sustainability  ⋅   IPR  ⋅   innovation

Thomas Enckell joins Kolster’s Board of Directors – “Competitiveness is maintained through customer orientation and productisation”


In an increasingly globalised world, it is not enough to protect one’s IPR assets for form’s sake. A wise company seizes the new demand for sustainability on today’s market by thinking about the customer and making use of IPR, says Thomas Enckell, a new member of Kolster’s Board of Directors.

Comparing risks and returns is no longer enough for success on a market shaken by digitalisation. In addition to business, the focus is now on service and the sustainability of society.

“IP rights and the ability to take advantage of innovations as quickly and extensively as possible are now the drivers of development and growth. Coronavirus vaccines as well as innovations around renewable energy and biomasses are good examples of inventions that help build a sustainable society beyond the mere pursuit of profit”, says Thomas Enckell, who joined Kolster’s Board of Directors in January 2021.

Enckell has 30 years of experience in managing consumer business operations in international companies such as Fiskars and Iittala. This has made it possible to reflect on market changes. The emphasis on sustainability in business is changing the ways in which IP rights are viewed in every industry.

“The accelerating pace of innovation is fuelling the need to protect companies’ IP assets, but IPR no longer stands for a mere right to prohibit on paper. It is important risk management in a world where competition and interdependencies are on the rise. Going forward, we will manage entire value chains less and less, instead specialising in specific components of them. We will be utilising different kinds of expertise, and the role of licensing, for example, will grow significantly”, Enckell says.

The future of IPR companies lies in productisation

As competition intensifies, the value of IP assets is measured especially in dispute situations.

“In order for the company’s teeth to remain sharp and IPR portfolio to prove its worth when it really matters, IP assets need to taken care of and audited regularly. It is old-fashioned to think that IPR strategy is meaningless because you cannot find it on the balance sheet.”

In the new world, traditional IPR houses will face a shift from purely technical and administrative protection work towards customer orientation and productisation.

“Instead of registering individual IPR protections, there is a need to discuss with customers. The operating model involves understanding customers’ business models and revenue logic. When productised services meet the needs of different customer segments efficiently and accurately, they generate genuine value and remain competitive”, Enckell points out.

Customer orientation is the new lifeline of IPR companies

In competition accelerated by digitalisation, companies that understand the customer will succeed. This means diversifying the range of services, self-marketing and continuous renewal. These are goals that Enckell wants to support on Kolster’s Board of Directors as well. The experience that he has both in the management of listed companies and as a board member in SMEs helps with this.

“IPR companies need to become more customer-oriented and dynamic. Kolster is in a great position to meet the needs of the future, as the traditional company has strong expertise in the industry, a growing market as well as a desire to develop. For my part, I will help on the Board of Directors by supporting and sparring the company’s development in different situations”, Enckell says.

Renewal does not mean uprooting the company. Future development relies on the IPR industry expertise accumulated over decades. However, changes must be based on the will of all personnel, rather than that of the management or Board of Directors.

“It is essential to remember that customer orientation is not a project with a beginning and an end. It is continuous movement with the world”, Enckell sums up.


Thomas Enckell

Senior Executive Consultant, Trailmaker Ltd

Enckell has a 30-year career in managing consumer business operations in international companies, including Fiskars, Hackman and Iittala. He has served both as a management team member in listed companies and as a member of the Board of Directors in SMEs. Trailmaker is a new concept for effective strategy implementation.