Future Report Credits 2021


Future Report Credits 2021
The Future Report team: Andreas Lewandowski, Ann Axelsson, Emma-Sofia Olsson, and David Stillberg.

Future Report 2021 Credits

Produced by Schibsted Group Communication, Nov 2020.


Ann Axelsson

Art Director

Andreas Lewandowski

Photo Editor

Emma-Sofia Olsson

Page Design

David Stillberg


Lars Ryding
Brigid McCauley


Paul S Amundsen, Andreas Brekke, Tor Høvik, Leena Koskela, Johan Lagerwall, Andreas Lewandowski, Øyvind Losnegard, Thomas Molén, Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman, Emma-Sofia Olsson, Tomas Oneborg, Caroline Roka, Line Slotnæs, Monica Strømdahl, Morten Uglum, Adobe Stock


Kristin Skogen Lund, Sven Størmer Thaulow, Nicolai Skarsgård, Ragnhild J Buch, Mari Midtstigen, Agnes Stenbom, Joacim Lund, Sam Sundberg, Sophie Tsotridis, Dan Ouchterlony, Mette Krogsrud, Renate B Johnstone, Ebba Bonde, Rune Røsten, Markus Ahlberg, Tero Marjamäki, Marius Husebø-Evensen, Christian Printzell Halvorsen, Anne Sandvin, Anniken Ore Larssen, Jeremy Cothran, Lotta Wollentz, Ian Vännman, Hanne B Finstad, Hansine Korslien, Frøy Gudbrandsen, Niclas Bergström


Schibsted on Twitter
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PAPER Arctic Matt and Munken Krystall

Kristin Skogen Lund

Let the change be for the better

Kristin Skogen Lund, CEO Schibsted Media Group

Let the change be for the better

How do we look forward in the midst of a pandemic? Another question is how can we not?

We’ve passed the initial troubles of adjusting all our ways and routines to Covid-19. We’ve realized that this is a marathon rather than a sprint — and one we have to get through together. We have also realized that some things will never go back to the way they were, even in the long run. Now is a good time to reflect, try to look around the corner and see what’s ahead. Change is here anyway — why not use the momentum to make a change for the better?

The Schibsted Future Report is one way of looking around that corner. We see it as an opportunity to get new perspectives on trends and topics we find interesting. And never has it felt more important to share those perspectives with others. Conferences and large events are on pause, we don’t meet in person to workshop and to discuss, and even if we do connect in more digital ways than we could ever have imagined – we do connect less.

That’s why this year’s Future Report is accompanied by a series of open webinars with conversations and discussions. Watch out for more information on schibsted.com.

Covid and beyond

This year, a portion of the report is reserved Covid and its impact on society. We’re looking back through history to see the ways in which major crises have changed the world, how Covid has pushed digitalization and what new challenges leaders face because of it.

We also look beyond the pandemic to explore the next AI-challenges, what makes startups succeed, and how tech might be a gamechanger in farming.

Moreover, we explore how finding solutions to unpredictable challenges is a new mantra within sustainability as well. Experts believe a resilient mindset will help us invent solutions that enable us to cope with the challenges and even to create new opportunities.

Opportunity and legacy

“Opportunity” was certainly the key word when Schibsted, together with Adevinta, acquired eBay’s classifieds businesses this summer – creating the world’s largest digital marketplace company. Everything about the deal was done digitally and long distance. We weren’t sure we could make it happen, and we were certainly an underdog in the bidding rounds. In the end, we believe our legacy, culture and commitment to societal trust were factors making us attractive as buyers.

We’re proud to contribute to a society where trust is still valued. We also know not to take it for granted, and our news media are always looking for new ways to inform society through high quality and trustworthy journalism. Frøy Gudbrandsen, Editor-in-Chief of Bergens Tidende, thinks tomorrow’s news journalism should be based on nearness. News media need to have a deep understanding of what’s important in peoples’ lives, to be present where it happens, but also to be close to and understand customer behavior.

In times of crises, it is easy to see the importance of trusted and fact based news. It is also easy to see the need for boldness and change. In Schibsted, we want to keep making bold moves and keep being a force for change and empowerment in people’s lives. That is also why we believe in looking around the corner and sharing new perspectives.

Kristin Skogen Lund
Years in Schibsted
2 as CEO, and 6 as Commercial Director and CEO of Aftenposten 2004–2010
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Being able to visit my son who studies in Amsterdam

How Crises Disrupt And Evolve Society

How crises disrupt and evolve society

How Crises Disrupt And Evolve Society

How crises disrupt and evolve society

Evolutionary changes, wars, natural disasters – and now a virus – all change the world and society as we know it. Covid-19 has pushed digitalization forward in ways that previously were unforeseeable, and healthcare is one of the most affected sectors.

In 1347, the bacterium Yersinia pestis was carried along the Silk Road from Asia. An overpopulated Europe was already suffering from 50 years of famine. Ships carrying infected rats arrived in Genoa that year. In just four years, 40 percent of Europe’s population died from the pandemic that would become known as the Black Death.

Between 1290, when the famine began, and 1430, when the pandemic began to recede, Europe lost 75 percent of its population. The Black Death remains one of the great­est catastrophes in human history.

So why am I talking about the Black Death? As a disease, Covid-19 is not comparable: Yersinia pestis is a bacterium, Covid-19 is a virus. The mortality rate for Yersinia pestis was extremely high, while for Covid-19 it is much lower.
Nonetheless, they share a common feature: both were enormous shocks to the system for the global community. And shocks are also extreme catalysts of change.

How Crises Disrupt And Evolve Society

History has shown how major crises change the world, initially for the worst, with poverty, disease and death, but then something new often emerges. Out of new knowledge and discoveries, new needs and behaviors, and new opportunities that arise, society is compelled to develop and to find new solutions, to chart out a new course.

The world wars not only redrew the world map; they also brought about fundamental changes in society. Political regimes fell and new ones emerged. A colonial world order was supplanted by two superpowers and a cold war, but also by international treaties and organizations such as the UN and the EU, and financial support packages that led industry to change course and prepare to innovate.

Natural disasters have wiped out entire species and then paved the way for new ones. On a smaller scale, they have also led to innovations such as earthquake-proof buildings, flood defences and improved aid efforts.

And pandemics like the Black Death and Covid-19 have led to new insights and knowledge in medicine and healthcare.

An Exponential digitalization

But Covid-19 will also leave a more lasting imprint on history. The virus has paved the way for exponential digitalization. E-commerce and home delivery of goods ordered online have exploded. We have learned to work and learn digitally. We socialize via monitors and games.

Lockdowns and isolation have most likely accelerated the rate of digitalization in many industries, too. When suppliers of parts and components stopped production, the benefit of fully automated processes became obvious.

Not least, the health services and healthcare sector has been profoundly affected, having undergone fundamental change. Just as during the Black Death, new technology has either contributed to, or resulted from, the current situation.

Prior to the Black Death, the role of medical science was led by the Church. The physicians were monks with close religious ties, who received their training at monastic schools in the largest countries or city-states. Like the Church, medical science was extremely conservative. The Black Death changed both medical practices and training. For example, treatments such as blood-letting and poul­tices of goat dung proved utterly ineffective in curing diseases. Slowly but surely, practices based on experience influenced medical training. Instead of cramming patients together, patient groups were kept separate from each other, goat dung was replaced with oils, healing was aided by fresh air, and different types of masks were used to ­treat patients.

Some parts of the healthcare service have suffered from an almost Luddite view of technology.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the health sector has also suffered a shock, and many measures have been implemented to prevent it from collapsing altogether. However, this shock has accelerated the rate of digitalization. This sector is already one of the most high-tech sectors we have; apart from modern weapons systems, medical and technical equipment is among the most advanced and most expensive there is. But some parts of the healthcare service have suffered from an almost Luddite view of technology. A one-sided focus on security and privacy in particular has hindered digitalization. Compared with most other sectors, the level of friction for staff and patients has been and remains alarming.

Take hospitals as an example. Until the Covid-19 shock, staff at Oslo University Hospital were not allowed to use Skype to communicate with each other or with practices outside the hospital. The first surge of the virus marked the first time that health personnel were allowed to run applications on their home computers, where they could, for example, view live-streamed lung examinations of Covid-19 patients and advise on-duty personnel on how to improve the situation for their patients. This demonstrates that thorough assessments were made between benefit and risk to allow for pragmatic solutions to be used in these exceptional times. And it took a virus to make it happen.

As recently as February this year, for example, the Norwegian company Confrere was struggling to get general practitioners in Norway to start using video consultations. Apart from companies like Kry and Hjemmelegene, general practitioners have little competition to deal with. Despite patient demand, there was little motivation for change. When the Covid-19 virus broke out in the Nordic region, the use of video consultations exploded, and any self-respecting general practitioner now provides this service. It’s better for the patients. Better for the doctors. Better for the private sector. And it took a virus to make it happen.

Rapid change

Finally I would highlight the process of testing and getting test results. I myself was tested for Covid-19 in February 2020. Everything was done manually, the information was chaotic, but we did get the test results relatively fast because we were among the first to be tested in Norway. In July, our children were tested again, and this time the entire process was completely automated! And this happened rapidly – not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of regulatory amendments, which can often take years. Now all laboratories submit their test results to Emsis, a national database which can be accessed by patients and healthcare personnel alike via the patient’s core medical records available at helsenorge.no. So remember – before the outbreak of the Covid-19, Norway had no national infrastructure for test results! All it took was a shock and a few months to fix it. And it took a virus to make it happen.

