MIKA TIENHAARA CEO OF ROCSOLE - INTERVIEW WITH WBM TOP 100 INNOVATION CEO
MIKA TIENHAARA, CEO OF ROCSOLE HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.
Mika Tienhaara has engineering degrees in production technology (B.Sc.) and energy technology (M.Sc.) as well as a Master in Business Administration. He is an award-winning innovator and executive, a serial entrepreneur with an excellent track record, a best-selling author and an energy industry professional. He has built successful companies in various countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, USA, Brazil and Mexico. Mika has commercialized more than 30 technologies. His passion and drive are to actively contribute to the sustainability of industries through improved operational excellence by digital transformation. With his experience from all phases of innovation and startups, Mika has also mentored and advised more than 50 startup companies.
"We are now disrupting the oil and gas industry, that has issues with both efficiency and emissions, to make it vastly better."
How is ROCSOLE advancing innovation within oil and gas?
Based on our own field work and projects we have seen how many oil and gas operations run into unplanned shutdowns with high financial and environmental impact. Faulty instrumentation is the major cause for this, for more than 50% of critical process equipment failures, backed also by research data.
I would say that a main reason for these challenges is that the production environment today has so many unwanted elements that makes processing and process control extremely difficult, matter like deposit, scale, sand, wax and emulsions are very hard to deal with. Operational actions and control is surprisingly often taken based on manual and offline sampling along with operator best knowledge – however we are able to make this decision making based on better and real-time data:
With our game changing solutions, we are utilizing electrical tomography with AI and machine learning, to see beyond and detect all types of matter and fluids in real-time. The key for digital transformation, high level of operational excellence, remote operations and functional industry 4.0 lies in actually being able to have actionable insights from the problem type of operating environments, and for us that is the preferred setting. This is unique in industry, which we can also see from the market response, working with global enterprises.
We are now disrupting the oil and gas industry, that has issues with both efficiency and emissions, to make it vastly better. As we are industry agnostic with our solutions, we are in piloting phase for a variety of process and manufacturing industries cooperating with leading enterprises. They actually have the same issues and are in need of robust solutions that can provide the insights we do. The next 5-7 years will be some very exciting times for us as we are driving industrial automation to new levels of robustness and efficiency.
Why is ROCSOLE's technology crucial for the energy sector?
We are in times with energy transition, and I think we need to see this as a time when the energy mix is coming from various sources, also the wide implementation of digital transformation is shaping up. This means also that there will be oil and gas production for a long time further, however, we need to ensure that operational optimization is taken seriously, as the key to low carbon footprint, secure and safe production comes from improving the facilities performance with the unique solutions we are providing.
What are some of the biggest trends you have observed in the industry?
From the needs in the market and the increasing importance of corporate ESG – we see a strong demand for the decarbonization of operations. Our solutions are very much plug and play, which will directly give operators and asset owners new tools to improve efficiency and lower the carbon footprint.
Secondly, the digital transformation for industrial processes is accelerating, here we see huge opportunities, as we are also enabling many corporates into new areas of digitalization. Looking at the venture and investor side – the industrial automation area is growing quickly, so the times ahead are exciting.
"The pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of industries and how vulnerable it is. This means that business and operating models are changing."
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your industry and what lessons have been learnt?
The pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of industries and how vulnerable it is. This means that business and operating models are changing. The trend for more remote operations, early detections and process robustness is crucial, which means that the combination of smart sensors, real-time actionable data, AI/machine learning and IOT are required and will increase. We need secure data to be available on-demand on virtually any device.
What drives you as an innovative leader and entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur I am always determined in making an impact, that means there needs to be a strong vision and mission behind, and the purpose behind the idea of the venture supports to improve life and is good for our planet at the same time. Innovation requires the change of mindsets in the value chain and customers, this enabling of disruption is a tough challenge every time and something I enjoy tackling. Also entrepreneurs and startup companies should dare to go for the scale-up phase and become “grownups” – this phase is scary, extremely difficult and requires strong hands-on mentality and to have the right cooperation partners to be able to have scalability capacity. As a leader, it means that all the above is only possible with building the right team that buys into the mission and purpose, and understands the priorities in terms of implementing the strategy, which also means that everyone has to be agile and adaptive, as pivoting and rapid changes are required. As a leader, being able to guide, mentor and support the team to blossom is the most fantastic thing to experience.
