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What Australians can learn from Innovation Leaders Finland

Every aspect of Finnish society is embedded in innovation. From schools to technology and medicine, to start-ups and creativity, Finland is routinely listed amongst the most innovative economies in the world. 

And it’s always fascinating to see what they’ll come up with next. 

One original idea I love is Polar Bear Pitching, a competition where startups pitch to investors and media as quickly as they can from a freezing hole cut in the ice. It’s based in Oulu, a town ranked by Fortune as one of the best cities in the world for start-ups.

The Finns have a highly original innovation model that links startups with big companies, universities and public bodies, through private and public funding.

I could write all day about how Finland responds so quickly to the disruption in innovation ecosystem. So what are we doing in the southern hemisphere? How can we punch above our weight in Australia?

Overall, we don’t have as good a behavioural culture in innovation as we could have. And, as I discussed in a recent post, it’s not easy to get a grip on how fast-changing technology will reshape the business landscape locally.

Sydney UTS academic Rob Livingstone suggests in his new book Direction through Disruption that one of our responses could be through individuals and career resilience. He challenges conventional views of employment and job ‘security’, encourages leaders to shape their career, and provides the tools and a framework on which to build career resilience.

He identifies successful employers as:
•    Identifying resilient job seekers who – 
•    Demonstrate the ability to adapt
•    Diversify their skills
•    Are coachable 
•    Are able to anticipate change 

And successful employees as: 
•    Becoming such a person
•    Taking personal charge
•    Being their own leader
•    Setting their own direction
•    Being ready

He says: “Employees need to think of themselves and their careers as if it were a business enterprise – that must be evolved, grown, sometimes re-directed and above all – protected.”

Australia has a long way to go before we’re pitching ideas from a hole in the ice!

Perhaps as individuals we need to take a more business-like approach?

Ideas Accelerator is an easy and proven method that helps people rapidly act on their ideas, help get concepts to market faster, engage customers, and be more profitable. 

Contact Paul Wilson here to "Turn your great ideas into action."