Annika Ravald: ”It is not about what you study but how you study”

Annika Ravald: ”It is not about what you study but how you study”

CERS’ research paradigm encourages researchers to think differently.



University lecturer, associate professor Annika Ravald is one of those who have seen the whole trajectory of the Research Center CERS this far, since its creation at 1994 up to this day. Annika has been working at Hanken’s unit in Vaasa, at the marketing department, from 1990.


”I usually have a lot of projects going on at the same time”, comments Annika when I ask what is she working with right now.  Her work is divided about 60 and 40% into teaching and research – plus 20% administration, she adds smiling. This academic year she has taught three master level courses and is also responsible for the master’s seminar course.


One of her courses is ”Marketing the High-tech”, and it sounds inspiring: the students form start-up teams, generate and develop a high-tech inspired business idea that they at the end of the course pitch to a panel consisting of business practitioners that work in companies in Vaasa area. In the beginning of the course , an ”Innovation Station” was arranged, where the students in intervention with practitioners from high-tech firms in Vasa, explored ”windows of opportunities” in order to identify inspiring business ideas for further develoment. The course also included Skype lectures with professor Jakki Mohr from Montana University, a well known researcher focusing on developing and commercializing break-through high-tech innovations.


Other courses Annika has taught this year are Strategic Marketing Management and Customer Value and Learning. In the former one the students did a scenario analysis project for the media industry. During the current summer semester Annika is responsible for a pilot course on Social Media, where academic education and secondary upper level vocational education are integrated.


Company cooperation is important in CERS Vaasa, and Annika tells it has many advantages for all parties. Students get insight into real life business practice, the faculty gets hold of relevant insight for research and teaching purposes, and practitioners learn from research. The faculty wants to take especially good care of their alumni that are their core network in business life. They have contacts with a variety of different companies from hard industry to entrepreneurs and start-ups.


Research-wise Annika is interested in business model transformation, especially among small companies, and how hich-tech firms that introduce disrupting solutions muddle through the present business landscape, and build support for an emerging business field by re/configuring business models and business practice. Another core research interest relates to the adoption and implementation of truly customer driven insights, starting from how and what to learn about customers to understanding how firms can build solutions that support the customer in relevant processes. ”There are often many organizational issues that hinders these processes and if we as researchers don’t understand these, we are either not able to communicate our research results effectively.” She article_annika_r_2.jpgalso tells that almost all of her courses are research-based which meaningfully connects the different areas in her work.

The research approach that has been developed in CERS from its beginning is something Annika finds very inspiring. CERS has dedicated in encouraging its PhD students in thinking in new ways, rethinking old concepts and developing novel concepts. ”Our paradigm is open and inclusive, and it makes CERS different from other research centers. We have quite a tight community and a good atmosphere here. I am proud of working at Hanken!”, she concludes.


More about Annika's research:


Nordin, F., Ravald, A., Möller, K. and Mohr, J.J., 2017. Network management in emergent high-tech business contexts: Critical capabilities and activities. Industrial Marketing Management.

Nordin, F. and Ravald, A., 2016. Managing relationship gaps: A practitioner perspective. Journal of Business Research69(7), pp.2490-2497.

Brozovic, D., Ravald, A. and Nordin, F., 2015. Making sense of service dynamics: the honeybee metaphor. Journal of Services Marketing29(6/7), pp.634-644.


Annamari Huovinen



Back to CERS page