarding your plane, and when you lift your eyes from the And it is airports that are the portal to all that. Maybe that is book, you see others covering their faces. You wonder what is why there is no name for the fear of airports. There is no need for wrong with them and what they have to hide. it. So, walk in and remember that there, as in the world, we all Those waves of xenophobia rush over you when you stand have our own baggage to carry. in line to check-in and it is not moving fast enough for you. Everybody brings their fears to the airport. Everybody has Or when you go buy that cup of coffee, fully clothed, their anxieties and suspicions. Everybody brings their and hear people laughing behind you when you turn to germs there, too. Everybody is a foreigner somewhere. get some sugar. Your body gets tense as you try to And nobody is laughing at you. figure out if they, the foreigners, are laughing at your Maybe with you. Portable: Airport One man’s epic journey in airport infographics.



What have you learned about

Cultural diversity in the workplace, Heidi Schroderus-Fox? WHAT TIPS CAN YOU OFFER FOR SUCCESS IN A MULTICULTURAL WORKPLACE? I would say the United Nations, with its 193 member states, is the world’s most global work environment. My team alone consists of 14 different nationalities from all continents of the world. It takes a great deal of patience and understanding to work effectively with such a diverse group of people. I have lived in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America and find this a great asset for working effectively in a multicultural workplace. It is important to listen well and allocate enough time to do things thoroughly. It is also essential to be open-minded about people’s views. The cultural diversity at the United Nations can lead to a team with a distinct array of strengths, and a good leader will understand how to bring these together successfully.

HEIDI SCHRODERUS-FOX works as ambassador, head of policy in the cabinet of President Joseph Deiss, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York.

HOW DO YOU BRING FORWARD YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND? The education and the excellent organizational skills that students in Finland receive have helped me in my everyday work. Regardless of differences in culture, however, a smart approach to leadership is usually an attentive and considerate one. I believe in management by walking, which entails face-to-face interaction with colleagues on a daily basis. I am witness to the reality that people tend to have more things in common than things that keep us apart.

HOW DO YOU KEEP UP IN A GLOBALIZING WORLD? Working abroad and now in the global environment at the United Nations, I have learned to be tolerant in the presence of conflicting opinions. I have come to understand how to support my views with arguments that suit the other person’s logic – which can be quite different from my own – when trying to win them over during negotiations. Working in a global setting is becoming the norm in most organizations. You have to know how to adapt to change and utilize the potential it offers. In a global workplace, there is not just one “right” way to do things, so you must have the courage to stick up for your beliefs, while remaining open to different ways of working and learning something new.


ON TOP OF MY AGENDA Cathy Huang is the president of CBi China Bridge. Her objective is to help multinational companies understand Chinese customers. She says that in order to succeed, you need to do your homework.

MISTAKES. Foreign companies often fail to consider the local culture and consumer behavior. Too often they simply assume locals are eager to try foreign goods. Also, China is a large and versatile country that should not be perceived as one entity. There are great differences within China in terms of weather, customs and socio-economic situations. Therefore, you should not make any assumptions other than that there is a lot of variation in the services and products Chinese consumers are looking for. Finally, you should remember that the Chinese move at a very fast pace when doing business and often wonder why Europeans do not seem to follow along.

What have you learned about

Doing business in a global environment, Göran Roos? WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN WORKING FROM A GLOBAL BASE? The need to gather information continuously for each of the countries I associate with so that I do not get out of touch with the political, economical and industrial environment. To learn to get by in different linguistic and cultural contexts, and the need for perfect mastery of the English language. Also, to attract and retain talent, you must build a strong culture where the obligation of the firm is to make the employee more employable, while the employee should make the firm more successful. The reward is that you get an excellent global perspective and see the way the world works in different places and as a whole.

GÖRAN ROOS – Professor, academic, entrepreneur and pioneer in intangibles – currently works for the South Australian premier’s office as Thinker in Residence in the “Manufacturing for the Future” venture.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST LESSONS FOR YOU IN WORKING ABROAD? Never to impose my own views and value systems on others and never to use the words right, wrong, good or bad. To listen for a long time before you talk and never to assume that you fully understand any context. To realize that no matter how different the culture is, business is fundamentally the same, and with enough determination and a little bit of luck you can succeed anywhere.

WHAT CAN BE GAINED FROM BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO WORK FROM AROUND THE WORLD? Being an engineer, I like to refer to Ashby’s Law: control can only be obtained if the internal regulatory mechanism of a system is as diverse as the environment with which it interacts. The key word is “requisite.” If the control system is too complex, the system will not operate efficiently. But if it lacks sufficient internal differentiation, it might not be able to cope with variable demand, or it might fail entirely. In simple terms, for success, the dynamics of the environment must be matched with the diversity of the team. In an increasingly dynamic environment, increasing the diversity of the team will increase the probability of success for the organization embodying the team. 6

RESEARCH. You need to understand the culture and the market before you adjust your business strategy accordingly. Because of the size of China, you need to decide where to go and how to best approach the area – and then strategically plan for expansion. Be aware of and respect local differences. Good communication will help you go further. Often it is not the language differences that are the barriers, but the lack of communication. Remember that you cannot change China and that China cannot change you!

