Time out for reflection in Aix

Early in the year it is traditional to hold a "kick-off" meeting to gather a company together to talk about how to execute the plan for the coming year, and a little to review the past performance.
SSC is no different, and the whole team headed off to Aix-les-Bains close to the French/Swiss border, to discuss and analyse how best to use 2016. For SSC this is a watershed moment. A "Gathering of the Clans" point in time. SSC has grown and developed, just like the companies we work with, and now we have reached a critical mass point where it makes sense to review our progress to see if we are still actually headed where we set out to reach, and if that destination is still correct for the team who are now involved and the skills we can offer.
The review was then used to inform the plan for the future. We have set ourselves goals, we have made decisions about how to fulfill the goals and outlined activities that we believe will take us there. We have ambition, we have strategy and now, 6 weeks later we can still look at the discussions and decisions and see that we are, indeed, still on track for what we have set out to do.
As CEO of this organisation I feel very pleased and relieved that I can say that we have a great team. We know where each of our own skills lie, and how that intertwines with the skills - technical and non-technical - of the rest of us. We are not all leaders, or ideas people, in fact, right now our team is in great harmony and balance with our aims and our ambitions. It's a feeling that fills me with great optimism for 2016.

Finland Kick-off

This past week has been busy.
Exciting, interesting, challenging and definitely busy.
Anna-Marja and Cait have been touring Southern Finland visiting key partners and some very interesting potential clients. They have made 5 corporate presentations, attended 12 meetings and 1 event (excellent launch of Spark-Up business incubator in Turku), met with more than 35 new people and some old friends and travelled many kilometres in varying November weather.
Interestingly in many ways the challenges facing innovation support and companies in Finland are the same - they want more skills and confidence in presenting their company and products/services to International clients and investors and they want more and easier access to new contacts in their market areas.
Thankfully SSC are ready for them - we have SSC Internationalisation and Business Jumpstart courses, much of which has been specifically developed for Finnish needs and have already been successfully road-tested.
Lots more to talk about!

Expanding the Mindset

We have entered exciting times at SSC. We are expanding.
It is exciting, we can do so much more with extra resource to call upon and extra skill sets to work with.
It is scary as there is an extra responsibility. The ethos of what has been created over the past 5 years is precious and we want to ensure that remains intact but we also want to balance new ideas, new approaches and fresh thinking.
It is flattering, we have new people that are experts in their field, highly respected individuals, who have worked with the SSC core team before and these people still want to join, to work with us and together take the SSC forwards. That increase in belief of what we are doing is very powerful and energising.
For a CEO of a small organisation it is particularly challenging. Inducting new people into the team means that you have to articulate and formalise thoughts, concepts and methods that you take for granted. It is a great opportunity to take a pause and reflect - is what we are doing today what we actually set out to achieve and are the deviations justifiable? Fortunately this work has gone very well for SSC and we all feel that the values that we wanted to convey are still at the forefront of what we do and how we do it.
Formalising procedures, processes and bringing some regular systems into place is still on-going. That's harder as we have to work out what happened historically, compare with what does happen today and project to what could happen in the future. This too is interesting and worthwhile.And whilst all that is on-going we have still to achieve the daily on-going tasks.
We are growing up in very many ways.