The Experts' Advice on Delivering Digital at Scale

Ulrika Mann

Ulrika Mann,

Operating digital at scale requires cultural changes, a strong customer focus, an ecosystem of external partners – and a large dose of persistence. This became clear as speakers from Handelshögskolan, Stora Enso, and LEO Pharma gathered to talk about How to Deliver at Scale at Snapshot Breakfast.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where you can combine your own meal from a handful of ingredients? Then you’ve been exposed to the simplest form of modularization, according to Martin Sköld, Scania Associate Professor at Handelshögskolan. Modularization helps you beat the trade-off between volume and variation. How? Customers care about scope; they want variation, and by combining a number of modules you achieve high volume and mass customization at the same time.

Companies are normally forced to choose between scale and scope, but scope really creates scale. This is how Scania successfully has built vehicles for more than a century, and it could be done elsewhere. Where to start? Define the value for your customers, design your “lego-bricks” and earn the volume. It’s resource efficient, it’s profitable, and it fosters innovation.

Change management first
At Stora Enso, innovation is driven by structured processes and motivated employees, says Pranav Chandra, Head of Digital Intelligence & Advisory. To encourage experimentation and to install a culture of innovation, Stora Enso has set up a digitalization fund, which so far has funded 76 projects, and a start-up engagement program.

From an asset-heavy company’s point of view, Pranav Chandra says that culture is the no. 1 barrier for scaling digital. Consequently, change management is key to succeed. Part of the solution is also to establish a clear vision, to drive the transformation from top, and to establish a mix of external technology partners.

Drive external innovation
External collaboration has paved the way for innovation at scale at LEO Pharma. As LEO Pharma, with its strong customer focus, faced higher innovation demands and cost-efficiency problems, Niclas Nilsson, Head of Open Innovation, Research, started to think of a way to engage with new competence and capacity outside company walls.

How can you get people outside the organization to work with your innovation? By exposing parts of the R&D process to invited external researchers, LEO Pharma overcame the barriers and established a foundation for open innovation. There are no business obligations, the partners own the generated data, and the risk is low. It took 2–3 years before it really kicked off but now LEO Pharma can, as the only pharma company with this concept, evaluate more opportunities together with relevant, dedicated external volunteers, thanks to trust and mutual benefits.

Any pitfalls along the way to digital at scale? Make sure you respect the time it takes to succeed, communicate across the entire organization to get everyone onboard, and as for modularization – stick within your meny and do it well.

Want to know more? Then watch the whole seminar video here.