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Design & Technology December 08, 2018

Update on Digital Teams: A good team has the right people, processes and tooling

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The secret to a successful digital team is to have a clear focus on the joint goal and to harmonise team member expectations. It’s proven quite challenging for teams to work together in the ever-changing digital work environment. Companies like Zalando, ABN Amro, Unive and Schiphol share their knowledge related to digital teams.

This is not a call for digital transformation, but hands-on tips about how to organise it all. Each year, Emerce organises the Digital Teams event, this time with Dept. The event is all about learning and inspiration. It is a day marked by learning from companies who have preceded you through a process of trial and error and who are giving specific tips on how to set up and speed up your digital dream team.

For a team to work properly, you need the right culture in the company: everyone must be on the same page and moving in the same direction. Success doesn’t simply rely on clever technology or fancy design, but on a proper balance between creativity, technology and data. How do the forerunners in our industry manage it? These companies provide a glimpse into their methods during the Digital Teams event, in interesting talks by Zalando, Eneco, Elsevier, New10, ABN Amro, Unive, Schiphol, Jumbo, De Persgroep and Waternet. The talks by Julian Jagtenberg and Lara Ankersmit also reveal some surprising insights.

The North Star Metric

Somnox is a start-up that combines creativity, technology and data in everything it does and, in so doing, conquers the world. Julian Jagtenberg, co-founder of Somnox, wants to let as many people as possible get a better night’s sleep. He and his team work constantly to achieve this and use The North Star Metric, which was developed in Silicon Valley, to do so. This is the key number that provides the best reflection of your product’s value for your client. Doing everything in your power to increase this value – in other words, this number – is the key to achieving sustainable growth in client value.

Facebook and Airbnb are examples of companies that also operate based on The North Star Metric. Airbnb’s magic number is the number of nights booked. This number reflects the value provided to guests and hosts. For Facebook, this number is the daily number of active users. In other words, The North Star Metric works wonderfully to give your team a clear focus on the goal – and to keep them focused.

The innovative power of public broadcasting

Lara Ankersmit, head of digital media and initiator of the Dutch NOS innovation lab, is constantly innovating. How do you continue to innovate with an in-house development team and a newsroom that operates seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, at full speed? To reach (new) people, the NOS must do more, on more platforms, along with the editorial staff and the public.

The NOS Lab experiments — in multidisciplinary teams — with new technologies and narrative forms for the user of the future. They test and explore the latest platforms and technologies. They do this by starting up short-term projects, like specials. In addition, they develop social concepts (Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube) and the editorial team and digital media work together on a daily basis.

Also, the Dutch Onder de Duim project is a recent special launched by the innovation lab. The lab investigated mobile phone usage and made the findings available via an interactive experience. In addition to these types of projects, the NOS lab is currently also working on screenless, interactive concepts.

Never 100% done

A successful multidisciplinary team? Make sure the team satisfies these three criteria: the right people, the right process and the right tooling. Of course, every situation, every company and every team is different, so it’s important to work closely with your team so you can deal with what’s needed to make your digital team even better sooner rather than later and to go for this together, for one hundred percent. And, finally, have fun together and accept that you’ll never really be 100% done.

Questions? We are here to help!

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