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From Snail Mail to Drones: Delivering the Future

This time, we’ll be talking with Sven Richard Magerøy Tønnessen, the Head of Emerging Technology at Posten Norge – Norway’s national postal service. Get to know him better 👇

Ep 16: From Snail Mail to Drones: Delivering the Future - graphic1

From Snail Mail to Drones: Delivering the Future – with Sven Richard Magerøy Tønnessen

During our conversation, Sven told us about his journey of becoming the Head of Emerging Technology at Posten Norge – a Nordic postal and logistics group. We also discussed different aspects of the postal industry and its challenges, what kind of innovations we can expect at Posten Norge, how they use drones and robots to improve their services, and much more! Meet Sven!

Points covered:

  • Sven’s background and professional journey
  • The role of the Head of Emerging Technology
  • Tech solutions at Posten Norge
  • Emerging tech trends in the postal industry
  • Drones and autonomous delivery
  • The future of postal services
  • Posten Norge vs. other postal services in other countries
  • Building the “culture of innovation”
  • Innovative mindset of Norwegian people
  • Warehouse solutions
  • AI / VR / AR

About Sven

Sven Richard Magerøy Tønnessen is the Head of Emerging Technology at Posten Norge, the Norwegian postal service. As the head of this department, Tønnessen is responsible for identifying and implementing new and innovative technologies that can enhance Posten Norge’s services and operations.

Prior to his role at Posten Norge, Tønnessen worked in various technology-related roles across different industries, including banking and finance, telecommunications, and logistics. He has experience in developing and implementing digital strategies, managing complex IT projects, and driving innovation.

Posten Norge, also known as Norway Post, is Norway’s national postal service. The organization was founded in 1647 and has since grown to become one of the largest employers in Norway, with over 12,000 employees. Posten Norge offers a range of postal and logistics services, including mail and parcel delivery, freight transport, and e-commerce solutions.

In recent years, Posten Norge has undergone a significant transformation as it adapts to the changing needs of its customers and the broader market. The organization has invested heavily in new technology and innovation, with a particular focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, drone delivery, and the Internet of Things.

Recently, we also asked him a few questions to get to know him better – read them here.

Intro 0:00
Welcome to the ‘How We Innovate’ podcast presented by Applandeo hosted by me, Wiola and my co-host, Bryan. On this podcast, we talk with leading innovators, pull back the curtain on their industry, and get to know how they use technology to achieve success, as well as share the stories behind them and their businesses.

Host – Wiola 0:24
Welcome to the ‘How We Innovate’ podcast, number 16. On today’s episode, we have Sven Richard Magerøy Tønnessen, Head of Emerging Technology at Posten Norge. Sven, thank you so much for joining us today.

Guest – Sven 0:40
Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited.

Host – Bryan 0:42
And how was the pronunciation of the name? How did she do? Was it alright?

Guest – Sven 0:45
That was pretty good. [laugh]

Host – Wiola 0:48
Thank you. I was practicing [laugh]

Guest – Sven 0:52
And you did the whole thing as well, I appreciate that.

Host – Wiola 0:56
Thank you. So Sven, Posten Norge is pretty unique Postal Service, taking your approach to technology. And one of your main goals is actually to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. And you in particular, are building up and managing this department which is responsible for exploring emerging technologies. So can you tell us more about it? And also your motivation to take this role?

Guest – Sven 1:28
Yeah, absolutely. First of all, really nice to meet you guys. And I’m super excited to be here. And as you said, at Posten Norge we have one of the things we’re most proud of is that adapting to change is really part of our DNA. And I know that’s kind of a cliche, but I realized that when I came here, that is really true, because we’re actually the oldest organization in Norway – we’ve existed for 375 years. And the only thing that’s been constant through that time is that there’s been lots and lots and lots of change. And we’ve come through all of them, we were the first people to like, have an aeroplane and then Norway and the steam powered ships, all of these like big transportation innovations. We were in the front, we were actually also the first company to have an online bank once upon a time. I think we’re too early for that, we don’t have that anymore. But that’s one of the reasons that I was so excited to take this role, one and a half years ago, that this is really a company that takes innovation seriously, we know that we don’t innovate for short term success, but for a long term survival. So my team is the emerging technologies department, we have a pretty unique approach to this. The reason we exist is to prepare Posten for the future. And to accelerate our adoption of emerging technologies. I’ve been working as a consultant many, many years before I took this and similar roles. And what I realized was that a lot of technology adoption is driven by reading reports, you are like having consultants to make big like to be analysis and comparing with the assets. And you make lots of lists and this emerging technology and this and this and that this is what your competitors are doing, etc. And they make a really nice report, but nothing really happens. So our main philosophy is that instead of doing that, we go out and test things and show things and create, like, experience for the employees. So they see that wow, this is here now. And by that way, we are driving the demand for employing these technologies.

