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“Don’t try to the predict the future”

  • Publisert 13.10.2011
Nordic companies must find the balance between investing in the present and the future, and they need to think businesses, not products.

These are crucial components if Nordic companies want to be in front of the global innovation race, according to Robert C. Wolcott, who also advises against trying to predict the future – and instead focus on building networks.


- It might be possible to predict the next 5 weeks or maybe even months, but I dare to say that it is impossible to know what happens in the next 5 years. Look at the existing economical situation in the US and in Europe for example, who predicted that?


Robert C. Wolcott, Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network and a Senior Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management, was one of the main speakers at the Nordic Measured and Managed Innovation conference, taking place in Elsinore, Denmark, in the beginning of October.


He points out that it in many companies is a tension between creating something new and preserving the existing. It takes a good company manager to find the balance between the both, and to deliver some clear objectives for the company.


- Picture yourself where your company will be in five years, and then draw up a plan for how you will get there. And make sure to keep your employees motivated and inspired. People respond to clear challenges that can be achieved and measured.


Another advice from Robert C. Wolcott is for the companies not to innovate for their own sake, but on behalf of their customers – and to think beyond the products. He mentions the Spanish fashion store Zara as a good example.


- Zara realized that it is not only about the clothes, but also about the actual hunt. So they worked out a business strategy which is about getting fashionable clothes to an affordable prize out to their customers as fast as possible.


Robert C. Wolcott finally recommends the Nordic countries to stick together when it comes to innovation, in order to be more visible on an international level.


- The Nordic region is definitely more powerful as a whole, he says.