Last but not least, I want to mention the coronavirus tracing app in Norway. Attempts by national authorities to implement virus tracing using mobile phones have been contested in many countries. Nonetheless, the Covid-19 virus has proven the necessity to grant ”some” access to highly sensitive personal data and often biometric data, and at rapid speeds. If we view this in connection with the critical need to make patients’ medical records, case summaries and test results digitally accessible, we can easily subscribe to Yuval Noah Harari’s analysis: ”The corona-virus pandemic could prove to be a watershed event in terms of enabling greater surveillance of society. People could look back in 100 years and identify the corona-virus epidemic as the moment when a new regime of surveillance took over, especially surveillance under the skin which I think is maybe the most important development of the 21st Century, is this ability to hack human beings.” Assuming that this capacity is used properly in terms of privacy and security, I believe that the extent to which it will prove to be good for society and for individuals is difficult for us to envisage today. And it took a virus to make it happen.

Now that we – hopefully – will return to normality during 2021 and 2022, it is vital that society, exemplified here by the healthcare services, does not revert to the old normal and reverse the digital quantum leaps that were brought about by the shock the Covid-19 pandemic caused. Those nations and companies that manage to seize the opportunities that have emerged will be the winners.

Sven Stormer Thaulow

Sven Størmer Thaulow
EVP Chief Data and Technology Officer
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
The ­informal chats at work!

Finn Changed The History Of Schibsted

Finn changed the history of Schibsted

Finn Changed The History Of Schibsted

Finn changed the history of Schibsted

Creating the Norwegian marketplace Finn was a milestone in Schibsted’s history. The idea challenged the existing businesses within the newspapers – but it turned out to be an international success story.

In the late 1990s the advertising revenue of newspapers crashed. Data and the internet were here to stay, and paper ads were no longer what they once were. The newspapers had to do something. Five major Schibsted newspapers in Norway put their best people on the job to find a solution that would secure revenue from classified ads in the future. The solution was – a web site with pictures of the newspaper ads! (vis@visen can be translated to: Show the newsp@pers).

The ads were not searchable, so it was really just the old newspaper ads on a screen instead of on paper. It was not a success.

But the owners did not give up, they realized that they needed a different approach. The ads had to be digitized, and it had to happen quickly. There were several competitors who had already launched digital solutions, so it was not about being first anymore. It was about being the best.

Finn Changed The History Of Schibsted
Finn Changed The History Of Schibsted

Terje Seljeseth, IT manager at Aften­posten, was given the task. He gathered a small team that gave the new service the name Finn. Finn was formally established as a separate company in 1999, but officially launched in March 2000, with great fanfare in central Oslo. Remember that this was early in the age of the internet – so many people shook their heads, and there was even a public debate about the future of the internet at the University of Oslo!

A lot of those who worked in the newspapers were skeptical and feared that the newspapers’ investments in internet advertisements would make them unemployed. Many also had little faith in the internet in general.

But the founders decided to hire people who were specialists in real estate, jobs and cars, along with highly competent people from the IT industry.
The mantra was ”We are all sales people. Launch and learn. Embrace change”. These keywords are still used and are a strong base for the internal culture.

Thinking differently

I worked in the advertising department at Aftenposten, and was employed in Finn in August 2000 to take care of the customers. There were only 10–15 people in the entire company, so everyone had to contribute.

We knew that in order to succeed, we had to do better than our competitors, and think differently than the newspapers. For example, we wanted the real estate ads to have many nice photos. But almost no one had cameras that could take digital photos. Therefore, digital cameras were purchased, we gave them to our customers, and we taught them how to use them.

We spent a lot of time teaching people to post their ad themselves, and we also received photos that we scanned and posted on the ads. On several occasions we traveled to our most valuable customers and sat down with them to teach them to be self-sufficient.
Not all of the customers were equally enthusiastic.

Real estate agents and car dealers were afraid to lose market share and did not want private individuals to be allowed to place ads. Fortunately, no one listened to them!

Finn quickly became popular and grew at the same time as most people got a PC and internet at home, so the timing was perfect.
Finn has done well, even during economic downturns, it has grown steadily. In bad times people sell houses and cars, and in good times they switch more often – and in both cases there is a need for ads.

Already after three to four years the company was making good money. In 2003, Torget (general merchandise) was launched, and in 2006 came Reise, the travel vertical.

In 2006, Finn had 548,332 ads on Torget, in 2019 there were more than nine million new ads, and we expect to reach ten million in 2020. We had cake for every million new page views. For a time, we ate cake every week, and we had to buy fruit and vitamins to balance our diet. I still blame those celebrations for all my extra pounds.

The focus has always been on the users’ experience

For me and my team at customer support, the focus has always been on the users’ experience. All feedback is taken seriously, and the teams are doing their part to continuously improve the user experience.

Finn’s marketing strategy has always been to be very down to earth, with a twinkle in the eye – and customer support are using the same tone of voice. Since Schibsted also had newspapers in Sweden it was important to secure that market too. So, in 2003 Schibsted bought Blocket, which then became a template for the group’s future classifieds websites. Schibsted was one of the first players to follow a global online classifieds strategy and made an impressive international expansion. In early 2019, the company owned classified marketplaces in more than 20 countries.

In May 2019, it was announced that Schibsted had spun off the international marketplaces into a new company – Adevinta. Today we know that the split has led to even more marketplaces worldwide, and so far it has peaked with the purchase of eBay’s classified sites in summer 2020. Finn is now a part of Nordic Marketplaces in Schibsted, along with Blocket in Sweden, and Tori and Oikotie in Finland.

So, in a sense Finn was the beginning of an incredible journey for the company itself, for Schibsted, but also for society. The services provided by all these sites also help people to make sustainable choices, since trading second-hand goods is a part of a circular economy and reduces our environmental footprint.

Innovation and growth is key

Since Finn was an innovation in itself, innovation lies in the company’s genes, and experimentation is a part of everyday life. Much has changed over the years, some marketplaces have come and gone, some have been successful, and some have failed. The old mantra ”Launch and Learn” is still in the walls.

Usability is another keyword. All feedback from users and customers is constantly used to continuously improve the experience. Today, almost 30 people work with user experience and service design.

The cultural values ”Sult, Humør, Takhøyde, Presisjon” (Drive, Spirit, Tolerance, Precision) have been there all the way, and by living these values both internally and externally, Finn has a unique and strong culture. It is also one of the most known brands in Norway.

As in all other industries, Finn must also change over time as both technology and users’ expectations are changing. We’re now starting the journey to become the next generation marketplace, and we will always continue to help people make smart choices for themselves and society. And we will never stop focusing on innovation and growth.

Anne Sandvin

Anne Sandvin
Internal Communication, Finn
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Social interaction with my colleagues

An Inspiring Experience Will Attract Gen Z

An inspiring experience will attract Gen Z

An Inspiring Experience Will Attract Gen Z

An inspiring experience will attract Gen Z

Gen Z are accustomed to defining their own tastes, trends, and values. Most of their screen time is spent inside the big social media apps, where new shopping habits, ways of learning, and trends are emerging. Anniken Ore Larssen is part of a team that is investigating how Finn can meet their needs.

Since January 2020, I’ve been working with a small team at Finn to create a new marketplace experience tailored to the needs of Gen Z. With this we hope to meet Gen Z’s need for inspiration, creativity, and speed. The result is a separate app, launched as an open beta this fall, which gives us the opportunity to iterate and learn fast without annoying Finn’s usual users.

And there is a lot to learn.

As a 28-year old having researched Gen Z for more than a year, I have only one conclusion: I’m feeling old. If I was asked to describe them with just one word it would be impatient. Everything seems to move a bit faster with this generation.
The fact that they have grown up with everything digital, social, and app-based has radically increased the pace of scrolling, liking and sharing. I encourage you to observe this next time you sit next to a teenager on the bus.

High expectations

Being online ”almost constantly” has not only led to a completely different way of navigating, it has raised Gen Z’s expectations of digital services. This also changes their relationships to peers, brands, and influencers. While it is said that Gen Z’s attention span is only 8.3 seconds (down from 12 for millennials), they are good at filtering out what’s important information. They quickly make decisions about what and whom get their attention and time.

Gen Z also has a different way of expressing themselves versus previous generations. With the rise of stories, snaps and six-second Tik Tok videos, things are moving faster. Not only does the aesthetic seem rawer, as we can see in clothing (think Billie Eilish), and photo editing (or lack thereof), also their message has an impatient, rebellious vibe.

They are vocal about their values, the labels they want you to use, and they will call you out if you do something that doesn’t match their expectations.

You might know the creative sides of Gen Z best through memes, snap filters, and Tik Tok videos. Snapchat even names them the generation of super-creatives, and their own research shows that more than half of respondents engage in what we would call creative activities both online and offline (drawing, making music, taking photos, sowing and redesigning). They are constantly on the look­out for new inspiration and new things to learn.

