Meet Christian from Nordic Innovation House, the man who is bringing Nordic start-ups and scale-ups to Hong Kong. He wants to connect them with investors and the local ecosystem. If you are Nordic looking to grow in the Hong Kong market, or are interested in working or investing with a Nordic company, Nordic Innovation House has got you covered.
The power of listening: How it drives innovation
“I would say that the most important thing to succeed is to listen. Because even if we have a vision or an idea, yet if we do things people don’t want or need in the community then it is useless.”
A community that began during late November last year, the Nordic Innovation House is a project to attract Nordic businesses to Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. The project is supported by Nordic governments, to inspire, educate and inform Nordic companies about the potential in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. And after convincing them to come to the region NIH will open valuable doors within the local ecosystem.
With Nordic Innovation House centered around innovation, creativity and community growth, Christian says they must listen to what the community says and redevelop accordingly. These needs should also be tackled according to different cases, unique to each member. “We do have start-ups, scale-ups, and corporations looking to be more entrepreneurial and connect with the start-up ecosystem. And of course, their needs, in a part of this community, are different.”
Even how they communicate is something learned from listening to the community and understanding how and where the community wants to receive information. “Initially we have been working mostly through social media. I thought this was the most logical since we have members both in the Nordics but also based here in the region. But some members asked for a more traditional newsletter and because of this we will now provide a quarterly newsletter.
Growing communities and events: Building the ecosystem
To grow the ecosystem, where members and organizations connect with one another, Christian says building connections are essential. “For us, our initial focus has very much on building the ecosystem. Nordic Innovation House might not be the expert in every question that is relevant, but we should know the people who are. The network we have and our connections will be our most valuable asset to our members”
Nordic Innovation House aims to proactively reach out to members in building a community as an organization. “Hopefully, it will be that Nordic Innovation House can be proactive. So, that it will not only be when a member needs something, they come to us. Rather that we will approach them when we see opening and opportunities. I think that is one of the reasons why it is valued to be part of a community.”
To grow their community, they utilize different social media platforms to communicate with members. They provide relevant content about NIH, or what’s happening in the NIH community, or about life in Hong Kong on Instagram. In this way they want their social media to serve as a gateway to inspire young Nordics, and show the Hongkongers.
Christian shared his view of events, which he sees as one part of brand building. Knowing that Hong Kong has lots of concurrent events, he attends quite a few events to gain exposure and potential connections for his members.
Quality of events is very uneven but attending even a not-so well-organized event is valuable. Learning from all types of events and connecting with all types of people can broaden both the network and the perspective.
The bottom line: Communication
Finally, communication is essential to maintaining relationships between members. Christian emphasizes that communication with members and organizations should not just be bi-directional, but interconnected, as members can slowly educate one another. “Some of our members are established here, but the majority are not. Since everyone has different backgrounds and experiences, they all have so much to bring to the table that can help others. We want to create a pay-it-forward atmosphere where it’s about give-and-take”
Christian’s final recommendation to everyone is to “Listen and be curious. That is what will make a difference for future success.”