We help you turn your startup idea into a happy, thriving business

The key to winning customers over? LEGO! (it baffled us too, read on…)

Startup advice lego
Now. Let us introduce you to Laila Pawlak & Kris Øestergaard. The inspiring Danish duo run the unique and award winning co-working space and incubator Dare2mansion. Laila flew in to join us at our Summercamp 2014, armed with 2 large suitcases of lego to run a workshop on Creating awesome customer experiences… with LEGO, that taught us the importance of ‘if you don’t know what to build, just start building’.

Laila has been recognised as one of the 100 most talented business executives in Denmark by the leading Danish business magazine and was nominated for Female Entrepreneur of the year in 2010. She is a strong voice for the entrepreneurial community famed for running unique workshops on behalf of LEGO Serious Play.

Tell us a bit about you and the work you both do with businesses at the Dare2mansion

DARE2mansion is a 1300 m2 former auto-spare-part-dealership that we have transformed into a Professional Playground. It is an incubator for entrepreneurs where they can work, play and scale their business. It’s also a place where corporates can come and get some of the crazy, daring energy they miss out on in their everyday glass-palaced work lives. Our day job, however, is running the experience-design agency DARE2 where we help companies all over the world design better customer experiences. We are hardcore experience nerds and have spent many years deep diving into this field by doing a lot of research and developing frameworks that help our clients understand what experiences really are and how they can make them better. There’s a book on its way about that stuff.

You’re known for facilitating Lego Serious Play workshops within organisations, how does playing with lego transform entrepreneurial thinking?

Yes, we’re both certified as LEGO Serious Play facilitators. It’s a proven method, originated at LEGO but now open source, where you use LEGOs as facilitative tools to spark creativity and innovation. Despite popular misconception, it’s not just about throwing some LEGOs on the table. It is about having serious fun while you work on what can be key company issues. Basically, we take the client’s problem and then design the right workshop so that they work on and talk about it using LEGOs as the medium. For a LEGO Serious Playshop everybody builds, everybody applies meaning to what they build, and everybody shares. It is truly transformative not just for entrepreneurs, but for everyone. Neurologically, when you work visually and hands on you actually activate somewhere between 70-80% more neurons in your brain than by just talking. So, you actually become smarter. At the same time, building LEGOs is fun and because it’s fun, it creates engagement.

If you use LEGOs for building strategy, which we often do, also for our own company, the methodology helps people really commit to the strategy they develop and form a shared understanding of where they want to go. It’s very hands on and always accompanied by Must Win Battles, so we ensure that people leave one of our playshops with hardcore actions to realize.

Why is it so important startups need to create customer experiences from day one, and what steps can they take to implement great experiences?

Because of technology, today’s world develops exponentially. In other words, it goes really, really fast. We will see development in the world within the next 10 years that will make the internet revolution seem like an appetizer. Artificial intelligence will make up to 50% of financial jobs obsolete. Robots will take over all manufacturing. Biotech will disrupt the medical world and potentially create human longevity beyond our wildest imaginations. The Internet of Things, because of the exponential development of price/performance in sensors, will make EVERYTHING talk together. In short, the future is going to be crazy, mind boggling, and hugely disruptive. It already is, even though most of us don’t know what to look for and thus, do not see this development. This is particularly true for large corporates, and thankfully less so for entrepreneurs, who are the true disruptors. Think of Netflix destroying Blockbuster, Airbnb being in the midst of destroying the hotel industry, and Uber overrunning taxis all over the world while governments desperately try to make new laws to keep the inevitable from happening.

Entrepreneurs must be aware that because of the democratization of technology, it is becoming easier to create a great product at a reasonable price. If you really want to win customers over, you need to think beyond product and services, you need to think about how you can customize your offering to meet each individual customer’s need and wants. This is where we begin to talk about experiences. Utilizing experiences requires thinking holistically about the total experience you create for a customer. The actions customers go through and the human encounters they have with your employees each take place on a different “stage” where your company is the star.

Our research has uncovered a total of 10 different experience types. We all need to be very aware of which kind of experience we want to create from day one if we want to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. The most important thing is to create experiences that have Positive Impact – at the camp we’ll let everyone know how… (dam dam daaaa cliffhanger)

As experienced entrepreneurs, what’s the one thing you’ve had to learn the hard way that others can take advice from?

You can’t do it all yourself. Eventually, you have to let go of some of the control and find the right partners if you want to realize your full potential. The best people never work for you, but they can work with you!

You might also like:

Join us in 2015 for the weekend of your life ›› www.happystartupsummer.camp

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