Self-expression is taken to the next level by launching fashion brands on Instagram, enabled by simple, no-code tools such as Shopify and Wix. It has made it possible for Gen Z to act on trends and to influence what’s cool in completely new ways. We can see it in an array of side hustles and smaller entrepreneurial efforts. As quoted by a Gen Z representative in a video by i-D magazine: ”Everyone has a t-shirt brand nowadays”.

I can imagine that Gen Z’s impatience and creativity will be visible in the job market in a few years, for instance by working several jobs simultaneously. Some will do this for a predictable income, while others will do it to fulfill their creative needs, applying this DIY (do it yourself) mentality to their careers as well.

Finding the best deal

Where consumption habits of previous generations might have been more or less dictated by advertising, Gen Z researches several sources to find the best deal. They consult friends, youtubers, and reviews before making a buying decision that is supported both by their wallet and their values.

Big corporations are trying to capitalize on this, such as through influencer marketing. But more importantly, platforms that were previously meant for inspiration only, are now gradually claiming a larger part of the buying journey. The best example of this is Instagram. I’m sure you’ve seen the white dots on some images, showing price tags when you click on them, or the new shops tab in the explore feed.

So, what are we going to do with all this information about Gen Z? In Schibsted, most of our brands grew up over the last 20 years – just like Gen Z. But it seems that this generation’s expectations are outgrowing us. With all this impatience and all this speed, can we, as a big organization, continue to develop products at our usual pace? This is why we started the Finn project and why we made it into a fast-paced process of testing hypotheses with real users during every two-week sprint. Our main idea is that Finn needs to make a similar journey to what Instagram has made – but the other way around. As just mentioned, Instagram is moving towards transaction. We believe that Finn, which has been a place purely for buying and selling, needs to move towards inspiration.

Therefore, we are looking at ways to combine editorial and marketplace content for a new and inspiring experience. We hope that user behaviour will change from using Finn only when you need something specific, to opening the app just to check what’s new, to be able to discover something you like. We want to make it quick and intuitive to find what you’re looking for and learn how to make sustainable choices.

I’m not going to claim we have found the solution to Gen Z’s needs yet. I believe it is a continuous process of testing and evolving, just like they do.

Anniken Ore Larssen

Anniken Ore Larssen
Product Manager
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Hugging my grandparents

It’s Not About The Ads Any More

It’s not about the ads any more

It’s Not About The Ads Any More

It’s not about the ads any more

20 years ago Schibsted challenged its own business by creating an online marketplace for classified ads. Now it’s time to take the next step. Next generation marketplaces will meet the users’ true needs.

Maria and Niclas are moving in together and have decided to rent out Niclas’ apartment on Södermalm in Stockholm. Listing it on Blocket is easy. But then it gets harder. Of all the people contacting them, who will be a good tenant? As first-time landlords, they choose Christer, a likable young man from Linköping. How could they possibly know that he would stop paying rent after four months?

Our online marketplaces are now more than 20 years old. During that time they have become an integral part of society. With more than 264 million visits per month, and un­­aided brand awareness in the range of 75 to 95 percent you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about Finn, Blocket, Tori or Oikotie. Sleek, modern apps have made it possible to post an ad in just seconds, while advanced search and recommendation algorithms have made it easier than ever to find what you’re after. Even so, Maria and Niclas found it stressful and burdensome to rent out their apartment. Why?

It’s Not About The Ads Any More
Next generation marketplace will make each step in the process smoother.

The reality is that even with all the advancements we’ve made over the last 20 years, we still owe our heritage to the old newspaper classifieds. They were essentially poster boards which left it up to the buyer and seller to figure out what to do after the initial contact. This is, unfortunately, still somewhat true today. It turns out that while making it easy to post and find ads is important, there are also plenty of other pain points buyers and sellers encounter, as the example with Maria and Niclas shows. In fact, if we zoom out a little, we begin to recognize that the goals of our users have nothing to do with ads at all. In fact, they are not interested in ads. What they really want is to rent out their apartment, drive a car, hire a dream candidate for a job or buy that one-of-a-kind set of vintage sneakers. Achieving these goals means overcoming a series of pain points in a longer transaction journey.

Different pain points

Next generation marketplaces will meet these needs and solve these pain points for consumers and professionals. While ads for different categories are fairly similar, the processes and pain points can be wildly different. For example, a landlord is interested in choosing the right tenant, having a solid contract in place and being certain that rent is paid every month. A car buyer will be concerned about the condition of the car, how to get a car loan, and how the payment is matched with the new ownership registration, among other things. Finally, a buyer of vintage clothing may be interested in shipment from a different part of the country. Each marketplace category has its own set of unique challenges to be solved in order to be called ”next generation”.

First and foremost, solving these pain points will make these services easier and safer. One example is Qasa, a fully digital real estate rental platform, which Schibsted is rolling out across the Nordics. Qasa has specialized in making the rental experience as convenient as possible. For the tenant it provides better search tools, such as making it possible to search within a specific commute time from where you work. The service revolves around a tenant profile which makes it easier for tenants to show who they are and for landlords to evaluate them. Finally, the service provides an added layer of security to the landlord by providing a digital contract, home insurance and payment guarantee.

It’s Not About The Ads Any More
Private-to-private transaction will be more similar to retail e-commerce experiences.

Another example is within cars. Both Finn and Blocket have started the work to make the car sales process fully digital. This includes a digital contract, integrated payment and payout of car loans along with automatic ownership registration. There are also extra services, such as free insurance for 30 days to the new car owner. All these features are significant upgrades to our core service in order to meet the users’ needs.

Marketplaces will keep evolving

This digital process makes it much easier to sell your car yourself. Still, we know that some want it to be even easier and they are willing to pay for it. One indication of this is that more than half of all car sellers choose to trade in their car to a dealer, knowingly leaving tens of thousands of kroner on the table. This is where Nettbil can help out. With this service you just enter your license plate number and you get an immediate price indication. If you’re satisfied, you deliver the car to a certified test center. From here on everything is taken care of. The car is tested, pictures taken, and the car is put up for auction to thousands of car dealers across the country, ensuring that you get the best possible price for your car. You can literally sell your car in a day.

Some people will of course continue to just post an ad and do everything themselves, while others want a better and simpler service, and are willing to pay for it. Upgrading only a small percentage of our users to next generation marketplace models could have significant business potential – but not least it would also increase loyalty and meet the users’ core needs.

Looking into the future, marketplaces will continue to evolve rapidly in line with market demands. This evolution will make private-to-private transactions more similar to retail e-commerce experiences. For our couple, Maria and Niclas, life will be easier as they can rent out their apartment without worries, knowing that the service provided will ensure they get paid on time every month.

Christian Printzell Halvorsen

Christian Printzell Halvorsen
EVP Nordic Marketplaces/CEO of Finn
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
The daily dose of fun and energy from physical interaction with colleagues

Fintech Will Keep Changing Banking

Fintech will keep changing banking

Fintech Will Keep Changing Banking

Fintech will keep changing banking

The financial services industry has been completely disrupted the last few years. What made this possible and what implications does it have on people’s personal wealth and society at-large?

The fintech landscape has changed dramatically over the course of the previous decade. Born out of the global financial crisis of the late aughts, a general distrust of traditional banks paved the way for a new wave of competitors, who utilized their technical superiority to reshape the financial services sector. Suddenly, your bank didn’t require a physical location, just an app. This caught the old guard by surprise, as they not only lacked the technological know-how to respond but were also limited by archaic legacy systems. Challenger banks arrived on the scene promising a user experience on par with the world’s leading tech companies – frictionless, modern, and on-demand.

Today the smartphone is at the forefront of banking, capable of making payments, receiving funds, and managing our financial portfolios. The words ”mobile-first” are not an aspiration but rather necessary for survival. Fintech has brought a new global standard of banking, from lifting emerging markets and helping to accelerate the adoption of e-commerce, to simplifying money transfers and expediting the end of physical currency. But where do we go from here? What does the future have in store for the next generation of fintech actors?

Fintech Will Keep Changing Banking
Fintech Will Keep Changing Banking

It’s difficult to assess how fintechs will evolve without knowing the full extent of Covid-19’s impact on the global economy. But let’s look at what the trends portend.

Going forward, expect big data to play a more prominent role in conjunction with developing AI technology. Risk assessment will take on a new shape as digital banks look to open up access to credit for new pools of customers. Whereas traditional banks relied largely on precedence when weighing credit risk, digital banks will have access to a much more nuanced, holistic, and accurate snapshot of an applicant’s creditworthiness.

AI will make banks more effecient

Real-time analysis of customer data (both financial and personal) will allow banks to cross- and up-sell products and solutions designed with the individual in mind. Advances in risk assessment will allow banks to reach the underbanked and consumer groups without a credit history. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to artificial intelligence and its continued integration into financial technology. AI has the potential to make banks more efficient, allowing for cost-reducing automation while eliminating errors.

Look no further than insurtech companies, which have embraced AI and advanced analytics to help make more accurate risk assessments on random events like catastrophes, based on historical data.

At the consumer level, automation has the potential to oversee our financial portfolio and help guide us through complex decisions such as investments, retirement planning, and home loans, while also carrying out routine tasks such as bill payments.

According to Deloitte’s Bank of 2030 report, the ideal automated tool would operate behind the scenes, monitoring the market for deals and products without human intervention. Whether banks can deploy AI technologies at scale, however, remains to be seen.

