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Starting smart for successful teams

In proper startup spirit Finance Innovation has initiated two pilot innovation groups, and what’s better than starting off with a session on smart teamwork. Members from across the Finance Innovation ecosystem gathered to build “smart teams” inspired by a research team at the Norwegian School of Economics.

Having researched and observed various teams for many years, Therese Sverdrup, Vice Rector for Innovation and Development at NHH, gave an inspiring talk about the importance of starting smart before jumping into any form of teamwork. With the innovation groups being both diverse and interdisciplinary, she highlighted the importance of creating psychological safety between the members. Sverdrup also explained how the first meeting is important for how the group delivers throughout its entire lifespan.

“We’ve been intrigued by the importance of the starting phase in teams, or in other words – what happens during the very first meeting.”

- Therese Sverdrup, NHH

Sverdrup then challenged the groups to reflect on how they wanted their teams to function by forming a team contract. This is an exercise where the groups set their goals, distribute roles, decide how they want to work, and how to make sure they stay on the right track.



“When the group started discussing, we saw the benefit of being given the opportunity to communicate at the meta-level before we started doing our task. Just within a single day we’ve come quite far, so I think that working this way with the team will be very exciting.”

– Ingeborg Faye Vågsholm, Stacc

After working out the rules of play and how the group can achieve success, it was time to go into more detail about what the different teams should be focusing on in the future. Pain points were discussed and goals set for further work in the innovation groups. The plan is to enable the groups to work autonomously by exploring common challenges and finding solutions the companies cannot achieve on their own.


“We had a very good collaboration on the PSD2 project across the industry through NCE Finance Innovation and I hope we can find new types of issues and share things we can benefit from in the future.”

– Johnny Anderson, Sbanken

We hope the workshop has boosted the innovation groups into a great start and look forward to seeing what they come up with by working together. If the experiment works out we’ll consider launching more groups with different areas of expertise in the future, says Atle Sivertsen, CEO in NCE Finance Innovation.