New directions for business through competition – Kiilto Up got ideas to soar

The Kiilto Up pilot project sought fresh ideas and innovations. Through this fast lane for ideas, staff expertise helps business operations to take off in bold new directions. 

The Kiilto Up pilot programme welcomed all Kiiltonians to apply for a chance to be directly involved in business development. The only criterion for the idea was that it be aimed at growth. The hope was to create new types of products and services.

“We want to develop and renew ourselves, and are always on the lookout for new ways of doing things. We have employees with tremendous abilities in these areas”, says Kiilto’s chief business development officer Ville Solja.

“The programme generated a lot of positive buzz, with plenty of applications coming in”.

The programme was implemented in the form of a competition. Participants were divided into six teams, and each team worked on their ideas with outside coaches in six-week sprints. After the initial phase, the most promising of the fledgling ideas were selected for the next development period, and the competition was completed in December 2017.

“Through the programme we were able to encourage our staff to find new ways of working. The programme offered an environment where failure is allowed, and where experimentation was encouraged”, says Solja. “In this operating model, it’s important that things are started as quickly as possible, and don’t linger too long in the planning phase”.

The next Kiilto Up programme will be held in 2018, and will be expanded to include Kiilto companies in other countries. Kiilto has units in several countries, including Sweden, the Baltic countries and Poland.

“The participants were really committed, and we have received positive feedback from the programme. The model turned out to be popular, and will be put into practice again this year”.

Innovative staff

Kiilto’s account and development manager Kirsi Saukkonen participated in the Kiilto Up competition, as part of the winning Microbiomi team.

The programme lasted about four months, during which time the teams had several days of working together intensively – boot camp days. Particularly inspirational environments were chosen for the sessions. For example, one boot camp day was spent at the startup facilities in the former Maria hospital in Helsinki.

“The instructors were there to spar with us and push us to take our ideas forward. They really got us to use our heads. The programme as a whole generated a lot of extra energy and enthusiasm for our own work, outside of the programme.

Our team’s product is a new type of skincare innovation that works through improving the wellbeing of a person’s own microbial system”, says Saukkonen.

“Our competition idea was the brainchild of our research and development chemist Juha Issakainen, with business controller Toni Moisio providing the business acumen. The win was a bit of a surprise really, since our ideas are still in the developmental phase. Many of the other teams seemed to have further-developed product ideas in mind”.

The competition layout added its own nuances to the development work.

“It was great to see what innovative colleagues we have in the company, and how enthusiastic they are. The competition increased people’s self-confidence by enabling them to see that their ideas have the potential to go far and that Kiilto trusts in the skills of every employee. It’s great that the company has the courage to embrace new ideas in this way”, Saukkonen says.

“I doubt that our own innovation, for one, would have ever seen the light of day without a development programme created for this purpose”.

The next Kiilto Up programme for Kiilto’s personnel will be held in 2018. Check out the video below!