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It’s Our People Who Make Us: A People-Centric Approach to Innovation

By Avolve Software | February 6, 2024

Behind GovTech’s boom over the last few years are the teams of developers building the products and solutions. When Stefan Bulzan, Head of Engineering for DigEplan at Avolve, joined the company he was drawn to the technical challenge it presented as a developer. "I was following the technology more than the domain or business," Stefan explained, emphasizing his passion for working on projects in their early stages. 

Joining DigEplan in 2018 when it was essentially a startup, Stefan was attracted to the opportunity to build the product from the ground up and play an integral part of a small and nimble team. "Joining a company in the early stages lets you have a bigger impact, and you are not just a cog in a big machine," he said, comparing the experience to working in a large corporation. 

As a software architect, his role involves addressing the challenge of scaling the product, a task he views as his most significant contribution. "I think the biggest impact I’ve had at Avolve has been helping to scale the product,” he says. But hearing Stefan speak about his work, it’s safe to say that his mindset and approach to his discipline has had a huge impact as well. “I’ve always had a passion for the craftsmanship of it. I believe that whatever you do, do it with your best effort and always try to understand why you made certain decisions. Then try to improve on those,” he said. His approach reflects a self-proclaimed incrementalist mindset, focusing on building a product with quality and simplicity that can be improved upon over time. 

Touching on the people-first culture at Avolve, Stefan appreciates that Avolve’s ethos reflects the value it places in its people. “We have a very personal way of dealing with people, and we try not to replace interaction with process,” he says. “It can be more comfortable to appeal to an authority structure when you’re trying to convince someone to do or not do something,” he said, noting that ultimately a more individual approach is often the most effective.  

Throughout our conversation, Stefan cited the company's commitment to innovation — which includes experimentation. “We have a culture of thoughtful experimentation,” he said. “I appreciate that we are free to propose new ideas, free to provide constructive feedback and to receive it ourselves. Avolve values innovation and recognizes that true innovation comes from learning and iterating on failures,” he said.  

Another key aspect of Avolve's culture that Stefan highlights is the emphasis on responsibility and accountability. “My manager has really empowered me to step out of my comfort zone and take on more responsibility in the product and the team.” From managing people to playing recruiter, Stefan views these experiences as having contributed to both his personal and professional development, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “It was empowering because it forced me to grow, even though it wasn’t always comfortable,” he added.  

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