Umbrex is pleased to welcome Berthold Hannes with Dr. Hannes Consulting. Berthold spent 15 years with A.T. Kearney in the Munich and Duesseldorf offices, leading A.T.Kearney’s Utility practice in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for many years. He was also a member of the European and global Utility practice leadership team. From 2006 until 2013 he was a Bain & Company partner in the Duesseldorf office, leading the Utility practice in GSA. In 2014 he started his own consulting business, based in Cologne.
Berthold works with medium-sized and large Utility companies, investors in the energy space and innovators. He has particular expertise in corporate and business unit strategy, business model development and innovation. For investors he is working on CDDs. He is invested in an Energy start-up in Zurich.
Berthold lives in Cologne, Germany, with his family. He has become an enthusiastic runner and finished his first half-marathon in 2019. Berthold is happy to work on projects in the German speaking region.
Indranil Ghosh takes the pulse of the future and delivers it through the podcast Powering Prosperity Weekly. This week, he interviews Louis Ferro, vertical farming entrepreneur, on vertical farming and the inevitable transformation of agriculture.
You know by now that I’m passionate about companies that are addressing the planet’s major issues, including the climate crisis, population growth and food and water scarcity.
My book, Powering Prosperity (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Powering-Prosperity-Citizens-Shaping-Century/dp/1642933082), outlines my thoughts on these matters – as do my vlog and newsletter (https://www.tigerhillcapital.com/powering-prosperity#thinking2).
One company I feature in my book is called Empire State Greenhouses, a semi-rural vertical farm in the Catskills in New York. It’s the largest completely closed-loop vertical farm system I’ve seen and, based on my experience in sustainable infrastructure investing, I believe it’s a model that could transform agriculture.
One company I feature in my book is called Empire State Greenhouses, a semi-rural vertical farm in the Catskills in New York. It’s the largest completely closed-loop vertical farm system I’ve seen and, based on my experience in sustainable infrastructure investing, I believe it’s a model that could transform agriculture. National Geographic estimates that the global population will pass 10bn by 2050, which current agricultural systems could not feed. Vertical farms are yet to solve this issue, but with ESG, we think we have a key solution:
Key points include:
- Water use
- Carbon emissions
- Volume of produce
Access the podcast and read the full article, Large Scale Vertical Farming comes of Age, on LinkedIn.
Robyn Bolton draws innovation inspiration from the Princess Bride to illustrate how the innovator embarks on a hero’s journey within a corporate setting.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post using quotes from “Moneyball” (the movie, not the book) to describe the experience of trying to innovate within a corporate setting.
It was great fun to write, I received tons of feedback, and had many fascinating conversations (plus a fact check on the year the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino), so I started searching for other movies that inadvertently but accurately describe the journey of corporate innovators.
The Princess Bride
If you have not seen The Princess Bride, stop reading and immediately go watch it. Seriously, there is nothing more important for you to do right now than to crawl out from the cultural rock you’ve been under since 1987 and watch this movie.
If you’re reading this, you’ve clearly watched the movie and know that it is packed with life lessons and quotable quotes. It also captures the reality of innovation within the walls of large companies
“You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya
A company’s focus on Innovation usually begins the moment a senior executive, usually the CEO, declares it to be a key strategic priority and promises Wall Street analysts that significant investments will be made.
It then trickles down to business units and functions, with each subsequent layer told to “be more innovative” and “come up with more innovation.”
Then, one day, the responsibility for innovation lands in someone’s lap and stays there. To be honest, it’s usually an exciting day for the person because they’ve been asking questions, suggesting ideas, and pushing for innovation for a long time, and now the powers that be have permitted them to do something about it. They may even have been given a title and budget specific for innovation.”
But “innovation” was never defined.
The CEO may think it is an entirely new business, something flashy and new that rivals anything coming out of Silicon Valley.
