Transcript - Pilot case Novozymes by Director Merete Færgemand
[00:00:05] I'm right. I work with no Simões in an area called New Business Development, Incubation and Acquisitions. Nice short name.
[00:00:16] We work with developing total new business areas for nervous times. It's a big responsibility. Obviously, we do a lot of development off of projects and have value in our business divisions. We don't work with exactly what's in the business divisions. We try to work with something else. We need to, though, compete for resources with every other business division and those arms. And that means that we need to have even more compelling cases for our businesses than for other businesses in the company. And that's fair. That's a very fair challenge, I think. So thank you for allowing me today to talk about our experiences with using the half double methodology and actually even more.
[00:01:06] Thank you for putting that really old picture of me up there. I really appreciate that because I like the picture and it's like, what, 20 years old or so, though?
[00:01:17] Cool. So Nova Simões is a biotech company, as most of you know. We were actually established in a very kind of interim entrepreneurial way. And I kind of a basement where, you know, the guys back then even bought in technology. So I acquired some technology to get get started and so on. And since then, we have grown through 17 years of innovation very successfully. We've grown into a very big and also to some extent very complex company. We have a complex project processes.
[00:01:53] Of course, we have a kind of well laid out processes. You need that when you a lot of people. Right. But we also realise in our that that there's probably a value to Noble Simões on top of innovating new product areas.
[00:02:08] There's also a value in innovating new ways of doing businesses and also new ways of doing projects.
[00:02:17] So this is like this is how we like to present our area in those times, so we are kind of the microorganisms that kind of puts our spores out there and expands by excreting insights into nature. And this is kind of on the technical side. This is what Nova Arms really excels at doing. Finding these microorganisms, finding the enzymes and kind of producing them in big scale. But we weren't inspired by by nature. And what they're doing in kind of expanding and kind of putting the spores out there and looking at what's out there. And that's actually how we decide to work within our area. We're not a very big unit.
[00:02:59] So we depend a lot of on expanding our antennas into the rest of the world to get inspiration for what we should be working. So we have been experimenting for about one and a half years. We have existed as this new area for around one and a half years, 18 months, and we've been experimenting a lot. We've been exploring, mending with new business areas like we've had what we call a sugar cane incubator in Brazil working on how to make a bio ethanol from from sugar cane. We have been trying to work with start-ups in the project we call Chambers' up here, which is a pet food project where we've really been working with with some new principles out from this.
[00:03:48] And then, of course, in my area, the food protection area. We've also been experimenting with a new, totally new business area to know Simões and a very new way of running a project or two projects, in fact.
[00:04:02] So from these different experiments that we've made, we've come out with eight working principles that are over here. We could create. So that means we could create with each other, but also with external partners. As I said, external was extremely important for us. We do cross-functional teams. Well, we've always done that in normal times, I have to say. We have customer involvement. And I was actually telling one group down in the corner that, you know, it's ladies. Yesterday evening at 10 o'clock, I was having a discussion with one of our established business divisions on, you know, I have a particular activity, a project we are going to start up.
[00:04:41] This is how well, you know, this is very risky. We think you should go back and scream, you know, scream your conscious for six, nine months. And then, you know, we let the customers know that you want to talk with them.
[00:04:53] Then that's it. No. If this is how you want us to do the project, we don't think it's worth it because if we don't have the customer involvement, we're not going to do the project. We're gonna do another project. We have plenty we could do. We're gonna do another one where we have a partnership.
[00:05:12] So that's a principle. Let's see how it goes. Let's make sure it goes that way. So we run sprints. We have an MVP mindset. The MVP mindset is extremely important for our area. It's one of the biggest struggles that we are still having. I would say about 70 percent of people in our own organisation have an MVP mindset by now. And I don't I'm not gonna put a number on the rest of the organisation, but it's it's evident than when when we come and say, hey, we're gonna build a fit and test it with some customers.
[00:05:49] They go, no, no, we like our customers. We have, you know, one point three billion business with them. We're not going to jeopardise that for you yet. We want the Ferrari come back. So that's kind of is an interesting tension point. And I think one of the things that I would come back to is, you know, how leadership impacts whether you're able to do that or not.
[00:06:15] OK. Some learnings from the project. These are key learnings. No, these. This is kind of the overarching learners. First, it starts with having a path.
[00:06:32] The right partner and innovative powder. Not necessarily the biggest food company on Earth because they're slow.
[00:06:38] And like us, the right project leader we didn't necessarily manage said on the first go to have the right project leader for for these projects because the right project leader may not be the person who more capable, but it will be the person who wants it most.
[00:06:56] So that's something where we have definitely learnt something about, you know, who to put in front of this preparation for change.
[00:07:06] I think Sebastian, my boss, has done a great job preparing the organisation for change. But it's something we have to insist on on a daily basis, really on a daily basis.
[00:07:18] I mean, I think the most part of this week does not one day. We have not had a conversation. To reiterate what change we're making.
[00:07:28] Not one day.
