For this second transformation leader interview, I met with Lucas den Boer, currently Business Transformation Executive (C-level consultant) at Atos Benelux HQ in Amstelveen just South of Amsterdam. After a short tour through their atrium cafeteria and innovation rooms where they receive their clients for demo, we sat for an hour to discuss his various experiences of large scale transformations.
Throughout the interview, what struck me from this 51 year old man, is that he can clearly express his vision, he has a balanced view on transformation, a good heart, an open mind and a sensitivity for people issues, whilst keeping a strong focus on business. This I call “complexity intelligence”. Through the different experiences he shared, I could confirm this was not all just nice talk, Lucas has a strong sense of purpose and service, especially demonstrated by his involvement in non-profit organisations and projects.
In 1962, Avis facing the giant Hertz was steadily moving out of the market. They pushed back and framed real manifestos devoid of corporate jargon:
I am very much surprised to see many analysts thinking serioulsy that Facebook facing a colossal data-gate, could turn around and suddenly become customer-driven. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Facebook will be Facebook. But to understand that you have to go past obvious solutionism (they should do this or that) and understand that any successful business was born with a powerful DNA.
And you can’t change your DNA.
Continue reading You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven
For this first in the series of interviews of Transformation Leaders, I interviewed, at Airbus’ Leadership University, Laurent Fradin, Digital Transformation Leader, from the newly created Digital Transformation Office at Airbus.
“[We got the] digital wave in our face… [let’s] surf the wave…”
He calls himself a “communication guy” and has been a digital pioneer bringing new audio visual technologies, intranet, website, client portals to Airbus Communication Department since the 80’s. For Laurent Fradin, digital is key to succeed in the next transformations of the business to support new ways of working, but it is in no way the “alfa and the omega”. According to him, and I couldn’t agree more, it is more about culture and mindset change than about the tools and technologies. And he says it quite clearly: “[it is] more an Airbus transformation powered by digital than digital transformation for the sake of digital”.
I was presenting a keynote called “Digital Is Over” last week in France. The key discussion was that France (let’s say Europe at this point) had largely missed the digital revolution, but that this is not the end of the world. With just a big “IF”. It’s not the end of the world, if Europe faces the reality of digital markets dominated by US companies, if Europe stops pretending to have the most and the best startups on the planet, and a few other things…
As announced last month, the white paper Mentoring by FabMob (La Fabrique des Mobilités) an organisation aiming to facilitate learning and innovation for actors of the mobility sector, is finally available for all to download (those who read French anyway for now). Here is a short summary of key points. Continue reading Mentoring by FabMob – download the white paper
Tomorrow I’ll be giving a keynote on why digital is “over” and what does it mean both for incumbents and the next wave of businesses in Europe. It will be in Toulouse and in French. I’m still fluent for now, so that should be ok ; )
You can already find the slides here:
But most importantly, this is about the launch of the new identity of the regional incubator. It’s one of the best in France. They don’t brag about it because they’re way too modest and because they’re a public service without espresso bar or fancy offices. But their business model is also changing and… well, if that’s interesting to you, you should probably be there anyway.
I’ll try to break down the key messages of this keynote in an article a few days for now.
I was asked to explain our innovation copilots logo enough times already that I feel I should just do it on the blog.
Here it goes:
In 2017, we moved from France to the Netherlands and decided to rebrand our agency from Merkapt to innovation (changing the market as our core skills) copilots (how we do it).
The ‘I’ of innovation is central and a constant reminder of our focus.
It’s slanted because innovation comes from a shift in perspective. And it’s only slightly slanted because in real life it’s rarely about radical turnarounds, but rather decisive sidesteps or « pas de côté ».
That’s simple enough I guess.
Now, the copilots word is another story. It’s only half visible because we are never center-stage.
A famous digital design agency working as a third party for Apple was saying in 2007 when Stéphanie and I created our business “We’re the most well known secret in the industry”.
This is who we strive to be. We’re not engineers, leaders, or communicants. We might be on stage for a keynote or to facilitate a workshop but our real job is backstage.
When the level of uncertainty gets extreme, we take commands with our customers and help them sidestep to a new opportunity, a new mindset and eventually a new culture if need be. Some customers call us well ahead of a storm, some call us when they’re already facing turmoils. But the market should not be aware of our role.
General Electric (GE) was founded right after the American civil war at the early stage of the industrial revolution. Today, with around 300,000 employees working worldwide in a dozen of markets from home appliances, to energy and aircraft engines, GE is still a force to be reckoned with. Think of it as a Google that would have emerged from the birth of electricity, not the internet. But since 2008, GE market leadership steadily declined, making it the worst stock on the Dow Jones index on a constant basis. This decline devolved abruptly in 2016 with the retirement of its CEO Jeffrey IMMELT, a market cap divided by two while the stock market was up 41%, and a cascade of divestments (some of them to the Chinese HAIER — sign of times). Since then, while GE jet engines, medical scanners or power plants are still state of the art, the company went in a spiraling free fall.