Corona pushing new solutions

The pandemic in particular has been a boon for payment providers. Let’s start here in Sweden, where Klarna has skillfully navigated the crisis to become Europe’s most valuable fintech ($10.65bn). When the Coronavirus forced us out of stores and towards e-commerce, Klarna was there, with a well-designed product, simple USP, and custom payment options that quickly caught on with Millennials and Gen Z. Retailers rejoiced. After all, the easier a payment provider can take the customer from shopping cart to checkout, the higher the conversion rate for retailers.

But Klarna’s ambitions don’t end with payments. As Germany’s Handelsblatt notes, Klarna has grown to where it’s not just competing against other payment service providers such as Paypal, but has set its sights on banks themselves.

A host of other payment providers have thrived in a marketplace still marked by fragmentation. Dutch startup Mollie secured unicorn status (privately held with a valuation of more than $1bn) thanks to its application programming interface (API) that conceals the complexity for merchants of accepting localized payment options. One of Mollie’s lead investors in its most recent funding round referred to the company as aiming to be the ”Apple of the payments world.”

Globally, we’re at crossroads with regards to fintech. As McKinsey points out, many European fintechs are still not profitable and thus reliant on a scarce resource – investor funds. Yet fintechs have several inherent advantages – such as agility – and the changes they’ve brought about to the financial world are here to stay. Customers want more digital with their banking services, not less.

What we may end up seeing is a consolidation of power in the 2020s, with the largest banks and payment providers expanding their product offerings and portfolios with strategic acquisitions.

Or we could see the continued build­out of fintech ecosystems by global tech titans, in the search to create an all-in-one super banking app. In China, both Tencent and Alibaba have a duopoly on mobile payment platforms (Wechat Pay and Alipay), which when combined, according to CB Insights, serve nearly 94 percent of the Chinese population and act as a launch pad for other financial services, such as interest-free installment lending.

Amazon is creating a suite of services

One of the biggest hurdles for challenger banks is customer acquisition costs, an area where multinational conglomerates will hold a sizable advantage with their flywheel economic systems. This is the route Google and Amazon want to follow as they strategically move towards offering digital banking services. Amazon’s case study is particularly interesting, given the wealth of data it has on customers, from purchase history to entertainment consumption habits. Amazon is reportedly exploring forays into home insurance and medical insurance, to go along with a suite of financial services like banking, business loans, and payments. The question remains whether regulation will serve as a blocker, or merely an obstacle.

Let’s peek into the future. There are indications that the new decade should bring about a level of refinement when compared to the disruption of the previous ten years. Clearer hierarchies will establish themselves as the focus shifts more towards products and services, and less on direct competition with incumbent banks. That means, ideally, consumers should stand to benefit from a broader and more comprehensive world of financial opportunities.

Disruption is out with digital banks

While traditional banks and startup-challengers have begun to cooperate, the next market to be disrupted is insurance. And payment is on its way into a new phase with biometric security solutions. These are three major trends within fintech.

Disruption is out with digital banks

The first wave of challenger banks declared war on their traditional counterparts. But the newcomers on the market see the old guard less as adversaries and more as partners. Why? Because classic banks have leveled the playing field with the help of banking APIs – allowing for P2P payments. They’ve also introduced suites of digital services, and UX-friendly apps – and invested in in-house accelerators (see BBVA) to help develop future fintech partners. And while challenger banks are here for the long haul, especially given their impressive funding rounds in recent years, they still need to diversify their services to sustain revenue models beyond card transactions.


More than a few fintech analysts have identified insurance as the next multi-billion dollar industry ripe for disruption. The consulting firm McKinsey assessed that the combination of tech-savvy players on the market would ”alter the terrain on which incumbents compete.” This is particularly true among younger, forward-thinking consumers, who can compare different offerings (such as homeowner, risk, and even pet insurance) and discover transparent, custom-tailored products packaged via AI. Europe is an especially promising market for insurtech (thanks to a robust insurance culture), helping power Germany’s Wefox to unicorn status and attracting global players like Lemonade.


In recent years, payments have experienced more volatility and change than any other area of fintech. As the pandemic ushered in a new era of e-commerce, payment companies including Stripe and Klarna have seized the moment with their ability to manage what retailers have struggled with for over a decade: building a frictionless online payment system. This has also helped facilitate the growth of e-commerce in previously untapped markets.

The ”new normal” of the global economy means uncertainty, with unemployment and fluctuating wages, which is why we’re witnessing a rapid adoption of ”buy now, pay later” services, especially among younger consumers who might lack access to credit cards.

The need for more hygienic, contactless means of payment has also increased Western demand for virtual wallets and mobile point-of-sale terminals, the latter of which has big implications for Apple Pay and Alipay. Amazon took this one step further in September with its announcement of palm-recognition for payments. The use of biometric information is especially important to monitor, given how much security it offers.

Indicative of the rise of payments is how quickly the world’s two biggest payment providers (Visa and Mastercard) moved to acquire market space, particularly through strategic M&As and partnerships. However, the global payment infrastructure must address the issue of access, as a cashless economy will have significant impact on society’s unbanked.

Jeremy Cothran

Jeremy Cothran
Industry Editor, UpNext
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Hiking in South Tyrol, Italy

Healthcare Will Go Digiphysical

Healthcare will go digiphysical

Healthcare Will Go Digiphysical

Healthcare will go digiphysical

The pandemic has sped up technology adoption in healthcare by three to five years. Both patients and providers have drastically changed their habits. But Covid-19 has also highlighted the paradox that digital isn’t enough.

During the era of social distancing, the way we interact with each other, companies and services is changing. As people were encouraged (or forced) to stay home, barriers to adoption of new technology were almost artificially lowered. Online groceries, pharmacies and retail all experienced unprecedented growth, as did the platforms that enable video conferencing. Something happened to patients and providers too.

Overnight, patients stopped visiting the doctor. However, their medical needs did not go away. New habits formed, as many patients flocked to the digital front doors of healthcare for the first time. Some patients needed help directly related to Covid-19, while the majority of consultations were about the same medical issues as before: diabetes management, ear infection or a bad knee perhaps. Whatever the problem, patients realized they could get their first medical consultation without waiting or even traveling. Perhaps equally important – no risk of contracting, or spreading, the corona virus.

Patients went online

When Wuhan, China went into lockdown, patients went online. According to the Economist, half of the ten million digital consultations that Chinese health platform JD Health sold in February, were first-time online patients. At least a third will continue using the services, according to the company. The rest of the world has followed suit. In March 2020, Norwegian tech news site Shifter reported that digital healthcare providers Kry, Eyr and Hjemmelegene had a three-­digit volume growth year-on-year. Digitally enabled healthcare providers in the US, Sweden and UK reported the same explosive growth. Across the world, many relatively new providers assumed a vital role in primary care overnight. Not because governments asked them to, but because patient needs shifted. Providers and doctors shifted too.

The technology needed to offer a digital front door to healthcare did not arrive in 2020. Smart phones, sufficient network bandwidth, camera and audio technology, security and encryption, and platform technology – all of these components have been around for at least a decade. So how come a pandemic was ”needed” before healthcare changed?

Providers and doctors alike, have traditionally been somewhat slow to adopt new, non-medical technology. While medical knowledge, research and technology has made huge leaps forward decade after decade – drastically improving healthcare outcomes – service innovation has not kept pace. The visit to the doctor’s office has not changed much in the last 20–30 years.

Covid-19 changed this. Doctors and providers were forced to adapt in a matter of weeks. They had to enable patients to get in touch, while at the same time limiting disease spread. In Norway, the doctors’ union used to see digital consultations as a threat, stating that it was outright dangerous to treat any condition without seeing a patient physically. Before Covid-19, 7–12 percent of family physicians in Norway offered video consultations. Six to eight weeks after Covid-19 hit the country, that number went up to 70 percent.

A complex sector

Make no mistake, healthcare is going digital. However, digitization is challenged by the sheer complexity and physical nature of healthcare services. A bad knee still has to be physically examined to be diagnosed. No tech or AI can remove ear wax. The inherent physical properties of medicine and anatomy does not always translate well into ones and zeros. Also, humans are still humans. A physical consultation may enable a richer conversation. Lastly, today’s technology is not equally accessible and may leave the old and fragile behind. For all these reasons, healthcare has to become ”digiphysical” rather than just digital.

Covid-19 has highlighted this paradox. Digital tools have proven useful in advising patients, screening for conditions, and even tracking the outbreak. However, diagnosis rests upon a throat swab and lab analysis. Providers need to offer a digital front door, and combine it with on-demand, physical services (e.g. Covid-19 testing) that meet patient expectations.

Digitization may improve patient outcomes, experiences, and lower costs of healthcare in the years to come. But the rewards may only be reaped if it plays along with the complexity of healthcare, and the biological, physical and psychological nature of medicine. AI may not replace doctors, but doctors who use AI will replace those who do not.

Hopefully, Covid-19 will eventually recede. Previous pandemics always have. But, just like previous pandemics, Covid-19 may have changed healthcare forever.

Nicolai Skarsgård

Nicolai Skarsgård
Doctor and CEO of Hjemmelegene
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Golf trips

Our project will search for the best way to work

Our project will search for the best way to work

On March 12, 2020, all Schibsted employees left our offices to go home. And stayed home – our living space became our workspace. But where do we go from here? To investigate this Schibsted has initiated the Future of Work-project.