FUTURE. China is a very fastgrowing market. The big cities are as global as their Western counterparts. China’s third and fourth tier cities, along with the western part of the country, are still to be evolved, so the business potential is huge. The Chinese government’s Western development program encourages businesses to “go west,” and in the coming years, it is these areas that have high-growth potential.

What have you learned about

Leadership in multicultural organizations, Charles H. Ferguson? WHAT CAN WE GAIN FROM CULTURALLY DIVERSE WORKPLACES? People no longer work in an insular marketplace. They are, instead, part of a worldwide economy where competition comes from nearly every continent. For this reason, organizations need to leverage diversity to become more creative and open to change. Maximizing and capitalizing on workplace diversity has become an important lever for gaining an edge in the market. When your organization is comprised of groups of people with different experiences and backgrounds, more innovative and creative ideas are a distinct result. It is only natural that people who have varying life experiences and perspectives are able to come up with unique solutions to problems.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD LEADER FOR A MULTICULTURAL TEAM? CHARLES HAMILTON FERGUSON is a partner responsible for technology and communications at Reed Hamilton, a management consulting and executive search firm based in Singapore.

Executives need to recognize the ways in which the workplace is changing, evolving and diversifying. Since managing diversity remains a significant organizational challenge, we must learn the managerial skills needed in a multicultural work environment. Executives must be prepared to teach themselves and others within their organizations to value multicultural differences in both associates and customers, so that everyone is treated with dignity, and every organization is empowered with the make-up and foundation required to be truly competitive.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT? The reality is that there is no one strategy, no one way of doing the job. You must remain flexible and open-minded, accept that there are multiple points of view and listen to them, and still keep your vision clear. If you can create a sense of belonging and respect with those you work with, the goals can be shared through accountability. In the end, that diverse group and the businesses that embrace them, will achieve success. 7


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“You need to be there,

“Asians know this is their time in history.”

For Finns, this is ideal, as we are known for our reliability. We are a nation that keeps its promises.”

unfortunately, but otherwise progress is evident on every level, everywhere. People know it too. The attitude is entirely different.” There is a healthy pride among Asians, adds Vauramo. “They know this is their time in history. The opportunities are limitless and they are making the most of it. The energy and feeling is all about making your own future, which shows in employee turnover figures. New options present themselves at such a pace that 10% or even 20% annual employee turnover has been quite common during recent years.”

Pekka Vauramo

Pekka Mattila

YOU NEED TO BE THERE. Ge and Airaksinen confirm that Finland’s reputation and prospects of cooperation with Asia lie very much in the hands of companies already operating there on a large scale. Cargotec makes an excellent example. For it, the Asian market is everything but unfamiliar. Some 40% of the global company’s business comes from Asia. “China cannot grow like this for ever, but the current prospects are huge. In China, the major growth is occurring from the coastline in,” says Pekka Vauramo, Cargotec’s chief operating officer. PROPER RESPECT. Finns are doing fairly Asia is progressing at such a speed that well in Asia. Vauramo, like Airaksinen, also long-term plans can be counterproductive. credits much of the success Finns have had Many companies have given up on detailed so far to the Finnish way of doing business. strategy altogether and focus on a trenchant, “Even though it may come as a surprise agile presence. to some, Finns are actually quite known for getting along well “You need to be there, on-site, to find with different kinds of people. I tribute this to our earnest wish to business opportunities. You do not do business produce great results, to our inbuilt honesty and the transparent – at least do not create new business – by methods we use to conduct business.” handling things from Europe,” Vauramo asserts. Vauramo emphasizes that Asia is no more about ‘masses’: Vauramo is a living example of Cargotec’s cheap yet dexterous labor and growing demand. Those days are stance. He moved to Hong Kong to gone. China, in particular, is taking a decisive step upwards on start leading Asian business development prospects in the prosperity ladder. Design and other knowledge work are the beginning of 2011. For Vauramo, the move to Hong Kong moving East at a rapid pace, and new-sprung Asian businesses was not the first. He used to live and work in Hong Kong provide serious, at times unbeatable competition for Western firms. between 1989 and 1993. This view is in line with that of the newly appointed “It has been quite a while, of course, yet Managing Director of Aalto EE, Pekka Mattila. He sees promises I find the change quite remarkable. Hong of prosperity for those who take on a new attitude toward Asia. Kong was impossible when it came to One needs to go there with the utmost respect and a will to public transport, but nowadays it is learn from their success. Mattila believes that Aalto EE is in incredibly efficient. Pollution is up, a unique position to enable this. “Our longstanding cooperation with Asian countries gives us unmatched leverage amongst competitors,” Mattila says. He lists Aalto EE’s ties with Asia: Close cooperation with South Korea since 1995 and more than 3,000 South Korean alumni of Aalto EE programs. A regional hub set up in Singapore in 2000, and a recently relaunched EMBA Executive MBA program in Taiwan. In China, Aalto EE runs an increasing number of company-specific training programs and has strong cooperation networks.


on-site, to find business opportunities.” in the Asian economy?

