Business incubators help organizations seek and nurture new business ideas and bridge the gap between discovery and success. For Satu Lipponen, VP of Strategic Marketing and Sales, managing the business innovation and incubation team at Murata Electronics is one of the roles that most energizes her as it allows her to collaborate with customers, universities, and other strategic partners to continuously innovate.

Based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Satu leads multiple teams at Murata Electronics including business innovation and incubation, product marketing, digitalization, and marketing communications.

Satu Lipponen serves as VP of Strategic Marketing and Sales of Murata Electronics / Murata Manufacturing Co.  Photo credit: Senja Larsen

“Working in Murata Electronics is not only about working on technology; but it is also about working with people.”

“Getting people to work together, I would say, is really a small thing, but at the same time, makes a huge difference as well. If you can release the power of the human network, when you’re able to connect people, that’s when miracles start to happen.” This, she explains, is her professional superpower.

At Murata Electronics, Satu creates high-performing teams who share a basic customer philosophy she adopted when she became a businesswoman herself.

“When I started my entrepreneurship, I decided to become the best in the world, serving my customers. And that’s not only understanding the customer’s actual needs, but really understanding that they have a burden and your role is to help and support them so they can release their full potential,” she says.

For Satu, this customer-centric approach and dedication to customer success are two of the hallmarks of how she will manage the business innovation and incubation team at Murata Electronics now and in the future.

The future of businesses

“Businesses will be digitally connected, humanly communicated. And co-creating will be the fundamental value that shapes it.”

Satu highlights the following critical pieces: technology, people, and experiences.

“The role of technology is to connect, automate, and provide intelligence and analytics. And the intelligence should tell you how you can personalize your conversation with your client. In the B2B space, value creation happens when your employees spend time with their customers. Automation enables that and, as a result, your employees can spend more time with their clients nurturing relationships, solving problems, and uncovering new opportunities,” she explains.

But to get there, companies must first develop the technology that supports it.

“Whether it’s chatbots, augmented reality, mobile apps, robotic process automation, etc., these emerging technologies will shape customer experiences in the future, but this is just the first phase,” she notes.

The human element

While embracing digital technology has afforded new ways of doing business, organizations undergoing digital transformation should not miss the human element of the business.

“Digital is the communication and connection method. But how do we make customers or partners feel a genuine connection and engagement through digital technology? How do we build this lovely human touch?” Satu openly asks.

“Digital is the communication and connection method. But how do we make customers or partners feel a genuine connection and engagement through digital technology? How do we build this lovely human touch?”

Satu LipponenVP of Strategic Marketing and Sales, Murata Electronics

“So yes, understanding customers, application, technology, are all important. But at the same time, having the ability to genuinely connect with customers is also equally important,” she adds.

And because digital technology has limitations into capturing, measuring, and interpreting human emotions with actionable data, a people-centric approach in business will still be the way forward.

“That said, it’s important to establish a phase two in the process: connecting people with people. We optimize technology so that our people can fully connect and connect with people: whether that is their colleagues at work or the customers.

The age of co-creation

Today, businesses are operating under the age of co-creation, virtual communities, and collaboration with peer groups. Data analytics drive the conclusion and help personalize the customer experience. Phase three is about building this experience.

For Murata, building an experience to co-create with customers is an important aspect to bring value and build sustainable businesses.

In collaboration with researchers from Matsuno Lab at Kyoto University, Murata Electronics unveiled the “Murata Cheerleaders,” a group of ten robots that use advanced group control technology and perform with perfect stability and flawless synchronized dancing.

“Innovation is in the DNA of Murata and co-creation is in our lifeblood. Incubation allows us to imagine, co-create, co-develop new products or services with and for our customers. This whole process redefines our product development, customer engagement, marketing, and sales.”

“And, these are the things that I encourage every champions, with any experience or in any generation, to really drive forward. Learn how to co-create and leverage your strengths. Be open to new perspectives as they can lead to new initiatives and ventures, and long-term business opportunities,” she says.


The skills of the future

While it’s hard to predict exactly what the future will look like and the specific skills that are going to be in demand, Satu highlights the following job attributes as necessary:

“When I try to hire members, I look at individuals who possess a lot of interest areas, because it tells me about your flexibility, your curiosity, and your ability to really be passionate about many things. Diverse interests can be a springboard for creativity and innovation.”

For young talent, Satu shares this professional wisdom which she learned from her grandfather:

My grandfather was a soldier in the Finnish army in WWII, lived for 98 years and even cross-country skied for 1000 km when he was 93. He was my great hero and when I told him that I was passionate about mathematics and wanted to go to university to study with this subject at degree level, he told me, it doesn’t matter. And here is a heritage that he passed on to me.”

"Graduation from a university is a good driving license but the important things that matter are who you are and what can you do.”

Satu LipponenVP of Strategic Marketing and Sales, Murata Electronics

“So I would like to pass this comment to all the university students that a university degree is a good driving license, but what matters most are who you are and what you can do,” she concludes.

Satu earned a Master of Economics degree from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Prior to Murata Electronics, she held various roles at Nokia Corporation for more than eight years. Her career and the successful teams that she has built over the years are shining examples that her grandfather’s wise words truly live on.

Main photo credit: Senja Larsen

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James Redmond Chua

James Redmond Chua

Executive Project Manager, JCE Japan Creative Enterprise