07.04.2020 Author Tuukka Suoniemi

Knowledge-driven leadership — how can we benefit even from the coronavirus crisis?

We all see the situation around us, so it’s probably not necessary to further analyse the journey that the society has been on in the past few weeks. Instead, I want to turn our gaze towards the benefits we can gain from the changes forced upon us by the crisis.

I had this idea when I was looking at a report from our customer project. It discussed how we first audit the current situation in terms of, for example, where the customers of our customer organisation come from, what they buy, in what time and under what conditions. We knew our customer organisation’s objective, i.e. what they wanted to achieve in terms of profitability and what this means for the sale numbers. We measured customer experience in various phases of the customer journey and compared it to the customers’ purchasing behaviour data. From this, we found the direct measures that would help us increase the customer-specific profitability by impacting the customer experience.

Process consultation with the help of knowledge-driven leadership is an incredibly functioning way to analyse operations and to showcase the impact of the measures. If and when we get through the coronavirus pandemic, we have a unique opportunity as a society to utilise the concrete changes that we have now been forced to make. I will give you a rough theoretical example of the kind of benefits we could orderly strive for so as to truly see the impact.

Not even a digital leap enables the society to function efficiently with all the emergency restrictions we are facing. However, we have also seen many changes that could be continued without them disturbing the daily life or increasing costs notably when compared to the benefits.

Potential good future practices could include, for example, sneeze guards for supermarket cashiers and an overall avoidance of physical contact in services. Improving hand hygiene at daycare centres, schools and the daily life in general will certainly have a positive impact. Making it easier to utilise remote work and remote studies during the flu season would prevent the spreading of diseases even in the future.

Theoretical calculation with illustrative numbers: Approximately 2 million employees take about 1.5 million days of sickness absence annually because of the flu. The cost of one day of sickness absence for the employer is approximately EUR 350 per day, which equals approximately MEUR 500 annually.

Sickness absences create many other costs as well. Even if we could only reduce the absences due to sickness caused by the flu, the impact on the society would be positive. For a single business, the impact could be truly significant.


Tuukka Suoniemi
The writer is Innolink’s Business Director for research services.

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