Can 6 tech students help a telecom giant innovate in 6 weeks? Telenor Norway wants to solve real problems for real people. As summer interns in Iterate – the lean startup consultancy in Norway – we’ve been hired to build, measure and learn how to unleash the power of future telco technology. Every week we blog about what we’ve learned.
Here’s week 6.
Our Lean summer has come to an end.
Six weeks ago we were given a task; to help Telenor innovate in different areas. With the rise in popularity and functionality of webRTC, Telenor wanted to know whether or not this technology could help.
Six nervous students preparing for their first day
We didn’t expect this project to be easy, and didn’t expect it to go without issues or problems. We expected guidance, but we also hoped for some freedom to try and fail for ourselves. Mistakes are a great opportunity to learn, but only if we can make and solve them on our own..
Six great friends enjoying a last party together before going their separate ways
Throughout the summer we’ve felt the pull from Iterate and Telenor. As interns we want to please both parties, but it can be difficult when they sometimes have opposite ideas of what our focus should be.
In situations like this it’s hard to listen to your own ideas when people around you disagree. We’ve been lucky in the fact that iterate wants us to figure some things out on our own, and Telenor has very much supported this and respected the Lean process.
The last day at work, making sure we have all our ducks in a row
This mindset has also lead to challenges, which we in turn have had to solve mostly on our own. Of course Iterate has been there to back us up, but like we said, you learn the most by doing it yourself.
At the start of the internship we were allowed to choose teams for ourselves. This could have created issues, but we ended up with two very well balanced groups.
Programmer by day, vampire by night
While the two teams had different tasks we also had very different experiences working with Telenor. Both were good, but it highlighted how such a large company can be comprised of many layers, and different challenges in each.
Team Support worked for the main part of Telenor, and experienced your typical “big business” issues. Everything takes forever to happen, and running experiments was time consuming and difficult. Everything has to go through multiple people who often times didn’t know about each other.
Team Support had a meeting in HQ to look into more programming tasks
Team Phone on the other hand worked with Telenor Digital, a smaller section that includes many of the “small business” mentalities. The situation here in terms of experiments and getting things done was completely different, and they have been able to get from prototype to pilot in a very short amount of time.
Luckily both teams had great guidance from our mentors in Iterate, and with their help we managed to navigate the jungle that is a big and confusing corporation.
Magnus showing us the ropes with React
At the beginning of this internship, none of us interns could have imagined just how important Lean would prove to be. Seeing it and experiencing it in practise was completely different than reading the books and hearing about it from someone else.
We will all carry Lean with us, no matter where we end up working or what we end up working with. The core principle of caring about what the customer needs and which problems we can solve for them is a great foundation for building solutions, instead of making it just because we can.
Decoration at the office, both Iterate’s and our own
Telenor could easily have spent our project resources straight on development and skipped this process entirely. They might have succeeded, and the product might have been a hit. It might also have been a big fail, like many such projects are. Instead they choose to put their faith in us, so that we could figure out just what their customers needed.
This has been our last week, and we have presented our final report for Telenor. Although we can’t tell you exactly what we found, we can say that is has proven well worth it to experiment on all the different areas we’ve looked at.
Pia got two icecreams – so happy
With our knowledge passed on, Telenor knows which areas to focus on and where to do more research. They also know which areas just aren’t the right fit. Most importantly, they know which customers might need their solutions, and they know why.
A great summer is coming to an end, and we couldn’t be more pleased. We all picked Iterate to do something different, something we wouldn’t get to experience in your typical consulting company.
The first tap of “På Grensen til Blond”. Beer is love, beer is life. Beer.
Iterate might be a small company now, but with that comes a close-knit community. There’s a special sort of energy here, and all us interns have felt welcome from the start. We have all become great friends, and it will be sad to see everyone going their separate ways.
The team, dorking around in our new Iterate swag
A heartfelt thanks, from all of us to all of you. To Telenor for giving us exciting projects to work on, and Iterate for all the amazing people and guidance along the way.
The Iterate Summer Students of 2015:
Nils Inge Rugsveen,
Kari Eline Strandjord,
Aina Elisabeth Thunestveit,
Blog by Pernille Wangsholm