CHUMMING UP WITH ASIA. Will this decade be Asia’s? If

business in the twenty-first century has taught us anything, it is to prepare for the unexpected. There is no way of knowing; your best bet is listening intently to everybody and choosing the most educated guess. “So far, Asia’s rise has been largely based on the same measures that the West used up during the 1920s–1980s: longer hours and both spouses working. Not much has been done yet in terms of increasing work effectiveness. Aalto EE is betting on Asia. From the looks of things now, Asia will be unstoppable for quite some time,” Mattila postulates. Consequently, strengthening Asian cooperation will be a pivotal question for a considerable portion of Finnish companies. Mattila plans on being at the forefront of this trend and taking Aalto EE’s cooperation with Asia to an even higher level. “We have many plans. For example, offering new networking opportunities between Asia and Finland through participants taking courses on location at several of our different hubs, and by rotating our teaching faculty, so that they have the opportunity to teach corresponding courses in Finland and Asia and thus share the knowledge and insight they gain from all students,” Mattila reveals. Aalto EE’s forerunner position in Asia is fortunate for Mattila and his troops, which he readily admits. He is, in a true Finnish manner, overtly honest of the network’s origins. “I could claim we had foresight beyond most others and believed in Asia far before anyone else. As a result, we have a prosperous history and unprecedented presence in Asia, compared to even many larger players in the executive education field,” he offers, and then pauses. “This, however, would be bending the truth.” In actuality, Aalto EE has had both foresight and luck. “Some twenty years ago, we had deans and professors with specific areas of interest that led us to establish cooperation with South Korea and Singapore. The results were inspiring and we saw a lot of promise in strengthening the EuropeanAsian collaboration. Our academics got along famously, created great synergy, and the rest is history.” As a byproduct of these early efforts, Aalto EE’s Asian connection is unparalleled. “Now, we can harvest that and take an active role in advancing European-Asian business cooperation in years to come,” Mattila says.

Venture a guess: What is up next for Asia? Prophesies are easy, coming up with foresight that is anywhere near the actual future outcome is infinitely more difficult.

In the 1970s, the Club of Rome predicted that right about now Asian countries would be steadily marching toward their doom due to overpopulation and undernourishment. Economic collapse was inevitable. The Club of Rome consisted of highly respected experts, and many swallowed this prediction hook, line and sinker. Foresight was wrong again nearly 30 years later, when Asia was hit by a financial crisis. During the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the future looked far from bright. Few would have predicted Asia’s tiger leap in prosperity or China’s near unwavering growth that quickly bounced back from the shock of the global credit crunch in 2008, as well. WHAT ABOUT NOW? Are current predictions any more plausible? In his much-clicked-on TED speech from 2009 on YouTube, Professor Hans Rosling predicts that India and China will reach US and UK levels of monetary prosperity and fully regain their position as the world’s dominant economic powers on July 27, 2048. Although the precise date was set somewhat tongue-incheek (it happens to be the Swede’s one-hundredth birthday), mid-2048 is in tune with most estimates. Rosling’s prediction takes into consideration health, infrastructure and wellbeing. Strictly economic foresight commonly states much earlier dates as pivotal. In pure monetary terms, America’s economy may be playing second fiddle to China within as little as five years. According to IMF’s forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of the United States in real terms sometime during 2016, when measured by purchasing power parity. Another favorite date among fortune tellers is 2020. Predictions have it that it will be a milestone in Chinese-Indian economic prosperity. Just as Japan was unstoppable in the 1980s but decelerated in the 1990s, China will give its number one position to India in 2020. Forecasts claim that by 2020, India will be producing the largest annual number of new graduates globally. China’s aging workforce will have to step aside to make way for India’s 24 and educated youth. The world will not be able to keep up, China’s exports will decrease. While poorer Indian states start catching up with their richer neighbors, China will be forced to revalue its currency. By 2020, India’s GDP growth is predicted to reach 10%, while China’s is expected to dip to 7–8%. The 2020 estimation may ring true in light of economic growth figures. It does have some flaws, such as omitting politics altogether. Time will tell.


Feature 2 Global success


Once upon a time,

a boy called Frank lived in a little house in a little town. Frank was a little, little boy, the smallest in the town, but he did not mind because he was quick and agile, and pretty smart. But often he was lonely, because nobody paid attention to him. The others simply talked over his head.

All the boys and girls played together


Do not think that you can just do what the others are doing – but a little better. It is probably not good enough.

in a playground at the edge of the little town. On the far side, a wooden fence separated the playground from … nobody knew what. Not even the tallest boys knew. But Frank decided to find out. Then they would notice him!


Frank was smart and handy,

Frank worked

so one day, he decided to make a pogo stick for himself. He found some pieces of wood and rubber lying around and got to work. 2

hard all day, and the pogo stick turned out perfect. However, no matter how hard he tried, the stick only got him some ten centimeters off the ground. And most people still did not notice Frank – but some did notice the pogo stick.


Frank could not But Frank was still little! The pogo stick had not helped. Now Frank decided to build stilts. ts Then, for sure, he would be tall enough. But, for that, he needed help.


