This year, we have two “Kaospilots in residence” at Startupbootcamp Mobility, Mattias and Anne Sofie. As they work on their own startup Roy´s and are third-year students at Kaospilot, they spend a couple of working days per week contributing to our program. One of the reasons we initiated the relationship is that Kaospilot generate a higher percentage of entrepreneurs than any other educational institution in Denmark. A couple of well-known Kaospilot-startups are Bambuser and Clickataxi. The 22-year-old school only certifies approximately 35 students a year, and around 50 percent of the few hundred alumni are entrepreneurs or self-employed.
Anne Sofie and Mattias are co-founders of Roy´s, a company creating new channels for exposing art and cultural expression. Their first product to hit the shelves is an organic Rooibos ice tea named Roy´s Red, which is launching in just a couple of weeks. The label of the bottle is decorated by talented local Copenhagen artist. We are yet to get a taste of it at SBC but rumors say it’s extremely tasty!
We had a chat with Anne Sofie and Mattias to get their perspective on how they contribute at SBC and other way around.
Why did you want to work with Startupbootcamp in the first place?
We are still in the last year of our education and also setting up our own startup. Therefore, we thought that Startupbootcamp could be a type of internship that would enhance our learning by letting us experience 10 different startups go through an intense period of establishment and acceleration. As entrepreneurs, we believe that the knowledge of fundraising we get at Startupbootcamp is essential in being able to scale our efforts – which we believe can and will contribute to positive societal change.
What do you learn at the Kaospilot that is applicable when founding and running a startup?
The 3 year program is built on four principles: project management, leadership, business development and process design (group processes, team dynamics).
What makes Kaospilot different from many other programs and educations is the theoretical and practical learning. The perhaps most essential part of Kaospilot, as an entrepreneurship education, is that we do a lot of work on personal vision and purpose – meaning that specialization and doing something meaningful is individually identified and acted upon which in the long term gives a wide variety of professions.
Which practical tools should every startup know about?
We have quite a few and much of the differentiation from common practice in startup environments is found in the sphere of soft values and creative work. The following are just a couple of the methods we find useful in the work we do.
Shared vision and expectations
Working towards a common goal is central in team-based work. There will always be individual aspirations and goals. However, to spend intentional time in an initial phase, on creating common meaning and vision, can enable a team to take the leap from living up to expectations to rise above them. This is of course even more important in a startup, where the expectation of creation comes from within. With limited resources and a small team, it is essential to get the most out of everyone involved.
Two methodologies that are often applied are Scrum and Kanban, and it can not be overstated how useful they can be for a team’s coherence and shared understanding along the road of execution. As they are both human and data centric methods for project work, they are best supplemented in an initial internal process where vision, mission and values are created by the group. There are many methods for doing this, however the importance of keeping the ‘why’ central is very well explained by Simon Sinek´s ‘Golden Circle‘ TEDx talk.
Brainstorming doesn’t work
Research has shown that the common perception of brainstorming is insufficient in most cases of idea development. We use a very simple method called Pair-Square-Share, first introduced to us by Daniel Epstein of Unreasonable Institute. This method entails to first think individually, then develop the ideas with another person and thereafter further develop the idea with more people. Below is an example of a group of eight people, however, the principles can be scaled up or down depending on size and situation.
Parallel thinking with the Six thinking hats by Edward de Bono
As a decision-making and discussion method, parallel thinking allows a group of people to collectively think about a problem or decision with six different mindsets, symbolized by six thinking hats:
- Information (White) – Considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
- Emotions (Red) – Intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification).
- Discernment (Black) – Logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative.
- Optimistic response (Yellow) – Logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony.
- Creativity (Green) – Statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes.
- Meta perspective (Blue) – Sequences always begin and end with a blue hat; the group agrees how they will think, then they do the thinking, then they evaluate the outcomes of that thinking and what they should do next.
Make it visual, and make it BIG
For the sake of shared understanding and overview in teams, we find it helpful to visualize thoughts, models and calendars on big papers or white boards for everyone to see. The example below is the Startupbootcamp calendar seen as the six individual weeks in the web application turned into a synthesized version on a wall, with a paper note for every day.