Key points include:
- Defining the expectations of innovation
- Supporters and champions
- Courageous innovators
Read the full article, What “The Princess Bride” Teaches About the Corporate Innovation Experience, on milezero.io.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Derek Robinson with Renegade. Derek is a hands-on Strategy advisor with a track record of developing high-impact new business ventures. Derek trained at Bain, Coca-Cola and Cox Media Group before launching Renegade – a boutique collective of ace consultants, built to drive explosive growth for their clients.
He lives in Atlanta with his husband, Eric, and can’t wait to travel again once the dust clears. Derek is always up for a collaboration, either in Atlanta or remotely, and is especially keen on the consumer goods + media sectors. Learn more about Derek (and his team) at www.renegade.llc.
Susan Meier asks us simply to think about love and how it works when we want to bring positive and productive energy into play.
“Think about love.
In the early days of running my own company, I was feeling nervous about a pitch meeting with a potential new client. My friend suggested matter-of-factly, “Just think about love.” I laughed at first, because love seemed like an odd thing to be thinking about while discussing digital media strategies in the pharmaceutical industry. But I decided to give it a try. I took a deep breath as I sat down to the meeting and called the word ‘love’ to mind. I felt my chest broaden and my shoulders release. It wasn’t romantic love, but rather the sensation of pure joy that comes when you hug your puppy, the feeling that anything is possible when the sun shines on your shoulders. I nailed the presentation and won the work.
It worked because love is what you bring to your very best work – the passion you feel for something you truly care about, the sense of integrity that comes with fulfilling your purpose, the patience and tenacity that get conjured up when you are determined to make good on a commitment.
Don’t think about robots.
While we may worry about machine learning and artificial intelligence taking jobs and dehumanizing work, we need not. It’s true that machines and algorithms have quick computing power and no pesky egos to contend with. However, the unique gifts of the human heart – empathy, vulnerability, emotional literacy – can’t be replicated.”
Key points include:
- Working without fear
- Aligning with passion
- Intrinsic motivation
Read the full article, How Love Works, on SusanMeierStudio.com.
Barry Horwitz explains why he believes industry experience is overrated and provides examples from Ford, Staples, and health organizations to back up the claim.
“In September of 2006, Boeing executive Alan Mullaly was named the new CEO of Ford Motor Company. Not only did he have zero experience in the auto industry, he drove a Lexus (shocking!).
The hiring decision was widely panned by industry experts and “regular people” alike. But Mullaly wasn’t fazed. When asked how he was going to tackle something as complex and unfamiliar as the auto industry, particularly given the financial shape Ford was in at the time, he replied, “An automobile has about 10,000 moving parts, right? An airplane has two million, and it has to stay up in the air.”
In the end, Mullaly was credited with having led a significant turnaround of Ford, which was also the only major auto manufacturer that didn’t require a government bailout during the great recession.
Industry Expertise is Overrated
When speaking with prospective clients, I am often asked whether I am an expert in their particular industry. While there are a few industries in which I have spent a number of years (e.g., retail, consumer products, health & human services, disease-based nonprofits), there are many more in which I have not.
In practice, however, lack of industry-specific experience is not usually a limitation. While it’s true that some understanding of the industry is critical, an outside resource can draw on the expertise that resides within the client organization, and from speaking with industry participants and analysts.
The truth is, if you are seeking creative and innovative ideas, they often come from looking at things from a different perspective — a perspective that is more likely in the possession of those with experiences across multiple and different industries.
There are many examples of this…”
Key points include:
- The benefit of a broad experience
- The intersection of industry innovation
- Hiring strategically
Read the full article, Respect the Unexpected, on HorwitzandCo.com.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Guilherme Bcheche. Guilherme has already dedicated more than 12 years to supporting leaders and teams in complex strategic and organizational challenges. Having worked for several years at McKinsey & Company leading projects for large corporations around the world, Guilherme is focused on supporting leaders and their businesses in their transformation journeys. He is a professor at Fundação Dom Cabral Business School, where he teaches leadership and strategy. He is a psychoanalyst, executive coach, specialist in entrepreneurship and innovation from Stanford Graduate School of Business and has his masters degree in Consulting and Coaching for Change from Insead with distinction.