Despite obvious challenges, working from home has surpassed all expectations. In fact, we (employees worldwide) have actually been more effective per day, at home. We are more focused, and more productive. Comprehensive studies show that we work on average 1.2 hours more. In addition, many of us save on the time and stress due to our daily commute – benefiting ourselves and the environment, with less travel-based emissions.

However, there are some risks emerging. Self-regulation can be an issue and there can be a tendency for increased stress, which in itself can contribute to employee ”burnout”. Our work-life balance, previously so clearly defined, becomes blurred – where does the office end and home begin? Many of us also miss working in teams, collaborating face-to-face and socializing with colleagues. Those spontaneous chats by the coffee machines – the laughs, inspiration and shared ideas – are simply no more.

A better working environment

This work-from-home period is and has effectively been a giant pilot exercise, one we must learn from to mould a better working environment for the future. What are the advantages and disadvantages? What are our key learnings so far? How can we adapt to optimize?

At Schibsted we’ve started by asking our employees what they want.

Change is the short answer. In surveys over 60 percent have expressed a preference for mixing working from home, remote from other places and working from the office and almost 20 percent want a fulltime home office.

Now it’s up to our leaders, to listen to these employee needs, to harvest great ideas, try them out and discover the best way to meet the changing requirements of our employees and the business itself. A challenge, but also an exciting opportunity – and this is where the Future of Work-project comes in.

The project will focus on four key areas: Leadership, workplace, employee experience, and collaboration.

The project is experiment-based to determine how we can adapt as a business and employer, creating the culture, infrastructure, routines and leadership for the future.

We will test and research

It will be exploratory, comprehensive and inclusive – we will involve all of our brands. We will take time to test and research internal solutions and look into inspiration and input from external benchmarking and expertise. By experimenting we can see what works well and what does not for our individual brands, assessing strengths and weaknesses.

To help our brands navigate when working with the Future of work-project we have created a framework that can be used as a tool in the process. The framework helps brainstorm, set direction, define specific goals and what to measure.

Apart from the focus areas we have defined a set of guiding principles that involves culture, innovation and sustainability to help us make choices and provide direction as we are experimenting our way towards the Future of work transformation.

To stay ahead as a business Schibsted needs to lead change rather than react to it, setting out bold ambitions and finding the strategies, tools and capacity to achieve them. We know we can and must do things differently. In a recent study carried out prior to the pandemic by Morten Hansen, Management professor at University of California, Berkeley, he found only 20 percent of employees, out of a focus group of 5,000, worked efficiently at their offices. So, for 80 percent of people there was a better way of working. We aim to find that way.

Renate B Johnstone

Renate B Johnstone
Project Manager Group Communication
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Seeing people face to face, no doubt!

Edtech Pushes Lifelong Learning

Edtech pushes lifelong learning

Edtech Pushes Lifelong Learning

Edtech pushes lifelong learning

During the Corona crisis, schools have struggled to bring education online. But the pandemic has only shed light on a need that was already there. And now the edtech market is growing rapidly.

Imagine an early morning in 2030. We are in Båtsfjord, in the North of Norway, where Roar has just logged on to his computer at home, ready for a new day of studying business interaction and international entrepreneurship. After 25 years in fishing, he has gone ”back to school” for an education that will give him new opportunities, hopefully in the international market. Roar and his fellow students from 20 different nations study in a digital, seamless system that’s available anytime and anywhere.

Roar is not in a unique position by continuing his lifelong learning or finishing an international degree from his home. He is an example of a modern learner seeking an education that is not easily replaced by automation and artificial intelligence, but rather is focused on creativity and collaboration.

A market that is growing

Today we’re still quite far from this scenario. Education within lifelong learning is grossly under-digitized, with less than 3 percent of expenditure on technology. At the same time the digital education market has grown rapidly during the last decades. The total expenditure in edtech is expected to double, reaching 342 billion USD by 2025, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 12 percent in the period.

2019 was also a record year for edtech investments, with 187 deals totaling 1.2 billion USD. Of all edtech investments in Europe, 18 percent are invested in the Nordic markets, indicating a growing market in this region.

So we’re on our way. This development is accelerated by the evolution of working life in the 21st century, which has given rise to the development of new skills. More and more people are willing to educate themselves as a part of lifelong learning. Higher education matriculation data from 2020 shows that the applicants were older than ever before, on average. This can be partly attributed to the Corona crisis, during which a significant part of our workforce lost their jobs or were furloughed. But it is also a sign of these new learning habits – which need new solutions.

The biggest challenge to speed up digitization is to replace physical meetings and classroom lectures – which are still an important part of university education. This traditional type of learning is very institutional and people-driven. Thus, a key opportunity is to replace classroom training with edtech, but many content creators lack the knowledge to make the change. Due to the number of stakeholders involved, such as universities, professors, government, international institutions etc, the speed of digitization in the education sector has been estimated to be at about one-fifth of the speed seen in other sectors.

 Education is a tool to improve health, equality, peace and stability

In the Nordic countries, there are some new players in this market, including Coursera, EdX and Udemy (Inspera), international companies with local connection in the Nordics. The traditional Nordic educational institutions have not yet tried to take a significant role. So, there are still openings for strong players to take a broad position as a ”change agent” for lifelong learning. Not just for distribution or a marketplace, but also to contribute to delivering today’s classroom training with edtech solutions – and with the opportunity to reach a broader, international audience.

Education is one of the greatest tools we have to reduce poverty and improve health, gender equality, peace and stability. This is easily underestimated in the Nordic countries, but nevertheless important to remember. For communities, education drives long-term economic growth, innovation and fosters social cohesion. All of these are strong incentives for continued growth of the edtech market. For Roar, digital education will open the door to new job opportunities. It will stimulate economic growth in his local community. And it will give the world a new, global employee.

Ragnhild J Buch

Ragnhild J Buch
Business Developer
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Meeting colleagues on a daily basis.

The Ecosystem That Nurtures Giants

The ecosystem that nurtures giants

The Ecosystem That Nurtures Giants

The ecosystem that nurtures giants

They are obsessed with customers’ needs, innovation and agility is crucial and they both compete and collaborate within. Companies working as market-oriented ecosystems have their own dynamic – and can grow into large dominators like Tencent, Amazon and Facebook. Here’s how it works.

We are living in an ever-changing and self-reinforcing cycle of technological development that continuously raises the bar for customer expectations. This in turn fuels the relentless forces that rapidly shape markets. From a macro perspective, this dynamic results in some interesting movements. We see a concentration of:

  • Infrastructure providers that offer highly scalable and far-reaching networks that deliver standardized services.
  • Aggregation platforms and marketplaces that enable connections among fragmented players.
  • Agent businesses that serve as trusted advisors to consumers across the growing numbers of fragmented niche products and services companies.

As a large company, and especially if you are an incumbent in your current market, your likelihood for continued large-scale success relies on your ability to either become a dominant platform, infrastructure or trusted advisor company. If not, you should expect to be outperformed by smaller, faster and more innovative competitors empowered by the platforms.

Create and capture customer value

In an attempt to understand how some of our most successful companies have prospered in these hyper dynamic markets, we have, however, found another compelling path – to transform your company into a market-oriented ecosystem that thrives by being both highly explorative and scalable at the same time. Becoming a company that inhabits the previously incompatible strengths of both mature companies with a culture of exploitation and start-ups with a culture of exploration.

Market-oriented ecosystems’ ultimate purpose is to create and capture customer value. Typically, this is achieved by bringing together multiple players of different types and sizes in order to create, scale, and serve markets in ways that are beyond the capacity of any single player.

The Ecosystem That Nurtures Giants
The ecosystem companies are obsessed with consumer needs, whatever they might be.

Ecosystems are empowered by enhanced and simplified connectivity that enables the participants to discover and develop new products, services and business models. Discoveries that would not be possible without the access to the full spectra of the ecosystem’s capabilities, especially the collective ability to learn, adapt, and innovate together. The sustained success from market-oriented ecosystems is achieved through both competition and collaboration. In some ways it is like a thriving bazaar where you both can compete with your neigh­bors’ shops but also collaborate to achieve your mutual goals.

Based on a common platform

Studies show that companies operating as market-oriented ecosystems thrive and consistently outperform other types of companies when competing in hyper-dynamic markets. The most famous examples include Tencent, Amazon, Supercell, Alibaba, Didi, Facebook, Google, Huawei and Haier, that together nurture some of the world’s most well-known brands.

The operating model of a market-oriented ecosystem is based on a common foundation or platform that all teams use and rely on in their daily work. This foundation consists of four components:

  • External services: Purchased on demand from market leaders (cloud storage, productivity tools, etc.).
  • Internal services: Aims to solve highly differentiated needs that cannot be solved by external services. These internal services are always operated by a dedicated and customer-centric team. Ideally no difference exists between operating a team that is focusing on an internal or external customer.
  • Exchanges: Transactional systems that minimize barriers of cooperation that drive value creation within the ecosystem.
  • Functions: Supports platforms, teams and functions on specific topics (HR, finance, legal, communications, marketing, etc.).

