26 June 2012

“Ants aren’t smart…ant colonies are”

Written by Leena Suoninen
Published in Oil products

According to one statement I’ve seen, five years from now, managers will make twice as many decisions, in half the time, based on twenty times more information than today. This will increase the importance of information management and market intelligence. Business intelligence team at Neste Oil supports strategy formation by providing market insight and monitoring signals of changes in business environment.

Spring 2012 strategy process started by forming scenarios, out looking to year 2025 and beyond. This forward looking business environment analysis aimed to fine tuning Neste Oil’s strategy in the ever changing business environment. Fundamentals of the strategy remain unchanged. Scenario work streams were formed aligned with business areas giving the privilege to each stream to concentrate on the issues specific to their business.

Parallel to scenario work, Neste Oil engaged its personnel to what we call Strategy Dialogue. This two round online exercise gave a chance to a large number of people to share their knowledge and views on the future of Neste Oil’s business and industry. We received close to 4 000 individual comments and development ideas. What an intelligent crowd we have!

If I were a competitor, daidle daidle deedle daidle dum…

Some 100 Neste Oil professionals participated to the corporate strategy day early May. Participants were from all locations and business functions. An ideal set up to have comprehensive discussion of our business environment and future business models. As part of the work shop exercises, all of us were to take a role of our competitor or a customer’s management. As a “war game rookie”, I found it somewhat challenging to get into the mind and body of another market player! But it requires only an open mind and good preparation. This mini war game exercise offered a new viewpoint to competitive environment.

The future is made now

As business environment is getting more complex, knowledge and innovation’s importance as competitive advantage increases. Visiting one of the biggest Market Intelligence conferences just last week in London, I noticed that compared to previous years, acknowledgment of innovations importance has increased. Never have I seen it mentioned so many times in presentations. Given the forum, discussion was about how to embed market intelligence into innovation work. Might be that the current economic situation pushes people to stronger future orientation. Given the estimate that sixty percent of innovation comes outside one’s own industry, I strongly believe that innovation by partnerships has come to stay as a way to gain competitive advantage.

One definition of innovation I’ve seen is redefining future. Neste Oil has put a lot effort on developing and supporting its innovation work. We have trained some 30 innovation facilitators, and there are more to come. We have registered over 800 new ideas to our innovation system Orchidea, including the ones received from Strategy Dialogue. Actionable intelligence will help us to refine the future.


“Know where to find the information and how to use it - that's the secret of success."

- Albert Einstein


I wish everyone a great summer!

Leena Suoninen
Manager, Business Intelligence