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The end of an era at Nordic Innovation

Kari Winquist, Ivar H. Kristensen and Melita Ringvold Hasle outside the Opera House in Oslo
  • Published 24/02/2012
Managing Director Ivar H. Kristensen and Communications Manager Melita Ringvold Hasle will look back at the time in Nordic Innovation with pride, when leaving the organization for new challenges.

- To work with so many skilled and inspiring people from different cultures has really been a great experience, Ivar H. Kristensen says, and Melita Ringvold Hasle agrees.


- Nordic Innovation is an organization with large possibilities and a large network. Creating results with other people across national and cultural borders is a fascinating process, she says.


- The political aspect is another thing that makes Nordic Innovation an interesting place to work according to Kristensen.


- Nordic Innovation is a politically controlled organization through Nordic Council of Ministers, but at the same time it is working with and for the industry. It is an exciting challenge to balance the different interests.


The profile of Nordic Innovation has not always been that clear.


- When I started as an Administrative Manager at Nordic Innovation for more than seven years ago, it was an organization that more or less passively waited for funding applications to drop in. The organization has gone from reactive to proactive, and is now taking initiatives, stimulating collaboration and creating Nordic added value on a much higher level, Kristensen says.


Melita Ringvold Hasle says that the same goes with the communication.


- When I started there was no real communications strategy. Now we have developed a clear strategy in alliance with Nordic Councils of Ministers. We have built up new routines and the communication is more innovative in the means that we have taken many new channels into use. The messages are clearer, and Nordic Innovation has become more relevant in the societal debate.



Know your audience

A users’ poll in 2008 is one of the reasons both to the change of profile and the creation of a communication strategy.


- The fact is that the results showed that a big part of our target group didn’t know what Nordic Innovation was at that time. We can easily say that this has changed, and the profile has gone from quite wide to much more gathered and strategic, Ringvold Hasle says.


The poll also motivated the organization to work more actively with its understanding of the term innovation. Nordic businesses saw innovation as something complicated and far away from their work and therefore it was important to stress a holistic approach, or in other words: Innovation as a new or improved process, service, product, business model or organization that creates economic or other public value.


- Another big change is the way the organization is looking at the world. From being a geographically Nordic institution, we have added an international level to our work, which I see as a very important step in the right direction, Ivar H. Kristensen states.


It cannot be said being particularly common that both the Managing Director and the Communications Manager are leaving an organization within one week. But as the rules in Nordic Innovation, similarly to other organizations under the Nordic Council of Ministers, say that an employee only can have a contract for 4+4 years, the organization is rather prepared for these kinds of situations. What makes the actual process easier is that both the agreement with Nordic Council of Ministers and the organizational strategy are valid for another two to three years.


- This does not mean that we do not suffer a great loss of competence and some good colleagues. But on the other hand it opens up the possibility to bring in new competence and a fresh view, HR Manager Kari Winquist says.



Looking into the future  

When in the future looking at Nordic Innovation from an external point of view, what would Ivar H. Kristensen and Melita Ringvold Hasle like to see?


- My hope is that Nordic Innovation will take the lead and be a frontrunner when it comes to collaborating on a Nordic level in new, innovative ways, Kristensen says.


- I want to highlight the importance of diversity in innovation projects. Nordic Innovation can become even better at involving a combination of interesting environments to create the best results. Here the choice of communications method is an important factor to be able to reach different target groups, Ringvold Hasle underlines.


Kari Winquist, who will continue her work as an HR Manager at Nordic Innovation, has her wish for the future as well.


- I hope that Nordic Innovation will continue to develop in the right direction when it comes to sharing competence and creating a strong feeling of commitment in the organization.


Ivar H. Kristensen is now Secretary General at Tekna and Melita Ringvold Hasle Nordic Head of Branding and Communication at EnterCard.