I had the pleasure of participating in an online event on 20.5.2020 hosted by Design Forum Finland and Arctic Factory. The topic of the event was design and new values, with the focus on sustainability and the role of companies in creating new value. The topic is especially current now during an ongoing, global pandemic, which has only increased the need for a change.
The idea of new value is not just about creating financial value to company stakeholders, but a new type of added value to employees, society, and environment as a whole. We’re in a new era where customers demand more from companies.
Design thinking has a big role in creating new value. Design thinking is essentially about understanding the needs of people, being innovative and solving challenges in an agile way. Companies can find business opportunities and create new value through design thinking, for example by utilizing sustainable products and involving ecological thinking.
One important aspect of design thinking is understanding what is happening in the world, what kind of trends are taking place and how they are affecting people. By understanding your surroundings, can you be strategic and proactive.
- ecological sustainability crisis and the urgency of its reconstruction
- strengthening of relational power
- ageing and diversifying of population
- technology being embedded in everything
- the redefinition of economy
Vataja emphasized the importance of ecological reconstruction and stated that the key factor influencing the future is climate change and other ecological issues, and how we respond to them.
“The decisions we make in the next 10 years will impact the next 100 years.” – Katri Vataja, 2020
Vataja ended the segment with a great question to think: what kind of a future would you like to help build?
The bees of the business world
Sonja Lahtinen from University of Tampere discussed the new values and the changing culture. Her main focus was the importance of sustainability transition: a cohesive, long term change towards sustainable modes in society’s foundation, culture and practices.
Innovative companies are like the bees of the business world: they are the vital pollinators of the society without which sustainability transition would not be possible. Lahtinen stated that companies have the needed capabilities for this important change in resources and innovation.
Lahtinen highlighted the importance of companies’ role in the transition and more importantly why they should strive towards this.
“We’re now entering into an era of the unknown, the unclear, and the unfolding. Being in tune with what is emerging around, we can seize immense, but not instantly obvious, opportunities to better the world.” – Sonja Lahtinen, 2020
Those who adapt, thrive
The event couldn’t have had a more inspirational end than Kyrö Distillery’s segment.
Mikko Koskinen from Kyrö Distillery’s brand marketing talked about the evolution of the company from the first brainstorming session in sauna, to adapting to corona times by switching from rye whisky to hand sanitizer. Koskinen emphasized the importance of strategy and values in their company and how they are not just a slogan on their website but a tool in their daily work.
All in all, the event raised great points about new values and the role of companies in this change. It was perhaps Kyrö Distillery’s last slide that best described not only the inspirational message of the event but also Finnish “sisu” at its core: