Traditional approaches to building awareness and training for “digital first” are being replaced by “Framtidsverkstaden” (FutureWorks), a concept for engaging 20% of MittMedia's employees in building customer insight and developing the new offering. 

Framtidsverkstaden is a unique combination of business development, cultural reinvention, and professional development, explained MittMedia executives at INMA’s European Conference on Thursday.

Three years ago, there was a lack of knowledge about how consumer behaviour is changing. Change can only take place when many people will see, feel and understand the same problem. “People do what they believe and believe only what they discover,” explained MittMedia’s AnnaKarin Lith, director of editorial operations, and Petra Bjernulf, marketing director.

To build a new culture, shared leadership is needed, they said. All employees have a responsibility for culture change and innovation – this requires engagement and sharing the questions with others. 

Transparency is also necessary. MittMedia employees take part in the main challenges of the top management through questions that are shared. People need to see the numbers and learn by doing. 

Direct observation is the new way of exploring what costumers need. People don’t start their day reading newspapers anymore, so publishers need to be faster as readers choose different channels of distribution.

The process of change is an ongoing work, not a project, according to Lith and Bjernulf.

FutureWorks is a three-day event in which participants from different parts of the organisation focus on core questions and problems by finding answers to the questions, such as, “What are the new needs and trends of advertisers in the near future?” 

In the last two years, there has been a substantial transformation of the culture. New digital technology and changes in costumer dialogue are now seen as opportunities instead of threats. 

Shared leadership is working for FutureWorks, as people show high commitment and engagement. More people are involved in development and the digital transformation is moving more quickly, Lith and Bjernulf said. 

MittMedia has established a new editorial organisation that really embraces digital first trend. The sales part of the organisation was re-organised  with a total digital focus.

What FutureWorks is doing is a new and innovative way of understanding costumers contexts rather then traditionally targeted groups, according to Lith and Bjernulf. And the number of job applications from other media houses has increased dramatically.