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April 21, 2017

Inspiration from Webbdagarna in Stockholm

The theme of this year’s Webbdagarna, arranged by Internetworld, was around the speed of new technology, marketing, VR and AI. But something that came up throughout the conference was that people and their needs are leading the development of technology and not the other way around.

From Meh to Magic

A few weeks back, when attending to this year's Webbdagarna in Stockholm, I listened to Steve Hatch who is the Regional director for Facebook Northern Europe. He was talking about the rising expectations in consumer technology. As soon as a tech device becomes main stream we expect all gadgets to have the same technology. “Why doesn’t my car or my toaster listen to me when I talk to them?” The speed of our expectations is getting higher every day but there is a challenge to this: “Meh” (a verbal shrug of the shoulders which implicates ignorance, indifference, boredom). We don’t easily get impressed. The “wow-window” is getting shorter. “What is working today may not be working the day after. If it works, it’s obsolete.”

To create a wow is increasingly harder because the technology around us is getting better and faster, and because of us; because of the people. We are getting faster at processing information, especially visual information. We process images 60.000 times faster than text. Also, the millennials are faster in processing information than older people are. Young people won't consume the information if it is not designed for them or if it is not relevant to them.

Also, we need to remember that not all people have the connectivity like we do. Steve told that at their offices they tend to turn down the internet speed occasionally to see how their services work on tech that are not as quick as ours.

Steve was also talking about the Facebook service called Safety Check, that is, a service that allows people to quickly check on their closest ones and see if they're safe in the event of a crisis. Never in a million years could we in the audience imagine that we would need that service as fast as we did after the attack in Stockholm last week.

You can listen to Steve's session on YouTube.

From Idea to reality

Another interesting topic featured was creativity that Tobias Degsell, an expert in creativity and with a background as a curator at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, talked about. What is creativity? Ideas are a good thing but it is only when you implement them they become important.

Many people would like to make a change and make reality of their ideas but there are often risks that most of us aren’t willing to take. Nobel Prize winners are success stories. Many of the Nobel Prize winners say that besides being creative they need persistency. Communications skills, a combination of being a visionary and working hard, sometimes even disrespect towards existing systems are qualities you need for being creative and innovative. “You should embrace the disrespect in your organisation.”

How to create an innovative environment?

People often choose not to be creative unless they get a push from others. It is all about collaboration. The importance of embracing differences is essential for a creative environment.

Tobias had been analyzing which universities in the world are the ones with the most Nobel Prize winners and found that Cambridge University has the largest amount with 10% of the Nobel Prize winners. Furthermore, he found that it is not the tradition that makes them successful. The problem with many universities is that you put people with similar interests into one building and others in another building and they don’t interact. Cambridge organizes high table dinners that last for 5 hours where students cannot choose with whom to sit, therefore all these different students with different specialties meet and ideas are evolved. They create a large network and a strong we feeling.

So, creativity is all about the mindset. A WE feeling. Like at Google, it is not about the colorful bike racks. Successful organisations such as Google, Cambridge, and Bell Labs, show a respect to each other and the variety of people. In a successful organisation every opinion counts.

You need to have both thinkers and doers and break down the barriers in an organisation. Collaboration, small mobile teams, different people with the same vision is the key to a success. Execution is everything. How is your organisation embracing variety?

Tobias' session can be found on YouTube (in Swedish).

I would also recommend listening to Ashkan Fardost, TED speaker, ”Framtiden är ljus, om du undviker teknikfällan” (in Swedish).

Read more about Webbdagarna in our post about Increase conversion with data-driven design.


For more information, contact Hanne Konradsson, Senior Consultant at +46 73 684 45 01 or hanne.konradsson@comprend.com.