He lives in Sao Paulo and spend the weekends in the countryside close to the nature. Guilherme is happy to collaborate on organizational transformation and leadership development projects worldwide.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Willem Koelewijn. Willem is an independent healthcare services entrepreneur. After several years in management consulting (McKinsey) and telecoms, marketing 3G equipment to operators in Europe, Willem set a several Ambulatory Surgery Centres in the Netherland under the Alant Medical brand name. These clinics were merged with Bergman Clinics to become the largest chain of private clinics in the Netherlands. He served on the board as COO. He subsequently became an independent healthcare entrepreneur working in various parts of the Dutch healthcare system: from pain clinics, to midwife led maternity care to developing assisted living facilities for seniors.
In this article, Robyn M. Bolton illuminates how our personal bias comes into play with the co-creator syndrome and how it can affect innovation.
When I was a senior in college, I took a pottery class.
One of our assignments, before learning to throw on the wheel, was to create a functional piece using slabs of clay. I designed an Alice in Wonderland-inspired vase and built something that somewhat resembled the design.
Obviously impressed by my innate talent, the instructor offered to teach me a special glazing technique that used highly toxic chemicals to create…well…I stopped listening as soon as I heard “toxic chemicals.” It was dangerous, so I was in.
The result was a rather misshapen (not Alice in Wonderland-inspired) vase that looked like it was made out of chunks of rusted metal.
I loved it!
My roommate hated it.
She declared it the ugliest thing she ever saw and forbid me from placing it anywhere in the apartment where she might have the misfortune of laying eyes on it.
To this day, she swears it’s the ugliest thing she’s ever seen.
I display it proudly on the bookshelf in my office.
It would be easy to explain our different reactions to my work of art as simply the result of different aesthetic preferences. And while there may be some truth in it, I suspect the better explanation is the IKEA Effect.
Key points include:
- The Ikea effect
- Meatballs and lingonberries
- Objective governance
Read the full article, The IKEA Effect is Creating Zombies. Here’s How to Fight Them, on the MileZero website.
Susan Hamilton unlocks the beautiful paradox hidden in the boundaries that constrain us, whether physical, intellectual, or emotional, and reveals a few obstacles that have stimulated creativity.
At the moment, many of us are encountering more constraints than we have ever experienced in our lifetimes. Options and freedoms of all kinds are limited. Your summer vacation plans? Canceled. Back to school in the fall? Not so sure. Even a simple trip to the grocery store has become a somewhat complicated maneuver.
But there may yet be reason to rejoice. We might just be entering the most energized and accelerated period of innovation in recent history.
It may seem counter-intuitive that constraints spark innovation. It flies in the face of the traditional approach to strategy. With the classic SWOT analysis, for example, you identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats an organization faces in order to exploit the strengths and opportunities and mitigate the weaknesses and threats.
But those weaknesses and threats may, paradoxically, be what activate your imagination and unearth opportunity. Constraints encourage idea generation by applying focus and urgency to the task at hand. Through the lens of constraints, you can think about how your limitations can be turned to your advantage.
Artists do this when they choose to work exclusively within a particular structure or medium. Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) famously wrote Green Eggs and Ham after Random House founder Bennett Cerf bet him that he couldn’t write a children’s book with just 50 different words. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she found herself trapped indoors during an unusually cold and stormy summer near Lake Geneva with nothing else to do.
Key points include:
- The Great Depression
- Video conferencing apps
- Core incompetencies
Read the full article, The Beauty of Constraints, on SusanMeierStudio.com.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Bart Sichel with bps Captura. Bart is President of bps Captura, which provides independent advisory and consulting to corporate senior leaders, private equity firms, and boards across multiple consumer facing industries. Bart has hands on experience driving growth, and provides expertise in Marketing, Digital Transformation, Ecommerce, Innovation, Format Renewal, and Customer Loyalty.
