What do you do at Eriksholm?
"I’m heading two small teams; the communications team where we aim to facilitate all internal and external communication about the research centre and our work, and our on-site clinic, where more than 300 test subjects help us in our various research projects.”
For how long have you been working here?
“I originally joined Oticon in 2001, to spend my professional life contributing to making a positive difference to people with genuine needs. I started working in the commercial department as a product manager and later as a marketing project manager for 10 years.
In 2011 I came to Eriksholm Research Centre to take charge of communications. The following year, I also became the head of clinical audiology.”
What surprised you the most, when you started at Eriksholm?
“Since I started in this business, it has surprised me how much there is to know about hearing, hearing impairment, and living with a hearing loss. And how little we know about hearing loss in general. Hearing impairment is an issue which most people tend to ignore until they are faced with the issue, either because the become hearing impaired, or as a relative to a person with hearing loss. We need to create more general awareness about the many serious side effects of untreated hearing loss. I’m positive that many people would deal with it much sooner, than they do today, if they were aware of the implications of not taking action at all.
What were some of the expectations you had for Eriksholm Research Centre, that turned out different than you thought?
“One thing that has really taken me by surprise is to experience how the atmosphere here at Eriksholm is not just very scientific and ‘nerdy’, but at the same time really warm and family like. People here care about each other and that adds a very positive dimension to our daily collaboration in and across the research teams.”
What do you like the most about working at Eriksholm Research Centre?
“In addition to the fact, that I really do feel I am contributing to making a difference for people with hearing impairment, I really like how two days are never the same here at Eriksholm. There is always something going on. Last but not least, I appreciate how we are free to reach our individual goals the way we find the best; there is not only one right way of reaching target. Nobody is looking over your shoulder, telling you to take step A, then B, then C; rather, only goals are defined, and as long as you reach them, that is what matters.”
What are the three most important values in your life?
1. Transparency – I appreciate straightforward people and always try to make sure that people know what they can expect from me.
2. Sense of responsibility – I respect and acknowledge people who take responsibility. For their own life, for each other, for society, for our nature, and even for the little things. Such people make things matter.
3. Freedom of speech – Freedom of speech is a prerequisite for democracy and, at a more practical level, it ensures that we know where we have each other. It is a very central value in Danish culture, and I believe it helps us stay critical and innovative, as well as true to ourselves and each other.”
Where do you see Eriksholm Research Centre in five years?
"To Eriksholm, digital communication is a relatively new ball park, and I know that it will change the way we are perceived. Until now, many researchers around the world have only known Eriksholm from the research we have done within their specific field of interest. In future, digital communication will help us create a much more holistic view of Eriksholm and our work, first of all by means of social media. We will be able to establish dialogue with researchers whom might earlier not have thought a collaboration would be relevant. We want to present the face of Eriksholm externally, establish both personal and professional relations, and open up the rest of Eriksholm Research Centre to the people we work and interact with.”
What is the most exciting scientific breakthrough in your life time?
“To me, definitely the Internet. It has had significant impact on both of my working areas. Not only has it completely changed the way we communicate today, both professionally and privately, but it has also changed the possibilities for people with hearing impairment to interact, work, improve their situation and latest also make use of their hearing aids for numerous purposes. We are currently adjusting hearing aids that connect to the internet, which demands a new skillset from our clinical audiologists. It is very exciting, because at the end of the day, these improvements are all for the benefit of people with hearing loss.
What do you do in your spare time?
“I live in a beautiful small city surrounded by beaches, fields and forests and I love to spend time enjoying all of the beautiful nature I am surrounded by, for instance when walking the family’s two Jack Russell terriers. To me, spending time outdoor stimulates creativity. Literally, there is more room for bigger thoughts.”
You can read more about Bo Westergård on his Linkedin profile click here