Lina works in the field of business development at SJ mainly in their corporate programme SJ Biz that deals with corporate clients of SJ. She has been working for SJ since 2010 and know everything about customer relations and techniques.
How do you foster innovation at SJ? How can a 160 years old corporation innovate?
Not all people are 160 years old who are working here, so I guess this is something that helps. We are not afraid to change but it surely is not easy as the industry is quite conservative. There is a long way between the traditional operation of a travel company and the adaptation of innovative ideas, but we are ready for the challenge.
We work together with Epicenter in Stockholm – and we try to cooperate with people who have great ideas that we can deploy. There is a lot to do in travel industry and we need to have help from other people who are not directly working in this field so they have a fresh eye for it.
How do you incorporate these innovations?
We get a lot of ideas and we try to go with the great ones. We have a business development department but they don’t handle all the initiatives alone so other departments deal with these too. The business development owns the SJ Labs concept too. We have a few interesting initiatives. For example in March we started to organise SJ Epitrain – it is a train on the Stockholm – Gothenburg line where new technnology and businesses can showcase their ideas and apps on the train. There is wifi, a lot of people and these people have a lot of time while they are travelling, so we can allow them to try new things and help these ideas to grow in the same time. We work a lot to find ideas what could be done during travelling – apart from travelling.
Can startups participate in this and bring their ideas to be tested on the train?
Sure, we had 4 startups on the train from Epicenter last time, so: yes, we are open to the startup communities! We need to do this a lot more and cooperate more with the entrepreneurs and startups. With us they can grow really big on the market.
How do you want to do this?
We have a concept, SJ Labs, where we do this with students. There are trains that can be taken 3-4 times a year where entrepreneurs can come and try new things with us and can apply with their technologies through our app.
What kind of technologies are you looking for?
Now we are dealing with a technology that eliminates receipts and facilitates transactions to buy train tickets and make these completely seamless. The application sees your calendar and offers tickets according to your schedule. So if you have a meeting in Gothenburg, then you get a notification that asks you if you would like to book your ticket now in the easiest way possible. You click yes and the transaction is done.
Also we are working on things to do on the train.
Which traveltech areas are you most excited about?
I am very excited about the hyperloop systems – that you can take this train and go anywhere really fast and safe – it will be really great!
The SJ Biz future customer offering and corporate program are very exciting for me. Also we are working on a biochip project that is really interesting.
Why is SJ a great company to work with?
Because it has a great reach and many passengers. It is a digital frontrunner in the industry and offers a sustainable alternative of travel. It is customer driven and also open for the cooperation with entrepreneurs.
How do you like to travel the most?
I commute with high speed train every day and I would never take the car for my daily trips. I also need to get to the train stations – I would love to take electric cars to do this. I don’t think we will have other than electric cars in the future.
Which kind of technologies would you like to work with on Startup Weekend?
I will sit with my boss tomorrow and will discuss this question. I work with the business part, a B2B platform. We see that the digitalization is ongoing with the B2C customers, but the B2B arena is to be digitized and facilitated by technologies too.
Do you have a favourite travel destination?
I came from the north of Sweden so I love to go there. There is a lot of snow in winter and I love to be there and to calm down.
If you could change anything in the world what would you do?
I would clean the air from toxins. And I would make everyone happy with my smile.
What are the areas that you are the best in?
I have worked a lot with customers – my whole carrier was built upon that. So that is my strength – I know how they think and I know how to be customer driven. That is very important for all businesses.
Why are you looking forward to be the mentor of Startup Weekend?
I think it will be a great fun and I am looking forward to the energy that comes from the co-creation of new ideas that try to change the world. I think this is very positive and it is great to work with entrepreneurs!
I think it will be very inspirational and I’m looking forward to see new ideas. And it will be great to just turn the energy level up and be creative together.
Do forming startups have the opportunity to get in touch with you and work together with you in the future?
Of course, all my colleagues are enthusiastic about it and I am sure we can go on working with startups that have a great potential and could serve good solutions. They can randomly approach us with ideas and we’ll see what is going to happen. For example I met a few guys at Epicenter with chip implants, they said that it would be so great if SJ would be the first company to launch t ticket on the chip. This really got me excited and back at the office I started working on a solution with my colleagues. Thanks to close cooperation with some of the entrepreneurs and experts in the field that we met through Epicenter, the development has been fast and led to customer friendly solution. We will launch the solution on the 17th of May, but I can’t tell more before the public launch. We will be the first travel company in the world that uses biohacking to replace ordinary tickets.
How do you see the travel industry in 5-10 years?
I think that the biggest change will be that there are going to be more and more people travelling in Sweden and all around the world too. The people will be more and more individualistic and they don’t want to pay extras for additional services.
AI is going to be big in many senses, but these technologies can be used in customer services too.
What is your motto?
I am a very positive person, so my motto is this: “Nothing lasts forever, not even your problems.”
Why should anyone attend Startup Weekend?
The whole travel industry is growing rapidly. Digitalization has started to transform the industry, but in some areas there is still a lot to be done. And we have to do it!
Travel is both fun and important part in many people’s lives, in business, commuting and tourism. We want to make it easier for everyone and Startup Weekend can be a great place to start.
Come to see the light by the end of the tunnel with Lina and hop on their train for user testing! Come to Startup Weekend, register here: stockholm.up.co!