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  • Foto del escritorThe Corporate Reviews

Christoph Magnussen

Founder and CEO, Blackboat

 


Describe Blackboat.


Blackboat is a consultancy that specializes in transforming and optimizing collaboration and communication in companies. This means employees can work more efficiently and effectively. We believe that good internal communication and collaboration is the key to a successful company. In this manner, our goal is to help companies respond quickly to changes, make important decisions and keep pace with the ever-increasing pace of the world of work – driven by technological change.


Our services range from consulting and licensing data protection-compliant communication tools to the development of clear communication protocols to the provision of training programs and the development of hybrid work formats. We cover a variety of areas, such as emails, knowledge management, use of offices, generative AI or project organization via chats. As certified partners of leading software solutions, we can help put together the perfect combination of communication tools for your company. Our specialists also provide support with training and change methods to ensure that all employees fully understand the communication tools and processes and can use them effectively.


Thus, our impact is reflected in improving internal communication and collaboration in the companies we work with. The spectrum ranges from start-ups and scale-ups to traditional companies and corporations for which we work.


How do you imagine the future of work? How is Blackboat contributing to make that happen?


Work is becoming more and more flexible and increasingly influenced by technology such as AI. With my team, I want to ensure that people are strengthened rather than weakened by their work. At Blackboat, we believe in Frithjof Bergmann's “New Work” idea, which aims to make work something that empowers people and enables them to achieve their full potential.


With our constant hunger for new things and more than ten years of experience, we live the New Work idea internally and bring it to other companies in our projects.


We offer a variety of services to help companies achieve this vision. This includes training for internal communication teams, workshops for communication guidelines and self-organization, leadership training for remote teams and much more.


In addition, we use the most modern tools internally such as Slack, Google Workspace and Asana and enable our crew members to complete their tasks regardless of location. We firmly believe that the future of work is flexible and digital and we want to share this vision with our customers and help them achieve it.


What was the actual impact of Covid-19 in companies' environments? What are the benefits and challenges that these changes brought to employers and employees?


One of the biggest changes has been the widespread adoption of home offices and remote work. Above all, we saw that the solutions for working under the circumstances of the pandemic had already been there for a long time, but had just not yet been used on a large scale. Video calls were already possible in 2010, and internal communication tools have been around for several years. The Covid-19 pandemic has ensured that such technologies have finally been used to make work easier.


Could you tell us why internal communication inside companies is so important? What measures can be taken to improve it?


Collaboration is communication. This is the basic understanding of what we need from work and what we have to create in order to then look: What do we need now, how is the world changing and therefore our work?


Then the first step is to develop clear communication protocols: guidelines and processes are needed that enable effective and efficient communication within the company. This is usually accompanied by the introduction of new tools, for which initial and ongoing training programs are absolutely necessary. This is the only way companies can ensure that all employees fully understand the communication tools and processes and can use them effectively. The crucial factor here is that leadership must set an example and live the changes!


How does Blackboat work with different technologies such as AI to make different strategies for their clients?


Blackboat uses AI technologies, particularly generative AI models such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, to develop tailored strategies for our clients. We offer a comprehensive “NextAI” workshop that provides a deep insight into the application of generative AI in a corporate context. The workshop aims to explore the most useful uses of these tools to exponentially increase productivity in collaboration.


Our experts then help companies refine their individual AI strategy and make optimal use of existing resources. This is not just about implementing new technologies, but also about training employees so that they can fully understand and effectively use the new tools and processes. Our goal is to take internal communication and collaboration to a new level and to support companies in unlocking the full potential of AI for their needs.


In your opinion, people should be working to live, or living to work? What is the perfect balance between work and personal life?


It’s all in the mix! Finding a healthy work-life balance while advancing your career is challenging. As an entrepreneur, podcast host, patchwork dad, I know this only too well. I would like to share a few tips that I always remind myself of:

  • Set priorities: Identify what is most important to you in life and focus on that. It's okay not to do everything perfectly.

  • Plan your time: Use calendars or scheduling tools to manage your time effectively. Plan both work and leisure activities.

  • Learn to say no: It is important that you learn to turn down tasks that are not your priorities or that might overwhelm you.

  • Use technology wisely: Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It can help you work more efficiently, but it can also make you constantly available. Set limits on technology use outside work hours.

  • Take care of your health: get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise regularly. This will help you reduce stress and feel better.

  • Seek support: If you feel like you need support, don't hesitate to seek it. This could be a coach, a mentor or simply a good friend.


And the perfect internal structure for a company to get the best from its collaborators?


There is no blueprint, no “one size fits all” solution. Every company and every industry have its own characteristics that need to be taken into account.


One way to optimize the internal structure of a company and exploit the full potential of employees is to establish new working methods and behaviors. This can be achieved through tailor-made training programs that train employees on the effective use of implemented tools. Another important aspect is ongoing, transparent communication. It is the key to a successful change process.


It is also important that companies clearly define their mission and share it with their employees. Finding the company's purpose, if possible with the involvement of employees, is an important first step. Companies that find credible answers as to why their actions are important are likely to increase the willingness of their employees to address this question themselves and, ideally, to answer it in accordance with the company's goals. In the end, everyone benefits from this.

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