Welcome to the #IIEX Europe Conference Series 2019. Recorded live in Amsterdam, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Bjorn Londahl, VP of Technology at Cint.
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My guest today is Bjorn, with Cint. Welcome, sir, to the Happy Market Research Podcast.
Thank you very much. Nice to be here.
You’re speaking tomorrow at IIeX, right?
Tell us a little bit about your talk.
I’m going to talk about driving innovations and primarily how we do that at Cint by running quarterly hackathons. It’s a way to push innovation, to free up our mind, free up our time and it’s actually been super productive. I hope that I can share some knowledge about how we do it at Cint.
How long have you guys been doing hackathons?
Basically, since I started. It’s like four years now.
You’re based out of Stockholm?
Do you do it company-wide?
Yes. We have development teams in Stockholm, the U.S., and some in Asia as well. I will also talk about how we did hackathons that are not only tech-focused, that actually involves other parts of the business. Cint is a global company so we have …
You have got to tell me a little bit more. You do hackathons, but non-technical?
Yes. You can call it different things, basically what it is all about is getting people and stakeholders in a room for a period of time and try to innovate… It doesn’t have to be in technology. You can innovate in business. You can innovate in process. If you have the time and you are able to try different things, you can actually get a really good outcome even for non-technical hackathons.
That’s pretty cool.
Yes. I think so.
Do you have an example of a specific time there was a great outcome?
Yes. I’m going to talk about that tomorrow. We actually had a session around quality where for basically two days, we gathered all the stakeholders… The thing is that usually you know the problems and you often have ideas of how you could solve it, you never have the time to actually approach those. If you actually take the time and do it focused… We actually came up with a lot of different things that we could improve the process. That we can approach different clients, different partners and after these two days we actually had a really good outcome and we were able to improve the quality throughout the whole platform within just a couple of days.
In business, you’ll have these persistent problems in dysfunction and you can get through it by just band-aiding the problems. It’s not solving it, it’s just like, “Okay, I’m just going to keep doing it the way I’ve always done it and I know that there’s this workaround.” Then you just build the business processes around these workarounds. By taking a dedicated period of time, and actually solving that, whether it’s a process, technology, new product or whatever, it can add tremendous leveragability inside of the business.
Yes. Usually, when you get in those sorts of states, you have this mental concept that this is so hard to get out of. When you actually focus and take your time, you realize that it wasn’t that hard actually. You just had to do it.
You just have to put the work in.
That’s a great point actually because it’s “easy” to be lazy.
You brought this concept, obviously, to Cint when you joined. Was it hard to get executive buy-in?
No. Not at all. We started–
There’s a right answer by the way. (Laughs.)
We’ve done this in the tech team. We did it by ourselves, now as we’ve moved on, the business as a whole has realized all the good things that come out of it. Now it’s really something that everyone appreciates and talks about and likes. You can start in a small set and then expand it. People love innovation and if you just heads-up it’s not that big issue. That’s the thing about a hackathon. You take one or two days off basically from your normal work. That’s not that much. You’re not investing that heavily in something. It’s kind of easy to get a buy-in.
Have you ever partnered with a customer to do something like that?
Yes. We have had customer input. We have discussed about actually inviting them and being a part of it. We haven’t done that yet, but it’s on our roadmap. To actually do more customer-based where we actually involve specifically with partners. To invite them.
There could be a lot of potential value created by, even if the actual end result wasn’t a commercial outcome, just going through the process you would learn so much about each other. Seems like that would be very beneficial.
The thing that you learn from this is… The outcome in some cases could be something that you can start using in your business. It could also just be learning. Just testing something and realizing that this didn’t work is also a good outcome.
I’m looking forward to your talk tomorrow. If someone wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?
They will probably have to email right now. I’m not that active on Twitter. (Laughs.) I assume you would have one. I’ll make sure I’ll be online.
Tonight. No, wait. Tomorrow is Twitter chat for me. Anyway. Sorry. I completely digressed. We do a live Twitter chat once a month where we bring in… Somebody at Cint should actually definitely join the conversation
I’ll make sure they’re there.
Thanks so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.
Yes. Thanks a lot. It was fun.