Young innovators at the CX frontier

Sarah Goss

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One of the aspects I enjoy most about my job is working with young people. Their energy and openness to try different things is motivating and contagious. I also love their disposition towards learning. Curiosity and a drive to learn, understand, and uncover insights is at the heart of innovating. It’s something that is increasingly vital for all of us no matter what our career stage if we are to be able to continuously evolve, adapt and grow in this age of disruption.

Ecosystem partnerships for innovation

At Ericsson we have been partnering with universities for years. Our base level focus is on building a pipeline of young talent for our organisation. We also extend on this by directly investing in selected undergraduate students with mentoring, capstone project sponsorships and internships. Then there are innovation events that we co-host, often with the participation of our telco service provider customers, that give young entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop solutions that will benefit the industry. One of these events is the upcoming CX Data Journey 2018 datathon that Ericsson is running this week with our partners, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and nbn.

As the name suggests, this year’s challenge is centred on customer experience (CX), where we’ll be looking for solutions that can have a positive impact on the nbn customer experience. CX involves the many critical interactions that any organisation has with its customers. As businesses seek to analyse and breakdown the complexity of the customer experience to then improve it, there is risk for reductionism. Sometimes a narrow focus and emphasis on maximising satisfaction of individual interaction points can create a distorted picture. This is why it is important to adopt a systems-thinking mindset, and not to lose perspective on the bigger picture: the customer’s end-to-end journey.

The CX Data Journey 2018 datathon will be encouraging students to keep sight of this big picture, with judging criteria weighted on the value-add solutions demonstrate towards the Overall nbn customer journey, or the key sub-processes that customers experience in interacting with nbn of Connect, Use and Fix.

Leaders are learners

Top-down problem solving underpinned by judgment-driven evaluations that come from experience, has its role to play in transforming CX. Too often, however, leaders who are established in their careers and working in established organisations, have the ‘curse of knowledge’, and act on default beliefs without an adequate level of questioning or analysis.

Bottom-up data-driven analysis must be employed, and leaders must intentionally bring in diversity of thought to this process to unlock unique new insights. I believe strongly that the best leaders are learners.

It is the promise of learning and discovering something new that excites me most about the task we’ve set for the students with our CX Data Journey 2018 datathon. The UTS student teams will bring fresh eyes to different data analyses provided by Ericsson and nbn, and with on-site coaching from Ericsson and nbn mentors, further explore this data and assemble it in new ways to produce original, valuable, actionable new insights.

From insight to action

The top prize on offer in our CX Data Journey 2018 datathon is $2,500 for The Impact Award: for the project that creates the best valuable new insights and/or analytics capability from the data with the most potential for positive impact on the nbn customer experience. There is also The Visualisation Award and The Innovation Award with prize money of $1,000 each.

Ericsson is eager to take the winning projects forward into our operations with nbn where appropriate through a build-measure-learn loop approach.  The success of the solutions we implemented from our IoT hackathon last year gives us great optimism for this year’s student innovation challenge. Watch this space!

Sarah Goss is Head of Innovation at Ericsson Australia & New Zealand. CX Data Journey 2018 is a datathon running from July 17-20, 2018 and is a collaboration between Ericsson, UTS and nbn. Follow the event on Twitter and LinkedIn@EricssonAPAC @SarahGossAU #CXDataJourney2018.

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