UPM - Improving the innovation capability




UPM is a multinational company headquartered in Finland. Fibre- and biomass based businesses, recyclable raw materials and products are cornerstones of UPM’s business. In the current global environment, there is a saturation of the markets for graphic paper. The digital transformation of media puts further pressure on this demand. Several years ago, UPM laid the ground for its transformation. In a bold move, the company redefined itself to become “The Biofore Company”, combining expertise and technologies within fibre-based, energy-related and engineered materials businesses. In the strategy, the company aimed to create value from renewable and recyclable materials.

The Engagement In order to boost innovation management, to develop the leadership in R&D and to accelerate strategy implementation, UPM and the School of Executive Education worked together to detail a requirement specification and to design a programme on Innovation Management. The programme was designed as a modular programme consisting of three face-to-face modules (3 + 3 + 4 days) separated in time to create a programme with a total duration of six months. Every new cycle of the programme was upgraded to reflect current challenges at UPM. Over the years, the target audience broadened from encompassing only R&D managers, to those from related functions such as product management and customer service.

Programme modules have been delivered in Finland, Poland and China. A virtual learning environment was established on the corporate intranet to further support the programme and the innovation processes in the company. The programme covered a set of themes from business strategy to innovation and leadership.

The Result The programme created a setting that allows interpersonal interactions across functions, cultures and geographies.Over the years, more than 140 managers and experts have participated in the programme. They all share a common vocabulary and have improved strategic thinking and mastery of the innovation processes. By facilitating work across these boundaries, the company improves the overall corporate performance and accelerates the transformation of UPM.