Host – Bryan 3:48
Cool. And you know, when I guess maybe before we get into a little bit about, you know, some of the cool things you’re doing and some of the cool toys you get to play with at work, right. You know, one of the big things when I was researching you especially is I saw that you were the former president of the Norwegian Softball and Baseball Federation. So

Guest – Sven 4:06
Yeah, that’s right!

Host – Bryan 4:08
So you know, I’m an American, right? So whenever I talk to people about baseball here in Europe, they’re looking at me like I have 12 heads.

Yeah, know the feeling!

So how big is baseball in Norway? And how did you become interested in baseball?

Guest – Sven 4:22
Baseball in Norway, it’s I would be lying if I didn’t say it was like a niche sport, but it’s bigger than most people think there’s a like, Elite Series with a six teams that are pretty serious, that have a extensive schedule and actually tried to play at a good level. And then there are around 15 or 20 teams that are you know, just playing for fun and hanging out and playing softball and, and things like that. So I started playing baseball. I lived in Pittsburgh when I was a kid. My dad had some work there. So we lived there from ’91 to ’94 and of course, that was all we did. We played baseball in each other’s backyards. And I really, really loved it. And I was sad that I couldn’t find baseball when I got back to Norway until I started as a student at the university. And there I just saw a note a small note on the wall. You want to try baseball? Oh, yeah. So one thing led to another and I started playing, and I became the team leader of the University team. And then later, I took part of the Federation, and was the president there for eight years. So it’s been exciting journey, building the sports, we doubled our number of participants, and we created our national team back in 2013.

Host – Bryan 5:41
Very cool. So I guess since you’ve lived in Pittsburgh, I guess that makes you a Pirates fan by default? So I have to, I’m sorry for that. Sorry.

Guest – Sven 5:48
Yeah, it’s kinda painful.

Host – Wiola 5:51
So you actually came from the private sector? What’s the differences between state versus private business? When we are talking about the state of innovation?

Guest – Sven 6:02
That’s a That’s a good question. And what’s special about the our Norway post is that we’re not the state-run company, but we’re a state-owned company. So we have the freedom to operate mostly like a private company, the only thing that is that our only owner is the Norwegian state. But what they expect from us, we have a few things, we have to deliver mail to all people in Norway, which can be a challenge at times, because we have people living very spread rurally. So that those are the expectations that we have to deliver on. But other than that they’re a normal owner that expect return on investment, and that we do make sound business decisions. So speaking about the change, the Posten have been through that was, I don’t know, maybe 15 or 20 years ago that that decision was made. And the CEO at that time, he really did a good job of changing us from like a state bureaucratic thing to a well run business. So we don’t notice too much about the state on thing in our day to day lives. But in general, states is very innovative in Norway. And we have a aggressive and ambitious approach to digitalization.

Host – Bryan 7:23
Yeah. And you know, for just from our point of view, right, whenever we see like lists of the most innovative countries, it seems like the Nordics, you know, Sweden and Norway, they’re very high on that list. Right? So what do you think? Is it about maybe the Norwegian mindset or the Nordic mindset that you guys are just a lot more open to innovation in all different sorts of sectors?

Guest – Sven 7:46
Yeah. I think one of the main reasons is that we, as a society, we’ve come very far with regards to digitalization, like in the US is still I think it’s like billions of checks in the mail every year.

Host – Bryan 8:01
Yeah! Well, that’s also funny, because, you know, anytime I, my parents still write checks, right? So there were just such a backwards country in terms of financial innovation, for sure.

