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Business in a new normal

Shilan Demir from Zenseact (Sweden) and Ran Ban-Yosef from Spectralics (Israel) gives us an insight into the new normal in their businesses.

We are days away from stepping into a new year and we all know it’s been a rough one. But a new year brings new opportunities and we think it’s important, for us as individuals but also as companies and societies, to look forward. We have the privilege of working closely with large, global companies and some of the best startups in the world, and we got to ask some of them how they see the future and what opportunities lay ahead! 

We connected with one of our partner companies Zenseact and Shilan Demir, their Head of Partnerships to learn about how they’ve been affected, what she’s learned and changed. We also spoke to Ran Bar-Yosef, CEO of Spectralics, and had the chance to ask about their new normal and what they’re expecting from now on. 

How well do you adapt?

They say you achieve change only when you accept that you have a problem. With that being said, Corona didn’t’ leave us much time to accept the problem. As we’ve watched the mobility industry during this time it’s been an overall impressive sight to see these huge, as well as small, companies, adjust and adapt so quickly. 

  • Zenseact is a software company and I do believe that helped us tackle this crisis in the way that we have. Of course, a lot changed for us as well, but it revolves more around how we interact with each other, not as much around how we work. We just continued to do the planned work but created the changes we needed to adapt to the new reality very quickly, says Shilan Demir, Head of partnerships at Zenseact. Despite the new reality, we delivered everything as planned, split Zenuity, and set up Zenseact and every planned increment for the company without laying off anyone. From a business perspective that is pretty good. 

A common prejudice might be that big corporations tackle the change slower than a startup might. Even though Zenseact responded quickly and offered all their coworkers the opportunity to work from home early, all larger corporations didn’t. Not because they don’t want to but their structure might not allow them to respond as quickly. In that aspect Zenseact’s structure reminds you more of a startup. 

  • As a startup, we live and breathe change and risks. So we do maneuver our business quickly, simply because we have more room for it. Even though Corona made life difficult, for us as a startup, it’s one of several challenges we face all the time. And we are built to tackle those challenges, says Ran Bar-Yosef, CEO at Spectralics. 

What changed? 

Depending on what you do, the new reality will hit you and your everyday work in different ways. But there are some touchpoints where many different organizations can relate to the same challenges. One of those is replacing the physical presence with a digital presence. 

  • Everyone who can be, is working from home. For us, that has meant a challenge in relation to our partners and potential clients. Usually, we see them and demo our solution together. We’ve solved that issue by sending components and devices to them in mobile kits and so for it worked out great. It’s cool to see your ideas and changes working. We’ve also actually increased our communication with our surroundings, colleagues and counterparts. We have weekly catch-ups with clients and partners and it’s inspiring to see how everyone takes better care of the relationships now and are fully invested in helping each other, Ran explains. 

  • The biggest challenge, and what I would say everyone needs to work on is communication. We all must interact differently and create the same value at a distance as we can when we’re in the same room. For example, we have opened a lot of forums that used to be closed to a specific audience, such as management. Now, more people can listen in and that makes things happen in an exciting way. It’s also forced us to be much more specific, which in turn raises the quality of the work, says Shilan. 

What did you learn? 

Dealing with this type of change forces you to rethink your routines and processes, to say the least. It’s important to accept the tough times, of course, but it’s also important to find those positive outcomes and learn about how they can change the future for the better. 

  • Crisis drives innovation, you must never forget that. Covid-19 put us in a thought process and as a result not only we built a joint open innovation platform from scratch, we also had time to develop and drill down the tech and promote it with our partners. For me, this crisis gave me attentiveness and additional perspectives. We had to provide our coworkers with a safe environment and be there for each other, a process that eventually built trust, security and increased motivation in our team, says Ran

The future of business will inevitably change, and it has changed a lot already. It’s up to every organization to discover how the optimal work environment looks for them. According to Shilan, the future will offer more freedom and flexibility.

  • At Zenseact we’ve had the privilege of a pretty smooth change because of what we do. But all companies will have to find new ways rather than demand everyone to come to the office every day, and if they do they might run into trouble recruiting. Younger employees are looking for flexibility. The true lesson here will be to find the balance between your personal life and your work life, says Shilan.

Reacting and adapting is a balancing act. In times like these, the importance of collaboration becomes more apparent than ever. By collaborating across corporate boundaries we create stronger ecosystems and increase our chances of surviving. 

Learn more about Zenseact

Zenseact is a new company, born from Zenuity, with a vision to create a safe, reliable platform for autonomous driving. Zenseact creates scalable innovation in a collaborative environment. With offices in Gothenburg, China and USA Zenseact is fully owned by Volvo Cars but runs as an independent company. They have a clear vision and committed coworkers working towards a new future in the automotive industry. 

Learn more about Spectralics 

Spectralics is a deep technology startup, based in Tel-Aviv, Israel, with additional sites nation-wide. Spectralics develops switchable solid-state optical materials as an enabling technology for next generation imaging systems such as displays, cameras, sensors and more. Spectralics’ vision is to allow system and car makers to close the gap between technological goals and engineering reality, with the ability to power advanced critical and platform applications in the automotive ecosystem and additional industries.  

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