Sime 2015 Part 2 – How to adapt the business model to a digital world

The second day of Sime started in a distinguished way with a presentation of the Nobel Prize and what characteristics the laureates had in common. Tobias Degsell, Curator at the Nobel Museum, pointed out that it was not their innovative ideas as such, but rather the fact that all laureates had taken their ideas and pushed them into practice. To be a Nobel Prize laureate is a combination of vision and hard work, it is not only about abilities but how you choose to use your abilities and how much work you are prepared to invest in your idea. This quote by one of the laureate is even written under all chairs in the muserum: “Work hard and follow your passion.”

Hanna Stjärne, CEO, SVT, Hélène Barnekow, Head of Sweden and Executive VP, TeliaSonera, and Daniel Goldberg, Founding editor, DI Digital, then discussed the challenges when trying to transform a market leader, such as the companies they represented. When being a successful company for a long time, with a distinguished heritage, transformation is extra painful. In addition to focus on new business development you also have to manage the current base and the culture, getting the people on board, constantly juggling the resources between the existing and the new business. A start-up has other challenges, but at least it only has one business to focus on.

All panelists talked about the business model as the hardest problem to solve. They all felt that they were producing better products, reaching more people and faster, but with less resources, but still there is a revenue problem. The technology developments have changed the old slogan “content is king” to “content plus tech is king”. A large focus is on platforms and customer experience. SVT even has a special test group consisting of four-year-old children, as they give the best and most accurate feedback if a user experience will be successful.

Mahesh Kumar, Head of corporate Innovation, Result, then gave a very inspiring and practical lesson on how to innovate, together with Pascal Finette, Managing Director and Track Chair Entrepreneurship, Singularity University. Some of the key points were screw “jantelagen” – innovation is not about consensus, it is about providing ideas for super voters to decide on – and to get external input. “No facts exist internally, only opinions.” One of the point mentioned was somewhat disturbing for us legal professionals – “do not involve the legal department” – so as a profession we definitely have to step up and show the value we can add.

Lena K Samuelsson, Executive VP Communications and CSR, Schibsted Media Group presented Schibsted’s Future Report 2016. The results proved a common theme of humanity and simplicity. Some of the other interesting findings were the ongoing fundamental change in the way we pay, that engagement is now the core of media distribution and that the use of a second screen for television has become standard. New payment solutions like Swish, bitcoin machines and other new apps and technological solutions are all making transaction costs for consumers significantly decreasing. “It is the biggest change since we stopped using gold as currency.” Simplicity has been the mantra for user interface developers for a long time, but this focus is only increasing. The goal for user experience is now to make the user happy to use a system.

Furthermore, new technology advances for exercise was presented and body hacking, were robotic arms, appified hearing implants and medical in-body tracking are now a reality.

One of the most interesting, thought-provoking and somewhat disturbing, presentations were made by Dr. Christian Sandström, Associate professor in Technology Management, Chalmers & Ratio, aka “Dr. Death”, who holds a PhD in why companies like Facit, Kodak were disrupted. We will write a separate blog post about his session within short, as well as a more elaborated report from SIME, when we have had time to digest all impressions, new ideas and insights from these two inspiring days.