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Meet Marianne Solstad, Product Manager – Institutions

Meet Marianne Solstad, Product Manager – Institutions

Innovation is never done. That’s words from our Product Manager, Marianne Solstad, whose team Lovelace manages products for institutions

Instead, developing truly innovative products is a continuous cycle of ideation, iteration, prototyping, feedback loops, development, and optimisation – all for the benefit of the user.

And Marianne’s innovative thinking is leading to new ways of working within the business. 

Marketplace innovation 

To develop the ultimate solutions for everyone in our marketplace, key focus points including a discovery phase, agile ways of working, and continuous optimisation all play a role. The starting point though is always a problem to be solved. 

“We start projects with a prioritised user problem. I get key stakeholders together to develop a common understanding of the problem from many angles. As part of this discovery phase, we consider the diverse range of opportunities and options we have to solve that problem,” said Marianne.  

Having completed a decade-long stint at Norway’s largest marketplace,, Marianne is experienced in building marketplace products. There she worked with product cross-functional teams, saw the introduction and evolution of UX, managed a site overhaul to fix the codebase and streamline product innovation, and helped launch a direct sales area on the platform.

Before joining in early 2021, she furthered her career leading the product development for a sharing economy app. She also brought firsthand experience as an international student, having previously studied at Australia’s University of Queensland.

A methodology designed for innovation 

Armed with experience, Marianne applies innovative thinking to product development at – with an aim to work quickly, effectively, and flexibly. 

“My lean product squad follows an agile process. We focus on the most important user problem to solve to efficiently build a solution for it. As we develop solutions there are many steps: ideation, low-cost prototyping, iterations, and development. I aim to speak to institutions every week, to continually consider their point of view, their pain points, and how we can exceed their expectations,” she said.  

But while working agile plays a key role in the development process, Marianne isn’t tied to the ideology as much as finding the ultimate solution. 

“I’ll adjust the methodology, process, and workflow as needed from project to project – it’s more important to focus on the problem being solved and each problem is unique.”

Innovating for the future 

A key part of product development is optimisation. And Marianne’s adamant that her team does anything but ship products and forget about them.

“When a product launches, that’s really just the beginning. The next steps are critical. We continue collecting data, having one-on-one sessions, and tracking every user through their journey. We see what’s converting well and what isn’t. Then we optimise. There’s always an opportunity to improve a product,” she said.  

Recently Marianne’s team developed a suite of products known as Drive to give institutions certainty and control over the student pipeline. Now, optimisation of those products continues.  

“Take one of our Drive products, Guaranteed Match, which helps institutions promote their courses in a student’s shortlist. As our marketplace picks up with rocket speed post-COVID, we’ll optimise the feature to further increase uptake.” 

“There’s never an endpoint for products. Changes in consumer behaviour, the industry, conventions, and trends all affect how products perform. That’s why we keep collecting data and feedback to keep products fresh and relevant. We’re continually optimising for the benefit of our institutions.” 

We’re hiring! Have a look at our job board for open roles. If you don’t see a suitable role, you can also send us your CV for consideration.