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Verasus Week 2: Finding our ‘Massive Transformative Purpose’

What a ‘freshers fortnight’ it has been the Verasus team! We have been busy relocating to DNV GL’s head office in Oslo and setting up our innovation war room, starting our new roles away from our Business Areas, getting to know each other, building connections across the company and engaging with customers. All this with the goal of discovering our ‘Massive Transformative Purpose’ (MTP); the very reason for building this start-in. The few gaps in our schedule have been filled with in-depth discussions and brainstorming sessions. It has been an intense and exciting couple of weeks and I feel like we are making progress already.

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From London…

The Verasus project officially began on 2nd October and the first week was spent in London. During the Verasus kick-off meeting with project stakeholders Luca Crisciotti (DNV GL – Business Assurance CEO), Jon Woodhead and Renato Grottola and our project mentors Gabriele Manno and Preben Sander, we defined our roles, responsibilities and expectations. A key expectation from our stakeholders is that we should ‘think big’ and work to create something truly innovative, future-fit and transformative. With the great level of support offered by Luca and the stakeholders who made clear that they are equally as committed and enthusiastic about the project as we are, we finished the meeting feeling confident, inspired, ambitious and full of energy to meet this expectation.

Whilst in London, we also took the opportunity to meet with our expert colleagues from UK Business Assurance, Paul McNeillis, Gareth Manning, Dania Sauza-Suarez and Laura Dombi. They gave us some great insights into the maturity of the market to regards sustainability reporting, the problems and challenges our customers are facing and current levels of traction around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking with them helped us to make the first step in refining the Verasus idea; to focus on how sustainability data can be used to influence and improve business decision making, rather than on data collection aspects.

Other highlights of our first week included catching up over lunch with some of the London-based friends we made at the NextGen Summit this summer (where Verasus was the winning idea), grabbing the mandatory ‘fish, chips and a beer’ at a London pub on the river, and for Benjamin at least, bumping into the Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and his whole family at a London theatre and telling him about the Verasus project!!

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…to Oslo…

Our second week in Høvik began with making ourselves a start-up hub in an unused office landscape. We have transformed this area by rearranging furniture, sticking up posters and notes and creating an open space for brainstorming ideas and hosting discussions.

We then had a meeting to plan our first project design sprint which will run over the week commencing 23rd October. With the help of Martine Hannevik, Simon Ratcliffe, Gabriele Manno and Preben Sander, we developed a list of tasks to complete in preparation….this is keeping us busy!

We also had a great conversation with DNV GL’s Chief Sustainability Officer Bjørn Haugland, to introduce him to Verasus and gather his thoughts. He agreed that it was right to focus on enabling companies to get more value from their data and offered further words of inspiration: ‘go beyond what already exists’, ‘tell a company CEO something that he doesn’t already know about his company’, aim to ‘change mind-sets’. After this meeting we felt ready to state our Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP): Empower companies to maximise the value of their data to drive better strategic decision making and achieve a truly sustainable business.

The challenge we face over the next couple of weeks and during the sprint is to define a smaller, more specific challenge/solution that we can focus on and deliver within the given three months. This will be the first stepping stone to achieving our MTP for Verasus.
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The first two weeks of the project have been action packed to say the least. From London to Oslo, fish and chips to brown cheese, we have finished the first fortnight feeling energised, inspired and excited for what’s to come, the sprint and beyond….including a taste of Derek’s Chinese hot pot.

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