‘My FLITE to Denmark’- Ollie Lane
My FLITE journey took me to Copenhagen and it was an extremely interesting and full on first couple of days that saw me joining the teams at the Nordic Hackathon. It was the best way to start the FLITE program!
My trip there began with driving from Bristol to London, then flying to Copenhagen, getting a taxi to my apartment for a quick 5-minute turnaround, before getting the train back to the airport. I then flew to Helsinki, took a 22-hour cruise to Stockholm and flew back to Copenhagen to finish on Friday evening (just in time to hit the Friday Bar on the office rooftop)!
It was a great two days to start the experience. I found it fascinating and insightful and it allowed me to get a strong understanding of the different skill sets across all the SBU’s (Specialised Business Units) in the Nordics, meeting some great people along the way. The final presentations from the Hackathon teams in Stockholm gave us all a chance to see the great work that the teams put together and also to see a friendly face, Mr JP Luchetti, Mubaloo’s Consultancy director, who was one of the judges on the board.
After a busy couple of days I had the weekend to settle into my apartment, explore the city and get familiar with the local area. It gave me a chance to get everything sorted to hit the ground running on Monday morning at my new office!
Living in a new country and city was a great experience, one which I will never forget. I began by getting familiar with what was going on in the surrounding area of my apartment. I found out where to go (and not), where the nearest train station and bus stop was, what the best supermarket and shops were and where the best local bars were, it was great fun! I love exploring and trying new things, so having the opportunity to do it in a new city, especially one as cool as Copenhagen, was awesome.
During my first week at work, I was still finding my bearings but after renting a bike, withstanding the wind and rain (like a true Dane) and getting lost on the way to work 3 or 4 times, I perfected my sense of direction. I pocketed the Google maps and joined the morning bike commute with everyone else.
Fortunately, most people I met spoke great English so not speaking Danish wasn’t too much of a challenge. The road names, being in Danish, took a while to get used to and to pronounce, but after I had mastered the pronunciation of the extra three letters in the alphabet, it became somewhat more manageable.
Joining Mubaloo was my first career-focused job so changing to work at a non-Mubaloo office and in a non-UK working culture was very interesting for me.
In Mubaloo we are a technically-focused development house of around 30-40 people and do not have any other Mediabrands agencies under our roof. Going to a bigger IPG Mediabrands office, where all the agencies are housed under one roof and working together was a great experience. Meeting all the teams and team leads was a great way to get a better understanding and experience of all the skill sets across the agencies.
The culture was different to the UK and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In Copenhagen the work-life balance is much more prevalent, people tend to start and finish earlier to the point of having lunch at 11:30 am! Also, starting and finishing earlier gave me the opportunity to have productive work days and still make the most of the evenings, whether training at the gym or absorbing the city culture.
Interestingly, some people mentioned how Danish working relationships are considered somewhat abrupt or upfront compared to foreign counterparts. It seemed that the Danes understand and perceive British working relationships as sensitive! Supposedly, we like being “asked nicely to do things” and are more inclined to ask nicely for a colleague to do something instead of directly stating it. I did not necessarily experience or see it for myself, perhaps if I was asking for things to be done, I was a typical English softie!
I would say the key thing I learnt from my experience was how to demonstrate Mubaloo’s approach to digital product strategy, design and development effectively. While in Copenhagen, I had time to talk through Mubaloo’s value proposition to a variety of leadership and senior level roles across Mediabrands. Although there was interest in Mubaloo and our skills, being able to concisely and effectively convey our methodologies and apply contextual and relevant examples to their SBU’s was crucial. I would say the most valuable skill was being able to tell a story, which enabled them to understand what we do, why it is great, and how they can utilise it for their clients, was a key learning for me.
At Mubaloo, I have worked with B2B clients where the opportunities focus on business process improvement and transformation, driving operational efficiencies and excellence. In Mediabrands Denmark, the clients are media focused, so the drive is for B2C opportunities where digital products are more geared towards adding value. They have to differentiate from the competition, expose products or services and enable or improve media campaigns. From this, I have learnt to understand and target the motivations for different roles across organisations and to tell stories and present opportunities that engage these people.
Another key thing I will take back from my experience is the relationships I have formed. Having the opportunity to get face time and discuss Mubaloo’s proposition with key stakeholders has put our skills on the radar of the various teams across the group. As a result, we have a number of opportunities in the pipeline, which I believe can grow into good clients and form a strong working relationship between IPG Mediabrands Denmark and Mubaloo.
I shared Mubaloo’s Product Sprint tool with the teams, which focuses on user-tested and evidence-based digital product prototypes to test and solve real business problems. Marvelous and iUM, Mediabrands’ creative agency and digital teams, both have digital consulting, design and development capabilities, so sharing Product Sprint and the benefits with them was a great way to demonstrate our skills and give them something powerful to take into the future. This has formed the foundation of the opportunities we have in the pipeline with the idea that after collaborating on the first few product sprints, the teams can adopt it as an addition to their offering.
Overall Copenhagen was a fun, friendly and exciting place to live and I feel I settled in very quickly.
Earlier this year, IPG Mediabrands EMEA announced the launch of the first talent mobility programme, FLITE Mobility. 90 staff members applied from 15 countries and 16 agencies for the chance to work in one of our diverse markets for up to 3 months. We have been closely following the 10 outstanding employees chosen, and it’s proving to be a great opportunity for not only professional development, but also personal growth.