None for everything

One of the last universal scholars, Alexander von Humboldt, died in the 19th century. Since then, the scope of our knowledge has grown to such an extent that nowadays it is hardly possible to have an overview of the entire knowledge of a single discipline. In a society as specialized as ours, nobody can do everything.

The outsourcing of production processes has therefore long since become part of everyday life, and hardly any company can afford its own printing works or cleaning personnel. The fleet is leased, as are the copiers and coffee machines.

Clear advantages of outsourcing are an increase in efficiency, a reduction in risk, better utilization of the capacities of both cooperation partners and the compensation of capacity bottlenecks. At the same time, you increase the available know-how on both sides through specialization. More complex services such as marketing and IT are now also being outsourced.

From digital revolution to disruption

Customers now expect to be able to order around the clock. Visibility and overview become a matter of course. Customers expect smooth digital processes away from the telephone order or the customer center. Customers then want to buy when it suits them and are not dependent on opening hours.

Companies must be flexible. Customer flows and developments are extremely variable and unpredictable, especially in the digital sector. Resources and spontaneity are necessary for a quick and appropriate response. New marketing measures should be tested directly, who allows himself too long time missed chances opposite customers and competition.

„People are very open-minded about new things as long as they’re exactly like the old ones“ – Charles Kettering

These expectations break hard with the reality of many medium-sized companies. Too much adherence to existing patterns of behaviour. They cannot provide their own specialists for each topic and less qualified employees are often overwhelmed when more in-depth knowledge is required. Therefore, focusing on strategic coordination tasks can make sense, especially for SMEs. The outsourcing of marketing thus makes it possible to compete on an equal footing with larger companies.

In a study, 64% of the medium-sized companies surveyed stated that they plan to develop new technologies in cooperation with start-ups. 96% of the medium-sized companies that carried out such a cooperation plan to continue working with start-ups in the future.

An external marketing service provider also takes a completely different view: long-time employees often fall at a distance to analyze the company separately from their core business. An external person is much more impartial in his or her point of view and can thus set new impulses and implement professional, disruptive marketing campaigns.

The outsourcing of further processes leads to an increasingly complex network of business relationships, which of course also has to be managed. This makes precise and reliable communication more important than ever before. In short-term partnerships, a lot of efficiency is lost due to the constant need for reconciliation.

A successful partnership is developing

Long-term partnerships enable the partners to assess each other better. Misunderstandings arise in every respect. If I can better assess and interpret my partner’s behaviour, I can address and prevent misunderstandings at an early stage. Also, on such a basis of trust, malicious or exploitative intentions are less often imputed to the other party. Trust instead of distrust!

Identification with the values of the partner and a common goal create even deeper trust. Such an identification community knows clearly what is desired and what is not. Collective action is internalized and is intuitive. Both partners feel responsible.

Partnership is when the partners create!

This is precisely why we at truemind rely on long-term partnerships. We are convinced that a structured network of long-standing partners offers the necessary flexibility and efficiency at the same time. The resulting trust allows a smooth cooperation. This enables us to support our clients not only with our own know-how, but also with that of our entire network.

Wolfgang Mohr, trueminde innovation GmbH

 

 

 

