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Find growth where the customer is


Jyri Arponen

Director, Industry and Innovation


The talk of the day is all about customer-oriented operations and service design: a new understanding of sales as a necessary prerequisite of growth has emerged. All this means contacts with real customers, that is, with people.

Businesses are no longer established to remain dormant. Instead, seeds of growth and customer insight are searched for in incubators, living labs, hubs, workshops and through acceleration of operations without an actual customer. If a company has no earning logic proven in customer operations, it is difficult to attract investors or sell innovative solutions.

Aaltoes Startup, with its Sauna workshops and Slush events, has a different approach. Their Startup platform attracts investors, potential buyers and people who see and do things differently. The platform is particularly beneficial for gaming companies and mobile and software developers, but it is now in the process of including the medical field.

Where to find a new hot way to spin fast and sustainable growth for the products, services and concepts of new businesses outside of campuses?

At Aalto, the answer is Sauna. In New York, it is the SME Store. SME Store aids businesses who wish to have genuine customer contacts right from the early stages of operations. We could create a store for selling products and developing services and organise joint facilities for B2B and B2C operators in environments such as shopping centres.

All businesses need an operational model that generates good sales; they also need to interact with real customers, enabling immediate testing of the concept. The various operators within the store could also learn from each other. Strange alliances and new business opportunities would be created.

The time of gloomy and secluded incubators is over. Go where your customer is.

 Published on 20 February 2012 at

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