A good idea can be really tiny, it does not have to be a huge thing. Just something that makes things better or changes them.



All the exciting stuff nowadays goes on at start-ups. Start-ups are the place to be, especially if you want to have an impact on the world.

carry the wooden sticks he needed. Fortunately, the ants that Frank had built an aqueduct for a few weeks earlier, offered to help. Together – one small boy and a thousand ants – they carried the sticks to Frank’s shed. 5



If you want to get stuff done, it’s good to know the people who can make things happen. Find people you do not hang out with every day. Get out of your territory and comfort zone.


Everything is always a give and take, you cannot always think what is in it for me. Maybe there is something in it, but it only becomes obvious in five years. You have to have the best possible team, because they will make a business out of anything.

Frank proudly hopped around the park, carefully avoiding stepping into rabbit holes – he had once helped the rabbits build a subway system – learning to walk like a (tall) man. But he still could not see over the fence. He tried jumping up to reach the knothole and get a peek of what was on the other side, but came only close.


That night Frank stayed up all night drawing up plans for a big tower. It would be the biggest tower ever. He got all his friends to help: the ants, the squirrels, all the kids. And the birds. But not the pigs. They would just mess everything up. Frank sent the message to all his friends and went to sleep. In the morning, he asked his mother to make sandwiches.

A lot of sandwiches! 7

At dawn, Frank and his friends got to work. They worked hard and by the end of the day, Frank’s tower was finished. 8

At the top, there was a



The best idea does not always win. If the idea is no good, of course it is not going anywhere, no matter how hard you work at it. Then you just call it quits and move on to the next thing.


Of course, you always need money. It is just one of those things. But you can always get financing, if you have the idea and the team – one way or another.


You have to stick to what you are doing. Most things are not an overnight success.

chair in which Frank could sit and watch the world on the other side of the fence. But it was too dark to see anything, so they all went to bed. It was so dark that Frank did not see that they had built the tower in a mud puddle.


The objective should not be to make mistakes, but when you do a lot of things, things happen. You should not do stupid things, and it is not a bad idea to talk to people with experience, but it is important to learn stuff and fail fast.


At sunrise, Frank ran to his tower. As he got closer, he saw some footprints he had not seen the day before. “Pigs!” Frank said and ran faster.

“PIIIIIIIIIGS!” Frank shouted when he saw his tower demolished, now only half as high as the night before. 10

“I think I saw one!” yelled one of the birds and launched a poop attack. And then another one. And then another. The poop hit the acorn in the mud. And none of them knew that it was a magical acorn. 11

That night, as Frank slept in what was now just a chair, a flock of birds flew over his house. Frank had invited them over to help him with the building, but the birds had got into a bit of an argument along the way and had been delayed. As they came closer to Frank’s chair, the birds saw the pigs’ footprints.

Frank sat in his chair, crying. His friends tried to make him feel better. The ants tickled his feet, the cats danced, and the dogs sang, but nothing helped. Then a small squirrel, the smallest of them all, gave Frank a hug and handed him an acorn. “Thanks,” Frank said quietly. When the night came, and his friends went home, Frank just sat in his chair. The acorn rolled off his fingertips and got buried in the mud. 10

When you do a lot of things, things happen. Not everything is a mistake in the end.



When Frank woke up, he felt a breeze on his face. As he stretched his arms and legs, he heard a bird sing. Very close. Frank opened his eyes and gasped. He was still sitting in his chair, but the chair was now high up in a big oak tree. The birds were standing on the branches around him. “Frank,” said one. “I did not know you could fly.”

Of course, we have looked at lot of hits, but it is hard to say what the Thing is. If we knew it, all we would do are hits.

When Frank looked down, he saw everybody looking up to him. “What is on the other side?” shouted one girl. Frank looked up. “The world,” he said. “The world.” “How far can you see from there?” asked a boy. “Farther than I could ever have imagined,” said Frank.

The birds carried Frank back down at nightfall. “What are you going to do next?” asked the Mighty Eagle. Frank looked up. The skies were clear, and the first stars were coming out. He looked at the moon and smiled. “What do you think is up there?” he said.

Right now our focus is on our fans and our brand. You have not seen anything yet.



KNOWLEDGE An investment in you always pays the best interest.

Open to success What does Asia hold in store for us? How can businesses prepare themselves? What is it going to take to succeed?








Satu Mattila was appointed Finland's Ambassador to Singapore in 2007. She has also served as Minister Counsellor in Finland's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and New York and the embassies in New Delhi, Washington, D.C. and Tokyo. Her next post is Helsinki.

