This week we launched the #CommerceAccelerator in Helsinki and Amsterdam. This is the third accelerator so far in the series. We began in the Autumn last year with the #MobileAccelerator and continued in the Spring with the #ContentAccelerator.
I notice the Finnish contingent of the team in particular has become increasingly creative in finding launch venues. The first round was in the auditorium at Sanoma House. The second round was at Adams and was the first time I have given a corporate presentation under a disco ball. This round was at cultural arena “Gloria” where Finnish Eurovision Song Contest 2006 winner “Lordi” has recorded some music video – I will spare you the footage of that here. We are considering video and vlogging as the focus for the fourth accelerator – I am already wondering with some trepidation where we will meet for that kick-off.
New business and new skills
We have two big goals for our Innovation Accelerators: i) to build new business lines and ii) to learn new skills. As a direct result of the first two accelerators we have established six new start-ups and by the end of this accelerator almost 450 of our most talented employees will have learned new skills about Lean Innovation. Learning by doing.
This accelerator has two new aspects.
Firstly, we are focusing on developing concepts that can “enable commerce” – “content” is not necessarily central to our thinking in this accelerator. How can we use our ability to reach, inspire and engage consumers to enable commerce?
Secondly, we have opened up the process. We are joined on this journey by approximately 70 students from 6 European universities, along with a handful of participants from a leading e-commerce player and leading telecoms operator. We are looking to the outside world and want to bring in new talent and ideas.
I felt excited at the kick-offs– the same way I used to feel when starting a new academic year – a time of new beginnings and new opportunities. Program leaders Lassi Kurkijärvi (@lassi, Director of Innovation & Development at Sanoma) and Joris van Heukelom (@jorisheuk, Partner at Makerstreet) were in good form and inspiring as always. What I especially liked at both kick-offs was the positive and optimistic spirit of the participants. I can sense the ambition of my colleagues, an eagerness to learn and to develop something new. It felt good.
So, after the kick-offs we will be moving on to the ideation and learning experience and then taking the best 5 ideas to bootcamp to build functional prototypes. I am extremely curious to see what this accelerator brings us. Good luck to all participants and respect to you for going for it!