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Dare to be different

Being a bit different can be demanding in various situations and contexts. Not least so when entering the labor market. But, if you are lucky enough to meet an employer who is also thinking outside the box the benefits can be great - for both parties.

Just like many other smaller organizations, the success of InfoCaption as a company is highly dependent on its people and coworkers. When Nils Erik Wallman, then the CEO of InfoCaption, moved from Uppsala to Sandviken in 2008 the company required increased development capacity in order to realize new opportunities and product ideas. The “competence” required could not be found on the ordinary labor market, so Nils Erik started to search for talent through unusual channels.

As a product company it is of of key importance to invest technologies and frameworks that lie at least 3-5 years in the future. Competence in such areas are hard to find on the ordinary labor market. As a solution to this paradox Nils Erik started to look around for people who, although lacking in work life experience and great resumes, were passionate about certain subjects. It was certainly not a drawback if they were “different” either.

Nils Erik says:

"I guess I’ve always been different myself, not quite fitting in. I’ve also experienced the numerous advantages with standing out from the crowd, and that was something I wanted more of. Thinking differently than “the rest” tends to provide great competitive advantages while also making your job much, much more entertaining.”

He established The Scape Bay as a social enterprise on the floor above InfoCaption’s office. It was an office landscape where people without a job to go to could sit and work with their own projects supported by the Swedish Public Employment Service. Every once in a while people with a burning passion for IT and development, but lacking in work life experience and formal competency, would drop in. Some also faced other personal challenges, creating adaptation issues in ordinary work life. For some of them, initial small-scale projects resulted in full time employment at InfoCaption.

Foto of the article with the headline (translated from Swedish) "Zids diagnose is no hinder at work"From Gefle Dagblad, 6/6 2018. The headline reads "Zids diagnose is no hinder at work".

Hiring these hidden talents was not completely easy, however. Partly due to people themselves saying “no thanks”. Why?

"I guess it was due to the fact that they would be leaving a safe and established existence, in what some may call outsidership, that they were very accustomed to. They would be getting up in the morning and going to work five days a week, and that would probably be a big step for anyone to take.”

So, what has been gained by employing these people? For InfoCaption it has meant a doubling of yearly turnover, and an organization standing ready to take the next steps in the company’s growth. People who might otherwise still be without a job have gotten full time employment, and it has become somewhat of an eye opener for local officials and other business owners. In time, they may also start thinking outside the box.

Nils Erik has some advice for other employers: “Dare to invest in people. Don’t be so darned short-sighted, and do what’s fun!”

Want to read the full Gefle Dagblad article (in Swedish) about Nils and Zid? Follow this link: https://www.gd.se/logga-in/adhd-diagnosen-inget-hinder-for-zid-pa-sandvikenforetag-har-kan-jag-vara-mig-sjalv

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InfoCaption

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Adam Eriksson InfoCaption

Adam Eriksson