The balancing act of transformation

Are you struggling with the “how” to do the transformation everyone is talking about? Do you know what to do, but if it comes to the how you (and/or your colleagues) have often a “yes, but…” in mind?

Everybody is talking about Digital Transformation and you know it is about Customer Experience. It is easy to follow this approach in a new business, but in existing business you need to take care about not loosing too much during the change process.

Often this results in just translating old things (business, processes, approaches, etc.). This means doing still the same thing just in a bit different way… but this isn’t transformation. Transformation means changing the core of the core. What we need is business agility. Lateral thinker are great here. Such people can help to get new views. Often people from outside are the best.

With this we are coming to the how. For me, it is not about following strict just one model and pray for this. It is about being agile and adopt the principles behind to build something own which combine elements from different models. Let’s have a look into some models first.

Design Thinking

Design thinking takes the human vision / perspective into the center and helps to create product, services and experiences which are economically viable, technologically feasible and humanly desired.

Creating creativity and a common ground, design thinking follows a strict process which starts with empathize (understanding the customer) and ends up with a test and the implementation. In each step between we ask if have we reached the results of the step before.
design thinking process

Design thinking is a never ending "listening > understand > learn > predict" process which ends up in new or updated products and services. This guides us to the next model, the lean startup. The main goal is to bring the product or services as quick as possible to the market to get rapid customer feedback.

Lean Startup

Lean startup is great for company founding as well as for building new products. Lean means building "Minimum Valuable Products" (MVPs) which are more a prototype. Their goal is to proof if the product can solve the original problem.


Co-Creation describes a management approach which let's the company and customers collaborate to generate innovation and relevant products and services. It starts in the empathize phase of the design thinking process but can take place everywhere. Coming to the how, we have different topics which reflects different levels of integration:

  • observation
  • survey
  • compliant management
  • communities
  • ideas competition
  • workshop (one-time or regular)
  • toolkit (e.g. Nike: Build your own sneaker)

Observation is a very important part. Through all the digital channels we ave a huge amount of data which let's us gain a better understanding than through surveys and enables us to predict things Co-Creation can go much further. These days more and more people take photos with their smartphone instead of a camera. This required Leica for example to look for a co-creation partner not to drop of the market and make sure people will still make high quality pictures (in Leica quality). They found such a partner with the smartphone producer Huawei.

Personal Coaching

Felt, there are 1000 approaches and models to do personal coaching which are descriped very often, so we don't need a description here. The most important things are three:

  • Having a "private" 1:1 field to discuss everything
  • Having someone outside the company who has
    • external view
    • influence in the company (so you can trust and be open)
  • Having someone to talk about fundamental things and the bigger picture to change yourself

Personal coaching needs time to build a relationship and trust which is most important because it needs to go on a very deep and personal level. We can do it a while, pause it and maybe get back to it later.


Like personal coaching there is much written about it. There is no real strict model / process to follow, it is more about having someone to tell things, someone who is listening. A mentor is often someone internal who knows the company, the processes and the people. Someone who is available everyday. With a mentor you will discuss operational things and, on some level, you dig into the fundamental and personal level. This can go deep, but often this is not the goal and relationship. If we start in a company it is helpful to sit together regularly. Later on it can be reduced and just take place from time to time if needed.

Combined Growth-Hacking Loop

As mentioned it is not about a single methodology and a formal process.

What we need are conductors. We need people who have the overview as well as the deep insight in many areas so that they can pull the strings and bring together the specialists who are doing the how in depth.

On the one side we need to bring together the brand with the market and the customer and build a relationship which helps to understand, predict and change things. On the other side we need to drive emotions and build trust.

Through design thinking, lean startup and co-creation we have build relevant and great products and services which have a huge value to solve needs and pains… but is this everything to generate real growth? VEA stands for Value, Emotion and Adventure. This principle shows that there is a bit more.. while emotion and adventure together are 60% of the game.

What keeps us struggling are old rules? We have personal goals in out job instead of department or better just corporate (customer driven) goals and assessments who have the major focus on reaching this goals. After changing the business model from a corporate driven to a customer driven business model we need to align exactly this and think here out of the box.


This is the big picture all the methods and things needs to be fit in. Most important here is, that the vision must be stable in time and the strategy adoptable while the customer success (and with this his experience) have to grow. If we do so we will have gained Value, Emotion and Adventure !!

To be agile and really change things the mentioned methods are helpful and…

If we combine this acting with logic, authenticity and empathy we gain trust which gives the final boost.

Read also:
Customer Experience and the VEA Principle
Trust as the foundation for interaction

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