Elsa—Behind the Scenes, part 1

Elsa—Behind the Scenes

This week we are treating you to a different kind of post! Allow us to introduce a few of our colleagues who work every day to develop Elsa. Who are they? What drives them and what do they want to achieve with Elsa as a digital tool?

Marta: “I want to create an Elsa for everyone”

I am a Business Developer and work with Elsa's various partnerships—with researchers, a specific clinic, or other companies. These are important for Elsa to be able to reach more users, grow and develop. Right now we are looking into collaborations in the USA.

Working with this is extremely challenging and rewarding! I often find myself facing new tasks and situations, where I just have to work my way through them. The culture in the workplace is very easy-going, and we are always bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other. If our approach to solve a task ends up working, I feel proud.

Elsa is a wise company and a wise employer. There is a strong desire to do good for the users and we try to listen with open ears. Elsa really values its employees—and our health, how we actually feel.

Chronic illness is a part of my life. I have MS, multiple sclerosis, and I know what it is like having all these questions that come up in everyday life and which are not necessarily picked up by healthcare. Elsa has also helped me, for example, by realizing that I have fatigue and need to allow myself to take things a little slower sometimes.

I want to create an Elsa for everyone, for preventive purposes. A drug can serve its purpose, but there is so much more to it. How do we motivate people to make changes to feel better?

Johan: "I want to do something that creates value beyond my technical bubble"

I am a programmer at Elsa, which means that I build what can be seen in the app. I describe what something should look like or what should happen, in what we call code. It is important to be very clear, and not just say “build a house with doors and windows”—then it could end up being anything that resembles a house. And if in the end, the laundry room door opens into the living room wall, well, then you have to rethink things. That’s part of the job. 

I want to make it easy for our users. Using Elsa should be meaningful, but it should also be a quick and seamless experience so that you do not have to spend too much time on your phone.

I have had jobs in the past where the end result does not feel really meaningful. But I want to do something that serves a purpose, that actually improves someone’s life and creates value beyond my technical bubble. As a result, my life improves knowing that I help others. 

Elsa is an organization that encourages sustainable thinking and taking care of yourself. We have a 36-hour workweek and something we call “Brain Strong” every Monday where we exercise during working hours. I usually go out and run, which has motivated me to run even more, even at other times. I do not believe in working from 8 to 5 every day. I care about having the energy for my private life as well. That is important in order to work efficiently.

Matilda: “At Elsa, I am close to our users”

My position is the COO, Chief Operating Officer. Generally speaking, this means that I help to make it as smooth as possible for the organization to do what needs to be done. I work to develop our culture and organization and make sure that the circumstances are right for us all to be able to do our best. We try to create an organization without too much “management”—we focus on the strengths of the individual and the group rather than on a hierarchical structure.

Using Elsa as a tool, we want to create an ecosystem where everyone involved can create sustainable conditions for individuals living with a chronic disease, and in the long run, be able to prevent chronic diseases altogether. Unlike my previous roles at larger companies, I am, in our small startup, very close to our users. We strive for a relationship where people living with a chronic disease are always involved in the co-creation.

I see great potential in using digitalization for individual needs. There is incredible strength in the idea of democratizing knowledge—of having it catered to you. With the help of knowledge, guidance, and personal insights, you can find the path to a life that works well for a particular individual. Imagine if I could tell my children that I played a part in changing self-care for the chronically ill. I would be very proud of that!