Feature 3 Global networks

NET T(H)ING. Small talk around the water cooler? Today, meeting points are often virtual, but a good network and capable partners are still the most eďŹƒcient path to growth. It all began with three start-up companies and a shared vision of technological change. The companies decided to merge, join the network economy and go for aggressive growth. TEXT: KIRSI RIIPINEN, PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK 19

A CAREFUL STRATEGY. In the network

economy everything is based on trust. When a Chinese partner builds a plant, The Switch supplies it with all the necessary information, down to the last detail. This is how the networking model works. As cooperation increases, so does the risk that your inventions and patents are copied. Mäkinen acknowledges the risk, but quickly points out that those who dare, have a better chance at winning. “You can always copy a plant. Our operating model, however, you cannot.” The operating model is a part of the company’s carefully devised strategy, which it returns to over and over again. “The only things that become valuable are the things that cannot be copied,” declares Kevin Kelly, one of the most famous experts in the network economy and a founder of Wired magazine. He gave a talk on the risks of copying in the network economy at the VentureBeat event in San Francisco this spring. Not only products but ideas, too, are easy to duplicate and quickly distribute in the network economy. But what about operating models, concepts and people? “The great innovation of Silicon Valley is not the wowie-zowie hardware and software it has invented,” claims Kelly. 20

Net t(h)ing. If you want to encourage your employees to build their networks as efficiently as possible, you need to tell them the following: • Find your networks. Find the networks that are right for your needs. Is it Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln or something else? • Go mobile. Get yourself a smartphone and put it to efficient use. • Read a book. Pick a classic about networking. • Define your goals. What do you want to achieve from networking? • To get, you have to give. Mutuality is a central principle in networking. • Start by giving good tips and making suggestions to others. • Do not expect to immediately get something from a new contact. • Follow-up on good tips without delay. Remember to thank the giver. • Regularly feed your network using the tools best suited to your needs. • Meet people face-to-face, not only through technological means. • Keep in mind that the quality of the network is more important than its size. • Networks come and go, but the relationships established in them may last for decades.

“Silicon Valley’s greatest product is the social organization of its companies – and most important, the tangled web of former jobs, intimate colleagues, information leakage from one firm to the next, rapid company life cycles, and agile e-mail culture. “This social web, suffused into the warm hardware of jelly bean chips and copper neurons, creates a network economy.” PROVE YOU ARE RELIABLE. According to

The Switch’s Mäkinen, the network economy creates added value at the customer interface. Business must be set up so that customers want to deal with you in particular. A partner must be able to prove that it is reliable and capable of finding the best and quickest solutions to the customer’s needs. Plus that it truly listens. In Kelly’s words: “The network economy is founded on technology, but can only be built on relationships. It starts with chips and ends with trust.” “Interaction must be open and continuous. You must look after your partners and first ask them what you could do better or how you can help,” Mäkinen adds. If a partner builds a plant, detailed instructions extend all the way to the successful management of goods flows. The Switch decided it was not worthwhile to expand its own production facilities and opted instead to look for growth in cooperation with a partner. Mäkinen believes the networking model is the only option when aiming at extremely rapid growth. Otherwise you would have to invest and patiently wait for the results. What is more, you could never be certain the results would match your original expectations. Mäkinen puts this in concrete terms. “First the plant is too expensive, then it is too big and soon it will be too small. The size of the outside world never matches that of the plant’s. We should not have to worry about the plant being full or not but rather ensure that we make optimal use of the partner network.” Kevin Kelly

Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen

THE BEGINNING dates back to 2006. Today, the company is growing at an annual rate in excess of 100% and is valued at some EUR 190 million. How is this possible? The company founders thank the increasingly networked economy and, especially, the excellent partners that form a vital part of it. “If it were not for our partner network, we would not be able to grow this rapidly,” says Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, president and CEO of The Switch. So what does this super-growth company offer? Renewable energy. The Switch makes permanent magnet generators and full-power converters that are used to convert the energy from wind and solar power plants into electricity suitable for the electrical network. Earlier this spring, the company entered into an acquisition agreement with American Superconductor, a US power technology company. According to plans, the deal will be carried out by the end of November 2011.

SHARING THE PAIN. Steady progress is easy

to control, but sharper skills are needed for rapid growth, not to mention when things are damped down. “The wind power industry faces great challenges, with the market changing conti-

Shang Xia’s collections include furniture, decorative objects, accessories and garments. It also features an offering of teas. Shang Xia shares with Hermes its passion and commitment to quality. Jiang Qiong Er also aims for excellence in designing products for the home and everyday use. The end result is a match made in shopping heaven.

nuously. A network makes it easier to adjust production and helps to deal with up and downhills more flexibly. In gloomier times, the pain, too, is distributed,” says Kelly. The dynamic of our society, and particularly our new economy, will increasingly obey the logic of networks, feels Kelly. “Understanding how networks work will be the key to understanding how the economy works,” he adds. Every company should now, at the latest, be able to answer a long list of tough questions. How can one really and truly benefit from subcontractor and customer networks? How does one involve stakeholders in earnest? How much and in what direction should one’s own organization be trimmed? And how does one manage all this? NO ROOM FOR CONTROL FREAKS. According to The Switch’s Mäkinen, the network economy does not suit control freaks. Nevertheless, each company needs a carefully devised strategy that provides a common direction to everyone and everything. Decision-making power, however, must be distributed across the organization. “The operating model must also be taken into account in recruiting: who can deal with a great deal of openness? Many people also find the lack of detailed instructions to be strange. You have got the strategy and values, which you reflect on and use to solve matters.” In addition, when business is turbulent, feels Mäkinen, there is always something going on. “Companies must be highly tolerant and able to deal with failures. When faced with disappointment, you check whether something was done against the basic rules. Was any particular operating model or philosophy unsuitable?” According to Mäkinen, operations at The Switch are not based on reporting but on active interaction: This is what we are working on, how are you doing? Who needs help from whom? The management team naturally holds monthly meetings to check how things are going in different areas. All other monitoring has been allocated to the units, concludes Mäkinen.

