Two weeks on from my first experience at 4 Years From Now (4YFN) also marks two weeks since I spotted Berlin-based start-up, everlean. The small and powerful team behind everlean pitched to win this year’s Women4Tech Hack_D_Gap global challenge, and caught my eye for a number of reasons.
Their product gives people a voice
everlean is an ideas-sharing mobile app solution, driven by a business need for continuous improvement, and inspired by the real insights that significant costs can be saved by maximising internal resource. And by internal resource, we mean people and problem solving. Super simple to implement, the everlean app invites colleagues to submit proposals designed to optimise processes. As someone who’s led multiple colleague engagement forums in the past, I’m pretty sure we definitely tried to come up with exactly what everlean has developed, but it probably looked more like an empty printer-paper box with a rectangle cut out of the lid. Needless to say, we could have scored higher for ingenuity.
everlean is competing in a crowded space, but there’s no question that people are absolutely at the heart of their product, and this is what sets them apart. Using app technology in this way includes everyone. That in itself is fantastic, and is what we’d probably refer to as an emotional selling point. It gives everyone the opportunity to be heard, as well as the opportunity to pro-actively innovate in environments where innovation is probably championed, yet rarely delivered on. And when we talk about everyone, we’re actually talking about women specifically, too. Remember, everlean reached the finalist stage of a challenge designed to include and recognise women in mobile tech start-ups globally. It’s a solution that involves, and, inherently, motivates people.
Their values shine through in their solution
I didn’t waste time in tracking these guys down for a proper introduction after the female Head of Strategic Partnerships for everlean, wrapped up a confident and concise pitch in front of the accomplished jury panel. This meant I was lucky enough to talk to CEO Yannick Müller, and get a snapshot of how the business prefers to operate.
It’s clear that the value this product offers closely aligns with the values of the people creating it. Transparency, efficiency and operating without boundaries are words they’ve chosen to describe their solution – and words that we’d arguably chose to describe the very essence of the W4T Hack_D_Gap global challenge. These values, or behaviours, are exactly what we need more of to fuel the fight for gender equality in the workplace, and equally, invite the right kinds of reactions along the way. Who can argue with being transparent, being efficient; limitlessness and openness? No one. These values, both in terms of the everlean product and the everlean culture, position the business as instantly accessible – each and every business strives to be these things – so as a brand, and as a browser-based app, it’s all very relatable.
Their product solves a real need
We’re becoming more aware that a huge amount of talent is wrongly placed. And just because it’s not Cindy’s role to reduce customer service response times, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a good idea how to. Embracing a platform like everlean has the potential to save time and money by giving people a voice that’s not only heard, but also listened to, across the entire span of an organisation. Doesn’t it just sound so much more sustainable than outsourcing every challenge to an expensive, and most likely uninformed, third party? People within an organisation naturally understand internal processes better than anyone outside might, so they’re already in the strongest position to improve those processes – so long as they’re given the tools and authority to do so. Not only does this solution reward the business financially, it actually delivers a good dose of the feel good factor. People like to be asked for their opinions, but not everyone is forthcoming with their input if they don’t have a mechanism to share it in a way that works for them.
Imagine how a global organisation implementing this solution and initiative could transform their colleague culture, and actually measure colleagues’ performance better with a more all-encompassing view of what they’re capable of outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. That idea alone is enough to convince me that everlean has real value – this is potential to challenge tradition and truly innovate in large corporations geared around inaccurate and ineffectual performance review systems. This in its very nature is process improvement. Implementing this solution ticks the process improvement box.
But, that’s enough about boxes, of every kind. No more cardboard boxes gathering dust in the office. No more limiting behaviours in the workplace. This is about being limitless, and operating without boundaries. I can submit my proposal whenever and wherever the feeling takes me. I can add my own scribbles and snapshots to support my attempt to solve a problem. I can make a difference, whoever I am.
GSMA Women4Tech Hack_D_Gap Global Challenge
Women4Tech dominated the agenda at this year’s GSMA Mobile World Congress and 4YFN events with awesome panel sessions, energising speaker line-ups and countless examples of female collaboration. The two main themes participants must address were tools for HR management and retention: digital tools oriented to manage and facilitate the diversity and gender balance in the tech industry, and learning, coaching and mentoring solutions: apps, platforms, online communities and digital media resources that level the playing field and improve the accessibility of tech careers across the board, as well as nuture talent towards a gender-balanced leadership in the tech sector.
This year’s finalists made an outstanding contribution to the challenge and of course hats off to 2018 winner, Wisar – the talent-matching solution aiming to facilitate a better work/life balance and support a globally interconnected, flexible workforce.
You’ve got just over six months until applications open for 2019. Now we have an opportunity and an obligation to encourage a real shift in the gender gap. everlean definitely has some ideas about facilitating diversity. How you choose to use your voice, well, that’s up to you.