June 2012 Download this article as a PDF

From the Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to the June issue of the TIM Review. This month’s theme is Global Business Creation and the guest editors are Marko Seppä, co-founder of Global Enabler, and Stoyan Tanev, Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark. Our guest editors have assembled a suitably global line-up of authors; this issue includes representation from Canada, Denmark, Finland, India, and the United States. Moreover, each of the authors brings a global perspective to their articles. We hope you will find their insights valuable and relevant to the globalization challenges you face.

This issue also includes a report on a recent TIM Lecture, which also closely matches the issue theme of Global Business Creation. On May 31st, a diverse audience engaged with faculty, graduate students, and professionals working to establish a worldwide leadership position in technology entrepreneurship and commercialization for Carleton University and the region. In the first part of the lecture, speakers associated with the TIM program described seven proof points that can substantiate a leadership position for the university and the region as well as the many opportunities for community members to help attain these proof points. The second part of the lecture was a showcase of graduates students’ work in entrepreneurship and commercialization. I encourage you to evaluate the seven proof points, provide feedback on them, and consider how you might contribute to the proposed worldwide leadership position in technology entrepreneurship and commercialization.     

Next month, we will be joined by Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, as guest editor for the July issue on Social Innovation.

In August, the theme is Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century, and then in September, Seppo Leminen, Principal Lecturer at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and Mika Westerlund, Assistant Professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, are guest editors for an issue on Living Labs. If you would like to contribute an article to the August or September issues, please contact us immediately to discuss possible article topics related to these themes.

As always, we welcome your feedback, suggestions for future themes, and contributions of articles. We hope you enjoy this issue of the TIM Review and will share your comments on articles online. Please also feel free to contact us directly with feedback or article submissions.

Chris McPhee



From the Guest Editors

Technology does not turn into innovation automatically and innovations cannot be sustained by administration and management alone. Breaking away from the incrementalism of evolution requires creativity and revolution, which again requires putting up with rebels: creators and revolutionaries. Sustaining revolution, in a business context, requires dynamic co-existence of administrators and creators, business administration and business creation.

Despite the growing number of existing enablers, both online and free of charge, in the Google and Facebook era, business creation is a tough sport – and global business creation is an extreme sport, one could argue. Global business creation requires a multitude of border-crossing competences and points of contacts – a constant orchestration of co-creative cross-cultural networks. However, global business creation is not just a world-win game, but a fight over prosperity and survival for nations at large, a real world competition, if not a “world war”, already.

Established and emerging global businesses, and the tax income they generate, are the lifeline of the post-modern welfare society. Governments around the world emphasize ever more systematically the need for new high-growth ventures and the export income and jobs they could bring about. Europe, for example, suffers from an escalating public indebtedness of kin to cancer – to which global business creation might be the best, if not the only, cure available.

Given how serious a game, by any measure, global business creation has become, it is noteworthy that this topic has not surfaced in the scholarly discourse in any particular way. Consequently, there is no domain of knowing, even in sight, dedicated to producing “clinical doctors of global business creation”. Given how badly we seem to need global business creators, it is paradoxical that there are no university professors positioned to produce champions of this crucially important art: doctors who would actually cure the patient, instead of examining her to death.

In late 2011, the organizers of the 11th Emergent Business Research Forum (EBRF) conference in Finland, invited scholars to “Global Business Creation Games”. Metaphorically speaking, the organisers called business scholars “to arms” to co-create global businesses together with entrepreneurs, executives, and policy makers, across all borders.

From the get-go, EBRF has pushed the academic frontier of knowing around business in the knowledge society. What started as e-Business Research Forum as part of the five-year eTampere knowledge society program, a local pilot of eEurope (2001-2005), transformed to Emergent Business Research Forum in the post eTampere years. EBRF has always entertained unorthodox research topics and conference formats, and rather pushed scholars away from comfort zones, than courted them with business as usual.

It is all the more insightful that the TIM Review dedicated this special issue to articles based on presentations at the EBRF 2011 conference. The special issue at hand serves as an important showcase of 11 years of work to push the scholarly envelope around business in knowledge society. The catering is as dispersed and scope as wide as can be expected from a multidisciplinary business research conference on a broadly defined topic. As such, this very portfolio of articles underscores the challenge of grasping what all global business creation calls for.

In the first article, Marko Seppä imagines The University as a global business creation factory, a new generation private-public-partnership. By introducing the concept of a Kalevala Global Business Creation School, the article pays a tribute to the national epic of Finland, which underscores knowledge over sword as the greatest enabler and eternal wellbeing, instead of world domination, as end goal. The six articles that follow contribute to the Global Kalevala vision, even if totally independently and by fully serving their own right.

In the second article, Hanna Kurikko and Pekka Tuominen underscore the changing nature of value creation and brand building in the era of online communities, one of the basic building blocks of global business creation.  Their research into the Brickbuilders LEGO-fan community is a testimonial to the importance of facilitating belongingness and empowerment, reaching for and touching people’s souls, when creating global business.

In the third article, Marikka Heikkilä and Leni Kuivaniemi illustrate how global business creation is an ecosystem-level challenge, rather than a single-business creation challenge. Through an action research study on a health-sector ecosystem, the authors identify six sub-ecosystems, each having a different set of drivers as well as readiness or pace for development.

In the fourth article, Punit Saurabh, Bhaskar Bhowmick, Amrita, and Dhrubes Biswas also call for ecosystem-level global business creation models in the health sector, but in this case it is in an emerging-market context. Building on EBRF 2010 Global Academic Cup Award winning research work, their article underscores how entrepreneurial solutions could help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. This requires the bridging of societal and market situations so vastly different that they seem to represent different historical eras altogether.

In the fifth article, Benoit Montreuil, Jean-François Rougès, Yan Cimon, and Diane Poulin provide a tangible vision of a physical future environment of global business creation, in the digital era. Their article on a physical internet and business model innovation manifests, in writing, the inspiration, insight, and impact of their EBRF 2011 Global Academic Cup award winning presentation. The future is ours to make; the choices are there. We can concentrate on administration of what exists or creation of what can be imagined.

In the sixth article, Mila Hakanen and Aki Soudunsaari remind us of the importance of committed individuals to the success of global business creation. Given how multiple border-crossing competences are required, it may well be that the gap between theory and practice, within this domain, is simply too wide. Through their examination of trust within high-performing teams, their research highlights the importance of this factor when co-creating networks for global businesses.

In the seventh article, Roman Wong and Shirley Ye Sheng dig into the dynamism between consumer buying decisions and engagement in word-of-mouth communication. Social networks offer great foundations for global business creation, but online engagement does not convert to cash flow automatically. Their system-dynamics approach to this topic pushes the envelope in online commerce.

None of the seven articles introduced above could cover the “neglected domain” of global business creation on its own. Moreover, some of them only marginally address global business creation. However, put together, the seven articles open an interesting window to the phenomenon at hand and, as such, hopefully attract additional attention to the theme as a practice and a domain of knowing.

Marko Seppä and Stoyan Tanev
Guest Editors

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Keywords: global business creation, globalization, international business, startups, venture creation