Meet the team: Truls Engström shares the value of a good challenge
If you’re here for a good time, you can depend on Truls. With a background in adventure tourism, having started no less than five businesses, and a PhD in personality psychology on his back, he is determined to put human experience first – ensuring it can be applied to everything from programming to marketing. Let’s get to know him.
“I’ve accomplished a lot throughout my career which is why I want to share what I’ve learnt from the past 15 years and use my experiences to make others stronger,” Tuls says about his decision to join Bolder. He officially started this chapter four years ago, but has been involved with various strands of the company even before then. Like most Bolder employees, his role transcends a simple job description. However, one thing is certain – human experience is at the core of his work, something which he believes is also at the heart of Bolder.
“We are constantly searching for new ways to enhance experiences with the help of technology,” Truls explains. In fact, only a few weeks ago, the two of us were on our way to check up on the 3D camera installed at a historic farmyard-turned-museum, which serves as an excellent example of what Truls is referring to. The speed of the car and the winding roads meant the royal shades of the fjords and forests resembled impressionist brushstrokes. Getting to the Ryfylke museum is a bit of a trek but the scenery certainly makes it worthwhile. Understandably though, staff and guides are not available most of the year due to the remote location, which means it has proven difficult to count the number of visitors and popular visiting times outside opening hours. Bolder sensing technology provides insight which can help the museum make informed decisions about how to best serve its visitors based on data previously unavailable.
Another example is AIR, the adventure center located in the heart of Stavanger’s urban business area. Among ziplines, trampolines, aerial nets and dizzying climbing walls, the center also functions as a real-life lab where Bolder can test new ways to improve user experiences. “AIR gives us the possibility to gather data that we can use as a starting point for new knowledge,” Truls explains. “As the company progresses, we must ensure we can anchor our development to concrete research and documentation, not just philosophy,” he adds.
Despite his love of research, Truls does not spend all his days and nights chained to his desk, as the researcher stereotype may suggest. Quite the contrary. He oozes a happy-go-lucky attitude and never seems to forget the importance of good fun. If you give him a nudge, he will gladly share tales of the bounty of New Zealand sheep, stories of rafting in unforgiving rivers, diving in shark-infested waters and cruising Hawaiian waves. “I am very fond of exercise and I swim many kilometers in Stokkavannet each week. That’s when I recharge,” he says. “I am a father of five, so I also get a lot of energy from being with my children. I coach swimming and handball so my spare time involves a lot of movement, especially physical activity in nature.”
There is no doubt that Truls likes a challenge, and that extends to his attitude in the workplace. He admits that the most exciting part of working for Bolder is the interdisciplinary interactions, considering the many years he has spent working at the University of Stavanger, where he is surrounded by people of similar academic backgrounds. “At Bolder, you get to talk to people from many different fields such as technologists and engineers. You get many perspectives on what you’re working on which means you constantly get to challenge your mindset.” He goes on to conclude: “I think it’s very important to keep challenging yourself, your surroundings and your established truths. That way, life never gets boring.”