Still confused but now on much higher level

December 15, 2013 by Juha Merinen

It was back in September 2012 when over 1.500 people witnessed the birth of Team Finland at Finland Hall. The event laid out great expectations for all of us that finally we all will come together as one and beat the economic downturn. This would have required genuine public private partnership cooperation between all the stakeholders. Most likely  I am not the only one who is still confused but now on much higher level why the required paradigm shift has not yet taken place.

It is only fair to give credit to Team Finland for its efforts in building up the program. The latest published strategy for Team Finland 2014 ( gave us the basic roadmap what is expected to take place. The current landscape for companies internationalizing
is however still fragmented and having overlapping roles of state agencies and private sector expertise.

 The Swedish approach: 72-Hour Race to Innovation

The race started and was originally kicked off in Beijing in May 2010 where 10 Chinese and foreign participants, with various backgrounds, from different industries, came together to meet the unprecedented creative challenge: How to create patents within 72 hours.

The “72 Hour Race to Innovation” was a concept developed by Swedish professor Kaj Mickos. The idea of the race was that anyone, given the right guidance and support, can be an innovator. Professor Mickos created something called “innovation production process” to help people interact in a good environment with different backgrounds, and enables them to transfer innovative ideas into market practice within 72 hours.

The need to speed up and simplify public sector procedures

Compared with the normal lead times that Finnish companies need to wait until their funding applications are approved or rejected 72 hours feels very appealing to many. Yes, this is to compare apple to orange but the point
is that Start-Ups and SMEs cannot wait 3 to 4 months to get the funding decision. There is a clear need to speed
up several processes within public sector in general. This requires streamlining and simplifying lots of the existing procedures. Most of all, it requires to tear down the overlapping roles of current stakeholders.

What if the public sector would switch their mode of operation into something similar to Lean Start-Up within software business? Finland is considered to be in the heart of Europe’s most progressive educational and game development community. In addition Finland is currently the hottest place for Start-Up scene. Our state driven incubator programs seem not to keep up with the dynamics of the 21st century Lean Start-Up business development.

Internationalization is an analyzed and structured process, not an event

Many state agencies provide high-level, conceptual support, but there is a need for capacity building in terms of
the concrete needs of Start-Ups and SMEs looking to internationalize. State agencies require programmes that
reach deeper into Start-Ups and SMEs to help them build up competency in key areas such as analyzed concrete global growth planning, sales intelligence, customer leadership and cross-cultural marketing communication.

Most of these agencies seem to lack measurement and follow-up programmes or the capacity to help clients
develop such programmes to measure success. Detailed globalization programmes with clear milestones and outcomes will make it possible to measure and enhance return on investment.

The good news is that finally something promising seems to be coming on our way

Team Finland seeks new ways to reduce poverty and promote business for development. The initiative included
members also from the business sector, universities and NGOs. This is the right approach and a great step towards
a genuine nationwide cooperation to beat the economic downturn in Finland. Read more via below link.


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