SINCE THE NETWORK ECONOMY is global in nature, everything truly affects everything, and everything continues to change. The recession that started three years ago shook the United States and Europe and led to changes in company operating methods. The network economy began to steer business operations. The crisis also put further emphasis on the values of sustainable development. Saving energy has bottom-line efficiencies. When economic growth hit the wall, companies were forced to consider alternative ways to conduct business. The business world discovered the benefits of the network economy: it seamlessly integrates the main contractor and subcontractor, and ultimately saves both time and money. New types of alliances are an increasingly important part of business. And to crown it all, there is less overlapping work. This coin also has its reverse. In the European Union, for example, the roles played by different continents and states, as well as their rightfulness have become increasingly popular topics. Industrial subcontracting has moved to China, but the country has determinedly worked its way up the value chain. In the future, the country will produce more and more remarkable innovations, and Chinese brands will be exported. The developing countries aspire to be more than mere raw material exporters who see the margins for their coffee beans spilling to parties far removed from the farmers. The network economy thus also faces ethical challenges when looking for subcontractors and considering locations for factories. In any case, the markets are moving away from their traditional locations. The greatest demand in the future, if not already, will be found in Asia, South America – and, quite possibly, soon in Africa. VITAL STRATEGY. Nevertheless, much of the business world still does not understand the opportunities presented by the network economy and globalization, as Marcus Alexander, associate professor of strategic and international management at London Business School, points out. He has discussed this in several articles published in the Harvard Business Review. “For instance, some firms lack the capabilities required to execute cross-border moves, such as experience in postmerger integration while others ignore the impact of regional differences,” he says. “Businesses may also underestimate globalization’s opportunities. To illustrate, some companies cater only to tiny segments of affluent buyers who most resemble themselves. So they miss out on much larger markets further down the socioeconomic ladder. Others see globalizing only as offshoring and fail to use the resulting cost savings to generate substantial new revenues.” Similar to the feelings of the chief executive of The Switch, Alexander also emphasizes the crucial nature of strategy. A company that has not worked out its strategy in detail will find it difficult, if not impossible, to go international and to network. This can only result in losses. “Sometimes firms have failed because their global strategies were deeply misguided.”

22 23 24 25


CHINESE DESIGNER Jiang Qiong Er set up the Shang Xia Company, together with the Hermes Group, in Shanghai. With the Hermes? Oh yes! “She wanted to create a twenty-first century brand based on the best of traditional Chinese and other Asian craftsmanship,” explains Shen Rongrong, from the company’s communications department.

Deeply misguided strategies

Partnering with Hermes

Once upon a time

It is not important what you say. What is important is what your audience remembers.


The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

CHECK OUT prwalker/the-presentationsecrets-of-stevejobs-2814996

“GREAT STORIES happen to those who can tell them,” Ira Glass, an American radio personality and journalist, said once. So how can I become a better storyteller? The quickest way to lose audience is to open a Power Point slideshow in a dark room and start talking. Content is not the only king. Connection is. Facts do not persuade, feelings do – and stories are the best way to get at those feelings. Just look how Steve Jobs does it. Check out Businessweek columnist Carmine Gallo’s fantastic slideshow, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.”

The power of a good story

A Good Story is…

…simple “Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” French film director Jean Luc Godard


…detailed “Give details; from them we prosper. In the generality, we die. Give an experience, not a whole life.” Finnish author Kari Hotakainen

ONCE UPON A TIME: This is how stories all around the world begin. Next we bring in the hero, an arch-enemy and a mission that is in serious need of completion. At the end comes the moral of the story. Many of the same stories circulate the gglobe in different vversions. Perhaps tthe best-known ffolktale in the world, Cinderella, w ooriginates from ninth-century n China. From C tthere, it spread as a Brothers Grimm CHECK OUT adaptation, as joyce_hostyn/influencea Scandinavian through-storytelling version, and ultimately as the film version made famous by Walt Disney in 1950. People everywhere are hungry for stories. Old folktales are passed from one generation to the next through oral narration. A good storyteller always has plenty of listeners. If you have a good story, you and your message will be remembered. Stories entertain, but they also bring order to a confusing world – both to life, in general, and to the business world. “Stories are humane and identifiable. You can tell a story is good when people relate to the characters. Relating to characters is what creates emotions,” says story designer and scriptwriter Anne Kalliomäki, CEO of Tarinakone, a company that specializes in creating

You can use Toolbox materials at work, to link with your blog or when giving a presentation – or forward it to colleagues. The background ideas are available in a variety of web sources.

stories for service industry companies. In her job, Kalliomäki creates story identities for travel industry companies and establishes them as part of the service experience. First, a so-called core story is invented. It is built around the company’s business plan, values, vision, environment and history. With the help of the story, the company’s brand is tied to be part of the customer’s service experience. Kalliomäki gives a concrete example: “A travel company can create a story connected to dining, for example. Each part of the meal comes with a story linked to the company’s story identity, and so the eating experience progresses in a storylike fashion. A good example of this is the restaurant Old Hansa in Tallinn, where customers are transported to the middle of a medieval tale.” Stories make companies more humane and set them apart from competitors. A good story sticks in your mind and can easily be recounted to others. Stories that communicate emotions enable companies to form strong bonds with their customers. “The characters in famous stories always have weaknesses that are surmounted,” she says. This idea is also transferable to business. “It is worthwhile for companies to openly tell about their weaknesses and how they overcame them. Those kinds of stories make it easier to connect with the company in a way that creates emotional bonds.”

