NEWS April 4th, 2020

Creativity is the business, tech is the tool

Don’t be misled by the technical side of our work. We are primarily a creative company. The technique is the tool, the medium we use to shape our creativity.’ – Pien Oosterman, CEO Levi9

It started with a bang
In 1994, the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the planet Jupiter, a cosmic bang that changed the skies forever. That fact meant the conceptual starting point of a tech company that called itself Levi9 and set itself the goal of bringing about lasting change through digital disruption.

We want more
Levi9 differentiates between support tech and business tech. There’s a crucial difference between the two. The first offers support to the client’s business, meaning the most important goal is to achieve greater efficiency. Which isn’t something that particularly floats a Levi9er’s boat. Levi9 wants to create lasting change to their clients’ businesses with creative, technological customisation. Creating impact. A domain where the only thing that counts is effectivity, or rather: more. Should the project deliver more profit/success/production/output/results than it did previously? Time for the levi niner to roll up his sleeves and get on the case.

Programmers should shine
To be able to change your client’s company, you have to understand their business through and through. This goes beyond a briefing or a day of shadowing. You have to speak their language, test their products, know their processes, recognise their insecurities and be aware of
what keeps them awake at night. Which is exactly where Levi9 sets itself apart: ‘customer intimacy’, or a personal, involved relationship with the client. Equality, without hierarchy and with space for every idea. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this term in a tech company and as a business principle it does bring with it the necessary challenges. Not every client is accustomed to working
like this: some companies have a fight-mindset, or bureaucracy, or distrust. In which case, it simply doesn’t work. Levi9 are unable to add anything and the programmers get frustrated, while they should actually be allowed to shine. Their work is as good as their dialogue with the customer.

Tech as a tool
Creative digital disruption is the objective, technology is the tool. To achieve the necessary creativity, freedom is crucial. You must have the confidence to think, feel, do and talk without limitation. The entire company culture has been deliberately created to constantly reinforce this
feeling of warmth and safety. For a tech company, Levi9 has an above average focus on people, or the soft side of the business. At Levi9, leadership is about relationships, not targets. The paradox however, is that this doesn’t stem from soft human behaviour, but from hard ambitions. Or, as CEO Pien Oosterman describes it: ‘We think people are very important, but we’re not some soft yoga joint. We pay a lot of attention to our people because this leads to better results. And we all know that better results lead to more profit…’ That too is creating lasting impact. But then on your own business.

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