BrandWeekReview. Rapid Innovation & Searching Governments.
Reviewing the week. Brand in mind. Business in focus. Mostly Scandinavia, with a keen eye on the world. Two key learnings. Every Friday.
by Robert Leinders-Krog
Learning #1: Norway´s Innovators Are On The Move. Fast.
The country closed down March 12. That is in essence two weeks ago today. Since then, we have seen the collective ability of the Norwegian startup and accelerator scene to rethink, refocus and create. Within this weeks we have seen concepts coming together like wemunity.org, digitalboost.no and this weekends’ hackathon #hackthecrisisnorway, specifically everyone should look at the extensive and nothing short of amazing list of concepts, startups and sustainable ideas that will be developed during this hackathon. Or look at this little health tech company that made covid-19 tests available in zero time.
What is clear though is that startup and innovation-driven Norway is not digging a deep black hole to hide in and sit it out. We are collectively trying to beat this crisis with everything we´ve got. With or without governmental help.
My prediction is that we will see a flust of new ideas and concepts within the next few weeks. New startups, rethought ideas and solutions, all tailored at beating this thing from the inside out.
This might just be the silver lining on that famous cloud we are all looking for.
Learning #2: Governments Still Searching For Solutions
It is happening all over Europe, and my views can only be focused on Norway as this is where I am based. Governments — aka politicians — aka the ones that often have little or no experience in the private sector — are planning the future of business.
And although they are actively promoting decision-making ability in these difficult times, and definitely doing a great job trying to save the country, the brilliant ideas and concrete (fast) support structures are still missing. Two weeks in, the government announced new bailouts and structures to “save businesses all over the country”. But with a timeline.
Unfortunately though, the one area they seem to be forgetting is the innovative clusters, the startups, the founders, the ones that invested everything into that one idea, the ones that are about to loose it all. The ones without the balance sheet to prove the viability of their business.
Extending VAT deadlines, tax deadlines, and opening up for more loans will not help these early-phase companies. It will only make them weaker as the pile of cash that will have to leave the account “at some point” will only get larger.
The latest announcement of cost coverage percentages are be a good thing, pending the size of the percentage. I just really hope we can get closer to the Danish model where employees that are on leave can come back on the State’s dime and create real value - which they are not doing being forced to their sofa at home.
One thing the government seems to miss is that they really need to be the ones to keep the wheels in motion. They need to put out RFPs, new public tenders, faster response options, and work together on simplifying platforms to keep the private sector busy. Shutting down projects like Follobanen is not sending the right message.
At this point. Most of it is unclear and still very political. Every business in the world will be affected somehow. Norwegian businesses as much as international ones. What we need now is clarity. No political speeches and sad-faced employees of the state telling us how bad things are.
We need all the support and simplification we can get to keep business going. Idea stage, early phase or industrial giant.
Fingers crossed & have a nice weekend everybody. #letsdothis
Robert is an Oslo-based advisor & growth hacker for next generation global brands. A brand management expert and entrepreneur at the core, he is the CEO of XY01 and a keen writer and keynote speaker. European at heart, Scandinavian by trade.