Bart was Chief Marketing Officer at Burlington Stores, leading Marketing, Ecommerce, and Corporate Strategy, and he was part of the dedicated executive management team that turned the business around under private equity ownership, took the company public, and increased shareholder value over ten-fold.
Prior to Burlington, Bart was a Principal at McKinsey & Company where he co-led McKinsey’s North American Retail Marketing Practice among other leadership roles. Before McKinsey, Bart was involved in several startups, and was a Vice President at Chemical Bank. Bart also teaches graduate classes on the topic of leadership at NYU, and serves on the National Board of Directors for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Bart holds a B.A. in Economics from Vassar College, and an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from Columbia University.
In this article, Dan Markovitz identifies the problem with striving to be on the leading edge and why focusing on achieving lean operations is a better strategy.
Don’t be seduced by the siren song of the leading edge. While it’s a nice concept, it’s not nicknamed “the bleeding edge” for nothing. All too often, companies that strive for first mover advantage bleed their products—or their entire organization—to death.
Peter Golder and Gerard Tellis’s seminal study of 500 brands in 50 product categories reveals that almost half of market pioneers fail. In fact, the greatest long-term success belongs to companies that enter a market and become leaders about 13 years after these first movers. MITS introduced the first personal computer in 1975. Bell Labs brought out the first color TV in 1929. 3M had the first copy machine in 1950. Good luck finding any of those products today.
In follow-up work, Tellis shows that even now there’s little evidence to support the idea of first mover advantage: MySpace and Friendster were ahead of Facebook, Books.com was online before Amazon, AltaVista (among others) beat Google in search, and Sony, Blackberry, and others hit the shelves before Apple in mobile music, smartphones, and tablets. That’s quite a collection of corporate carcasses.
Forget about the leading edge. Instead, focus on becoming faster and more nimble, so that you can get to the head of the market quickly, when the timing is right. That means eliminating the bureaucratic barnacles that encrust so many organizations. Here are a few areas that are probably creating lethal operational drag on the corporate ship.
Key points in this article include:
- The hoshin kanri solution
- Assessing the skills and traits
- Misaligned decision rights
Read the full article, Want To Be On The Leading Edge? Forget About It., on Markovitzconsulting.com
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Agnes Allotey with Stratosphere. Agnes is a Strategy, Innovation, Product and Organizational Development expert and a Management Consultant with 19 years of experience at firms including McKinsey and Company, Bloomberg L.P., Dow Jones & Company and Milvik (BIMA). She has exposure to multiple industries and functions including the development of Public-Private Sector Partnerships, Insurance, Mining, Banking, Sustainable Enterprises and Media. She is currently the Founder and Executive Director of Stratosphere, a management consulting firm focused on serving companies with interests in Africa. Some of her recent work include working on a transformation for a sovereign wealth fund and helping a large international foundation decide on which sectors to invest in. Agnes is also a Project Manager for CGAP, a think tank housed at the World Bank focusing on financial inclusion.
She also contributed to articles for the McKinsey Global Institute, carrying out key pieces of research into South Africa’s economy and McKinsey Women where she studied gender imbalances at work and the effect on company EBITDA. She has also published hundreds of articles on the Bloomberg Terminal for consumption by traders in real-time and edited copy for the Wall Street Journal as a National Copyreader for Dow Jones & Company.
Agnes is also a career coach and served on the Boards of the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art and Unryddle, a technology-enabled educational development agency for university students. She has an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business where she specialized in Finance and Strategy and a Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College in English Literature with a minor in Physics.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Przemek Czerklewicz. Przemek worked as a specialist consultant focused on end-to-end support for M&As in the strategy practice at McKinsey. In 2017 he started his independent consultancy, advising on transactions, technology strategy and innovation.
Przemek has been responsible for over 30 due diligence and acquisition screening studies, both for financial and industrial buyers. Most of his Clients are healthcare institutions, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, as well as high tech and social sector organizations. He has also managed pro bono projects in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, helping rising startups, local producers and farmers.
