This spring, one of Epicenter’s accelerator programs dove into future-proofing one of Finland’s most historical brands, postal and logistics service company Posti. The X-celerator program, co-created by Epicenter Helsinki, Result, and Posti, invited the whole staff to take part in the innovation journey, aiming for future growth.

The goal of the X-celerator program, launched in January 2020, was to find new growth ideas among the staff by encouraging all Posti employees to innovate. This was the first time that the 400-year-old company looked for growth ideas throughout the organization and harnessed its internal know-how, so that staff across all levels could apply to take part in innovation work.

The X-celerator program received 23 applications, of which six ideas and the teams behind them were selected for further development. Posti was particularly looking for growth ideas to support domestic service providers in the e-commerce market, circular economy and sustainability, and streamlining consumers’ online shopping experience. Epicenter Helsinki offered Posti a structured process to test, validate, and further refine early-stage ideas. 

From good ideas to great business

The program culminated in May when the participating teams gave final pitches of their ideas to the management of Posti’s Parcel and E-commerce business unit. Some of the ideas were chosen to continue their journey as part of Posti’s X Labs innovation process, and some were merged into current operations. As a natural part of accelerator program development, some of the teams also decided to drop out of the program.

As the next step, the teams behind these ideas will be invited to be part of Posti’s X Labs innovation process which has its own budget and provides the structures and process to take ideas forward.

“The teams themselves decide their pace, report on progress, and apply for funding at the monthly X Labs Council meeting. In the next phase, the teams will brighten their idea of the business model, create a prototype of the idea and test market interest with actual customers,“ says Eeva Tiainen, a business strategist working at Posti. 

Meaning that in the future, an X-celerator team may see their idea turn into actual business and thus contribute to how Posti’s organization functions and operates.

Innovation is like riding a roller coaster

The X-celerator program was led by Posti and  Epicenter’s coaching team, headed by Riikka Jakovuori, Country Manager for Epicenter Helsinki and Mahesh Kumar, CEO of Result.

“Courage is the most significant driver of innovation. Companies should be more confident that the talent and passion for innovation can be found inside your own organization, in all job roles. Everyone has the ability to innovate when they are provided with tools that help good ideas stand out”, Riikka Jakovuori says.  

“However, when people come up with great ideas, they might still lack a business case. That’s what makes innovation such a wonderful journey that often feels like a roller coaster. Not having all the answers but still pushing forward is essential to the process. It requires courage and commitment from both management and employees – the ability to take on a challenge while the outcome is still unknown.”

One of the key learnings Posti’s X-celerator teams got from the program was that not having specific guidelines and rules is the driving force of innovation.

“When people themselves are handed the ownership to push their idea forward, that’s when magic starts to happen. Focusing on business areas that were important to Posti and elevating team thinking above people’s job roles or titles were also important success factors”, Jakovuori says.

Epicenter and its international network has vast experience in supporting corporates with clear strategies on how to innovate with impact. Join the likes of Posti and SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken) and multiple other growth-driven organizations and let us support you move towards continuous innovation. Book a live or virtual meeting to hear more about our accelerator programs, or come by for a face to face chat at Epicenter Helsinki! 

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