What's next for ROCSOLE?
Our course is set for the exponential scaling up, which is frightening for many, but also very exciting. Having done this previously we have a solid playbook and tools at our hands, but every venture and business cycle is unique, so you need to be prepared for some hardwired learning every time. For our business we are working on detecting and improving on any weaknesses. This is how you build robust businesses for the future. We have a lot of hard work with determination ahead, but it is surely going to be a ride with a lot of fun too.
What excites you most about ROCSOLE's work in the industry?
First of all, I feel there is so much left to do; innovation is required and that means for me that it has to be broadly deployed to make an impact. That requires collaborations in the value chain and industry, ensure to be specific with the aim of solving problems and creating value. Creating and enabling game changing solutions at large scale are highly motivating. Seeing our team able to solve critical problems, tackling the issues we have at scaling up and growing is highly satisfying. The skill development, persistence and passion to perform is something that needs to be in our DNA. For industrial activities we need to think of making it as efficient as possible and embed sustainability and circularity in the business models.
"There is in general a lot of focus on the technologies, but I think that we need to look at what we as human beings need to develop ourselves – creativity, “soft skills” and to be agile with a strong mental fortitude are necessary."
What does the business world need to be improve on in the coming decade?
There is in general a lot of focus on the technologies, but I think that we need to look at what we as human beings need to develop ourselves – creativity, “soft skills” and to be agile with a strong mental fortitude are necessary. We live in an age with accelerating innovation and changes and technology will be further absorbed into our daily life and work. Technology will continue to evolve, with higher performance, miniaturizing and used everywhere. Automation and robotics will come into play in all possible ways, why the soft skilling will be essential. I am very excited and optimistic about the future.
What external economic factors are most challenging in regards to your plans?
We have a global population that is continuing to increase, meaning that affordable energy supplies are critical. It means that our type of activities are highly important also for the affordability and security of energy supplies. Consumption and consumer goods are depending on materials, metals and other critical components, e.g. the supply of microchips has impeded the automotive industry, so we are looking at how to secure our supply chain.
"Being a company based in Finland, we can show on a highly diverse team which I am proud of. I think that is also in general a sign of that your team or company has a strong element of success and is attracting global talent."
Talk to us about the diversity within ROCSOLE and the wider oil and gas industry.
First of all, our company is very much about diversity – being a small team, I think the diversity in terms of gender, background, experience and nationality makes the team more robust and capable. Being a company based in Finland, we can show on a highly diverse team which I am proud of. I think that is also in general a sign of that your team or company has a strong element of success and is attracting global talent. Whether we talk about oil and gas, software/AI or industrial automation, it can easily cause some bias in terms of who is suitable or the people working in the industry. Be open minded, challenge yourself and drive diversity. You will learn a lot from this.
"If we are to produce oil and gas, we should do it in the most efficient way possible and not let a status quo-thinking prevail."
What improvements do you desire to see in your industry and how are you contributing to realising them?
All my >15 years in the energy industry I have been driving the improved efficiency in operations, which I still think lag behind what can be easily achieved. What I want to see is that on a large-scale the industry implements best-in-class solutions like we have, that can enable improvements of more than 10% in efficiency gains and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint dramatically. The oil and gas production being one of largest sources of carbon emissions, any improvement will be significant. If we are to produce oil and gas, we should do it in the most efficient way possible and not let a status quo-thinking prevail.
ROCSOLE is the leading smart process imaging company. With AI & deep learning prediction solutions we support operational teams to reduce OPEX, to avoid unplanned shutdowns, and to monitor product quality to increase revenues. Our field proven applications include emulsion, deposition, sand, and flow regime related imaging and our services are applied on offshore and onshore pipelines, tanks, and separators. We aim to support an automated, digitalized and unmanned platform operations.
ROCSOLE offices are located in Houston (TX, USA), Oslo (Norway), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Kuopio (Finland/HQ). TEAM ROCSOLE is dedicated to work side-by-side to improve your process. Get in touch with us!
For more details: www.rocsole.com