How to ensure growth in a turbulent digital environment 


We wanted to develop an operating model to quickly identify growth opportunities and rapidly deploy them to market. Now we have a blueprint for digital-driven operation development which has buy-in from all key players from all levels of the organisation. The contextual understanding Columbia Road achieved in such a short time was significant. Minna Miettinen, CDMO, Aktia

Key objectives

The financial services environment is transforming rapidly due to several environmental and regulative drivers as well as customer expectations. Aktia is a NASDAQ-listed bank that asked us to help them build competences needed to navigate through the rapidly changing landscape, come out as a winner and grow their turnover. In order to grow, the whole organisation needs to adapt a new agile mindset.

We helped Aktia to create a new customer experience driven organisation model that lowers barriers between sales, marketing, IT and product teams.

Our approach

The approach was chosen to (1) find the right angle for the wide project scope, (2) fit the complex nature of the financial sector, and (3) help Aktia instantly internalise the outcomes. We did not want to carve Aktia’s operations into a predefined top-down model. Instead, we deep-dove into Aktia’s context in order to find the specific key hurdles, which would eventually trigger a real transformation.

We interviewed 30+ key stakeholders from management team to software developers and people working in direct customer contact with our design thinking inspired approach. Throughout the work, we constantly debated our preliminary conclusions with the stakeholders. This took place at Aktia’s premises in an open-for-all project room where all current outcomes were visually documented.

With this approach, we were able to discuss painful topics and issues with all stakeholders and created large-scale impact for the organisation. The outcome was a collaborative effort with each stakeholders’ buy-in.


Aktia clarified their target state for an all encompassing agile digital growth model (i.e. everything between opportunity identification and validation, growth hacking and agile release cycle synchronisation) and a supporting organisational structure.

After the project Aktia was at a stage where they were ready to map people to required roles. Thereafter, they could start actively developing digital sales and customer experience with agile methods, while simultaneously running more traditional projects.

One concrete key impact was making the CEO interested in discussing the details of software development methodologies and, vice versa, getting the developers reflect on the impact of high-level strategies in their daily work.

✔ Active involvement from all key stakeholders and thus buy-in from all levels of organisation.
✔ Aktia received a clear direction for their digital operating model transformation.
✔ Columbia Road involved in instant follow-up projects to make the new operating model take place in practice.

About Aktia

Aktia offers private and corporate customers comprehensive banking, asset management, insurance and real estate agency services.

Alko Mobile app

Columbia Road, together with Alko, designed and built the Alko Mobile app, which is now competing in the Finnish Web Awards.

Creating impact with data-driven digital marketing

Data-driven digital marketing with growth hacking methods for Results: new profitable sales channel and 450% ROAS on digital campaigns.

Marimekko Shoppable Home

Marimekko Shoppable Home is a novel shopping concept that marries together physical and digital shopping. First introduced at Milan Design Week 2019.

Designing and building full stack ecommerce to scale sales globally - case Oura

Oura, as a pure-play ecommerce company with 10x growth targets, needed a web presence that can deliver on business needs and scale to meet their revenue targets.