In a recent interview on The Transformative Leader Podcast, Susan Meier discusses the importance of integrating creativity at work even, and especially, in jobs not traditionally considered creative.
I always had these two very strong, for a long time, parallel and separate tracks of things that I was interested in. I was always interested in the arts, both in making art and studying the history of art, and then I was also really captivated by the problem solving analytical thinking piece that drew me into consulting. And that was my first job as an undergrad at the Boston Consulting group. So I loved the nature of my work, but that job by itself didn’t activate that visual piece for me, so for many years I had these two parallel worlds where I would go to my art studio, I would paint, I would exhibit my work, inhabit a space with a completely different set of people from this other world where I was in management consulting and working with Fortune 500 companies, making spreadsheets, thinking about operations and logistics. And then I discovered branding.
Key points include:
- Merging the creative with the analytical
- Why activating both sides of the brain is key to unlocking creativity
- How integrating creative and artistic practices into standard business processes can prime the brain for innovative thinking and solutions
- How creativity and fulfillment are related, at home and at work.
Listen to the podcast, “Embracing Creativity in the Workplace” on the Ghannad Group website.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Elias Boustani. Elias is a Strategy Consultant with 13 years of experience. He has led the design and implementation of Tech entrepreneurship programs for the World Bank, General Electric, the American University of Beirut (AUB), Expo 2020 Dubai, MCIT KSA, and Beirut Digital District among others.
Prior to that, Elias was a Senior Associate for Strategy& (previously booz&co) working in the Telecom practice on Corporate strategy, Marketing strategy, Demand analytics, Business Planning, Human Capital and SME strategies across clients in K.S.A., Indonesia and India.
Prior to Strategy&, Elias was a Consultant for Accenture France, where he worked as a system integration consultant for major French companies in different industries: Louis Vuitton Malletier and Shiseido in the luxury industry, Faurecia in the automotive industry and Paris City Hall in the public sector.
He is happy to collaborate on projects involving Strategy, Tech, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in France or the Middle East
Alex Sharpe takes a look at where we are, where we’re going, and why history can help us identify possible opportunities.
The CORONA Virus is rocking our worlds – no doubt. It is a scary time with lots of uncertainty. Fortunately, times like this cause a disruption which also means opportunity. For many of us that is not easy to hear as we watch businesses struggle and industries change. It is even harder as we hear about the loss of life and we watch the stress placed on the healthcare system. Business owners and entrepreneurs are starting to ask questions like
‘What opportunities will exist that did not exist before?’
‘What voids can I fill for customers in a post-pandemic world?’
‘How do I keep my staff engaged if this goes on for another 2 months?’
‘I just started a new business. Should I stick with it?’
Spoiler alert, history tells us situations like this, afford a great opportunity.
Do not miss out. Opportunity is knocking.
Included in this article:
- Isaac Newton
- Warren Buffet
- Apple, Microsoft, Disney
Read the full article, Disruption – What a Great Time to Pivot, on LinkedIn.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Sean O’Toole with Forge. Sean O’Toole is a Partner at Forge > Outcomes, a growth innovation firm to F1000 companies. Sean specializes in deploying coaching leadership teams through change, building innovation capabilities, and launching new businesses.
A former McKinsey consultant, Sean has over 15 years P&L experience with American Express, Progressive Insurance, and Western Union. founded and sold a fintech company; and is an EIR
Sean is happy to collaborate and provide input on projects relating to innovation, growth, and strategic change.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Surbhee Grover with Steel & Graffiti Strategy consulting. With 18 years experience in consulting and brand management, Surbhee Grover provides growth strategy, innovation, digital and marketing advice to leading companies across consumer oriented industries (incl. food & beverage, beauty/ cosmetics, education, hospitality, luxury and digital media). She gained considerable experience during her six year tenure with Booz & Company (2004-2010). Her work has included projects such as the development of an innovation strategy & processes for a global beverage firm; creating a digital strategy for a leading educational entity focused on its international markets; determining global sales capabilities and Go-To-Market strategies in emerging markets for a leading consumer electronics company; and developing a growth product roadmap for a leading European food player.
