Today’s interview is a follow-up with Jonas Augsburger (Computer Science intern at Swisscom), Fränzi Aufdenblatten (Technical Manager), and Marcus Bergagård (Lean Agile Manager), three Kickboxers from Swisscom. Since our first interview with them, they have completed Kickstart 2020, so we thought it was about time we caught up with them again! This time we talk about their experience in Kickstart 2020, what they learned, and what we can expect to see from them next.
Hi all, it is great to meet you again! Firstly, we would like to know, how your ideas evolved during Kickstart 2020 – from the first to the final pitch?
Fränzi: We continued our work to provide an even more convenient service with more added value to the client. But from the customer perspective, we were careful to keep delivering The Ginius Way experience our clients love. The biggest change was in the way we sell and distribute our service. Before Kickstart, we focused on a direct B2C approach (via social media, flyers, etc.), but we’ve now switched our focus to finding B2B partners, such as real estate companies, big corporations, or other service providers. This new approach enables us to use them as distribution channels for our service and create attractive service bundles to maximize customer value.
Jonas: We actually had a similar experience! With CliMate, we also started with a volume-based B2C business model before changing to a more precisely targeted B2B model. When we began Kickstart, we quickly realized that we had initially started with the idea, not with the problem. We were told that this is usually the most expensive mistake you can make (laughs). Using the knowledge and advice from several experts and our coach, we turned our focus to the problem. Luckily, we were able to validate many hypotheses that we had already formulated unconsciously. This way, we did not have to go back to square one but could make this impactful change just in time.
Marcus: In our case, the idea behind Roady itself didn’t change. But the various pitches and steps along the way helped us refine and focus our message for a clearer understanding of the relationship between the problem and solution. This confirmed that we are on the right track and there is already one company that wants us to implement Roady for them!
On a personal level, what were the greatest takeaways from your journey at Kickstart 2020 and which challenges did you experience along the way?
Jonas: First of all, it was very inspiring to witness that Switzerland’s innovation scene is alive and well. Additionally, it was refreshing to see plenty of experts out there who are more than happy to share their knowledge with those interested. We also learned a lot about cognitive biases, especially confirmation bias. Consequently, we understood how important it is to always factor in the users' perspective and learned the difference between a user and a customer. As our coach likes to say, if you don’t have any customers, it’s nothing more than a hobby.
Fränzi: Our most significant takeaway was to take up contact with as many people as you can – be it other companies, startups, or experts. Most of them are also eager to get new input and challenge their point of view, so this way, everyone gains a lot of insights and new opportunities. The challenge here is to remain open to input from the outside while staying consistent in implementing your strategy.
Marcus: For me the greatest takeaway was being able to take everything I had learned in theory over the last three years – from books, podcasts, and use cases – and finally apply it to Roady, which is my third Kickbox and first BlueBox to date. Personally, the biggest challenge was balancing the workload and attending the various Kickstart sessions, which often coincided with my daily work as a Lean Agile Leader at Swisscom.
“Our Kickstart journey helped us focus on the essentials, preparing us for the challenges ahead in the best way possible.”
Okay, now we want details: What was your most exciting experience of Kickstart 2020?
Marcus: The various pitches we completed during Kickstart were exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. They’re time-boxed, so you need to get the message about your idea across in a short time with the most impact. That was tough, especially in the 90-second Demo Day Pitch! But it was a great challenge that I can apply to other areas of my work. It was also fascinating to be coached by people who have so much experience with intrapreneurship.
Fränzi: We had a coaching session with a marketing sales expert about selling our service to companies. We expected the usual high-level inputs such as “know your customer,” “understand their pain points,” etc. But this session turned out to be so different and much more specific. He inspired us with a story about having to sell champagne to a big company. Instead of showing slides in a meeting room, he organized a stylish “champagne truck” to park in front of the office. He went into the meeting, rounded up the buyers, and took them out to the truck, where he showed them firsthand that it’s not only about champagne; it’s about the moment and feeling it creates. Needless to say, he got the deal.
Jonas: We also had an experience that exceeded all our expectations… We didn’t hear anything from our coach for the first two weeks of the program. This made us so anxious – we thought we would have to go through the program on our own. Then, when we finally scheduled a meeting, we didn’t have very high expectations. But that meeting – and every subsequent one, for that matter – turned out to be so inspiring that both of us were frantically trying to write down every word our coach said. When it was over, our anxiety had turned into excitement, and we said to each other, we wished our lectures at school had been more like that. In fact, this was a feeling we had in many of our meetings with experts and coaches throughout Kickstart.
“We wish our lectures at school had been more like that – a feeling we had in many of our meetings with experts and coaches throughout Kickstart.”
Well, it was certainly an exciting ride! What can our readers expect from your ventures after Kickstart 2020?
Marcus: To see Roady become a real, operating business with customers who like to make their travel by car more rewarding by accompanying it digitally. Also, I would love to see even more Intrapreneurship at Swisscom with people starting their own Kickbox journey to find the "next big thing" for the company. This would secure new revenue streams and business areas for the future.
Jonas: In the coming weeks, we plan on reviewing everything we have learned and achieved during the program. Since we are still participating in the Kickbox program at Swisscom, we then aim to get back on track towards a GoldBox, which is the ultimate goal as a Kickboxer, after all. Equipped with all the insights and experiences from our Kickstart journey, with CliMate we hope to bring real value to Swisscom’s existing endeavors in the area of sustainability. In the meantime, we will continue our collaboration with Liike, the agency for sustainable projects in Zurich, doing our small part in making the first “national climate day” a success.
Fränzi: You can expect to experience The Ginius Way as a viable way to enjoy the convenience of a personal assistant for your daily to-dos, and finally get rid of those tedious daily tasks!
Amazing, we cannot wait to see more of you guys! Thank you for taking the time today and all the best on your journeys!
Picture taken during less Covid-intense times.