The key ingredients of the ecosystem are the teams that offer services and products to other teams within the ecosystem and/or to end users. Teams operate like small startups but have full autonomy to develop, prototype and test ideas with support from the entire ecosystem. Accountability is created by having clear, agreed upon objectives and measurable targets. As they fail or succeed, the teams are readily started, stopped, split or merged in order to maximize learning and success rate for the ecosystem as a whole. The accountability, clarity and flexibility make teams truly committed to achieving customer value by being close to the market and being able to quickly shift focus in changing market dynamics.

Leaders nurture culture

A relatively small leadership team exists with the main purpose of nurturing a common culture for the ecosystem, decrease barriers of cooperation by developing governance and to set a compelling vision and strategic priorities that align the ecosystem. Examples of governance mechanisms on which market-oriented ecosystem leaders outperform are performance accountability, idea generation, talent pipeline, information sharing and overall collaboration.

Over time as companies develop into market oriented ecosystems, they begin to exhibit four common essential capabilities: Outstanding external sensing with strong focus on market dynamics, an almost religious customer obsession with a relentless focus on solving customers’ jobs to be done, continuous innovation throughout the ecosystem, including an ability to always question the status quo, and finally agility everywhere that allows the whole company, even at a massive size, to quickly adapt to changing dynamics.

It is clear that companies that have been founded during during the digital era of the last two decades have a clear advantage when nurturing market-oriented ecosystems. However, there are examples of older companies and parts of larger companies that are transforming themselves into market-oriented ecosystems.

How do they do it? There are three key ingredients: establish a bold yet compelling long-term vision, transform step by step, and always act with a generous mindset. The journey will be long, revealing and tough, but the good part is that you will harvest the low hanging fruits along the way and find plenty of value while doing so.

Want to learn more about market-oriented ecosystems? We recommend two books that offer detailed introductions into the operating model: ”Reinventing the Organization” by Yeung and Ulrich (2019) and ”Future Legends” by Krings-Klebe, Heinz and Schreiner (2017).

Lotta Wollentz

Lotta Wollentz
Head of Strategy at Blocket
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Spontaneous micro updates and energy boosts from colleagues

Ian Vännman

Ian Vännman
Head of Strategy at Schibsted Next
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Serendipity – there are fewer random surprises when you spend
most of your time at home

Tough news gets translated for young readers

Tough news gets translated for young readers

Tough news gets translated for young readers

Tough news gets translated for young readers

Aftenposten Junior is something as exceptional as a printed newspaper success. It all started with the need to explain a tragedy to children – now even adults read it to really understand the news.

In July 2011, Norway was shocked and horrified by the terrorist attack in Oslo’s government quarter and on the island of Utøya. Naturally, Norwegian children had many questions about what had happened, and parents and teachers struggled to find the words to explain the incidents on a level that the young ones could understand.

It was about this time that the idea of launching a newspaper for kids arose in Aftenposten. The first edition came out in the spring of 2012, coinciding with the opening of the trial against the terrorist responsible. That was the start of explaining a many difficult and complicated news incidents, which is what Aftenposten Junior still does today. As editor, I get to meet a lot of curious and smart kids with thoughtful (and challenging!) questions. I promise you I have the most interesting and meaningful job!

A huge success

At the time of the launch some critical voices said a print edition would never gain popularity. Adult print newspapers had been declining for years, and there were even darker clouds ahead. Children were embracing digital services such as games and social media, and getting young ones to read a newspaper seemed like a mission impossible. Eight years later though, it is safe to say that Aftenposten Junior has become a huge success. The circulation numbers steadily rose and have now stabilized around 30,000, and the brand Aftenposten Junior is well known among Norwegian children, to the extent that the editorial staff receive enormous amounts of e-mails and letters every week. But how did this all happen?

Over the last years, user research has become a very important discipline in all product development. In Aftenposten Junior, the editorial team was involved in user research right from the beginning, and it became apparent that this is a crucial part of the methodology to write engaging news stories for a young audience. Instead of doing user research now and then, it has become a continuous process that involves the readers at all times.

In the research, our journalists will ask kids how much they knew about a news story, and ask them what they would like to know. Later, the journalists have kids read the finished story to pinpoint difficult words. After a while, the concept of ”Aftenposten Junior reporters” also emerged. Kids would interview top politicians and celebrities, and they had the most brilliant questions.

When writing for kids, there are certain challenges that our staff writers are very good at solving. For example, there might be a lot of historical aspects to a story, like when writing about George Floyd this summer. To sum up centuries of history and social studies in a very short text is harder than you think. The tough nut is to simplify the language without losing the important details and nuances. Often, our journalists will rewrite the text several times with their editor before it’s good to go.

The presentation of the news stories is also a very important part of Aftenposten Juniors success. Visual elements will trigger most children’s reading desire. Outstanding photos from Aftenposten’s photographers, striking illustrations and extensive use of infographics make the pages look inviting and give the readers a lot of information without overwhelming them with text. The cartoon format is also a good way to explain complex issues, as it combines several illustrations with small text pieces.

A growing family

The Aftenposten Junior universe has grown bigger than only a print newspaper. For several years, Aftenposten Junior has hosted different events, like the wildly popular Minikloden. The successful cartoon Grønne greier has launched two hard cover books, one of them in South Korea. Aftenposten Junior is also producing a podcast, Juniorrådet, where kids are talking about big and small challenges, like being nervous before a performance, or falling in love. This fall we will also launch a news podcast.

In 2015, there was a new addition to the family, with the launch of sister newspaper SvD Junior, from Svenska Dagbladet in Sweden. The two editorial teams co-operate on some of the content, and in 2019 another Junior was born when Postimees Juunior launched in Estonia.

The spring of 2020 was a very special time all over the world because of the Covid-19 situation. In Norway, all of the schools shut down on March 12th. The day after, Aftenposten Junior announced that we opened the paywall on our digital edition, so that all children in Norway could have access to reliable information at a time when their lives were turned upside-down. Teachers were ecstatic when they could give their pupils engaging reading assignments, and we noticed that some teachers made questions, puzzles and quizzes tied to the editions. They said that they loved the current news stories that spoke directly to the kids, and that it taught them important things in a fun way.

A big digital leap

During the time of homeschooling, teachers and pupils took a big leap in their usage of digital equipment and services. In fact, there were close to 800,000 openings of the digital editions of Aftenposten Junior during the period that the schools were closed.

This gave us the idea to make a special digital product for schools, where teachers could easily find the content they were looking for and share it with their class. After extensive UX research, the team of Aftenposten Junior skole are now on their way to creating a full on educational resource, planned to launch in late 2020. This is timed well with the introduction of a brand-new curriculum in Norway’s schools this fall, one that is supposed to encourage the use of current events.

So, the future looks bright for Aftenposten Junior. Even though breaking news is faster than ever and the number of news sources is plentiful, there is still a need for a good explanation of current events. This might be why grown-ups tell me all the time that when they read Aftenposten Junior to their kids, they finally understand what that story was all about.

Mari Midtstigen

Mari Midtstigen
Editor, Aftenposten Junior
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Eating lunch with my colleagues

Subscriptions Drive New Businesses

Subscriptions drive new businesses

Subscriptions Drive New Businesses

Subscriptions drive new businesses

Is the concept of ownership on its way to extinction? Subscription-based businesses have increased their revenues by more than 300 percent over the past seven years. Schibsted is looking into how to expand this model into new kinds of offerings.

I have to make a confession.
I binge.

If I find a new TV series I like, I could easily watch all the episodes of all the seasons in a matter of days. For me, imagining a world without Netflix – or similar subscription-based streaming services – is almost impossible. But such a world existed not too long ago.

Netflix was introduced to the Norwegian and Swedish markets in 2012, after having launched its streaming service in the US in 2007. In 2015, Netflix had grown to 70 million subscribers. Today, they have 167 million. When the new streaming service Disney+ launched on the American market last year, it amassed 10 million subscribers in just one day. Nine months later, it has grown to 60 million.

Subscriptions Drive New Businesses
Subscriptions Drive New Businesses

It is almost difficult to comprehend the massive growth subscription-based services have seen over the last few years. Internationally, more than seven out of ten consumers subscribe to one or more services, and the number is growing. The growth is largely driven by consumer demand; consumers want the convenience, flexibility and frequency that subscription models supply.

For businesses, the attractiveness of the subscription model is reflected in revenue growth. Subscription-based businesses have increased their revenues by more than 300 percent in the past seven years, significantly outperforming other companies. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, 76 percent of subscription-based companies saw a stable or even accelerated growth rate for their offerings. As a result, a growing number of industries and businesses are adopting the model.

Unparalleled growth in digital media

Schibsted has been in the subscription game for a long time, and we’ve seen unparalleled growth in digital media subscriptions over the last few years. As the Corona pandemic swept our countries, the hunger for news, information and entertainment drove our subscription numbers to new heights. As of October 2020, we have more than 840,000 digital subscribers across our Norwegian and Swedish brands. The appetite for digital news subscriptions has never been greater.

However, subscription is no longer a game that only media brands can play. Industries as diverse as mobility and home appliances are increasingly adopting subscription as a business model. Today, you can subscribe to products and services as diverse as a car, a dishwasher, and a unicorn-themed ”mystery box”. Whatever your niche is, there is a subscription-based product for you.

