Collaboration drives innovation

It takes three to tango: Collaboration drives innovation

Today’s companies are faced with a growing number of requirements. They’re expected to provide rapid new solutions on a global scale, especially in cost-effectiveness and sustainable development. The problems to be solved are complex. Issues and challenges must be examined from multiple perspectives if sustainable solutions are to be found.

For example, consumer packaging must be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective, and it must better reflect the product’s brand.
​Expertise is needed to resolve these challenges, and it can rarely be found in one place. As I’ve said, it takes three to tango in our industry! Three parties with expertise and vision are needed for perfect packaging innovation: the packaging board manufacturer; the converter; and the brand owner. 

Metsä Board’s expertise is based on paperboard. Northern fibres are the backbone of our products’ high quality. Customers are increasingly interested in where the wood was harvested, and how forests are sustainably managed. We have a good story to tell as part of Metsä Group, because we’re aligned with these goals. 

With our 150-year history, we’re highly expert at manufacturing paperboard. But we also want to be open to new developments, innovation and cooperation. Companies that operate globally have a unique opportunity to contribute to making the right choices throughout the world. There can be great achievements when people with a diverse range of backgrounds approach a common challenge – each from their own perspective.

The Excellence Centre we’ve established in Äänekoski, Finland provides a collaboration platform for experts in various fields. I’m fascinated when creative experts focusing on aesthetics and structural engineering meet top-class engineers, for example. When the converter, brand owner and Metsä Board’s experts work together, our expertise extends from the stump in the forest all the way to consumers’ needs.

We can also partner with a research institute or a technology partner, which provides an insight into completely different business environments. 

In developing the Excellence Centre, our goal was to provide solutions to real challenges instead of simply establishing a showroom. In the best case, we can provide the customer or partner with something very concrete like a tailored prototype package that they can take with them when leaving the Excellence Centre. This way of working also fits our corporate culture: we’re more about doing than talking.

It’s a major indication of trust when a customer asks us for an opinion, information or a suggestion for a solution to an issue. We have to prove we’re worthy of the customer’s trust every time. And an atmosphere of trust promotes co-creation and innovation.

Sometimes it’s good to present incomplete ideas on a suitable platform and trust that the collaborators will further shape the idea. This leads to innovation that benefits the whole world.

Sari Pajari-Sederholm
SVP, Sales and Marketing, Metsä Board 

Sari Pajari-Sederholm

Sari Pajari-Sederholm
SVP, Sales and Marketing

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