Slush2018: Time to enter the Growth Zone!

Sabine and I visited the world's leading startup event in Helsinki. I was interested what we can learn from international startups, tech talents and (digital) executives for experimenting in transition phases from customer excellence in branding, product and communication to transformation experience for the entire business. What I find most relevant is the supportive role of leaders. Read what I’ve learned at Slush2018:


Factfullness for better decisions

Despite all discussed trends at Slush – from Artificial Intelligence over the big boom of Voice Experience until 2025 – the appeal of Anna Rosling, Co-founder of Gapminder Foundation and co-author of the bestseller „Factfullness“ is to look out on a more data driven factbased decision making process.

Why is clear to her: as by 2045 the consumer population will inevitably be filled-up by adults we have to radically rethink customer experience for our #nextgeneration of users. Our understanding has to differ from our present one. How can we evolve understanding? First of all by starting more listening to customers through asking useful questions rather than just talking. One experiment we’ve already started at ambuzzador doing so is through Social Media via Community Design Thinking.

#thefillup growth of population model by Gapminder

Learn to Scale through early Customer Onboarding

Got it: Customer Excellence is key. So how can customer connection help evolve businesses endangered by disruption? At Slack – a webbased instant-messaging team communication service – consumer connection is part of the culture. Every Slack employee is involved in customer support once a week to focus on the point of view of user experience. One key takeaway for me is: By delivering new features serving user needs at a lower level of fidelity (e.g. paper pencil prototypes) you get users into product benefit at early stage. One criterion for success why Slack already counts over 8 million daily active users.

So as Customer Onboarding is the biggest driver of acquisition and retention, you can speak of a successful user experience as soon as you transform a key action (first experience9 into a habit action (loyalty) and users start telling other friends about their experience.

Sell Human Behavioural Change!

Processing a Growth Strategy where teams can start experimenting on solving complex problems with a consumer centric mindset is a leadership team’s job to create frameworks for learning zones. To make this possible, leadership evolves from authority to much more about influence.

Summarizing the ingredients of leadership styles that foster building a learning environment:

  • “Your job is to lead – you’re not helpful in details.” So: Talk big about the future and allow teams to fill out the details.
  • Learn more from failure than from success. Especially when product bugs are processed reward your team in so called „fix it sprints“. Install leadership at all stages of product development!
  • Embrace employee empowerment! You will make better decisions by being far more diverse.

Sources: Julia Grace, Senior Director of Infrastructure Engineering at Slack

Evolve or die!

Leaders who are ready to get serious about digitalization and creating experimental frameworks for learning zones within their businesses I invite to book their Team Kick-Off to create their Agile Roadmap for a Digital 2019!