Why partnerships do us good, even in business ​

2018 – everything is faster, higher, further. Digitization has created an unimaginable complexity that allows us to tell the rest of the world everything about ourselves anytime, anywhere, and anywhere we are. And the great thing is that it’s incredibly simple. I quickly made an insta-story, uploaded a photo on Twitter and added the matching hashtags and everyone who wants and doesn’t want knows about my current activities. Brave new world…
But what sounds good to me at first glance is one thing, namely: Anonymous. And honestly, if there’s one thing I don’t want, it’s being anonymous.
Civilization has not been formed by anonymity, but by cooperation. While in earlier times cooperation was more about pure survival and securing one’s own existence, today it has not really changed that much. While I don’t need to worry today that I’ll starve if I can’t swap my dinner, for example, in a barter, I’m convinced that we finally need to start thinking outside the box in our companies. We need to get help with fields we can’t cover. And offer our support where we can.
Competition is good, but cooperation is better.
Albert Einstein once said: „Everyone is a genius! But if you judge a fish by whether it can climb a tree, it will believe all its life that it is stupid“.
Each of us has many different talents. Let us be aware of how much potential we can create if we complement and cooperate instead of being in eternal competition. When I use my resources, which I usually use to keep what I do as secret as possible, to find new ways of thinking with new people and to develop new ideas for business models, then I benefit in several ways. I can try out my own ideas and have them shaped into one. I can test what other people think about it. I can expand my network and thus broaden my very own personal horizon. For me it is about real, interpersonal contact, a contact directly from one person to another person.
Elbow mentality is out – for a business with more humanity!
In my opinion, the days of lone warriors are over. While those who once perfected the fulfillment of KPI´s were successful, today those who bring humanity back into business are successful. All those people who contribute every day to making the place „work“ a better place. These help customers to become partners, colleagues to become comrades-in-arms. Such partnerships are great. We draw strength and support from it in bad times. They multiply our joy in good times. We can share everything, good and bad, and we are not alone.
How to find a good partner…
I’m sure everyone has his own idea. I would like to share my vision with you:
Find a partner who ticks like you
Opposites attract. That may be true for a love story, but in business I prefer to think of it as the proverb: Equal and equal come together. For me, similar views of work ethic and attitude are important and a cornerstone for a functioning business partnership. Once I have found someone as crazy as I am, I can develop my full potential.
Find a partner who covers what you don’t like
It is important to be clear about what things you are good at and what things you are not good at. Because only if I know what makes me who I am can I invest this potential in the partnership. That means I can fully concentrate on my strengths and talents and do my job in the best possible way.
Consider what role you can play in the partnership and look for someone to fill in missing roles
It is important to be clear about who takes which role and who can and wants to decide what. If I have two of the well-known „alpha animals“ in one enclosure, sooner or later this will probably work rather badly than quite well.
Find someone to talk to about everything
Find the partner with whom you can talk openly about everything, just like in a private relationship. It is important to have a partner at your side who will show you the red card at the right moment and, if necessary, straighten your head again. But that’s not all. It is just as important that you have the confidence in your partner to present any crazy idea to him and to introduce him to your visions.
Have the guts!
Listen to your inner voice, your gut feeling. When it comes to choosing a partner for your business, your gut feeling plays an enormously important role. For me, building up and expanding a joint business is also something private, because I share nothing less than my innermost wishes and thoughts with another person. For me, there must not be the slightest doubt about the other.
Take care and have a happy day!
Ramona

100 % safe is 100 % too late

For a long time, the calculated risk was an integral part of any serious business management. Interestingly, there are two fundamentally different points of view: Some focus on the damage that can result from a risky undertaking – others focus on the probability of occurrence.

I think today both are almost an anachronism. It is again en vogue to take risks, yes, one can stand out in the market almost alone by taking risks at all. While I consider the calculation of the possible damage of a risky initiative as an entrepreneurial duty, I have little regard for calculations of the probability of occurrence – and the decision based on it.

„Self fulfilling prophecy.

Because the more you concentrate on how much of a new entrepreneurial initiative can go wrong, the more you do to reduce exactly this ratio. On the one hand, this reduces the risk of falling, but almost always too little serious consideration is given to the fact that the probability of success also decreases.

I have seen a number of initiatives and undertakings in recent years which follow exactly this pattern. You’ve put yourself in an unfavorable position without exception. And, it should be mentioned, an unfavourable position can also be a strategic one, although the current business is still running well.

This concentration on what can be lost is an administrative characteristic not an entrepreneurial one. It leads to the short-term safeguarding of the existing – which in itself is nothing bad at all. In the long term, however, this way of thinking will not create anything new, no adaptation, no new offers, and it will lead to a loss in the market.

Focusing on what can be won

If we look at entrepreneurs in the early 20th century and in the post-war years, it seems to us that they have taken enormous risks. I say that’s not correct, because they didn’t have much to lose. Many of these entrepreneurs and the companies were so successful because they radically focused on what they could win.

Concentrating on what to win when there is a lot to lose is indeed quite a challenge. It means doing one thing and not letting the other.

Late Harvest Concept

We can see from the example of the automotive industry just how difficult such a thing can be. On the one hand, the German automotive industry in particular has a market position that is formidable and highly profitable – it has a lot to lose – on the other hand, the automotive market is slowly but surely breaking down. So there’s a lot to win.

The question is what to do in such a situation. In my opinion, it makes sense to invest a significant portion of the profits in high-risk investments instead of distributing them to shareholders. To take advantage of these new opportunities.

Most traditional car manufacturers have more or less prescribed a concept of „late harvest“: they want to wait until the market shows them the way and then cover a demand with full (financial) strength.

Missing learning path

Paradoxically, the risk calculation for such an approach shows quite good values. However, I believe that the strategy of late harvesting is highly risky because such a risk assessment externalizes circumstances that are very difficult to quantify.

