​Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Metsä Fibre, shares her views on the company’s innovation culture.

Kaija-Pehu Lehtonen

What is our recipe for leading innovation activities? I see them as the result of two distinct dimensions of our work.

Firstly, Metsä Fibre has a clear vision and strategy, and our systematic target setting – along with diligent monitoring of concrete achievements – gives our daily work its focus and direction. We rely heavily on the expertise of our personnel, and emphasise continuous improvement in every aspect of our activities. We challenge ourselves continuously, and strive for better results by making observations and improvement suggestions as part of our own work.

Secondly, we consciously seek to develop a culture of openness that encourages innovation. We have a positive attitude towards new ideas and aim to have every employee participate. We provide the tools and processes necessary to turn one individual’s eureka moment into a real development that can improve or provide a new angle to our business.

These two ways of achieving ideas and innovation may seem contradictory – the structured, disciplined, day-to-day extraction of better performance versus the freedom to explore ideas as they arise, without undue pressures. But having realised the importance of each, we have made sure that Metsä Fibre’s work represents a good balance of the two.

What unites them, of course, is the importance of collaboration. As you will find in this issue of Echo, the Innovation Forum tool enables our employees to contribute to each other’s ideas across the artificial boundaries of location and expertise. Raw ideas can be refined into real innovations when bringing competencies from different business processes together.

Teamwork is also fundamental to the innovation that takes place when working with our customers. With our Botnia IdeaBooster concept, we aim to understand our customers’ businesses, and develop business innovations in true collaboration with them. On this topic also, you will find more in the pages that follow.

One other important source of innovation is the long-term research and development work we do with universities, research institutes and our other collaboration partners. This is also the basis for creating new bioproducts, which support the competitiveness and renewal of our industry.

The role of innovation is to increase value and improve business performance. Let’s make it happen together!

Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen,
Senior Vice President, Business Development, Metsä Fibre