December 28, 2021
Meet Marlind Maksuti, the mastermind behind Flipper

In these last busy days of the year, we would like to highlight one of BALFIN Group’s most interesting yet ‘underground’ projects. Meet Marlind Maksuti, the mastermind behind Flipper. Flipper is the Idea Management tool that enables brainstorming, introduction of ideas, collection, sorting and grouping, evaluation and finally the approval into project development and implementation. And Marlind? He is an American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) and Erasmus University Rotterdam graduate in Mathematical Economics and Financial Modelling. Marlind joined BALFIN Group as a Software Development Team Leader in March of this year. He is passionate about artificial intelligence, predictive systems, and computer vision – no wonder he led the architecture of Flipper. Find out more about its inception in his interview.

What is Flipper, what is the vision behind it?

Here at BALFIN we constantly generate new ideas, which in turn develop into tangible projects that require cross-company and cross-departmental interaction and depend on these synergies, so that their functions can be enriched with before being effectively implemented.

To facilitate this process, we conducted broad research on the best papers published on idea generation and management, and fused it with contemporary agile management methods.

Thus, Flipper was born, leveraging on idea generation and actualization concepts, as well as workflows, from the Kanban, Scrum and Agile Project Management Methods, distilled and optimized based on the Harvard Innovation Ambition Matrix, Thinking Routine Matrix and Methods of Idea Management from the MIT Sloan University.

How long did it take? If you could break the process down into stages, how would you identify them?

We built the platform through a successful sprint which in essence contained all stages of development and testing compressed in time. It was challenging, but we’re happy to say that Flipper was a success. We used the Agile methodology to manage the development of Flipper, where we developed a minimum viable product MVP, and improve upon it based on the feedback we were getting.

This was a very interesting experience as we synergized our skills and knowledge with Matilda Shehu, Director of Business Operations, and Gjergji Spaho, Chief Information Officer, as well as leveraging on the feedback of beta testers to produce a platform that suits the needs of our group.

The final product was a platform customized and optimized specifically to enhance idea generation and synergies intra-company within BALFIN; which Flipper achieves by providing a broad range of a capacities including users stories that represent individual ideas as well as related sub-tasks that define the workflow realization of each stage of the Idea Pipeline.

What was the biggest challenge in carrying out this project? What was the biggest motivation?

The biggest challenge in this project was to create a platform that was both user friendly and that was able to encapsulate all the theory contained in the methodologies we studied, into an applicable format which could be used by all users to propagate their ideas. So, the hardest part was simplifying complex behavioral and technical theory into a seamless, easy, and usable platform.

What would you consider as the key to success in the realization of this project?

The project was completed in a very short timeframe, which beat our expectations on its development; but also, the final version of Flipper was a platform that really added value to the idea generation processes as well as the conversion of ideas to tangible projects.

What is the next challenge?

For Flipper to reach its full potential we need to start using it. All of us who want to become part of the continuous evolution of BALFIN, be it through technological change, methodological optimization of processes, or any other – have to start using Flipper to push these ideas into reality.

At BALFIN, innovation is a core value which derives from embracing human values and diversity. The strive to redefine the standard of excellence in every operation is a collective mission within all Group companies. Therefore, innovation is an important area of investment. In the years to come, BALFIN Group will uphold its commitment to constant improvement and challenging the status quo.