You always have a choice

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You always have a choice

Ten years of Concrete Issues have gone by like a whirlwind. During this decade, Editor-in-chief Päivi Talonen and I have sat down countless times with a huge pot of coffee and a thousand ideas on what to write and how to surprise our readers with something new.

It has been an exciting journey. Along the way, writer and editor-in-chief have learned to listen to each other increasingly effectively and with mutual respect. The same goes for listening to our customers – our goal has always been to do everything in your best interest, listening to what you need to successfully develop your precast business. Although we have sometimes slipped a bit too deeply into our academic or poetic writing roles, we have tried to make CI easy to approach, easy to read. However, after all these years, we still have a lot to do to become better at truly listening to one another: you, me – all of us. This is a good moment to stop and review what has been accomplished so far, but even as we speak, CI is racing along on its path of smart evolution. Altogether 32 published issues with a total of 186 articles, all found in Elematic’s digital archive under concreteissues.com. Now is the perfect time to acknowledge and thank all of you who have agreed to be mentioned as references in our issues. Thank you for your valuable contribution to making this publication so practical and down to earth, inspiring precast entrepreneurs all over the world to believe in the future of their business and that it is possible to start off small and grow along the way – with the right support, products, and know-how. In a word, with the right partners. To provide you with useful and valuable information on different aspects of precast technology and business development, we have interviewed a multitude of experts over the years. In the beginning, CI concentrated largely on introducing new products and the benefits of these, but soon enough the magazine became increasingly interdisciplinary. This was a natural development in the spirit of smart evolution: how we all could become wiser and grow in our own work. Professors in the fields of technology, business development, strategic planning, and customer service, among others, have provided us with cutting edge knowledge and interesting prospects. Glancing back at some of our brilliant experts’ contributions, in 2010 we learned about creating value for customers from one of the best, Professor Kaj Storbacka, Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. “Value is created when a customer uses the acquired product or service. In other words, use-value instead of exchange-value.” The next year, Professor of Marketing Venkat Ramaswamy, from the University of Michigan, revealed to us the wisdom of co-creation: “Give all your stakeholders a bigger say, and they’ll lead you to bigger insights, revenues, and profits”. In 2012, we learned more from Olli Korander, Senior Advisor in Precast Business, who shared with us this fact: “It is crucial to remember that there is always a reason – often more than one – for constructing. Only after we understand the actual needs of all those participating, and also the constraints of local culture, can we decide on the best technologies.” Last year, 2013, Professor Alf Rehn provided insight on renewing business practices: “We are living in an era where agility and adaptability win. Familiar routines and change processes adopted from management sciences are no longer valid. On the contrary, they create a deep mismatch between operations and available technologies. The best practices of today can be the worst practices of tomorrow.” Starting out in 2004, CI appeared quarterly, both in print and online. Since 2009, readers have been able to comment directly on any article in the web edition, as CI then became a true digital publication. Smart evolution meant doing things in new ways and trying out new ideas. No matter how technical the subjects, we have always believed in maintaining a strong human touch, as communication and building relationships takes place between people, between you and us. Our front page writings during the first five years were our way of making ourselves easier to approach, letting you know that there is more to us than the world’s best technology. In this world of working hard, setting goals and achieving results, we wanted to give you a moment of peace, while reading something more poetic. To please your eyes, we carefully chose a beautiful picture to go along with each story. We included comments on the rugged and cold winter landscape of Elematic’s homeland and how we survive the long winter by lighting candles and planning for the coming spring. It became something of a characteristic to build the atmosphere of each issue according to the season. We hope you enjoyed these more literary efforts. The past five years have seen CI evolve with the times, and graphics have become more simplified and more straightforward to match the changes overall. Still, there is always a lighter touch to technology in one of our stories, and we hope to engage you with our many competitions, quizzes, and by encouraging you to send us your comments and views on all and anything we publish. Dear readers, it has been a pleasure to write for you these past 10 years. We are sure that whatever changes are ahead, Concrete Issues will continue on a path of being unique. Change is good, for all of us. Tuija Aro editor Read the 10 years of Elematic Concrete Issues's lighter side collection

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