In slides: In pdf-format:

The entire magazine: 23

Tips from a Successful


at the Icelandic engineering firm Verkís and bestselling author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir combines skillful storytelling in both of her occupations. She shares some tips with readers. “A very important thing for a crime writer and a business director is to create a comprehensible, fascinating world to the message’s receiver,” Sigurðardóttir says. Sigurðardóttir lives in Iceland but works in international markets. As an author, she has sold millions of copies worldwide. As the head of Iceland’s biggest construction company, she is involved in projects for geothermal and hydropower plants around the world. “There are many similarities in writing a good crime novel and coming up with a persuasive contract offer. You must make the buyer at the power plant understand your message, become interested in it, and fully engage himself in the content. The same applies to writing a good crime novel.” Power plant projects are big and extremely complex. The project must be described to the potential client in a way that explains the venture clearly and also creates a wish to know more about it. A good story plays the main role here, not the technical details. “A good crime novel has attention-grabbing details about the main characters and places that keep the story interesting. In the same manner a business partner, be that a client or a colleague, needs to be given relevant details about a new thing to make it graspable, yet at the same time remembering not to drown them in trivial details.”


“The most successful movies, books and stories have one thing in common: story structure,” claims the guru of storytelling in business, Doug Stevenson.

9 STEPS OF STRUCTURE STEVENSON is the founder of a consulting company Story Theater International, which each year trains thousands of professionals in companies like Microsoft, Oracle and Hewlett Packard. In his video clips, Stevenson gives practical tips to successful presentation: “Take a story from your own life. Recall a situation when you were faced with a problem. Talk to your CHECK OUT Stevenson’s audience as a person Nine Steps of Story Structure in practice: to a person. Emotion is the fast lane to the watch?v=GQ3BDkMN1LY brain. When you have built a connection, provide content. The most important thing is not what you say, but what your audience remembers.” 1

Set the scene. Time, place, atmosphere.


Introduce the characters.


Begin the journey. The journey is the task, objective or activity to be accomplished.


Encounter the obstacle. The obstacle is the challenge.


Overcome the obstacle.


Resolve the story.


Make the point. Each story should have only one point.


Ask “The Question.”


Repeat the point.

Receive Storytelling News to 6 Your Inbox For Managers: Tolkien and the Reality of Work Community Trends, truths and things in the field of business storytelling. Bi-weekly newsletter from Get Storied:

Improve your presentation and storytelling skills each month. Story Theater newsletter: http://storytelling-in-business. com/newsletter

As a manager, are you a patient Gandalf or an authoritarian Sauron? J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy can also be read as a management manual. Harri Hietikko’s doctorate thesis “Power, Leadership, Doom and Hope in J. R. R. Tolkien’s work The Lord of the Rings, or ‘Management by Sauron’” analyses today’s different manager types and management phenomena from the vantage point of a fantasy novel: “In meetings, a Frodo-manager usually sits quietly observing the situation, unless s/he happens to be the chair, in which case his/her actions are poised and strictly professional… A Frodo-leader is not interested in ideas or visions. S/he focuses on the task currently at hand and thrives most in completing relatively straightforward projects. That is when s/he becomes very determined and unyielding.”

Believe me! Are you trying to convince others to believe in your message? *

w hy le a d e yo ur vi si o n , rs h ip ne ed a b ra n d , an d b ig g

e r s to ry

Believe Me*


a storytelling manifesto for change-makers and innovators

BELIEVE ME: A Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators takes you on a journey that distills the richness of a story as heritage, and applies it to the heart of best business practices. The author, Michael Margolis, is the founder and CEO of Get Storied, an education and media company. Download the book for free at

DOWNLOAD The entire doctorate thesis as a PDF file at http://acta.


Follow Aalto EE


Leading Service Business Program fosters competitive advantage IT IS TAKING PLACE ALL AROUND US. UPDATE

More and more companies are moving towards a service business. Leading service is one of the main areas where Aalto EE predicts growth in Finland. Kaisa Ilomäki is in charge of designing new training programs. Most of her time is devoted to designing tailored programs for companies, but now she has stepped in to take charge of Aalto EE’s new Leading Service Business program, which will start in November 2011. “Services are more topical than ever,” she says. “It is a complex business, as it is typically led globally, but nearly always carried out very locally. It calls for quite specific strategic skills.” When setting up the new Leading Service Business program, Aalto EE personnel was able to spar with many of its business customers, which allowed them to get NEW BLOG POST EVERY MONTH!

