Ericsson: a mature company acting in a very innovative manner

Ericsson; a communications giant focusing on global mobile solutions.  Ericsson utilizes both Ericsson studioconventional and unconventional approaches to “green” business.  They approach product development with the goal of producing more energy efficient products, as most companies do, but Ericsson backs that belief up with tremendous spending on research and development.  They are also concerned with power savings for customers of their customers with an example being the development and deployment of short-range mobile antennas that allow for a lower signal intensity resulting in lower power usage for signal reception and broadcast by mobile phones, thus extending battery life by reducing antenna usage.  Somewhat unconventionally, Ericsson is partnering with city lighting initiatives to synergize efforts so that additional masts can be deployed in tandem with deployment of LED lighting.   Ericsson triple bottom lineAdditionally, Ericsson has taken initiatives that reach people in need; a broad step that helps them stand out from competitors.  Ericsson believes that people have a basic need for communication (echoing the UN’s ruling that internet connectivity is a basic human right) and tries to provide it to everyone, along with increasing economic prosperity of communities which they are involved in to their overarching company goals.  An example proving they stand apart from the competition is Ericsson’s support following the tsunami in Indonesia by mobilizing to provide communications through mobile phone network implementations .  Recently Ericsson has redoubled their disaster relief efforts by partnering with Save the Children to provide Wi-Fi and mobile phones with free calling to reunite those affected by disasters.  Ericsson has also reached out to Africa in support of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by creating Millennium Villages in areas of Africa with extreme poverty by creating affordable access to telecommunications (and free emergency numbers) in order to help raise their local economy out of poverty.  By focusing on individual villages, Ericsson has been able to connect people, distribute phones, and raise the GDP by 1% per 10% increase in broadband penetration. Ericsson also differentiates their approach to employee management from a traditional US company by valuing their employees as stakeholders in the business.  Transparency and respect are the two key values in employee relations and corporate culture that allow for greater freedom and productivity in their employees and a happier work environment.  Open communication across functional groups and business product teams is key to fostering interactive and collaborative IMG_9131workflows as well as community problem solving.  With this type of freedom, employees can be influential far beyond their job title and more robust products can be realized.  Along with open communication Ericsson also allows free movement across functional groups where personnel can move from a product-focused position to sales and back, thus reinforcing employees’ involvement in the company as a whole and strengthening their professional skills.  In contrast, many US companies prefer not to train or support their employees, often simply consuming their already-developed skills with little to no reinvestment partially from a fear of loss of employees.  This neglect often increases the feared outcome and the reinvestment and stimulation that arises from movement within a company and development of skills causes retention of stronger employees (of which they have 114,000).  Thus the fear of one outcome causes that feared outcome to occur.   Ericsson, from our minimal involvement, seems to be a strong company (although not without threats) that is moving in the right direction and has realized the value of putting people first to improve lives at many levels.