Guest – Sven 8:13
Yeah. And my grandparents are using mobile payments. So like the inhabitants in Norway, they are very, very far in digitalization. But we don’t have that much of a tradition for like startup growth, innovation. Sweden is pretty good at that they have Spotify, etc. But Norway is lagging a little bit. So it depends on which innovation index you look at if Norway comes up high or low, but we have like the foundation to build on. And I know there’s a lot of politicians who are really keen on pushing forward. So it’s a good mindset.

Host – Wiola 8:51
Speaking of emerging technologies in the post office. Can you tell us more like what technologies are you using? In particular, we know about VR, robots, warehouses. We know about autobot, but maybe you know, you could share more.

Guest – Sven 9:07
Definitely, I think a really important thing to know is that it’s not only the post office, I mean, the post office post is less than 25% of our revenue. We’re mostly a logistics company. But we also have other things like a third party logistics where we have the warehouse for like, online shops that we do the whole, after you click purchase, we we provide the whole service so we’re getting it to the to the customer. So it’s a lot more than a post office and that’s decides how we work. We want to prepare the full post, the full company, Norway post for the future. So we’re looking at later we focused a lot of drones and autonomous deliveries, which is important for the logistics part. But we’re also focusing on the operations part, what happens inside our terminals, what happens inside our warehouses. So VR for sample for training is something very exciting we’re doing there soon, we’ve been looking into AR solutions for our salespeople when they want to visualize things for the customers. We’ve looked at low code development tools to accelerate our ability to quickly make internal efficiency apps. And, yeah, and we’re looking into digital twins and IoT in the future. But we don’t have any specific plan for that.

Host – Wiola 10:36
As you said, your plan is to prepare for the future. So what, how do you see this future in 10 years? What does that mean? What that future means?

Host – Bryan 10:46
Yes, Sven have you never seen a sci fi movie, things get pretty crazy with the future technology. [laugh]

Guest – Sven 10:53
Yeah, things can get pretty crazy. I like to use a an illustration about exponential growth. And it looks like it’s going pretty slowly. And I put like a person there. And I say, this is where we are today. And this is what might happen. And then the exponential growth basically goes straight up. And never before have I felt like that illustration is more relevant than right now. Especially because of what we’re seeing in AI lately. We’ve been speaking a lot about AI and people who have been following it have been have known about these large language models for some time. But now after chat GPT came and just showed the pure power that can be given to the hands of anyone. And if you extrapolate that a little bit further, and you say that these language models, they can actually write books for you, it can draft emails, it can make business cases, I actually used it now to make a business case for how we can do 3D printing of spare parts. I made it in like, under half the time that I would make previously because I could just use chat GPT to structure my business case. And all of this, if we put specific, like business related AI’s on top of it, it’s it’s completely going to change how we work in all fields of society. And then when when you have that, like hardware technology, developing as quickly as it is right now with autonomous vehicles, and drones. And everybody’s talking about the metaverse, I don’t like that term too much. Because it’s interesting enough just to talk about VR at the moment, I think in 10 years, if you look back on today, you’re going to think we lived in the stone age, and I’m I’m serious about that.

Host – Wiola 12:41
Yes, we are the children of the Stone Age. [laugh]

Guest – Sven 12:44

Host – Bryan 12:46
Yes. So I guess, Sven, you know, anytime I’m on your LinkedIn page, it just feels like you’re just a kid in a toy store playing with robots, drones, right. So how does it feel to get to play with toys every day? And that’s your and that’s your job?

Guest – Sven 13:00
Yeah, basically. I really like what you say about the plane, because we are this kind of what people think about innovation departments like that is that they’re just playing around and not really creating business value. But we’re actually claiming that you said, I was like a kid in a toy store – who learns the quickest, is the kids. And that’s because they have this curiosity and this ability to play. So that’s what we’re trying to bring a little bit into this. We want to demonstrate things in practice. And it’s not only we playing, but we show things and we make it like a little bit playful, for the rest of the business as well. And then we’re dead serious about how this can create value for the business. And we have internal consultants who can help them analyze this and create business cases and see how we it can fit into their, into their operations, for example.

Host – Wiola 13:56
And Sven, so what’s your favorite toy at the moment?

For business purposes of course!

Guest – Sven 14:04
Yeah, definitely. I am really keen on this AI chat GPT. We’re starting a project on that right now, where we are going to collect probably 10-15-20 people in different roles across the organization. We’re going to give them training on what this AI can do. And we’re going to help them identify where in their daily work like this can help them. And then we want them to actually try to test it in their normal daily workflow. And then we’ll analyze the results and see where can this technology create the biggest value for us today? And as I mentioned earlier, it probably have the time that I spent making a business case for one of our projects, and if we can have the time on big tasks like that for 1000s of my employees, that’s going to be an enormous business value for us.

