crazy lab days innovation

Great software starts with great ideas

Being in the software business starts with products, and products all start with ideas. At Unit4 we encourage entrepreneurial thinking. The ability to come up with new ideas, good ideas, helps people grow on a personal level and in their careers.

It’s easy for people, especially programmers, to get bogged down in a specific project or solution and forget about contributing more. We encourage everyone to think about how we create new customer experiences, find solutions to problems and build their expertise. By being creative and innovative, with a mindset of ‘coming up with good ideas’, people can contribute more to their company, profession, and community. That’s why one of our core values is ‘Choose Curiosity… Embrace Challenges.’

I was excited to again be on the jury of Unit4’s annual Crazy Lab Days event. This is our internal event that empowers all our people to identify and act on ideas for new products and services that they believe we should explore. It encourages cross-department problem solving and brings an entrepreneurial approach to product development.

More than 30 teams from around the business submitted ideas for this year’s virtual event, with six teams chosen to put their ideas into action this week. Congratulations to all participants and especially the winning teams!

This year we focused on innovation using the latest Unit4 Extension Kit technology to build smart automation services. One of the projects focused on automating text analysis to identify if non-inclusive language is being used in emails. One looked at a natural language career path solution, providing guidance for people to help them progress. Another team built a smart purchasing solution that recommends suppliers based on price, payment terms and past experience. One of the winning teams used the Extension Kit, machine learning tools and our chatbot Wanda, to create a financial fraud identifier. The other focused on automatic data anomaly detection which has potential to save finance and HR teams hours spent manually analyzing data. All built in just a few days. Truly great stuff!

What’s most exciting is that we’re committed to building the winning innovations into our new ERPx solution available to customers in March. The teams responsible also have the opportunity to get involved building the functionality into the final product. They will be involved from idea to customer delivery…

Innovative thinking is crucial to improving processes, bringing new and better products and services to market, and increasing efficiency. Just the spark of an idea can create something truly disruptive and game changing.

As an enterprise software company with very talented people, our job is simply to provide the environment to capture ideas, where people feel their ideas are welcomed and encouraged. Innovation is embedded in our culture, and events like Crazy Lab Days encourage people to take risks and get creative. It’s also a lot of fun!

"Just the spark of an idea can create something truly disruptive and game changing."

Mike Ettling CEO Unit4
Mike Ettling - Chief Executive Office at Unit4

Mike Ettling



I’m a CEO, Investor, builder of world class teams, champion of diversity and continuous learner, and I’m passionate about people. From my first leadership role in the Boy Scouts, to exec positions in the tech industry, my career has revolved around elevating, engaging and enabling people. I joined Unit4 to get the market as excited in our unique approach to enterprise tech as I am. We’re building systems that change how people experience work, and the impact will be huge.

Outside of work I’m a family man, a Liverpool supporter, and a proud South African.