More than anything else, these companies lack the learning curve for new market and sales models. Even as a company, it is essential to make mistakes yourself and learn from them. This is not great, but it is the basis of any further development.

100% too late

In my opinion, the biggest risk is that you can no longer react to market changes in a reasonable time and be pushed aside. One is simply too late and, to make matters worse, does not have the expertise to play a relevant role in a changed future market. In the end, even large financial resources no longer help.

With all due respect to a trustful handling of business risks, make sure that you are not too late in developing your business. Because surely too late is still too late.

Alain Veuve

http://www.alainveuve.ch/

If you want to be 100% sure, you will be 100% late

There are so many good ideas. Why are so few of them implemented?

One reason is that we want to perfect our idea before we implement it. Especially in Germany, where we are so proud of „made in Germany“ and German engineering.

I often experience that I learn about excellent solutions to a problem that a small team of experts has built and is now trying to conquer the market. A lot of time has gone into it and every fineness has been thought of. It’s 100% perfect. Everyone is enthusiastic about the solution, right up to the first contact with people who have the problem of what the solution should solve.
Then the question comes, can it? And for that we also need something. Sometimes there are special cases a,b,c. And by the way…..

It doesn’t matter what kind of problem we’re talking about. The people who can work on the solution, lawyers, developers, engineers, sales people, doctors or whatever.

How can I prevent this?

The answer is not at all, but this is exactly where the secret lies. It should not be the attitude and the claim to solve something to 100% for everyone with this problem, because I cannot do that at all. Every angle is a little too different for that.

What I can do instead is change my mindset and open myself.

I can share my idea early and ask openly whether others have this problem too. I can discuss my solution with them. But the most important thing is, I can think about what is the smallest part of my solution that I can build and that someone with the problem can use and test?

This way I can get to market faster with my solution and get direct feedback on how good my idea really is with the concrete possibilities and hints on what I can do better.

Is agility the solution?

Certainly not for every problem, even if the buzzword agility is on everyone’s lips. But if my problem has a certain degree of complexity with regard to the requirements and the technology of the solution, then an agile approach is certainly the right way. After all, an agile approach is very structured and significantly increases the chances of success in such conditions.

Three first steps

If I am not yet agile, however, I can still gain quick insights from agility and achieve success with these three approaches:

  • Get your stakeholders on board
    Who is interested in solving your problem? This certainly includes customers, users and management. And each of these stakeholders has different requirements. If these are taken into account at an early stage, success is somewhat more certain in the end. It sounds trivial, but how often is at least one of the three stakeholders not involved in the development of solutions right from the start?
  • Let the stakeholders write you user stories
    A sentence with the following content creates much clarity: In my role as, I want to do the following, so that / because / to….. This way I can directly ensure the benefit for each role involved and understand why someone wants to do something.
  • Cut up the elephant
    Break the problem down into such small pieces that you can deliver a partial solution in a short cycle (2-4 weeks) that your stakeholders can try. This way you get quick feedback and know if you are on the right track.

Is that all it takes to be agile?

It is a start to prevent the most common reasons for the failure of tasks and to be sure that I can provide a solution to a problem in time. It’s about communication and interacting with the people around me. What sounds so simple is a big change for most people.

What results from this are better solutions, happier people who all feel valued and thus long-term, solid relationships based on trust. Follow-up projects are the logical conclusion.

Start

Get the stakeholders on board, ask them about their user stories and provide them with a short cyclical solution.

Whoever starts with these three small steps will be shaped by the feeling of success, then surely at least think about working completely agile if the complexity of the task makes this an option.

If you want to know more about it, just write to us.

Take care and have a happy day

Chris

 

Spring renews everything

Errors, mistakes and how to deal with them was the topic of April for 2ChangeCulture. I am incredibly happy about the feedback we got this month and about the different perspective Heiko Bartlog gave us. Our idea of an exchange on the subject of corporate and work culture is no longer an idea. It has become something alive that has given us contacts to many exciting people. We enjoy every day of it. „Spring renews everything“ weiterlesen

Allowing mistakes as a basis for creativity? Please don’t!