Host – Wiola 15:02
And what about autobots? As we know you have this self driving packaging robots you were testing, or you’re stoll testing. So how did that testing phase go? And when do you think it might be used for work for real?

Guest – Sven 15:17
Great. So the autobot, it’s, it’s a sidewalk robot. It’s an autonomous robot developed by a company called Autonomy. And many people are using the sidewalk robots to make deliveries of, for example, hot food home to people. We think that home delivery of hot food works very well today, either with our drivers in our logistics department, or Fedora, or Volt, or whatever, guy on a bike, with hot pizzas and a backpack, going all the way up to your apartment works really nice. So what we worked, we really wanted to test this. So we worked a long time to identify a good use case. And what we found was, can this robot help with our internal logistics in the city center, because we have a problem that our big vans they’re driving around, it might be difficult to find a parking space, there might be traffic congestion, etc. So can we test this autonomous robots on sidewalks to actually make pickups and bring them back to our distribution hub. So we have a digital marketplace that is called Amoy, where you can go in and order for example, fresh foods, delicacies, arts and crafts from different small shops around in Oslo, and we bring them to our distribution center and drive home to you with one consolidated package. So we found that that was a perfect case for this robot, because a few of these restaurants and delicacy shops, they’re placed by one of the most traffic hated pedestrian areas in Norway. And we’ve had trouble driving the cars all the way up to the restaurant, the cars are stuck in traffic, so the restaurant doesn’t know when the driver will arrive exactly. So by testing the robot on this use case, we found out that the robot was able to drive autonomously, for the whole stretch about two kilometers. And it’s there outside the shop at the exact same time every day. So the people who worked in the restaurants appreciate it because it was more it was easier to predict. So it’s easier for them to do and they only had to go out scan the QR code and put the food into the into the robots. And we were really interested to learn how does this robot actually interact with society? How does it interact with the people along its way all the pedestrians, so we’ve been kind of hiding in the bushes and behind observing it. And what we saw it that people just accepted as a part of the as a part of the city pictures at once. Some people are looking into their phones and barely noticing it and just sliding right back, right by. Some people are like jumping in front and see if it’s going to stop. A lot of people are taking selfies, taking videos. And the people who worked at the restaurant, they got so fond of the robot that when they filled it, they said ‘bye bye little friend’ and wave when it drove back. So that was so cool to see how naturally a robot like that can integrate into the city.

Host – Wiola 18:41
That’s so cute. Actually. I was thinking about this aspect of if we are, are we actually at the stage where this kind of robots are easily accepted by people and you know, they might be a part of the society, let’s say and in okay, from a different perspective – aren’t you afraid that, you know, those robots somehow will get stolen or broken or you know, something happens to them when you’re not in the bushes? Well?

Guest – Sven 19:14
[laugh] That’s a good point. To take your first question first. I think that conceptually, we are ready for robots like this. But there are a lot of things that need to be worked out ahead of time. We’ve had some bad experience with you know, the like, electric scooters in the city center. When they were employed. People were like, ‘Okay, this is really cool.’ But then suddenly, they’re lying electric scooters everywhere. And it was a big job cleaning it up and making legislation. So the municipality is very keen on not having something similar again, so they will work more on making good regulations to avoid that these robots will swarm the city center. But as one on one, we are definitely ready for it. With regards to being afraid that they’re stolen or broken, etc, we didn’t notice anyone kind of messing with the robot, we there are a lot of sensors on it. So we have location sensors, there’s cameras on it, which normally are turned off. Or at least, you can’t identify people. But that’s possible to actually then track down where it is and see what happened. It’s big and heavy, so it’s not easy to just, you know, run away with it. So at least if you’re driving mostly in daytime, I, we haven’t found that to be a big issue at the moment.

Host – Bryan 20:45
Yeah, and I guess for the Autobot. Right. So I know that still sort of in test testing, right? But have you guys thought about an ideal amount of Autobots that you think could be integrated, and be used for everyday use?