At Schibsted, we are following this widespread adoption of subscription-­based models closely. Next, a division in Schibsted that invests in digital startups, is increasingly looking at and making investments in subscription-based services, including the podcasting platform Podme. In addition, our marketplace division is investigating a variety of subscription-related opportunities. We see that the subscription-related expertise and experience we have built up for years within our media division can be utilized in new ways, in very different parts of our organization. Our goal is no longer just to increase the number of media subscriptions we have – but to have more subscription-based business throughout Schibsted, and to deepen the relationships we have with subscribers today, by giving them subscriptions that offer them more and more relevant products, services and content. Being subscription-driven is about catering to genuine user needs and wants.

Subscriptions Drive New Businesses
Subscriptions Drive New Businesses

So, what do users want? Well, no matter the product or service, they will most likely prefer the option that is simple, convenient and easy to understand. Owning a product is often none of these things. In fact, product ownership is often a hassle. Owning something means that you have to pay up-front for a product that you do not know how many times you will actually use. Owning something might mean you have to pay for or spend time on the maintenance of that product. And in the age of rapid innovation and technological advances, owning something might also mean the inevitable frustration of watching your product become obsolete as new innovations enter the market.

We want access instead of owning

So, fundamentally, most of us very rarely actually want to own something – rather, we want access to what that product or service can offer us in value, right when we need it. Take washing machines as an example. Do you really need to own a washing machine? Or do you need your clothes to be clean, at a reasonable cost, with minimal effort?

Increasingly, research suggests that consumers favor ”access over owner­ship”, and 57 percent of adults world­wide say they wish they could own less ”stuff”. This trend is often known as ”the end of ownership”. And as ownership ends, so begins the era of usership – where the focus is on using and paying for what you need, rather than owning it. Just like with subscription-based products.

From a business perspective, the end of an era that has served business owners and shareholders well might seem intimidating. However, rather than being threatened by change, joint trends of usership and subscription could result in vast opportunities going forward for both Schibsted and others – within existing business, across businesses and within new product areas. By using our assets smarter and investing in the subscription economy, we believe we can secure existing business, create opportunities for future growth, and most importantly: cater to genuine user needs.

Hanne B Finstad

Hanne B Finstad
Head of Subscription Hub
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis

Leaders Under Pressure

Leaders under pressure

Leaders Under Pressure

Leaders under pressure

The responsibilities of business leaders have dramatically changed with Covid-19. We now need to thrive in a new reality while also maintaining innovation and high performance. This puts a lot of pressure on leaders. Mette Krogsrud, EVP People & Corporate Affairs, shares some of Schibsted’s actions to support business and leaders.

It is hard to recall what 2020 was pre-Corona. As I write this, the spread of the virus is still increasing, and we still find ourselves working from home. How will the pandemic impact future business and the way we work? Will there be changes for the better? What about Schibsted, our family of businesses and brands – what will we make of this crisis?

The American economist and Nobel prize-winner Milton Friedman once said, ”Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change”. And these past few months confirm his statement. We don’t know what the future will hold. But we do know that it will change.

We need empathic leaders

It is said that in times of crisis, a leader’s true self comes out. We know from before that empathic leadership is more and more important in our rapidly evolving and complex world, and now more than ever as people are having to cope with disrupted, detached and uncertain circumstances. How may leaders balance their focus on crisis leadership while simultaneously drive business continuity? This is certainly a balancing act and not an easy transition. None of us were trained to lead in a pandemic and new leadership muscles are certainly being tested and trained.

To move forward in a crisis, leaders need to cultivate four behaviors in themselves and their teams, writes Nichols, Chatterjee Hayden and Trendler in Harvard Business Review. They must decide with speed over precision, reliably deliver, engage for impact, and adapt boldly. Inspired by these guidelines, let’s explore some actions Schibsted has taken which adresses these four behaviors.

The beginning of March was chaotic, and the situation was changing by the hour. Schibsted established a Covid-19 task force on March 2 to process available information and rapidly make some bold decisions. Even though the information was incomplete, and emotions and anxieties ran high, we decided to have all employees work from home, starting March 11. Our CEO, Kristin Skogen Lund, held an epic all-hands speech to our colleagues. Heartfelt and calm, she encouraged us all to ”keep calm and carry on. Be safe, look after each other and we will get through this together.” Our 5,000 employees headed home and started getting acquainted with the new reality, clueless as to how long it would last. The majority of us have been working from home ever since. Norway announced a lockdown of the entire country on March 12.

Leaders Under Pressure


In the first weeks of home office, there was a great need for information and direction among our colleagues. Our Corona task force stayed on their toes, ensuring constant guidelines and communication across Schibsted. A few weeks in, 97 percent of Schibsted employees responded that they were satisfied with Schibsted’s handling of the situation and an impressive 85 reporting a high level of motivation in their work!

A collaborative spirit

To reliably deliver, according to the HBR report, leaders need to align team focus, establish new metrics to monitor performance, and create a culture of accountability. Never have I experienced such a collaborative, innovative spirit, caring leadership and colleagueship, and willingness to change across Schibsted as I did in those first weeks of the crisis! Our second-quarter results and giant acquisitions this summer are certainly manifestations of how our people reliably deliver, with transparency, speed, and courage. The Schibsted share price reached an all-time high and financial forecasts were no longer looking as bleak as they did when the crisis first hit. Our investors, and our own confidence in Schibsted’s ability to deliver even in the midst of a crisis, certainly bounced back into place.

Strong leadership drives high engagement and high engagement drives great results. Through our pulse surveys we identified some areas that were the most important to our colleagues. These areas included: a sense of belonging through interaction with colleagues, information sharing, well-being, and leadership. Leaders across Schibsted have made and are still making many meaningful small and big steps to address these needs.

A toolbox for leaders has been developed – filled with actions meant to engage and fuel interaction and wellbeing even when the casual encounters we all miss are no longer available. These include for instance walk-and-talks, park meetings, after work video conferences – and endless other video conference initiatives across teams and geographies.

In September we launched a state-of-the art engagement programme, ACT, which equips all our leaders to drive change and engagement in their teams on a continuous basis going forward. Now it’s all about engaging leaders and teams to create an impact!

Supercharged change

There is no such thing as ”business as usual” anymore. Almost 100 percent of the workforce is now working from home – some with their kids running around them. Change has been supercharged in the pandemic accelerator and we have all been forced to adapt. The adrenaline surge from the first lockdown shock is fading. Yet, future oriented leaders get ahead of changing circumstances and take action and experiment their way to the new normal. Which begs the question: where do we go from here?

At Schibsted we have launched a Future of work project (read more about it on the page opposite) in a quest for answers – aiming to turn challenges into opportunities. The project team works actively with gathering ideas and learning from experiments internally and externally. Our dream is that our ways of working in the future will make us an even more innovative, agile, collaborative, sustainable and attractive place to work.

I am convinced that how we work will never go back to how it was before Covid-19. How we will work in the future depends on the radical ideas that are lying around as we adapt and develop. Schibsted wants to fertilize the soil from which radical ideas can flourish. We want our leaders and colleagues to experiment, learn, and share on our journey to develop even more innovative and sustainable organizations. It won’t be easy, but as Kristin Skogen Lund said upon the traumatic lockdown day on March 12th: ”Schibsted has endured many crises before and even proved an ability to thrive and grow through troublesome times.” Now our big joint challenge is to design our future of work. I truly look forward to being part of the journey and experiencing the many experiments and radical ideas that will emerge, with or without the virus circling. It’s time to produce real change.

Mette Krogsrud

Mette Krogsrud
EVP People & Corporate Affairs
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
Time with my family and friends in London

My Home Office Struggle

My home office struggle

My Home Office Struggle

My home office struggle

Remote first is the new normal. But what about those of us who desperately miss meeting our colleagues, who know how to navigate the office, and who don’t always appreciate mixing work and home space? Will we be outnumbered by a wide world competition or do we just need to break free to truly see the benefits? Join Dan Ouchterlony in his struggle.

Desperate for a human connection

It is March 24th, 2:49 in the afternoon and I have just wrapped up another video meeting. It has been the better part of two weeks since I met a colleague in the flesh, the very same people I normally see several days a week and with whom I thoroughly enjoy chatting, debating, teasing, analyzing and brooding. I deeply miss the instant gratification of office work.

Missing it to the extent that I am about to break corporate policy and possibly Public Health Agency corona-protocol and sneak over to a colleague’s home to meet up. Just sit and work together. Like we used to. Talk about things. Work. Comment on something. Work. Grab coffee. Work. A few of us have plotted this act of rebellion in sheer desperation for a human connection.

During a team meeting we sit in separate rooms in my colleague’s house, so that the others don’t know we broke curfew. Then we reconvene in the living room. As the afternoon becomes evening, we share a bottle of wine and a conversation over a meal, and in the taxi home I feel peculiarly energized. The time we spent was productive, the work we did was creative, I rationalize as the evening streetlights glare through the windows of the car. I cannot rationalize the fact that we hugged each other on the way out, but it felt really good.

Chi mangia solo, muore solo

The kitchen table is where the family spends most of our quality time together as we break bread, look each other in the non-digital eye, and share. As we partake in the deeply cultural, social and symbolic ritual of food, the family bonds deepen. I fondly remember feasts with my parents and grandparents. Thus, I have come to associate our round wooden kitchen table with a positive moment in time and as a positive place in space. Sitting down on the oak Windsor’s sheepskin pad infallibly puts me in a positive state of mind. At least it used to.

