Liv Ryssdal Thorsen: Redefining traditional business approach with DigiLEAN

Top 10 Most Inspiring Women of Influence in 2021

There are two kinds of people in the world. Some adjust to everything and try to make the best out of it. In contrast, some have the high spirit to change some elements and contribute towards the betterment of everyone. Having the same spirit in her mind and heart, Liv Ryssdal Thorsen cemented up DigiLEAN to bring a change in the working culture of all the organizations to maximize the output.

Behind the curtains

From a very young age, Liv had the spark for innovation. She states, “Since I was a little girl, I enjoyed creating new concepts from almost nothing. For instance, a vacuum cleaner from toilet paper and cardboard box, or a whole village from paper and tape.”

As she grew older, her focus shifted from realizing personal ideas to creating something valuable to others. She completed her master’s degree in Computer science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. As soon as she completed her studies, she started her professional career as a consultant at TietoEnator. Then she worked her way up through several roles and gained all the necessary skills.

During her professional career, she realized the importance of agile philosophy. So, to change the existing approach and culture, she conceptualized a unique idea and filled true colors in it with the help of her friend and co-founder Brian Solli. This marked the dawn of DigiLEAN.

Hurdles along the way

The DigiLEAN team landed a recognized company within the lean community as one of their first customer. Liv adds, “We were quite flattered when they decided to use DigiLEAN to take the next step in their lean journey. They asked us to implement new functionality to the system. We spent six man-months before we realized that we had to stop the initiative.”

The most important lesson that they learned was the necessity to check that whether the product was market-fit for more than one client. She adds, “In addition, if you want to build customized functionality, make sure you have the right commitment from the customer. In this case, the CEO of the company left before we were finished, the focus shifted, and the company decided to place our collaboration on hold.”

Striving for best with DigiLEAN

DigiLEAN is a cloud-based collaboration tool for companies that want to maximize value and minimize waste. Strategic goals are communicated throughout the organization and put into action. Dashboards with KPIs can be created within minutes, including automatic display of business data from other systems. DigiLEAN is web-based and available on all devices engaging all employees.

She states that the team is quite proud of how their customers describe their support as beyond expectations. She adds, “Being available to help, give honest feedback and be a good collaboration partner is part of our DNA. Happy customers are excellent ambassadors.”

From the start, DigiLEAN has created a unique bond with its customers, partners, and lean communities. Continuous collaboration with them has enabled the team to ask questions, test new features, and access brainpower outside their office walls.

She adds, “We influence the culture of our workplaces in the behaviors we adopt and reward. Employees at DigiLEAN are expected and encouraged to act ethically, identifying potential risk and reporting any concerns.”

DigiLEAN is built on the Microsoft platform and modern web technology. Microsoft has been a valuable technology partner already from the start. Today they are part of a program where DigiLEAN will be available in Microsoft Teams.

Life as CEO of DigiLEAN

Being the CEO and co-founder of the company, Liv manages different aspects and responsibilities. She says, “The ability to listen is an important part of successful projects. Ask questions and truly listen to what people are telling you. It could be a customer, employee, expert within your field, or business expert. Reflecting upon their feedback has been crucial to build a successful product.”

As a leader, she makes decisions every day to set the course for the business. She bounces between a  stubborn and flexible approach and keeps an open heart to adapt to new changes but still stays true to her vision.

Being inspired by the famous adage by Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” she inspires the whole team to focus on innovation. She is passionately driven by a desire to continuously improve and make an impact and aims to make her brand the leading and preferred improvement platform globally.

Achieving a work-life balance with finesse

She understands the value of a balanced life and strives to maintain it on both a professional and personal front. She follows a strict regime and includes time for her family and personal growth.

Her co-founder Brian states, “Liv has the rare combination of excellent professional and human qualities, which makes her both a great leader and a great friend.”

She likes to wake up early in the morning to spend some quality time with her husband. After having a chat and discussing all the other aspects, she indulges in her work routine. Then in the evening, she takes out some time to help her kids with their homework, have dinner together, goes out for a walk with the dogs, and spends some quality family time.

She loves to read books and goes to bed at a reasonable time. She gets inspired by the famous saying, “Early to bed early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” and implements that in her daily life.

On the professional front, she strives to be an honest and transparent leader. She adds, “The employees are kept in the loop. Key metrics are open and discussed both good and bad results. Every morning starts with a stand-up meeting where challenges are discussed, and yesterday’s achievements are celebrated.”

Future roadmap for DigiLEAN

To become the leading improvement platform in the world, Liv guides her team to grab new opportunities and exploit new heights. She adds, “We continuously develop the product and release new versions. In 2020 we deployed a new version every two weeks resulting in 300 initiatives.”

The investments secured in 2021 lay the economic foundation for the continued development of both the company and product. She states, “We want to make DigiLEAN available for all companies who want to combine lean and digitalization. Our focus is, therefore, to have two new distribution channels for signing up, Microsoft Teams and directly from our product site We will expand our partner network and reach out to new markets. Customer priorities and needs are evolving, which means the value DigiLEAN provides must change with them.”

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