Guest – Sven 21:01
Not yet. And I want to remind about the reason we do this project isn’t necessarily that we do a project, which is exactly what we think we will implement. We do this project to now learn about both the robot itself, the sensors, the technology, but the ecosystem around it. We’ve learned a lot about the legislation, we’ve been in dialogue with all the governmental bodies who have something to say on this other companies interested in same thing. So it’s a learning project for us where we now understand more about autonomy in general. So what we’re doing now is that we’ve we’re using the engagement and excitement that we created in the company, to have meetings with a different parts of the company to discuss autonomy, at like a larger scale with them. So it might be that the next the first implementation after this, that someone got excited of autonomous vehicles, and want to integrate it, for example, in our terminals, for example.

Host – Bryan 22:07
And I guess just one more thing on the Autobot, right? So are you aware of maybe any other post offices or that are working with such Autobot technology, or, again, is that just something that separates Posten Norge from other sorts of postal companies?

Guest – Sven 22:23
I don’t know, of anyone doing the specific robot Autobots, but there are many of the logistics companies in Europe and the US who of course, see that there’s a great potential and are doing a lot of stuff there. In Europe, for example, DPD, and Swiss Post have gotten pretty far. And everybody’s testing in some degree or another. But I think that we’re we’re putting more into the tests and actually learning more. That’s our goal, at least.

Host – Wiola 22:53
Speaking of automations, are there any processes you would like to automate that are not automated?

Guest – Sven 23:01
I mean, in internals and operations there, there are just so many repetitive processes with the potential for automation, but we really want to move slowly and surely there. We don’t want to disrupt our workforce. So we want to, we’re looking for automations, where we can reduce the like most demanding tasks physically. So we have a better work environment. That’s what we’re maybe looking into first. And we’re also looking to, like, maybe automate a little bit more end to end in our terminals, we have a lot of automated package sorters and lots of single elements. But where can we have biggest benefits from linking two automated things with an automated thing in the middle? So but that’s, that’s not really our job in the emerging technologies, departments to find the use cases for automation. Our job is to demonstrate the technology. So the operations department can see what’s most relevant for them. So I don’t have that good of an answer there.

Host – Bryan 24:13
Cool. And you know, I guess since we talked about robots, I guess we could move on to drones. Right. So yeah, so I think drone technology, as you said, especially in a place like Norway, right, where you, there’s some people living in some very rural areas, right. So, you know, delivering packages or posts to them could be challenging, right. So I think maybe this is where drones could play a huge role going forward. Right? Is this sort of how you guys are envisioning the role of drones? Or do you guys have some other ideas?

Guest – Sven 24:46
Yeah, that’s a that’s right. We see that drones have now come so far, that you have a pretty good range of them, and some drones have can lift pretty much but then they don’t have as much range. So what we tested this fall was what’s called veto drones – vertical takeoff and landing, that have four rotors, so can take off and land like a traditional drone. But when it gets up to the right height, it has a propeller behind it. And it’s more like in a miniature airplane gliding through the sky, which gives it a range of over 100 kilometers, for a payload of up to three kilos. So we found what we think was a really good use case, there’s a producer of bottled water. Like, right in the middle of Norway, I’m pretty far away from other like big cities and stuff. And they have a laboratory partner, which is around 60 kilometers away. And this water, the water samples need to be analyzed, according to like the Norwegian equivalent of FDA regulations within a certain amount of time. So what they’ve been doing previously is that a guy gets in the car, gets a liter of water, and drives for an hour and delivers the water to the, to the laboratory. But with a drone, nobody has to drive, the drone is autonomous. So the drone will land, you just fill it into, you put the container into the drone, and then it flies back. And it’s very quick, it flies a little bit straighter line than the road. And it’s actually quicker than the car, it flies in like in 90 kilometers an hour, then you get the delivery in 40 minutes instead of an hour. And the drone is readily available. And of course, it makes a lot more sense transporting one liter of water on 13 kilo drone through the air than one liter of water in 1500 kilos of metal. So it’s between 95 and 99% reduction in their carbon footprints if we change those delivery modes.

Host – Wiola 27:07
Nice. And so and also how does it work from like the perspective of the like regulations? Can you drive the drones in the city because in Krakow, in Poland in general, of course, if you get a license, you can do you know, we use drones, but you can use them everywhere, right?

