The more I work with recruiting matters, the more I come to realize the amount of effort and work you need to put in in order to get the best candidates possible. It doesn’t matter whether it is for a job opening or for participation in a case competition – it is all the same.
Advertising near and far will get you something. But it is my experience that there is a high noise-to-signal ratio in that way, and that you can quickly spend a lot of time and effort for very little result.
What seems to work better though is recruiting through precision. Basically getting someone to vouch for you and your serious interests. Going that way unlocks interesting candidates who are not really out there looking but may be interested in a conversation. And it has the potential of unearthing all sorts of different interesting profiles that might be an unconventional fit for something but nevertheless a potential fit given the initial screening. It really seems like the way to go.
One of the great opportunities to learn something new and expand your horizon is to engage in conversation with someone you don’t agree with. You might still have disagreements after your conversation, but at least you have gotten the opportunity to get some perspective. And boy, do we often need that.
For that reason I always seize on the opportunity to reach out to people who have indicated that a shared experience left them somewhat lost or basically made them quit. Because I want to get a chance to at least understand where things went wrong as seen from the other side.
It is so easy to just ignore people who complain or give something you have done a bad review. And yes, it can be daunting to confront criticism, because if you are passionate about what you do, you know that it is going to sting and even hurt. But it is worth it. It adds perspective. It gives you the opportunity to reflect, which is always good. And no, it won’t kill you.
One of the things I have found while working to create our case competition on climate change, iQnite, is that there is a big difference between outrage about something and passion for doing something about it. Just because you’re outraged about something doesn’t mean that you want to take real action towards doing something about it. Far from it.
While it is easy to find people who are outraged at climate change – just think about FridaysForFuture – it is super, super hard to find people, who are actually passionate about wanting to do anything about it. And it is understandable; protesting is easy, fixing things are hard. Yet the contrast couldn’t be starker.
The way to find the right people seems to be to get personal. Find the people that they talk to on an everyday basis and have them endorse what it is that you are trying to do. That increases the odds of getting people out and getting them committed. Just random trying to get people together and turn their outrage on social media into action won’t make a dent of a difference whatsoever.
Last Friday and Saturday we hosted the first bootcamp of the iQnite case competition on climate change at our inQvation-hub in Taastrup. 35 participants turned up to spend two days exploring and sharpening their idea in the hope of making it into the main competition.
For me as an organizer it was an amazing event. When you do something like this for the first time, you are always a bit nervous how things are going to turn out. How many people will sign up? What will their profiles be? What are their ideas about? And how many will actually show up and do the work?
We had set ourselves a goal of getting 8-10 great teams or projects into the main competition. We ended up with 9, which is super. They are very diverse both in focus, industry, background, experience and so on, and it is truly a great experience to get to work with such a great bunch of people looking to drive change.
Yesterday we closed the submissions for our “iQnite Case Competition on Climate Change” with close to 60 dedicated and passionate challengers signed up for the task of trying to create new innovative solutions to tackle climate change.
I am blown away by the richness of ideas and the profiles of the people participating. It took a lot of effort and hard work to get the word out, and we have definitely learned a lot in the process. But it was totally worth it. On the other hand, I am slightly baffled that for all the talk about the need to do something more related to climate change, there weren’t more who were willing and/or able to step up to the plate and actually make an effort.
Next up is planning for the first of two bootcamps. It will take place on November 15-16, and it will be a real challenge to do a programme that fits with the diversity of ideas, industries and backgrounds of the participants. But it is all part of the fun and the experience. So bring it on!
One of the things that always concern me about doing B2B related products and services is that the user is almost always different from the one who is actually paying the bill. What might constitute a problem for someone down in the organization can be totally overlooked at C-level, making it super hard to get the good solution in the hands of the people who actually need it.
I think there are several ways to try to deal with this. One is the obvious one: Make the solution so inexpensive that it falls well within the limits of discretionary spending that people in the organization may have. In other words: Give them the opportunity to buy it themselves.
The other one is more of a workaround but nonetheless important: Develop the pitch for the C-suite and KNOW full well that aside from having to convince your users, there is a key task in being able to make the hard sell where the money is. If that is where it’s at, it should be as important for you as building the product itself.
Yesterday, me and a couple of colleagues went for a video shoot at the intimate studio of Veronika Grosik of a series of promos, we’re going to use for an upcoming project that you will hear more about in due time.
It was a super fun experience. In a couple of hours we got everything we needed thanks to just the right dose of preparation beforehand; knowing enough to be focused while knowling little enough to remain flexible in the moment. It is really a fine balance.
On top of that it was great to feel the energy of going out of the office and doing something out of the ordinary. It created a sense of purpose, belonging and fun that was just second to none. So remember that, folks: Get out of the building!
It is no secret that I have found falling in love with Slack very challenging. Perhaps it is my Microsoft-past with Outlook and (yes) Clippy (and yes, there is a full documentary on YouTube about that one) that haunts me, but I have found the channel setup and the various direct messages threads challenging.
Not any more. I am now firmly in the Slack boat. Why? Because it is just so much easier, when you are working with different teams on different projects to keep up to date and keep the momentum, than it is through email.
It literally only takes a couple of seconds to ask a question on Slack and move on. It boosts the productivity and moves things along even if you have a limited number of hands. Just set up a workspace for each team and integrate them all in the Slack-app, and you’re good. Now, the next challenge is for it not to become too easy and just overwhelm the various workspaces and channels with pointless chit chat.
When you are doing customer interviews, it can be super hard to both ask the right questions, make appropriate notes and be present in the moment to actually hear and understand what people are truly saying.
I have created a small workaround for this. I have started to use Typeform as my notepad for customer interviews. I will build my questionaire beforehand making sure not to ask questions that put words in the mouth of people, and I will quite extensively use scaled answers.
When I am in the interview, I bring my iPad, and I will use the Typeform questionaire as a guide. The options I have chosen will allow me to pin down most answers and get a sense of their importance, and the few fields for extra comments will be easy to fill out either during the interview or immediately afterwards. In that way I get to ask the right questions, capture the answers AND stay present in the conversation. What is not to like?
One of the things I spend a significant amount of time on is devising, designing and running experiments on various different ideas for new concepts. It is both fun and challenging.
The challenging part is mostly about not reverting to the same 2-3 types of experiments and use them again and again. But because it is wrong to do so, and you might develop bias. But also because there are actually a lot of different ways, you can design and run experiments based on what kind of hypothesis, you’re trying to (dis)prove.
For that reason I have built yet another Excel-model; a simple database of all the different experiments, we know and can run with titles, applicable stages, ‘how to’-recipies and our know-how and experience in running them with valid results. Using the filter option on that one quickly allows me to narrow down the list of useful experiment-types for any given idea, broaden our horizon – and generate better results.
It is really that straightforward.