Tag Archives: Next Step

Shifter: Stop talking, start innovating: How to achieve success in «Silicon Valley Style»

To gain real returns business leaders must stop talking and start being innovative daily in their actions, decisions and management approaches. In Silicon Valley innovation comes through action.

Jennifer Vessels, founder of Silicon Valley based Next Step, leader of Executive Growth Alliance and speaker.

Talk about innovation is everywhere – in board rooms, conferences, employee meetings and university classes. In 2019, it is estimated that over 10 billion NOK will be spent developing innovation competency in corporations, ministries and society.

And For Norwegian businesses to be innovative, leaders must: Be curious and listen for customer and market needs. Meet with at least one customer, partner or competitor every week. Ask open ended questions and really listen to their concerns and desires. Be open to their ideas and needs to stimulate creative ways to create value.

Read entire article HERE.

AmCham Member Company Profile: Next Step & the Executive Growth Alliance

Next Step Growth & the Executive Growth Alliance

AmCham Member Company Profile

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Executive Growth Alliance Brings Silicon Valley Experience to Norway and Beyond

After leading international growth for Oslo-based Tandberg, Silicon Valley veteran Jennifer Vessels founded Next Step in 2000 to maximize clients’ revenue and results.

Since then, the firm’s global team of forty consultants has helped companies, including AmCham members Avinor, Cisco, and Eli Lilly, expand, scale, define new business models, and transform leadership approaches to succeed in a digital future.

Disruption of Business as Usual Demands Power of Peers for Leadership Success

While leading business transformation for Adobe in mid-2000’s, Jennifer recognized that many clients were facing similar challenges related to innovation and leadership in a business climate increasingly characterized by technological disruption. Building on a proven ‘power of peers’ model which she leveraged when growing Next Step, she formed the Executive Growth Alliance (EGA) in Silicon Valley in 2015. 

 The Alliance’s mission – to maximize business growth and future-readiness through a proven power of peers process of shared learning and innovation, collaboration, and leadership development. 

By participating in regular Executive Growth Forums facilitated by Next Step, 12-14 business leaders in non-competitive companies tackle specific challenges, learn from one another, develop avenues for intra-industry collaboration, and inspire innovation.

Through the Executive Growth Alliance, executives also build a trusted global network – sharing knowledge, resources, and thought leadership across industries and regional chapters.

The end result: members achieve enhanced revenue growth, increased productivity, better corporate decision making, business model transformation, and increased executive confidence in future readiness.

Norway Expansion is Executive Growth Alliance’s Bridge to Europe

In late 2016, Vessels observed that Next Step’s Norwegian clients were asking the same questions about innovation and leadership as their American peers. Although open dialogue and collaboration between leaders of different companies in Norway had been, historically speaking, quite rare, she saw a possible opportunity to explore expansion of the Executive Growth Alliance across the Atlantic.

Based on the need for collaboration and innovation across the Norwegian transportation sector, Next Step organized a pilot Norwegian Transportation Executive Growth Forum in early 2017.

“During this session, there was initial skepticism and hesitancy to speak openly compared to members in our American forums,” she noted in an interview with AmCham’s Tyler Barrott, before adding, “At the end of the session, however, participants expressed strong interest in follow-on sessions. After the next Executive Growth Forum, sharing and collective learning really began to flow.”

Within a year, actions and results also began to flow, leading to the co-creation (design, development, and pilot) of a new digital service by Avinor and Posten – through their collaboration within the Executive Growth Alliance.

Building from the success of the Executive Growth Alliance Norway Transportation, Next Step launched groups and held Executive Growth Forums for companies in the smart environment, consumer/retail, industrial, and health eco-systems. Since the initial EGF in 2017, Next Step has facilitated twenty-six Executive Growth Forums in Norway. Members in each of the five groups consistently gain insights, collaboration partners, and opportunities to co-create future success.

There was initial skepticism and hesitancy to speak openly compared to members in our American forums. At the end of the session, however, participants expressed strong interest in follow-on sessions. After the next Executive Growth Forum, sharing and collective learning really began to flow.

Jennifer Vessels

CEO - Next Step

Next Steps for the EGA

To extend the local power of peers globally, Next Step is currently planning its annual Innovation Expedition to Silicon Valley in September 2019. This will allow a select number of Norwegian EGA members to collaborate with Silicon Valley’s foremost thought leaders, in addition to researching concepts such as ‘building an innovation culture’ and the ‘application of AI/quantum computing and blockchain on transportation, city planning, and customer engagement.’

After successfully adapting the Executive Growth Alliance to deliver results in Norway, Europe is the next frontier. Next Step held their first British Executive Growth Forum in London in late 2018, with strong interest for future sessions. In addition, Jennifer is already thinking ahead to establish Executive Growth Alliance chapters in Helsinki, Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, Cape Town, and Tel Aviv.

Jennifer’s facilitation skills and insight gained from Next Step’s industry-specific Executive Growth Forums has made her a valuable asset in the development of AmCham’s cross-industry digitalization forum series, where she is a regular participant and moderator.