Guest – Sven 27:32
Luckily, drones have been pretty heavily regulated. So you need a license as long as you operate a drone outside of your field of sight. And of course, in cities, you need a license and a dispensation if you want to fly a drone at all. So these autonomous drones, the 500 kilometers, they need a license. And that’s kind of quality assurance of the operator that they’ve gone through to get this license and our partner in this project. It’s in a Norwegian startup who have really developed their technology and competent quickly. They have all these licenses ready. So we learned a lot about discussing with – could you call that the air space agency or something with where they can fly, how they can fly? Which wind conditions can they fly in? How do they communicate to make sure that there’s not like an ambulance helicopter in the sky on the route at a time, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera? So I’m really happy for the regulations that are developing further, because then you avoid that people who shouldn’t be flying are flying.

Host – Wiola 28:52
What happened after testing of what are delivery drones?

Guest – Sven 28:57
Yeah. Cool. So you might think that when we test drones for deliveries, that’s a natural next thing is to actually start implementing drones for deliveries. And yes, we are looking into that. And we learned a lot of stuff that we’re, we’re moving forward. But this is such a cool example of how we work by actually testing and demonstrating a technology to create excitement and demand out in the organization. Because one thing that happened was that actually the guy in the bring warehousing department that does warehousing services for clients, he called me and it was ‘Wow, I’m so excited now, I saw your drone test. And yeah, is it true that you can actually fly drones indoors as well?’ And I’m like, yeah, yeah, of course. ‘Yeah. Cuz I got so inspired by this project. So I was wondering if maybe we could try drones to do inventory management in our warehouse.’ And I’m like, Yeah, that’s sounds like an awesome idea. So I did some research and I found a company who actually does this, they have indoor autonomous drones that fly up between all the pallets and things, and use machine learning vision recognition, to actually count all the pallets, and make sure that the inventory is correct. And this is a job that’s done manually now. People climbing up ladders, like scanning each barcode. So we can only do the inventory counts maybe once or twice a year. And it’s a big, big cost for our customers. So now, we’ve already planned that we’re hopefully doing a pilot project to test this technology to see if it works. And if it does, then we can provide our customers with a lot better service that they know, more real time the status of their inventory. So we provide them a lot more value that they’re getting from the once twice, three times a year manual counting that we’re that we’re doing today. So I just love that when I started here, I said that we need to demonstrate things because lots of other things that we can’t predict will happen. And now when we test the drone deliveries, we’re suddenly accelerated the adoption of drone technology indoors in the warehouse.

Host – Bryan 31:19
I mean, when I when, you’re right, so like what when we think of drones, we just think of them as outdoor sort of assistant. Right. But for the fact that you guys were able to come up with a use case to use it inside a warehouse. That’s, that’s pretty awesome.

Guest – Sven 31:34
Thanks. [laugh] It was my idea. It was it was the brain warehousing idea, but I will take credit for for inspiring, inspiring them to think the idea.

Host – Wiola 31:46
Nice, nice. Okay, changing the topic slightly. Talking about Posten Norge, we know that, like one of your goals in general, is to be a competence driven and attractive employer, which is very important. So I wonder, what is the process here? It’s like to build How do you build this mindset? And also the culture of innovation? How does it work in practice?

Guest – Sven 32:11
Yeah, that’s, that’s a really good question. A few years ago, we developed our internal innovation methodology. It’s based on you know, lean startup and design thinking and all of these things that you’ve heard about, but we actually branded it as a Posten thing. And we made, it’s called helix, where you have like, explore, test and implement the three main phases, and you have some tool, etc. So we’ve been training a lot of our employees in this mindset and method, so then people start talking about it. And then we came in as the emerging technologies department. And just by being so practical, and hands on and demonstrating things, people get interested, and that drives competence in the organization. And then when we, in addition, talk about this externally, for example, in this podcast, or the news articles we got from Autobot or the drone project, or that we have keynotes and seminars, etc, etc, we’re on LinkedIn, you know. Then we create like a buzz out in the population, that we are actually very innovative and that we need this competence. So I’m recruiting right now. And we had, I mean, the job of going through all these amazing applicants was such a fun experience, and also really tough to say no to so many good people. And I hear that from other parts of the organization as well is how we now look externally helps them a lot to attract good employees. Because you don’t have to go further back than maybe 10 years where everybody thought that the ‘Postal Service are you going to be become a postman? That’s such a boring old company.’ Nobody tech persons want to work there that just completely flipped on its head the last few years.

