It’s a HERO TIME with STEAM and HOPE

steam locomotive

“There are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen.” Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin. We live in a very special time these days where we can’t do business as usual, so how to disrupt and adopt to the situation?

As of the fact, that everything is different we need to innovate and accelerate the speed of transformation, not only the speed of digitalization. The issue here is less the innovation or transformation, it’s the speed…

The first car has had a speed of 12 km/h or 8mph. Many people thought, that this speed is dangerous. The same with the first steam locomotive… running 35 km/h or 22 mph in the typical travel speed. DANGEROUS!!! …and even more dangerous with all the steam around. Today we laugh about this speed, but we still fall in fear / panic if the speed of change is to fast. This is the reason behind. We are a creature of habit.

These days we need to reduce our self with enjoying live in a way we did it before. We live in a time in which we are doing very well and have lost the ability to reduce our self. Everything is perfect like it is now. If someone wants to change it, we see many crying out loud. We see so many demonstrations from people against the Corona / Covid-19 restrictions and the courts are asks suddenly after each restriction… WHY? Even with all this restrictions we have so many freedoms, much more than others today or people during the second world war. So why are we crying?

We do not have fear before the steam locomotive, we have fear because we don’t know how this change will affect our self.

Now we understand the issue with the steam locomotive and can think about how to adopt this into business. We can develop innovation (like the steam locomotive) and drive as fast as she could, but we need to think about the people around and their fear, their thinking and their interests.
Within business it’s not only about fear because of change, it’s often also fear because of job security and the worry about how to earn the money for the own family. We need to step out of our comfort zone which is difficult and unsafe.

Along with transformation and innovation it is important to provide stability, security and much much more beside the pure innovation process / product to be successful. Listening is one of the key elements as well of trust (along with empathy, logic and authenticity… see

It cost more time to understand the why of the reaction than to develop the innovation.

Let’s step into an example and assume we want to grow the interaction with our clients. We can build an own app or we can use Whatsapp… Most colleagues want to go for an own app while Whatsapp makes much more sense. We can’t win the others with even 1 million of best arguments why Whatsapp makes more sense… but if we understand why they want the own app we may find a solution how to integrate this reasons into a Whatsapp solution. We need to pick up others where they are and develop a common solution from there.
Whatsapp has a huge reach and can be started shortly while developing an own app takes really time. So why not accepting that an own app is much cooler and can be customized much better. If we do so, the other will maybe accept that Whatsapp is a great interim solution till the own app is finished. Also Whatsapp with his huge reach can help to pull customer from there into the own app to make them successful.

We often see that not every decision is rationally justified. We are humans, not machines and there is much much more which affects decision. Accepting this makes things much easier. This is not about distort our self, this is about taking care and towards a better way of living / working / acting together.

So why not introducing the steam locomotive but driving only with half speed the first time? Sometimes the direct way isn’t the fastest.

Important is the common sense on the big picture. In the example of the app, everyone is on one line that we ant to grow the direct customer interaction with the solution So we have the same vision but just a different strategy. Let’s have a look at these topics. We are talking about:

  • Vision (the what)
  • Mission (the how)
  • Values (the principles and ethics)
  • Strategy (the way)

Often there is a big misunderstanding and mixing between vision, mission, values and strategy. Here you can see my differentiation:
Within this, the why is missing. The why we are doing it and the why others should follow and adopt. The App solution we are doing because we want to help our clients. Making this clear, we can step back with our own interests a bit.

Coming back to the quote of Lenin, we need more HEROs and much much more HOPE. We have a time where “in weeks can happens month” but at the same time “month where nothing happens”. This is about ourself to decide which time we have.

We don’t need just visionaries or innovation evangelists… we need people who understand how to implement these things into a broader audience. Who are you? Are you the visionary, the change maker or part of the audience? If you are part of the audience – which isn’t bad at all – be open and let things happen.

Steam is important at the right time, the right place and the right surrounding (people). Every one has it’s own way to walk, this we should accept at the same time we accept that we need to act together and find a common way. Therefor we have to make compromises, think about the bigger picture instead of fighting for the own way always and demonize everything which is different. I am unique but woe to anyone who is different from me.

Let’s end here with a great quote: “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” Alexander Den Heijer

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Customer Experience & Digital Transformation