If one were to advise the CEO on innovation, what would one suggest? In other words, what are the most promising innovation use cases out today? What role does customer centricity play in making resources allocation decisions?
Following my conversation with Gérard de Bourbon, I tackle this matter with Board member of many innovation organizations in Europe including Hexicon, a world leader in floating windmills and INL (the International Iberian Nanotechnology Lab), Björn Segerbloom, a Swedish leader residing in Hong Kong.
I/ Introducing Björn Segerbloom
Through his own Hong Kong-based Strategic Enterprises Limited Björn Segerblom is engaged in selected board, advisory and project assignments primarily in nanotechnology, food safety, floating wind power technology and independent organizations, with main focus upon Hong Kong, Asia and Scandinavia.
Based in Hong Kong he was earlier for more than 12 years deeply engaged by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, www.hkstp.org, a statutory body with the goal to transform Hong Kong into the regional hub for innovation and technology, as Overseas Representative in Europe.
Previously, Björn Segerblom gained extensive international industrial management and marketing experience from senior positions in major Swedish corporations, followed by 15 years in Asia Pacific chief executive positions for SGS Societe Generale de Surveillance of Switzerland, www.sgs.com, then based in both Geneva and Asia.
Hence, his wide experience spans over chemical, turnkey contracting, industrial explosives and mechanical engineering industries as well as certification, inspection and verification services for industries and governments, plus extensive exposure to international incubation and start-up communities in several high-tech and life science sectors, including also extensive interaction with government and business agencies in Hong Kong and Europe.
Björn’s current main business engagements are with Hexicon AB, www.hexicon.eu, as Board member, Chairman Asia and investor; INL, www.inl.int as Chairman International Business Advisory Board and Hong Kong Representative; and Obducat AB, www.obducat.com, as Chairman Advisory Board and investor. Also Senior Adviser to the DISH Global Food Safety and Quality Centre between Bologna University, Danish Technical University, Lund University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Björn Segerblom has also served many years on the Board, including as Chairman, of Sweden-based Royal Sweden Hong Kong Business Council, later upgraded to The Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, www.hongkong.se. Now spending most of his active time in Hong Kong and Asia, Björn is its Honorary Chairman and Hong Kong Representative.
An overseas Swede since more than 30 years and permanently living in Hong Kong since 2001, Björn Segerblom is married, and his wife of 25 years is from Hong Kong.
With a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, Björn Segerblom is fluent in English and has good also command of German and French.
II/ High growth technology use cases combine nanotech, IoT and AI to create the future of work
Björn mentioned that he believes in nanometric sensors connected to the Internet through the Internet of things. The rise of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and clean energy should also play a critical role in transforming business operations. Björn and I touched upon the unfolding pandemic. He is astonished to see how fast companies could reorganize themselves to transition to new ways at getting the job done. This will continue on after the Covid-19 carrying profound implications in real estate as people will not need to be as close to production centers while digital technology enables remote working.
III/ Björn’s favorite business books explains why customer centricity is crucial
Authored by Swedish professor, Jan Carlzon, Moments of Truth states that corporations face a reality check every time they interact with their clients. They judge whether a product is worth buying or not.
Purchasing the product validates the resources allocation decisions that come into developing an offering over many years. Björn mentioned that he has learned to view a company’s value chain as a series of customers all serving one another, in a chain-like and interdependent relationship. For instance, someone working in manufacturing may consider the marketing lead as his/her client; a leader in inbound logistics saw the operation’s head as a customer.
On a practical level, Björn has developed empathy skills by putting himself in other people’s shoes. As an example, before sending an email he makes sure that his recipient has all the material to make a meaningful reply. Björn noticed that on several occasions, managers forget to include relevant context information and therefore, they engage in back-and-forth exchanges to make sens of the missing background knowledge. To avoid this, Björn sets out to clarify the situation within the first message. He noted that this is a significant timesaver and is also a moment of truth.
That’s the sum-up of our conversation. You’ll find more on customer centricity and innovative use cases here !