Host – Bryan 34:03
Yeah, that’s because, you know, you know, here in Poland, and you know, I mean, in the States, right, again, we don’t see anything post office related, leading to any sort of innovation or even mentioning the word innovation, right? You know, anytime you step into post office or anything, you feel like you’re taking time machine back to the ’99 [laugh].

Guest – Sven 34:22
It’s actually kind of crazy, because it’s not just that we talk about that we’re doing innovative things other people think we do as well. We were named the most innovative company of all companies in Norway last year and three years ago, which is so cool by a jury of innovation experts, like professors and stuff like that, so that was awesome.

Host – Wiola 34:46
You’re a real trendsetter.

Guest – Sven 34:48
Yeah! That’s cool!

Host – Bryan 34:52
Yeah. So I know you also mentioned you guys are maybe utilizing AI now, right? This is something you know that you have in existing project, right? So, you know, as the head of emerging technology, are there, are there certain technologies that you guys would think you’ll be able to utilize maybe in the near future?

Guest – Sven 35:09
Absolutely. I think the potential within IoT is huge. We have a lot of data already. But we can get even more relevant data from all our operations, all our vehicles, etc. Combine that with a digital twin of terminals, for example, I think there’s great potential. But that’s, that’s a pretty long, long road to go. So we’re we want to test these things like a step at a time. So I have really, really strong belief that training procedures can be done more effectively, and more interestingly, with virtual reality than with like classroom training. Or you can do trainings in virtual reality without having to shut down the operations to actually show the machines etc. So that’s also a project we want to do where we want to find a good use case in operations, maybe the train temporary employees, so they actually know the building and their processes, HMS routines, etc, before they show up to work the first day, so they can be efficient from day one, instead of using a week to learn all this stuff before they really get to top productivity. So that’s, that’s the technology I’m really, really excited about.

Host – Wiola 36:25
So this is our, Sven, this is our last set of questions. Just to you know, get to know you better, a little bit outside work. The question is, have you ever been a DJ?

Guest – Sven 36:38
Oh, if I’ve ever been a DJ – no, I wish, I love music. Yeah, I was a big hip hop music fan and in my teens, but I was more like a guy who looked up to the other DJs and tried, you know, scratching some records and stuff. But yeah, I never was really good at it.

Host – Bryan 37:01
You’ve been a DJ, there you go. You scratch the record, that’s all that says.

Guest – Sven 37:04
Awesome, thanks! I’m gonna put it on LinkedIn now.

Host – Bryan 37:10
All right, so how about a favorite baseball player?

Guest – Sven 37:12
Oh, man. You know, I think that McCutchen was really awesome. And when he came up, and finally the Pirates had a few winning seasons there for a few years, was really cool. And just the way he held himself. And that was an inspiration for everyone on the team, and everyone in the city was perfect. He’s is an idol.

Host – Wiola 37:36
What is your favorite cocktail? Or maybe, can you you know, can you share some magic Norwegian recipe that we don’t know yet?

Guest – Sven 37:45
We have a lot of good Norwegian gin. So some some good tonic and some good Norwegian gin. And I think it’s a winner.

Host – Bryan 37:52
Cool. And I guess we can wrap up? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, whether it be personal business, whatever.

Guest – Sven 38:02
I think the best piece of advice I got was to start understanding that you don’t need to know everything or be perfect to make an impact. Because I know when I started in the, when I started my career, I had maybe too much respect for people with more experience than me. So I kind of held back a little bit what I thought were my special skills. But when I understood that, no matter how long you’ve been working, you will you have some things you know, and you have some things you don’t know. So just go ahead and don’t be afraid to show what you can contribute, contribute with no matter where you are in your career.

Host – Wiola 38:51
That will Sven Richard Magerøy Tønnessen, Head of Emerging Technology at Posten Norge. Sven, thanks for joining us. It was a pleasure speaking with you.

Guest – Sven 39:02
Thank you, it was so much fun.

Host – Bryan 39:03

Ending 39:09
Thank you for listening to ‘How We Innovate’, a podcast by applandeo. Get your apps and web apps built today by visiting applandeo.com. We’re Applandeo!