Over the past six months, Benjamin, Holly from London and Derek from Shanghai have worked with the Verasus innovation project to help companies become sustainable.
"This has been an intense and educational experience, and with a great chess move, a large global company has created a platform where young talents can develop an idea to a product or service," says Benjamin Bjørge.
He talks about how he has spent his past six months in a job-related basis. It all began with a three-minute pitch during DNV's annual Next Generation Summit – an innovation gathering for young talents in the global company.
Benjamin is part of a team made up of selected participants from all corners of the DNV system. Carrying off first prize, their pitch dealt with a tool that will help companies better understand their own existing sustainability data.
“Start in” project
Benjamin describes the process they have participated in as a so-called «Start in».
"It involves building a start-up – but inside a company. The advantage of carrying out this kind of innovation projects within the framework of an existing professional environment and network, is that the experience, expertise and resources of the entire global organization have been available to the team,” he explains. At the same time, you get more freedom than in a typical project.
The experience of joining such a project is win-win, he believes, explaining:
"You put your effort into an innovation project, promoting it while at the same time gaining unique competence that represents great value for yourself and for the department you return to. We have held presentations for senior executives throughout DNV, gaineing access to regional managers and using the entire network of experts in the company – including customers,” says Benjamin.
His regular job is with the maritime division of DNV. He will return there when the decision is made about what to do with the sustainability tool they have developed.
"We have worked for periods of three months, with a decision window in between. And now we have a product that the sustainability department in London will adopt," says Benjamin.
Applying because of values
Benjamin's special field is bridge systems, i.e. navigation and communication equipment on ships. And just a few years ago, it was not in his wildest imaginations that he should spend months of his career sparring about innovation development with the top managers in a global company like DNV.
A lucky break during an assignment at the DNV office in Shanghai put him in contact with the man who, a few months later, would hire him to a new job at Høvik outside Oslo.
"I didn’t know where the head office was located, but I applied because I knew the company through my work as a mate, and I knew what the company stood for and represented," says Benjamin.
“No matter where it was, in Turkey, Italy, USA or China, DNV employees were always very trustworthy and skilled.”
“I joined the company because of its values.”
Throughout the innovation project over the past six months, the circle is completed in many ways. Because also in this project, the underlying values that DNV stands for have been in focus.
"We have now developed a comprehensive tool that primarily helps companies map their potential impact on the UN's sustainability goals. The tool provides a prioritization based on where the company has the greatest potential to operate sustainably," says Benjamin. The results provide a robust indication of the company's existing impact on sustainability goals.
“DNV has always given research top priority,” says Benjamin, but he is still full of admiration for how the “Start in” process has been managed by the company.
“The top management listened to ideas from the ‘grassroots’, and was willing to back and facilitate full-time work on the process,” he explains. For half a year, Benjamin and the team had the opportunity to work extensively on the project, guided by an executive vice president and having regular meetings with corporate management.
Benjamin, in turn, will continue working with digital innovation when he returns from the start-in project. In his new role as Digital Transformation Manager in DNV Business Assurance he will be working on the application of Blockchain technology, such as DNV’s My Story™.
"It will be incredibly exciting to bring everything I have learned over the past year into my new role," he says.