[00:07:30] And then finally and we have put a multiplier sign, not by mistake, but because we believe that it's the most important to then get the organisation culture that we want. That goes down, of course, to the project leaders. Well, it goes down to the whole project team, goes round to what kind of stakeholder communication you need to have and how you need to engage them. So some of the benefits that we've seen of have doubled project ownership. So the project owner is really probably the most the most critical learning that we've made. I just had a brief conversation before about steering committees and somebody ask how many when you're steering committee? And I said one. So we we didn't have a steering committee. We had a project owner.
[00:08:21] And that was our steering committee. So that means that we had, you know, very clear accountability. Everybody was accountable to inspection.
[00:08:29] We had clear performance management. You can't hide anywhere in the discussions in a steering group. And good and bad. And then we have an active project coaching. We had these meetings every two weeks, actually, to cheque in with the best and, you know. So this is what we are doing. This is where our struggles are. Help us. So that's a learning number one. Then learning number two is in planning. We did for those who saw our presentation in the corner. We had this we had this whole war room where we put up all the visuals and we had visual planning from our sprint. Very clear what everybody was supposed to do.
[00:09:09] Very clear goal setting and yes, very unambiguous. Who was responsible for what? So really accountability, I would say, in the project team made visual.
[00:09:23] And finally, and that's been a major change for us as well, we had a project organisation or what we call in our lingo daily, we call it a true project organisation. We run many projects. And in those times. Most of them are with, you know, 10 percent allocation here and maybe, you know, to food scientist and something. But then, you know, there's some fluffy small allocations from others. We didn't take that in these projects only rarely, but everything we could control ourself. We allocated fat and short. So 50 percent at least we had as much collocation as we could. Now, this project actually included acquiring a company in Berlin and Germany. So, of course, we had, you know, the more normal kind of virtual meetings of a global organisation. But we also insisted on flying people in and out very frequently and without looking too much on budget. So we had every meeting every month, at least the whole team from Berlin would be in Denmark. Well, the whole team from Denmark would be in Berlin. And in between, those who had carbon work would work together. So we did that as much as I would say not as much as economy allowed, but as much as kind of the individual's personal situation allowed. That was a lot more so very important.
[00:10:45] And then the high allocation, as I said then, the challenges that you can you can see the sign up here.
[00:10:57] I'm guessing kind of very arrogantly. Then when you looked at that, when you look at no signs from the outside, you would think that, you know, super cool, innovative, modern company. We like to think of ourselves like that.
[00:11:11] Does that mean that we are kind of born change machines? No, we are not. And it's taken. Yeah. Immense amount of work to make this change happen. And I would say so. Kind of focussed back on the role of the Oak Project. Boehner, that has been the one deciding decisive part for Sebastian to actually reiterate, reiterate, reiterate, communicate upwards to stakeholders and so on.
[00:11:41] This is a change and we insist on doing things this way. It's been a tremendous change in the group as well. And the department's got I don't know. Don't get me started on that one.
[00:11:52] We did a reorg just before Easter, actually, to now live the project organisation out fully. So nobody has a leader except for the project leader. That means that when the project fails or succeeds and we move on, then we're going to reorganise again.
[00:12:11] That's quite a change. And it's not the it's not taking silently, let me put it that way. But we're gonna insist. Keeping the pace has been a has been a big change for us or has been a big challenge for us. There were people saying actually probably three months into the project. Oh, my God, we're sprinting all the time. You know, when are we gonna work? We're spending all the time. And then we were like, this is work. This is how we work. So that's that's been another challenge. But there's, of course, something, you know, you can't just say, oh, that's how we do.
[00:12:50] Then people will do it. Some will leave. Right. So so there's an element, of course, in ensuring that even that we work with very kind of short timelines and we're very impatient that the human being you were down there, that the human being is actually becoming engaged in it.
[00:13:11] Right. And not disengaged and demotivating and stressed. So that's a balance. Picking the right team. And as I said before, it's not necessarily who's much more capable. We have lots and lots of capable people in those times. But we want people with a specific mindset to join our because they will come the ambassadors for running this out throughout the organisation.
[00:13:40] Yeah, running, as I said, running across functions and geographies, geographies is a challenge, of course.
[00:13:47] We want to it's one of our IT working principles. We want to locate people because we know how efficient it is.
[00:13:55] But, you know, how far can you stretch that when people also have their families and priorities and so on at home? That's a balance. But I think we have taken it quite far and to actually think further than we thought in the beginning. Tracted cooler, keep people. And it's interesting to see, you know, collocation. We can also all say that. But it's interesting to see the amount of energy that we get in the room by simply having people together for Sprint for one week to kind of plan and this and that. It's completely different to having this on Skype. And other kind of the almost the last challenge I will put forward was running several tracks. We are as ambitious as ever and even if the best and did a great job in choosing two out of 20 plus potential projects, we still chose to and not one. And we also have other projects in other areas and so on. So it's a portfolio still and it has been a challenge, and especially for the project owner. I think with the high level of engagement that we need in these kind of projects to actually put the time aside for that, it's done that really, really well and has wanted to do that. Yeah, planning instead of playing this well, sir, this has been a discussion ongoing in the project. Oh, we come together for this week and we are only planning and planning and putting, you know, a post. It's up there on the board. When do we actually work?
