Dagens Næringsliv explores how to develop product young users will love

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


When Norways Dagens Næringsliv (DN) began looking at where it needed to improve its strategy, it quickly identified two main areas:

  1. Innovation, or creating product and services users love and companies will pay for.
  2. Attracting young users and subscribers.

To win in these two areas, DN had to develop an innovation culture and make its employees capable of generating ideas and hypotheses, understanding user needs, making prototypes and testing for product/market fit — all without too much hassle or steep initial investments.

Innovating the DN way

The company’s main objective in 2018 was to introduce such a framework and use best practices from lean innovation to find what it called “the DN way” of approaching innovation. The company already had a strong editorial history, with the print newspaper as its main source of income — but the average print subscriber is 46 years old.

Recognising the future is digital and that it needed to attract a younger audience, DN set out to find a comprehensive and effective framework.

To do this, DN partnered with Sprint Consulting, a specialist on lean innovation. Together, they set up a small project during the summer of 2018 with help from two summer interns. The students were tasked with helping create “the DN way” of doing innovation and kick-start the must-win battle of winning over young audiences at the same time.

The project relied upon a four-part innovation framework that walked through each process:

  1. Scoping and vision: Understanding why (and where) it was important to innovate.
  2. Problem and solution: Testing hypotheses about user needs to better understand its target audience of students.
  3. Product/market fit: Examine if what has been developed fits the users’ needs.
  4. Scaling: Understanding how to accelerate growth and scale the product.
Dagens Næringsliv used a lean innovation framework to find a solution for attracting young readers.
Dagens Næringsliv used a lean innovation framework to find a solution for attracting young readers.

Then, DN was able to test best practices for lean innovation with the concrete goal of engaging more students. Walking through a series of steps to test and confirm the product’s viability, it then created a business plan based on the outcomes of those tests. From there, it created an MVP that it placed on a student platform to get feedback from hundreds of students.

Measuring results

The project was as successful as DN had hoped. Now, it has implemented that four-step innovation framework and introduced all employees to the framework. Cross-functional teams ensure that nearly every department is represented, and team members are given follow-up initiatives and help other employees with the tools.  

Other accomplishments as a result of this project are:

  • DN now has interview guides for the problem and solution interviews, as well as experimentation reports.
  • It uses the lean canvas to create business plans and spends less time on huge business cases and long presentations.
  • Additional MVPs have been tested with real users and potential customers.
  • The word “iterate” has become a natural part of the in-house conversation — not only in the innovation projects but other work processes as well. 

This case study originally appeared in the INMA report, 7 Steps to a Successful Media Product Process.

About Paula Felps

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