My Home Office Struggle
My Home Office Struggle

Today is April 20th, 9:35 in the morning, and I am anything but positive, despite being in a favorite place. My right shoulder is already stiff, after only an hour of work, and my mind is churning from worry over missing our Q1 targets and a colleague who is seriously ill with Covid-19. As I try to stretch and massage the nape of my neck, I see the post-breakfast mayhem of spilt coffee and unfinished dishes on the table, and the breadcrumbs in the corner of the room sharp in the unruly morning sunlight. An hour earlier I sat down my Macbook in a hurry as my 7-year-old needed more time than usual to get to school this morning. As I fixed my gaze on a puddle of tomato seeds, that just a moment ago were part of a delicious breakfast sandwich, a sense of dread and disgust came over me. Why have I brought the serpent into Eden, brought work into my family sanctum? What if I sit down for dinner tonight and think of an investment pitch instead of my family? I decided I need another place to work, and set up station in the master bedroom fully aware the ritual of work in this particular location will seep into the very precious ritual of end-of-day conversations with my wife. And work would trouble my sleep.

The more contact I have with humans, the more I learn

Conversations with entrepreneurs are normally the best moments of my working day. Their passion and energy is contagious, their unwarranted faith in the future and personal commitments inspiring, and I feel privileged to sometimes be part of their lives. In ”Skin in the Game”, philosopher N N Taleb explains how society is, in sum, a beneficiary of the results of entrepreneurship, as it evolves and progresses, while the median entrepreneur is in fact a victim. We do not read about them that often but know that the road to success is littered by failed startups, shattered dreams and burned out founders. To be an entrepreneur is to face overwhelming odds with little more than faith – and persevere. I salute you!

My Home Office Struggle
My Home Office Struggle

Today is May 13th, 4:35 in the afternoon, the kids will be home from school soon, and I have just been scolded, insulted and yelled at by a disappointed entrepreneur whose proposal I refused. My mind reels as I try to calm my bottled-up anger and shame with deep breathing, which is surprising in a Scandinavian setting, as losing control is unprofessional in almost any circumstance. Very rarely do these ranges of emotions seep through our stoic and rational facades. This is a professional failure for me. Saying ”no” to an entrepreneur is one of the singular moments of truth in professional investing, I would argue, where I hold someone else’s hopes for the future in my hand and crush it. Just as in a human relationship, I must crush it so gently, kindly, and constructively that I am – at least later – thanked for breaking a heart. This is why many in my profession practice ghosting, it-is-not-you-it-is-me, or other avoidance strategies. I think through my own actions and wonder why my concerned and empathic look and carefully crafted arguments did not work as well as they normally do, or how I so capitally misread the mood in the meeting? I give myself credit for only formulating the sharp responses to the outburst in my head, and for keeping my emotions rather hidden, but on the other hand, I shamefully recollect alt-tabbing away from the Google Meet window, wavering in the stream of emotions, and distantly humming along and excusing myself while gazing at the desktop wallpaper of my children. Are we losing the human touch in video meetings, all becoming Keyboard Warriors, not sensing or perceiving our disintermediated 2D-selves? Did I just do the equivalent of breaking up via text? I continue breathing. It is my daughter’s birthday today and I need to be at my best in a few minutes as we will celebrate together.

Co-working, in my home

It is Wednesday morning, June 2nd, around half past seven in the morning, and I am walking to work in the morning summer sun. The bridge from Gamla Stan to Central Stockholm is being repaired so I take the boat a short hop from Riddarholmen, as I watch heavy divers work on the pontoon construction. The cleaning company comes every Wednesday morning at 08:00 to freshen up our apartment. An everyday, tax subsidised luxury for the Swedish middle class, performed by the working class. That is why I now take a walk to the office to check the postal mail on Wednesdays. I might get a letter or two a month, but it needs to be checked regularly, right? Honestly, I am avoiding the cleaners. I cannot focus due to the noise of the vacuum cleaner, I tell myself, but frankly I cannot stand to see the work of cleaning being performed by someone else, someone I paid to do the work, in front of my eyes. I am too self-conscious of the class and power imbalance. And ashamed of myself for watching Netflix after a long day of work rather than vacuuming my own floors. Is that not terribly Swedish of me? I need to work on this, I decide, but I did not expect to cowork with strangers when I signed up for a cleaning subscription.

In contrast, I absolutely love coworking with my wife in our home. We typically sit in each end of the apartment, me in the bedroom, her in the living room, doors closed to muffle the sounds of endless video conferencing. We meet up in the kitchen sometimes, brew a fresh pot on the Technivorm Moccamaster together, and chat for a minute. Oftentimes she is back-to-back in meetings, so I stumble to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of ambition and sneak a peek at her from the kitchen door, working on the living room table, looking down into her laptop screen. I make some kind of sound, blow an air kiss, hold up the coffee pot pointing my finger in a silent question: refill? Who am I kidding? She always nods, so I tip toe over to pour a cup with a dash of milk and get a silent smile and a wink. My next meeting is usually a good one. What a privilege!

The future of work, and life

The vision of a remote-first workplace is a strong one, and shortly after the pandemic induced lock-downs, tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google announced remote work was now the new normal. Directors and Vice Presidents of Remote Work were hired and Zoom rocketed from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of users. US workers stopped commuting to the tune of 30-40 billion miles per month, and when they discovered that their big-city apartments were suboptimal workspaces, they started moving. According to real estate brokers and consulting firms interviewed by CNN, the number of signed leases for condos and co-ops in Manhattan dropped 50–60 percent in July. Where did people go? The rich people went to the Hamptons. The middle class to single family houses outside the city. In a pleading tone, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been begging New Yorkers to return to the city so they can continue contributing to the local economy: ”We’ll go to dinner! I’ll buy you a drink! Come over, I’ll cook!”

That was just the immediate impact. Is it becoming structural? Recently, fintech giant Stripe announced a USD 20,000 paycheck to employees that wished to leave cities in return for a 10 percent cut on their paychecks. When you can work from anywhere, why pay a premium for San Francisco, Manhattan or Seattle? When you are not commuting, countryside living certainly has its merits. And when your workers are remote, why not upgrade them with even remoter and cheaper workers?

Remote work visionary and entrepreneur Chris Herd, founder of Firstbase, thinks this is inevitable and predicts that a majority of desk jobs will be remote by 2029.

As I explain my doubts and emotions to Chris, he kindly reminds me I am caught in the middle. His hypothesis is that I haven’t reaped the full benefits of remote first. I am emotionally and structurally still connected to the office and its routines and modes of work. Break free and you will find time and space to be human, he says. ”Don’t you miss meeting your colleagues?” I ask. Chris says Firstbase is a remote-first company, and of course they will meet up soon. But will he bring the whole team together in Scotland, where he happens to live? Or will they all meet up in the Canary Islands, in a conference hotel suited to the task of bonding a startup team together? Certainly flights and accommodation are cheaper there off-season than in a metropolitan area.

I think about it, and perhaps the real reason I like the office is the fear of the unknown. I know how to navigate an office. How to be effective. I can protect my turf as my skills and relationships are a local scarcity. At some deep level I can justify my own worth. Perhaps what I am scared of is when the world of the desk worker, my world, truly becomes flat, and I compete with the best of the best from Bogota to Baghdad to Bangladesh. What will a 45-year-old office-rat brought up in a cubicle be worth then?

Predictions on the future of work and life

By Chris Herd, founder of Firstbase (abridged and slightly edited).

Diversity and inclusion

The most diverse and inclusive teams in history will emerge rapidly. Companies who embrace it will have a first-­mover advantage to attract great talent globally. Companies who don’t will lose their best people to their biggest competitors.

Output focus

Time will be replaced as the main KPI for judging performance by productivity and output. Great workers will be the ones who deliver what they promise consistently. Advancement decisions will be decided by capability rather than who you drink beer with after work.

Talent wars

Remote work is the perk that is most sought after by workers globally. This will only increase. Remote-first companies will disrupt every incumbent who doesn’t/isn’t able to make that transition.

Rural living

World-class people will move to smaller cities, have a lower cost of living & higher quality of life. These regions must innovate quickly to attract that wealth. Better schools and faster internet connections are a must.

Working too much

Companies worry that the workers won’t work enough when operating remotely. The opposite will be true and become a big problem. Remote workers burning out because they work too much will have to be addressed.

Bullshit tasks

The need to pad out your eight-hour workday will evaporate, replaced by clear tasks and responsibilities. Workers will do what needs to be done rather than wasting their time trying to look busy with the rest of the office.

International talent

Great for developing countries. International companies will have access to talent globally. Access to opportunity will be decentralized.

Accessible jobs

Remote work will make work more accessible than it has ever been. Nothing will stop workers getting the job they deserve because there will be no obstacles in their way.

Older workforce

Boomers may be standing in the way of the remote work revolution happening quickly, believe least in its benefits, and lack the trust for it to emerge. Ironically, remote work will allow them to work far more easily later in life.

Dan Ouchterlony

Dan Ouchterlony
SVP Schibsted Financial Services
Years in Schibsted
What I’ve missed the most during the Corona crisis
My colleagues