Aalto EE International Week

the best possible outcome. “They helped us put together a combination of courses and workshops that are highly relevant to businesses today and provide fresh angles that correspond with the current economic climate,” says Ilomäki. Aalto EE takes pride in ensuring that people participating in its training programs benefit from networking with the other participants, as well as from the insights and teaching skills of the internationally acclaimed training personnel. “Our business sparring partners had a very specific wish: each group should consist of participants form very versatile backgrounds. The best synergy and ideas come from a diverse group. We have put in a great deal of effort into achieving this, and I am happy to say the first course starting this November will definitely fulfil these hopes,” Ilomäki confirms.,

THE AALTO EXECUTIVE MBA International Week brought together Aalto EMBA participants from different locations – Helsinki, Seoul, Singapore and Poznan. Some 100 EMBA students spent six days in Helsinki in late August. The theme this year was “Branding and Innovation Across Cultures.” Among the top lecturers was Professor Bernd Schmitt from Columbia Business School, New York. Visit our website for pictures from iWeek. During the week participants enjoyed networking, studying and cultural events.


Thirst for Knowledge Award THIS YEAR Aalto EE awarded its 13th Thirst for Knowledge Award. The award was given to Eija Salo, Director, Global HR, Lite-On Mobile, because she has shown exceptional innovativeness, courage and creativity. Honorary awards were given to Olli Lehtilä, Managing Director, Helsinki OP Bank Plc., and Valio’s Product Marketing Process. Based on customer feedback, the Best Teacher of the Year Award was given to Professor of Finance Matti Suominen from Aalto University School of Economics.

Aalto EE Programs starting early 2012 Aalto MBA Aalto Executive MBA AaltoJOKO® 84 Aalto EE Forums offer latest knowledge and new perspectives for developing marketing, customers and leadership capabilities for their member organizations. The language of the forum sessions is mostly Finnish. Aalto Leaders’ Insight Leadership Forum DiViA – Digital Marketing and Customer Relationship Management Forum


The key to success is not trying to please everyone.


The world is flat Around the globe, people connect in an instant manner. News really travels fast, and we are only so many handshakes – or bytes – away from our fellow citizens. International is so last millennium. We are global. LET’S FACE IT. It was not so long ago that the majority of people believed the world was flat. Back then, there was very little exploration because people were afraid they would fall off the edge of the disk. This makes us laugh, since we now know better, and, with all the information we now possess, it would be easy to think that the people of yesteryear were stupid. Behavior changed only – and, by then, big time – upon the discovery of the globe. Nations started to traverse the world, trade spices and other exotic goods. New ideas, such as mathematics, were shared between peoples, new innovations were spread and advancements took place on a large scale. Then, in 2005, Thomas Friedman told us that the world is flat. What? Were we not supposed to laugh at the concept?

The rest of Friedman’s flatteners can be merged to form a cluster of components that are flattening the global playing field for enterprises, with outsourcing, offshoring, collaboration and supply chaining at its core. Typical of our day and age, an updated and expanded version of Friedman’s book was published already in 2006, the further updated and expanded version, Release 3.0, in 2007. TO AN EXTENT, HISTORY HAS BECOME DISPOSABLE. The pace of development is so quick that examples from two years ago are no longer relevant, and the knowledge acquired by students in many fields today is obsolete by the time they graduate. Our parents traveled abroad for the first time in their adulthood, while our children are born global. The world is at their fingertips; global collaboration is in their DNA. Do we still believe that to understand the present we need to understand our past? We do. But not all history is worth learning from. What is more, much of what worked well in the good old days, like telex and landlines, is totally irrelevant to the globally connected organizations and individuals of today. All of us have heard the naysayers and their conviction that there is “nothing new under the sun.” This is like the ostrich putting its head in the sand. It is also contemptuous and undermines each person’s birthright to make one’s own history.

FRIEDMAN TALKS ABOUT FLATTENERS. We could also talk about complexeners, if there were such a word (well, there is now!). While the world has become flat again – and much smaller, too – it has also become much more complex. The good old linear world where the director knew it all, made decisions and gave orders in the corner office for his “subordinates” to implement and obey, is soon history. The era of networks, shared leadership, crowdsourcing, a greater purpose and passion is here. Instead of DO NOT GET ME WRONG. I am by no means downplaying writing reports and making process plans, we share knowl- the importance of history. It is just that we need to better edge in a way unprecedented in history. We also produce understand the crucial role that context plays, in terms new information together. of both time and place, to determine how history can help Friedman’s number one flattener is the collapse of the us adapt to our ever faster-changing global environment. Berlin Wall in 1989. Where were you when that piece of All of us are now just a Tweet away from each other on news reached you? As we know now, and most this small, flat earth. probably already did back then, the collapse of Travel through 3,000 years of the Wall shattered many other borders, too, not history with help of timelines, just the one between East and West Berlin. lifelines, maps and graphics.


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Aalto EE Profile 3_2011  

Aalto EE Profile Magazine issue 3/2011. Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE) offers high-quality executive development servic...

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