[00:15:29] And then I guess it's a little bit back to the same explanation. This is work, you know. This way you get some ideas. We don't sit there eight hours a day. Right. So you also go and test a few things and come back and kind of reiterate.
[00:15:40] But it is it has been planning heavy exercise for us, but we've learnt a lot about which tools are really, you know, key critical for us and which we don't really need to do or don't read add enough value for us to spend the time on. But it's one of the things people see in the project. So those were the challenges then, some great outcomes.
[00:16:07] I believe we have accelerated these two projects that we've run with have doubled their methodology tremendously. At least six to twelve months.
[00:16:20] And I think that's even kind of playing it a little bit on the safe side. And maybe 12 to 18 months, really. That's in itself a success. Of course, we can only use the resources. No Simões once.
[00:16:35] We have failed fast and learn fast. We have failed by now officially one of the projects.
[00:16:44] It didn't work out as we had planned to do or hoped that it would do. But we have learnt that in 12 months. I know of projects, of course, and other companies with enormous arms that have run for Okayo also in those times that has run for for several years.
[00:17:01] And then you failed. And I guess we all know that. You know that the longer time that goes before you fail, the more expensive projects it's been. We've learnt a lot from that failed project. And we're actually right now starting version two of that project.
[00:17:18] And we are starting on a, you know, a completely different place. It's too early for us. I would have loved to say, you know, we made so much money. I'm not sure I would have said anyway how much money it is. But it's also too early for us to know how much money we've made.
[00:17:34] But we are just about in these days to make the first first sales in the other project. We set up to do. So that's twelve months after the start. That's pretty impressive.
[00:17:50] In terms of the flow, I talked about the close collaboration and the cloak collocation already, the high allocation and the clear visualisation of the goals, activities and role for me. I think the high allocation has been really, really important. First, to have the focus and engagement from people in the projects.
[00:18:13] It's also driven, you know, something I was quite surprised about, actually, which was a bit of a panic. OK, so we fail on this project. What do we do now?
[00:18:22] And, you know, I didn't kind of see that coming because normally we have you know, we have lots of work and no time. So there would be something. But there was really this super commitment to the project because people had been allocated so high and it felt like a vacuum afterwards. We're fixing that now. And finally, actually, and most important. I also started by saying the role of leadership in this role of leadership in this is kind of springs out of the active, active project coaching being really close to the projects. And I think if there's one thing we can learn from that, it's probably that we need a single portfolio in our area. I mean, we need more project owners land, Sebastian, because that's it's eating him his time. Right. It's a very high allocation from BP to to these two projects, honestly. But it's also had lots of impact. It's had impact on the motivation for the project. It's had impact on, you know, focussing on what we need to do to prove or disprove our hypothesis in this sprint. You know, we all I'm also a technical person. We like to, you know, investigate this and then and this and that and and even see if we can. OK. He says we should build a Fiete, but wouldn't it be cool if we pull the folks back and it's like, no, don't build a fax back and do what's necessary to build the future? And that's it. So the focus has been strengthened a lot.
[00:19:55] And then it's actually had one side effect, which is accessibility to management, because, you know, we all know management is very busy and it's normally to get an appointment with Festen. You need to talk to him, who's his personal assistant, and see, you know, when can this be a normal?
[00:20:13] It can be in like three, four weeks because he's travelling and he's busy. This is really prioritised. And that has given, you know, kind of unspoken accessibility to to his mind and not the least to his resources. I'm taking this to the rest of the organisation. Finally, um, this is just to summarise. I've said everything over here and then just to put a few kind of improvement points from our side of what we think we would like to do to improve. We think. So they have Dublin model. In our view, has maybe not had, you know, the overarching path, the co creation with a pattern that's super important for us. So we simply put it in that, um, there's this element of very high intensity and the feedback from the project, teams of sprinting all the time. So there's something to, you know, work out, at least for us in terms of how do we manage to create an environment where it feels like we're spending, we're doing we're kind of getting a little bit down in here and then we're sprinting again.
[00:21:24] And I think that's probably also management. Yeah. Process that we need to get in place to to get that going.
[00:21:32] A lot of planning. But I think the great part about the planning is also that's where people talk to each other and get ideas. So I'm not sure we're gonna do a lot about that. And then finally, to the leadership part, as I said, it's it's quite time consuming to be the project will not be so involved, but it's worth it.
[00:21:52] So that was the final slide on my experience. Our experience in running half double.
Find out more information about Half Double Pilot Cases. See other Half Double Videos on Pilot Project Results, Innovation, flexibility and learning in (mega) projects and Half Double methodology results by Associate Professor Per Svejvig.