The Game Changer – Agility in Internationalization

March 9, 2013 by Juha Merinen

We Finns are known for our continuous efforts in focusing research and development aiming at new innovations. Most of the public sector programs are tied into helping technology driven companies to break thru with their  new product and services offering. More and more emphasis is being put into companies looking to grow abroad. The question is; if we are so good in inventing the products – why have we not been able to go international in  the planned way?

Agile Business Thinking in Internationalization

“Fail fast” is a commonly known fact when it comes to for example agile software development. By following this simple rule one can ensure that the lessons are learnt before the costs start sky rocketing. It makes also perfect
sense because market and especially the Voice of Customer are being involved in the product development process. The outcome will ensure that the offering matches with the demand and the wished position will be achieved.

The same strategic thinking should be fully utilized on the international business development side. Once the company has analyzed its current state, finalized its perfect case scenario for internationalization, prepared the strategy and concrete plans for implementation – it is all about getting started, following-up, measuring, monitoring the market place, revisiting the plan, adjusting the plan and do the re-planning in case needed.


Call to Action – Disruptive Innovation in international sales skills

If we Finns are at least close to be “World Champions” in creating new disruptive technologies why should we
not  be able to innovate disruptive sales intelligence in internationalization? Personally I cannot see any barriers
in making the paradigm shift happen.

It will require a genuine Public Private Partnership approach with a true will power to change the rules of the
game  in our efforts to join forces for the challenging task in hand. Much more emphasis is needed to provide
critical support for operational sales teams to develop the relevant sales structures, processes and tools that
help sales teams learn and cultivate best practices for international growth.

Quoting Mikko Kosonen President SITRA, Finnish Innovation Fund at Kasvufoorumi Strategy and Board Initiative (SBI) workshop February 27, 2012: “Strategic Agility imperative: Most companies die not because they do the wrong things, but because they keep doing what used to be the right things for too long“ (© Yves Doz and Mikko Kosonen, Fast Strategy, Wharton School Publishing, 2007).


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