Interview with Torben Stigaard, Partner at Circular Planning Tool: Plandisc

Plandisc is the world’s first digital circular calendar. Our calendars are easy, visual, sharable and interactive. A Plandisc circular calendar is an ideal tool for visualizing organizational flow and generating transparency to break down the siloes that can hinder any organization.
Plandisc - A circular annual operating plan

How did the company start?

Plandisc’s founder, Morten Mellergaard, was working as a teacher and looking at a circular visualisation of the school calendar that a colleague had made pinned up on the wall. It was such a great way to visualise activities across an academic school year that Morten started researching digital solutions.

What he found out was there wasn’t one, and so Morten approached Mads Nielsen, a software developer, to ask if he would be able to develop one. This was the start of what, eight years later, has become the planning tool, Plandisc.

In 2014 Jørgen Bøndergaard Iversen and I joined the startup and Plandisc quickly reached 10,000 users. By the end of 2017, growth really started to pick up speed and Plandisc grew to over 21,000 users. In the same year, Plandisc received investment by Brightfolk which is owned by Bestseller and was also nominated in Denmark for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019. Plandisc grew to over 90,000 signups in 2020.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

I believe that it is all about starting a dialogue with customers as soon as possible. Some entrepreneurs start building a big platform and spend years on development on what they believe is a great idea. Yet when they go to market, the customer demand is low and they get feedback on what customers actually want to drive their interest in the product.

We decided very early to go to market with a pared-down product and then we developed Plandisc based on feature requests we got from our customers. All our innovation is 100% user-driven and product testing is used to validate users’ interest in new features. The feedback we get from users is the most important knowledge we have in terms of which direction Plandisc is developed in. We use pretotyping to test our own ideas to see how our users react to new features. We also involve our users in user studies to test different hypotheses before we start with the development. In a startup, you just can’t afford to develop time-consuming features that no one will use.

What can we hope to see from Plandisc in the future?

The digital change brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has changed companies’ adoption of technology and transformed business and the way we work forever. What’s more, we believe that many organisations are missing out by not mapping their rhythm of business. Organizations that do not maintain or visualize a steady, predictable pace – in the form of regular meetings, cyclical activities, evaluations and feedback – will never realise their full potential.

A consistent rhythm is just as important in an organisation as it is in a 4-man rowboat. The coordination and rhythm between four people in a boat is crucial for the overall performance and thus the speed of the boat. It does not help if one rower follows his own rhythm. Too many organisations forget to visualize the repetitive patterns across the company in order to have the same rhythm across the organisation. Simply by mapping out regular, recurring activities and meetings that are repeated year after year including financial reporting, management meetings, staff appraisals, stocktaking, supplier contract negotiations and sales campaigns, businesses are able to share their rhythm of business across the organisation and different teams and departments can work more effectively together.

The first few months of any year are always our busiest when we can quite literally see how much planning is being done for the year ahead. 2020 has shown us that planning ahead for predictable and unpredictable business challenges is certainly worth an investment of time and effort. And now, smart business leaders have been fast to realise the importance of sharing data digitally given the new ways of working we’ve adopted.

Plandisc comes into its own making planning activities, tasks and meetings simple to share in a visual, digital format which allows for easy coordination across teams and departments. And beyond this initial business planning period, Plandisc is easy to update to keep up with the constant change that we’ve all become used to in recent times.

Our aim is for plandisc to be a worldwide tool, that organisations use for mapping their rhythm of business in order to achieve synergies, break down siloes and avoid overlapping activities.