Sami Paihonen // September 25 2017

Every Obstacle is an Opportunity

There once was a very wealthy and curious queen who had a huge boulder placed in the middle of a road. She hid nearby to see if anyone would try to remove the gigantic rock from the road. The first people to pass by were some of the queen’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers. Rather than moving it, they simply walked around it. A few of them loudly blamed the queen for not maintaining the roads. Not a single one of them tried to move the boulder.

Finally, a peasant came along, his arms were full of vegetables. When he got near the boulder, rather than simply walking around it as the others had done, the peasant put down his load and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. It took a lot of effort but he finally succeeded. The peasant gathered up his load and was ready to go on his way when he saw a purse lying on the road where the boulder had been. The peasant opened the purse. The purse was stuffed full of gold coins and a note from the queen. The queen’s note said the purse’s gold was a reward for moving the boulder from the road.

The lesson the queen wanted to convey to her people?

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our conditions. This message applies to many things:

– innovation, which is usually a road full of challenges without sight of breakthrough in sight

– digitalisation, which seems so omnipresent, hyped and easy to begin yet without concrete goals and vision in sight can mess up even biggest corporations

– several industries, which are facing disruption in form of (ever-)changing client needs, new players, regulation or simply staying put – disruptions are boulders

– our own company, which has faced more changes and challenges in the past few years than most companies face in 20 years

Regarding the last example, keeping in mind the lesson of each obstacle being an opportunity has been something that I have kept closely at heart in those times when it has seemed challenges are so big that they leave you breathless. Idea by idea, discussion by discussion, decision by decision and action by action, we have removed every obstacle in our way to learn from that obstacle and to see what opportunity lies ahead. And I am sure we will face new “boulders” on our way, but we have never been as ready as we are now. We have even made the removing of the “boulders” a way of working in our company through dedicated teams we call Circles, and live as we preach – co-create our story further, with our clients, partners and employees.

What we have become now, not instantly but over the years, is the remover of blocks for innovation and digitalisation – and we are actually really good at it. We have been building successful solutions for the cruising industry, fashion industry, mobile operators, consumer electronics, banks, streaming services, gaming industry – all with the dedication and determination our clients will not find anywhere else. And after we together remove the obstacles for innovation and digitalisation, an opportunity will lie ahead.

That’s the power of co-creation and our Digitalist ecosystem.