I felt very honored and pleased when I was asked if I might like to write a guest article for 2changeculture on the topic „Allowing mistakes as a basis for creativity“. I was in a good mood at the time, wanted to write and the time until April seemed to last forever. But then it came as it had to come: A mixture of procrastination and surprises, which happen in our dynamic and complex world, led to a tight time. I could have seen it coming. Sure, afterwards you’re always smarter. So was it a mistake to have accepted this guest contribution? Perhaps – and at the same time perhaps a somewhat different example for the topic: Because if I had not taken the liberty of making this „mistake“, I would not have accepted the guest contribution at that time, had I not had the pressure today to write these lines and would not have become creative…

Inventiveness

I’m not an expert on creativity. But I have picked up one or the other and in connection with my very own experience I have an opinion on it: First of all, I am convinced that everyone is creative. People can be creative in quite different ways: as artists, as footballers, as inventors, as politicians… And I am convinced that creativity can both be promoted and suppressed. These are highly complex interrelationships, so that cause and effect cannot be predicted in advance. Some people let their creativity wither away in the traditional school system oriented towards memorization and grading – others may discover their creativity in the rebellion against this system.

Allowing mistakes?

So should mistakes be allowed as a basis for creativity? That sounds logical at first: If mistakes are punished, nobody will try „creative solutions“. Or vice versa: If mistakes are allowed, then I can try everything without having to reckon with a penalty. So I can let my creativity run wild.

But is that what we want? I’m not a friend of self-interest. Creativity in itself is not an end in itself, nor are mistakes. It depends: If I want to travel by train from A to B, I have no interest in the train driver finding new creative ways or in the maintenance work being carried out in a particularly creative way. On the contrary: I want security, I don’t want mistakes. This is the case in situations where the challenges are as simple or complicated as possible.

It looks a little different when the proportion of dynamics and complexity increases: If I want to take a taxi from B to C, I do expect the taxi driver to find creative solutions to avoid a sudden traffic jam, for example. I also accept that the creative solution will fail, so we may end up in a second traffic jam.

Mistake versus misconception

 I am unsure whether I had first read or heard the distinction between mistake and misconception from Lars Vollmer, Niels Pfläging or someone else, but I find it very useful. To put it simply: mistakes are simple or complicated activities that are carried out incorrectly, so you can clearly describe in advance how to achieve the desired result. Misconception can therefore be avoided and thus also to be avoided! In dynamic/complex situations, in which you cannot describe in advance what exactly will happen if you do this or that, you proceed differently: First, assumptions and hypotheses are made and it is then checked whether the desired result has been achieved. If not, it is a mistake and one can learn from it by correcting the assumptions, hypotheses, one’s own actions or the desired results. Misconceptions cannot be avoided, on the contrary: Misconceptions are necessary in order to gain new insights in highly dynamic and complex situations, so they serve learning.

 

Innovation is the goal

In my view, it should therefore read „allow misconceptions as a basis for creativity“.

This would make a lot clearer: creativity makes sense and is important exactly when „new territory“ is entered, when pioneering work is done, when new challenges are tackled for which it is not (yet) possible to predict what will happen. In such cases it is unavoidable that creative solutions do not (immediately) lead to the desired result – but that is then no avoidable mistake but an error.

I’m not entirely satisfied yet. Is permission to be mistaken really a basis for creativity? I’m not sure that’s the crux of the matter. I have already stated that creativity is not an end in itself in my view – in fact creativity is a means to an end, i.e. a way to come to new approaches under high dynamics/complexity. And when innovative approaches are successful, i.e. lead to the desired result, one usually speaks of „innovation“. Shouldn’t it be „mistakes as a basis for innovation“?

Incidentally, in my view, this is the core of Lean Startup: an iterative, empirical approach to systematically produce successful innovations under uncertainty/dynamics/complexity. Setting up a model (forming hypotheses), deriving and conducting experiments for validation, measuring results, deriving findings, adapting the model,… etc. etc.

Creativity comes into being

Anyway – I would like to get rid of some thoughts about creativity to close the circle. As already mentioned above: Creativity is a highly complex and not always clear topic. Freedom can foster creativity: If I have no fear of punishment, if I make a „mistake“ (or make a „misconception“), I will probably become more courageous and have more creative solutions in mind. However, restriction is also a catalyst for creativity: without the limitation of the number of characters in an SMS (and later on Twitter) many abbreviations and emojis would probably not have been created in this way. In many sports, the fastest and strongest would simply win if there were no rules of the game that would open up creative solution spaces in the first place. And the more complicated the state tax system and, at the same time, the more complex the international possibilities, the more creative the solutions of tax and investment advisors.

upshot

In my view, therefore, it is not a question of allowing mistakes/misconceptions across the board in order to enable creativity for the sake of creativity – rather, it should be a matter of designing the appropriate framework conditions intelligently in order to enable innovations where they create benefits and avoid mistakes where they cause too much damage.

Heiko Bartlog

Hosts for innovation