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Pirjo Kyläkoski

  • Programme: Developing Strategy for Value Creation
  • Nationality: Finnish
  • Job Post-programme: Foresight Manager, Tekes

#1 for strategy

My organisation, Tekes, is the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation – our budget is government funded and focuses on subsidising the R&D and innovation work of Finnish companies and universities. Tekes recently got involved in a complex government foresight strategy and policy-making project, and as the company’s Foresight Manager, I am one of the key project leads. This is a very complex, multi-dimensional process and a much more ambitious challenge than I have previously experienced. Given this, and the long-term implications and importance of the project, it was important for me to update my knowledge of strategic frameworks and processes. 

Highly committed to promoting innovation competencies among Finnish society and business, Tekes also invests in developing its people. I considered a number of different programmes, including one in the US, but I wanted to study somewhere that would expose me to top-level strategic methods and processes. The academic reputation of London Business School was outstanding and Developing Strategy for Value Creation (DSCV) offered the dedicated strategic focus I was looking for. The fact that the campus is in central London was an added bonus.

A challenging learning environment

For me, the classroom environment was one of the highlights of DSVC. The lectures were excellent, particularly when we worked through cases in small study groups applying what we had learnt in each session. Learning alongside professionals from all over the world and looking at the individual business problems arising from different sectors and companies was invaluable. Discussions outside the classroom were also a great way to benchmark my own strategic challenges against others and create strong contacts for the future. The network I have taken from the course is simply amazing – working that hard together from morning till late evening certainly creates a unique atmosphere and bond. 

DSVC challenged me to sit back and think about what strategy actually is – what it means, what the difference is between foresight and strategy and how to separate the two processes. 

DSVC also enabled me to develop a more holistic strategic vision using clear and solid foresight and strategy processes, helping me understand that companies need short-term strategic planning and should integrate foresight into that planning.

Competitive advantage

Learning how to employ the strategic intelligence and information around me and package it to support decision-making has given me a competitive edge. Within Tekes, I’m now able to make a greater contribution to our internal and collaborative foresight and strategy processes and to decision-making. DSVC has also enabled me to bring academic frameworks and structure into the government environment. This is quite new for the people I am working with, largely because they are used to focussing on budgeting rather than strategic planning. It is the perfect opportunity to instigate new, collaborative approaches and practices.