Meet the New Business team
October 6, 2022
In this blog post, Ingemar Larsson, Technology & Innovation Manager, tells us all about the New Business team at Axis, and how ‘Free Fridays’ stimulate and enable innovation.
Why is the team called ‘New Business’? What is the team responsible for?
We’re called the ‘New Business’ team because a big part of our responsibility is to evaluate new ideas and opportunities for the company. We identify avenues to create new business opportunities.
To do this, we uncover a concrete need in the market where there may be a good fit for Axis expertise, and then we build new products and services around those opportunities. For instance, we saw the volume of analogue speaker systems in the market and given our heritage in building network technology-based solutions in other domains, we identified network audio as a major opportunity for Axis. That led to the creation of a whole line of new solutions bringing the benefits of IP (Internet Protocol) to the world of audio.
The Mergers & Acquisitions team is also part of the New Business team, looking at opportunities to acquire external companies to support the company’s growth.
Our team in Lund has grown to more than 200 people, though we’re always looking for great new colleagues to join us!
Which Axis solutions does the New Business team focus on?
Our team focuses on several product lines, all of which are adjacent to Axis’ core network video systems. Specifically, we work with network audio, access control, and intercoms solutions.
Audio solutions include network connected speakers, amplifiers, and other audio system devices. Access control incorporates the entire product system behind secure building access, from network door controllers to network I/O modules and card readers. Network intercoms are also key, combining video surveillance, two-way communications, and remote entry control to improve building security – whether that’s in a hospital, a school or an industrial setting.
We have full responsibility to identify new business opportunities within these product lines, from concept through to developing a new product.
“Our team is comprised of different skills across the full stack – from embedded software through to cloud and mobile developers, as well as mechanical and electrical engineering, UX design and quality assurance. Our diverse skillsets are the team’s strength, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts”
What might a typical day look like for someone on the New Business team?
It’s hard to pin down a typical day, as our team is made up of a very broad set of roles and includes individuals with different levels of experience and responsibility.
Perhaps one common feature in everyone’s day is sitting down for a ‘fika’ together as a team. Most of the team in Lund gather in the canteen around 8.30am to have coffee and catch-up with friends and colleagues – or meet new people! We have a very flat structure at Axis so everyone mixes, and it’s a great opportunity to get talking to individuals you don’t normally work closely with… you never know what conversation might spark an idea and enable you to break new ground on a product innovation.
After the morning coffee, the day will look very different depending on your role in the team…
As a software engineer, you might meet for a brief stand-up meeting, aligning on key priorities for the day with your colleagues before you get started writing code and collaborating with your peers. Comparatively, an electronic engineer may spend the morning designing a new feature and then help a colleague with a difficult problem to solve in the afternoon.
Our embedded software engineers could be developing some new functionality and evaluating it on one of our embedded computers, while a cloud engineer might be working to build a solution to sync data in the cloud.
In contrast, a mechanical engineer might spend her day designing a novel solution to a mechanical problem or testing a product’s mechanical durability.
Our team is comprised of different skills across the full stack – from embedded software through to cloud and mobile developers, as well as mechanical and electrical engineering, UX design and quality assurance. Everyone is on hand to help each other: our diverse skillsets are the team’s strength, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. While everyone’s day is different – from quality assurance engineers to mobile app developers – one constant is that everyone on our team is constantly collaborating with the rest of the organization. We leverage platforms and solutions that the rest of the company has built. For example, network intercoms incorporate a camera, so we may re-use an existing optical unit, sensor unit or software as we further develop our intercoms solutions. This requires close collaboration with other teams – creating an opportunity to meet more people, accelerate your learning and have more fun.
What are Free Fridays? And how does the New Business team use them
Free Fridays are designed to stimulate and enable innovation across the whole team.
Most companies need to find a balance between managing products in the market and developing new products simultaneously. They need to become good at creating success today and in the future, at the same time. This can be challenging, as it’s all too easy to get caught up in operations and end up focused on the short-term. Free Fridays is one of the initiatives in place to prevent Axis from falling into that trap – and it works.
Through this initiative, everyone on the New Business team can spend 10% of their time on innovation. However, we can’t expect everyone to have an idea ready to turn into an innovation right this moment. We encourage staff to start by gathering information and gaining knowledge, which leads to insights, and those spur ideas, and eventually spark an idea that can be realized as an innovation.
The foundation of all this is learning. Training and research are a big part of Free Fridays. The initiative encourages continuous learning and innovation, with real support, and it’s inclusive. Everyone – no matter their seniority or how long they have been on the team – can use this time to learn something new, and start feeding that pipeline of innovative thinking.
The learning is individual: Axis doesn’t prescribe what an employee should use their Free Fridays for. Some colleagues have taken university courses in AI and machine learning, while others may decide to investigate existing solutions and do some benchmarking. Lots of our team also make the most of the e-learning portal we invest in for staff, as it’s an amazing resource with all kinds of content – from “bite-size” training sessions to longer courses. The initiative bakes in innovation and learning. We really looked at how we could make it happen. It means clearing the calendar on Friday and giving employees that space to learn, dig into new challenges and ultimately, innovate.
What’s your favorite part of your role?
- Name: Ingemar Larsson
- Job role: Technology & Innovation Manager
- Team: New Business team
- Office location: Axis HQ, Lund, Sweden
- Time at Axis: 7 years
Before joining Axis, I worked in both large enterprises and smaller companies, even launching a handful of start-ups. But I’m an engineer at heart. I have a master’s in electrical engineering and an MBA in e-Business.
At Axis, I’m responsible for catalyzing innovation amongst the New Business team. That means working to ensure that everyone can become the very best version of themselves when it comes to innovating. I also support team leaders elsewhere in the business to help them build a culture of innovation.
Additionally, I’m involved in technology foresight at Axis. This focuses on preparing for the future and accepting that there are different future scenarios to consider – depending on political decisions, economic developments, technology innovation, our own decisions at Axis and more. We use methods like scenario planning to see what the future could hold, what opportunities might arise and how we should position ourselves from a technology perspective to capture those opportunities or mitigate future risks.
I really enjoy working with innovation in all its different aspects. But a great day always involves a chance to help a team member use an innovation technique, or even working directly with them to apply it. It comes back to my engineering background: I love the challenge of a hard problem to solve, and helping others to do this.
Are you ready to join the new business team? Check out our open positions.