In addition to this, Ms. Grover honed her product management expertise with firms such as L’Oreal and Marico Industries (Asia) and Colgate Palmolive (N. America). Finally, in partnering with clients across Asia, North America and Europe (UK, Denmark, Netherlands, and Ireland), Surbhee has developed a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities that confront global businesses. Apart from advising senior leaders at global corporations, Surbhee advises several early stage start-ups. She is also a freelance travel writer for the Forbes (Asia).
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Uma Sethi. Uma was a Founding member and Principal at BCG Digital Ventures, where she led multi-disciplinary teams to innovate and launch new startups, digital products or experiences.
Prior to that, she was at McKinsey for nearly 10 years. She served as the America’s Retail Practice Manager for 4 years and the remainder as a classic strategy consultant. Uma was also a Founding Member of globalgiving.com.
Uma currently lives in Redondo Beach, California with her husband and 2 young boys. Uma is looking to collaborate on innovation or strategy projects.
Kaihan Krippendorff takes a left turn off a straight road to discover the benefits of not planning as a fundamental benefit to innovation.
Twenty years ago, long before we had children, my wife and I decided to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in Tuscany. We were living just a two-hour flight away in London at the time, so leaving on a Friday and returning on a Monday would still mean two days and three nights of rolling hills, wineries, and amazing cuisine.
We booked our flights and rented a car, but our search for a hotel revealed nothing really inspiring within our budget. We narrowed our choices down to a property a little larger than a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of Lucca. But we still felt it was a “plan B,” our fallback plan.
We had dreamed of a hotel that would be truly memorable, not necessarily luxurious, but that would give us an authentic and memorable experience of the Italian countryside. So we set out, without confirmed accommodations, in the hopes of stumbling upon our ‘plan A.’
In this article, Kaihan explains:
- The limitations of data to predict outcomes
- The benefits of flipping your mindset
- Engineering luck
- Discovering Plan A
Read the full article, For 2020, Consider the Wisdom of not Planning, on Kaihan’s blog.
With New Year in the rear view mirror, are you driving forward with your resolutions?
Robyn Bolton provides five ways to improve your resolve.
According to research by Strava, the social network for athletes, most people will have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by Sunday, January 19.
While that’s probably good news for all the dedicated workout enthusiasts who will be glad to get their gyms back, given that the most common New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, it’s a bit discouraging for the rest of us.
But just because you’re about to stop hitting the gym to drop weight and build muscle (or whatever your resolutions are), it doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on improving other muscles. May I suggest, your innovation muscles?
Innovation mindsets, skills and behaviors can be learned, but if you don’t continuously use them, like muscles, they can weaken and atrophy. That’s why it’s important to create opportunities to flex them.
In this post, Robyn shares what you can do to build and sustain innovation:
Read the full article, 5 Resolutions to Make 2020 the Year that Innovation Actually Happens, on Medium.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Ricardo Fernandez to our community. Ricardo Fernandez spent 10 years in consulting in BCG, Accenture and KPMG focusing on strategic projects, due diligences, innovation, integrations and business plans.
The last 8 years he has been focusing on digital growth technology companies where he has experience in Growth, Sales, Marketing Operations and mostly in Financial Services. He recently left Prodigy Finance a Fintech marketplace that has originated $1B to lend to international students going to the top masters around the world.
Ricardo was CSMO and led up strategic partnerships for the company while sitting on the executive committee. Ricardo is based in Madrid and has 2 kids. He is an Engineer from UC Berkeley (with Honors) & MBA from INSEAD with a scholarship from Fundación Rafael del Pino.
Ricardo is happy to collaborate on projects focused on growth, sales and strategy in Europe