Ignition Bootcamp Utrecht: Friday March 24th, 2017 - Day 5

After a very intensive week, the bootcampers had to make it through one more day! On Friday they could think about how they would take everything they learned in the...

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March 26, 2017
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Xavier is the Director of Data and Marketing at NRC, a Dutch daily newspaper. He came to prove to the bootcampers that it is actually possible to implement all (or most) of the concepts they had been talking about for the past week: putting your customer at the center, using data for insights, breaking hierarchies and becoming a network. 

The newspaper NRC had seen declining sales for years. This changed from the moment the customer was involved in the company. At the kitchen table of their readers, the NRC team redesigned its pricing, subscription model and KPI structure. You can't be successful if you want your customer to live by your own rules. You also can't be successful if the amount of paper that leaves the factory still is an important KPI when the world has gone digital. Some radical changes were made: paid for additional services became available for free, discounts were made available for longer times … All of these decisions might at first sight seem detrimental to the company, yet they enabled the company to grow again and have more loyal customers.

Xavier told the bootcampers about every step he took on this journey, including the failures. He warned the bootcampers to make sure to collect the relevant data from their customers. This came with an important sidenote: don't do so in a way that would offend your mother! You can already do very interesting things with only small amounts of data. Most importantly, Xavier encouraged the bootcampers to build networks inside the hierarchies of their organizations. You have to find those willing to change and bring them to the same table. There must be a common goal for everyone in the company to work towards. This encourages cross-silo collaboration to create the best possible customer experience.


You might have seen Axelle's (she is nexxworks' visual strategist) beautiful visual stories of every session on social media. Axelle isn't afraid of disrupting her own business: she taught the bootcampers how to work in a more visual way, just as she does. It is important to know that people tend to remember visual information a lot better. And there are some easy tricks to make your average to-do-list or brainstorm on a flipchart a lot more attractive: use shadows, combine colors, close the lines … Working in a visual way also helps you structure your own thoughts, because you can see them unraveling right in front of you. By the end of the week, the marker had become the more popular note-taking tool at the expense of the regular pen.

Because of her job, visualizing stories, Axelle is also a great story listener. Every day, Axelle introduced the bootcampers to some interesting tips and tricks in how to make a good story. No speaker was safe for the analyses of the newly gained skills of the group!


Ianka continued along this path. She came to help the bootcampers deliver a mind-blowing pitch. What would they tell to their colleagues on Monday? How would the bootcamp impact the things they do? She told that, most importantly, good stories are personal stories: don't tell your audience what you would like to do, tell them what you already did! And don't forget to think from their perspective: what is it you want to offer them? Do you want to inform or inspire your audience? What are the key insights they should go home with? You have to make sure the audience understands why you are telling exactly this story and not any other one. All of this was immediately applied in practice with a series of fun exercises.

After this final session, all bootcampers started working on their pitch. In the safe hands of Ianka and Axelle they got to practice and polish their pitch to perfection. Finally, at the end of the week, they all got to present their pitch to each other. Some felt lost in reality, or even shared their worries about Pandora's box. But these stories, too, quickly turned into enthusiasm and excitement. Promises were made to create communities of like-minded spirits inside and outside their companies, others would start initiatives to become more agile and stay relevant in the Day After Tomorrow. Over a last drink, they already started making plans for a reunion to discuss their progress and the challenges they overcame. We wish them the best of luck!

This is the last of a series of five posts about the Ignition Bootcamp of the week of 20 March until 24 March.

We've made a short compilation video of our fifth bootcamp day as well. Check it here.

Want to join one of our next Ignition Bootcamps? Check them here

Frederik Simoen
Frederik Simoen
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March 26, 2017
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