During these times every business must change and adapt as markets morph, customer behavior shifts, consumption patterns change, as compliance to new regulations necessitate adapting operations and supply chains and as all the thousands of ideas will call for new ideas. Europe could certainly benefit from Korean innovation - and not only at government levels or only for companies in the hardest hit sectors like travel, hospitality and retail.
There is ample opportunity for Korean innovators in Europe. However, with so much ambiguity and uncertainty on the market, there is also a need for a slightly revised paradigm for expansion - it is less about finding customers for your product than it is about identifying where your know-how and capabilities can add value for the innovation needed for markets to stabilize and move forward.
Given the fluidity of circumstances, there is clearly a need for nimble speed and the willingness and ability to adapt. This means focusing on a very pared down mission removing as many variables as possible.
This is not a serious problem for Korean businesses. During the first half of 2020, we have seen many examples of companies switching business models, producing products that a couple months ago would have made no sense, using their technologies to bring new solutions to market and joining forces with other Korean companies to address new needs. This happened in Korea. We also need to make this possible in Europe.
So, how can Koreans adopt this way of thinking when planning expansion to Europe?
In general, when considering market expansion, the 6 basic steps are 1) define the commercial mission as your working hypothesis, 2) ensure market feasibility of that mission 3) validate the offering in market 4) plan the business, financials and action needed using those findings and insights 5) prepare sales, brand and operations and 6) deploy.
However, for effective planning you must work with the assumption that conditions are stable and that the market will not shift as you make the requisite steps in progressing into that market. But right now, conditions are far from being stable or predictable.
We simply do not know what is going to happen. There is, however, one prevailing constant: the pervasive need for widespread innovation across all markets and all sectors of the European economy. It turns out that constant can provide the basis needed for planning.
The difference being that the objective is not planning on how to bring an existing offering into this unstable market. Existing products and services were conceived in a very different context before the current situation and based on a set of needs and priorities that may be different than what we are seeing today.
You, as a company, are not your products. Your products are the result of the many different inputs which make you unique: Your expertise, your know-how, the passion that led to your solutions in the first place; it’s your network and all the capabilities that allow you to deliver your solutions.
The key is to understand:
what your real value is
what things are needed for you to ultimately arrive at the package of applicable value that you inherently have right now
how to take those assets to a marketplace that is in flux
The same six steps for planning still apply; you just need to consider what the actual product is. This will enable to generate and scale innovation within-market.
There is abundant opportunity for a dynamic Korea, with world class technologies, know-how and capabilities - and whose businesses have already shown how quick and willing they are to adapt. Now we just need to bring that forward thinking to Europe.
Want to hear more? Watch the speech on Korean opportunities in Europe of 2020 here.
Interested to discuss your opportunities? Contact us.