OP Lab Discovery Partner Antti Hyytinen: How Demola Shaped My Career

OP Lab Discovery Partner Antti Hyytinen: How Demola Shaped My Career

Antti Hyytinen, a Demola alumnus, works as a Discovery Partner in OP Lab in Oulu, Finland. Antti’s journey to his current job began almost 7 years ago in fall 2016, when his wife came across an email about Demola and encouraged him to apply. Antti, at that time a business school freshman, was interested in the financial markets and decided to apply for a project offered by OP Lab. 

The team’s objective was to develop a concept of a new mobile banking app for millennial customers, “The Life Account”. In the end of the program, their project was chosen as the best of the season, and the head of OP Lab at the time contacted Antti and asked if he would be interested in coming to work for them.

In Antti Hyytinen’s current job at the OP Lab’s Discovery Team, they utilize methods such as rapid experimentation and prototyping to accelerate learning about customers and their needs. Antti believes that participating in innovation projects like Demola provides a lot of know-how in validation and determining customer value, skills that are essential for working in a team that develops new products and services.

OP Lab is the innovation unit covering the entire OP group, which serves three different business areas of OP; retail banking, corporate banking and insurance business. The Discovery Team within OP Lab helps different business units in validating new products and services and identifying customer value. The activities are based on rapid experiments, i.e. making various prototypes and rapid learning. Sounds very similar to what the teams in Demola do, right?

"Since things such as validation and customer interviews had been practiced in Demola, it wasn't a completely new experience for me and didn't require starting from scratch", Antti says.

Antti Hyytinen, photo from Antti's own archive. 

Another important value Antti highlights from Demola, is the multicultural working environment.

“When it comes to innovation, in creating something new, diversity is an absolute value. If we put four white men to invent a service that is aimed to serve as many people as possible, it is not the best and the most efficient solution. The most beneficial thing of all is that the work is being done by as diverse a team as possible. Although OP is a Finnish bank, we have partners all over the world. We do a lot of cooperation with companies from different nationalities every day, and here at OP Lab we also have four different nationalities represented and the working language is English."

Antti is currently drawn to the topic that is on everyone's mind these days – artificial intelligence and its diverse range of applications. Another big trend in the financial sector is such a term as Embedded finance or contextual banking.

At the end, Antti would like to say that Demola is seen as a good addition to one’s resume, since employers in Finland know it at least by the name and find it beneficial. "If you have successfully completed the Demola project, it is proof of your passion and that your mindset is inevitably customer-oriented. Demola is definitely an experience I can recommend to all students. Companies also benefit from Demola, since the length of the process is sufficient for actually good results to come out of it.”

“In practice, this means that payments and financial services more broadly, will become increasingly connected and attached to things that we use in everyday life, without us necessarily noticing that we have used a financial service. One example of this is all the IOT devices around us. Our cars are becoming more and more intelligent. When you charge a Tesla, you don't need a phone app or a payment card, you just connect the cable to the car and the payment is charged according to the charge”, Antti explains.

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Ida Riikonen

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