In cooperation with Ülemiste City, the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences organised the ninth annual entrepreneurship and innovation conference, entitled ‘Building a virus-resistant company’.
“Acclaimed leaders, experts and researchers from Estonia, the US, Japan and Great Britain shared valuable advice with entrepreneurs,” explains Marina Järvis, Research Manager of EUAS Mainor. “They interpreted changes in leadership and in the routine of organisations and studied which innovative solutions help businesses cope with and successfully emerge from crises. They discussed businesses’ expectations for today’s universities and introduced the results of recent scientific research.”
The recurring keywords of the conference were sustainability, innovation, leadership, business development and responsibility. Five presentations with a panel discussion and scientific research introductions provided content from several viewpoints and left participants with plenty to think about.
One important and primary part of the annual conference is presenting the results of scientific research, with the aim of focusing on new knowledge in regard to topical issues.
The scientific research presented was chosen by an international committee which addressed green transition, digitalisation, circular economy, modern leadership methods and new opportunities in the changed environment, knowledge management, the culture and supportive environment of an organisation, the importance of mental health, etc.
Ability to focus on the facts, the process and the right people
Emöke Sogenbits, President of the Baltics’ cluster of Hanza Mechanics offering comprehensive solutions in the field of mechanics and electronics, spoke about how to prevent and react to crises on the basis of a rapidly growing international business and her own experiences.
Sogenbits, who has worked for subcontracting businesses for over two decades in Central Europe, the US, China and now also Tartu, was guided by the abbreviation VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity.
“As Deepak Chopra once said, ‘all great changes are preceded by chaos’,” Sogenbits references the thought of one of the most prominent people in the popular New Age movement in her presentation. “In reality, businesses start making changes only when life gets uncomfortable. It may concern reviewing supply chains, using capital, the relationship between globalisation and localisation or any manner of other important things.”
“A collection of experiences, ideas and philosophies creates the actual basis for creative and innovative solutions,” she acknowledges, comparing homogeneous and diversified teams. “Focus more on the facts and the process and hire people smarter than you. Say ‘no’ to those who agree with everything in order to avoid conflict.”
Building bridges puts new technology on the market
Linda L. Singh, who has had a remarkable career in the United States in both the public and private sectors, talked about the factors of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and gave numerous examples in the field of technology transfer and research and development activities.
In 2015, Singh became the first female general of the Maryland National Guard (now a retired general). She has also worked in Estonia at the level of ministers and ambassadors under the ministries of defence partnership programme. Singh, who has more than 30 years of experience in leadership and strategic counselling, emphasised the phrase ‘beauty of change’ and mentioned the most important aspect in the future, which is building bridges.
“In order to bring tomorrow’s technology to the market, it is necessary to create stronger connections between the parties of technology transfer, i.e. researchers and business circles. Developing an up-to-date and relevant legal framework would immensely help simplify processes and enhance cooperation,” says CEO and founder of international consultation business Kaleidoscope Affect, who also cooperates with Townson University, which is in the USA TOP 100.
Other people who shared their experiences were professor at Leeds Beckett University Olga Matthias with her presentation ‘The Long Game – Technological Innovation and the Transformation of Business Performance’ on digitalisation, technological innovation and the importance of machine study solutions; professor at Kanazawa University Daisuke Matsushima on a topic which is not yet well known in Europe, ‘Startup or Re-Startup?’; and logistics expert Tarmo Tael, who emphasised the importance of a business continuation plan in his presentation ‘Creating a virus-resistant company – an opportunity to create and improve the business continuity of your company’.