wehkamp @ TNW Conference 2017

TNW Conference 2017 Opening

The Next Web Conference 2017 is the breeding ground for startups of every size. Those requiring a boost in their business or already have an impact in their market and looking for more customers. It gave us a good insight in what challenges high-growth companies face and some ideas to take back to Zwolle

A company called “Travelperk” was looking for opportunities to scale their business model and take on “the big boys on the playground”. The energy of all the startups, their ideas, progress and in many cases success is felt throughout the festival and stimulates us (as wehkamp) to also go that extra mile and beyond.

Besides the startups, there were a lot of talks, workshops, hackathons and most importantly food trucks with the finest cuisines ranging from seaweed to baklava and handcrafted beer managed by an app on a smartphone.

The Next Web never disappoints the attendees and also this edition had speakers from every corner of the world and industry. Hardwell spoke about growth hacking his career and being the first with a 360-degree event live stream, Refinery29 CEO Piera Gelardi gave a refreshing presentation on creativity in marketing, and Adobe Executive of Creativity Mark Randall showed examples to stimulate innovation in your company with empowerment and using the Adobe Kickbox®, a nifty tool to help people in your organisation to innovate.

One of the key aspects of the conference is helping you think of certain topics in a different way. For example, IBM Watson’s Marc Teerlink explains how applying AI in your customer service to assist your employees to do more “human” activities and really help the customer instead of doing dull and repetitive work. Where people might think that AI makes everything impersonal and people might be losing their job to automation, this was a refreshing perspective.

We also participated in a workshop about Design Thinking, hosted by The New School. This method gives a different perspective on an issue by saying it is an opportunity and how to address this is the best way tailored to our customer. Through empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing you embrace this opportunity in an iterative manner providing the best solution to the customer.

We are already applying this in our product teams, the session triggered us to apply it in our tech teams as well. These teams design and build the CI&CD pipeline and the platform. In the end, we try to solve their problems and will start experimenting with design sprints here as well!