Wenn die Kleinen mit den Grossen
– Innovation durch Zusammenarbeit

Die 35 Startups des Kickstart Accelerators sind im Kraftwerk eingezogen. In den kommenden Wochen werden die JungunternehmerInnen versuchen, Kooperationen mit Schweizer Grossunternehmen, Stiftungen, Universitäten und Städten aufzugleisen. Wozu das gut ist? Der Kraftwerk-Blog zeigt dir anhand drei Gründen auf, warum Startups und Grossunternehmen stärker zusammenarbeiten sollten.

 

Hier gelangst du zum Blogpost!

 

 

„Befasst euch mit ICO, es wird die Wirtschaftswelt verändern!“

Die Blockchain-Branche wächst rasch, ein neues Ökosystem entsteht samt speziellen Jobprofilen. Wer vor der komplexen Materie nicht zurückschreckt und bereit ist, sich ins Thema reinzuknien, hat gute Chancen auf einen interessanten Job. Aliya Das Gupta ist eine dieser Neugierigen, die sich die Welt von ICO und Blockchain erschlossen haben. Im Interview berichtet sie, wie sie ins Zuger Crypto Valley gelangt ist, was dort ihre Aufgabe ist und für welche Art von Firmen ein ICO Sinn macht.

 

Als Aliya Das Gupta(1) in die Schweiz kam, wollte sie möglichst rasch wieder arbeiten. Und weil sie neugierig und offen auch für ungewöhnliche Job-Möglichkeiten war, nahm sie das Angebot einer Blockchain-Firma ohne zu zögern an. „Das Blockchain Business wächst enorm schnell“, sagt Aliya. „Wenn du Arbeit finden möchtest diese neue Branche braucht gute Leute.“ Dass das Thema Blockchain komplex ist und hier vieles noch in den Kinderschuhen steckt, hat sie nicht abgeschreckt. Wer dabei sein wolle, müsse sich eben informieren und bereit sein, viel zu lernen. Aliya tat dies gründlich und mit so viel Engagement, dass sie bei der jetzigen Firma innert kürzester Zeit von der Teilzeit-Angestellten, die White Papers (2) verfasste, zum Research Consultant und schliesslich zum Head of Research befördert wurde. „Da war auch viel Glück dabei“, sagt Aliya bescheiden. Doch Erfolg besteht bekanntlich zu 99 Prozent aus Schweiss. Ihr Studium und die Arbeitserfahrung auf dem Gebiet „Research and Policy “ kamen Aliya zugute: Die Branche brauche Leute, die es verstünden, komplexe Inhalte zu analysieren und einfach zu erklären, sagt sie. Stellen wir ihr also ein paar Fragen.

 

Aliya Das Gupta – Head of Research at Bussmann Advisory

 

Wer sind die Kundinnen und Kunden, die Unterstützung beim ICO brauchen?

Es sind Firmen, die Kapital benötigen, deshalb ein Initial Coin Offering ICO (3) launchen wollen und dafür Hilfe brauchen. Ich arbeite bei Bussmann Advisory, die auf dieses Thema spezialisiert sind. Meine Aufgabe dort ist es, zu prüfen, ob die Kunden die Bedingungen für ein ICO erfüllen. Für manche Projekte ist es zudem nötig, zu recherchieren.

 

Was sind denn die Kriterien, die für ein ICO erfüllt sein müssen?

Natürlich braucht es eine gute Business-Idee und die muss auf der Blockchain-Technologie aufgebaut sein. Diese Idee muss sodann in einem White Paper verständlich und überzeugend dargelegt werden. Und ausserdem braucht es ein gutes Team, das die ICO abwickeln kann. Manchmal sind zusätzlich externe Experten nötig. Weiter muss das neue Produkt oder der neue Service bereits eine grosse Anzahl Nutzer haben. Und es müssen institutionelle Investoren sowie Venture Capital vorhanden sein.

 

Ist ICO nur etwas für Start-ups?

Nein, ICO wird auch von grossen Unternehmen und Banken genutzt. Beispielsweise plant Singapur Airlines einen ICO für ihr Loyalty-Programm KrisPay.

 

Wer spielt in der Blockchain-Welt ausserdem eine Rolle?

Für das globale Blockchain-Ökosystem sind Organisationen wie zum Beispiel das Blockchain Research Institute in Kanada von Bedeutung. Die haben viel Erfahrung mit ICO. Wichtig ist auch der regelmässige Austausch in der Arbeitsgruppe der Crypto Valley Association in Zug, wo ich ebenfalls Mitglied bin.

 

Wann lohnt es sich für eine Firma, ein ICO durchzuführen?

Die Firma muss innovativ sein, gute Markt-Chancen haben, skalierbar sein und ausreichend potenzielle Kunden vorweisen können. Ganz wichtig ist, dass Blockchain wirklich der Kern des Business Case ist. Firmen, welche diese Voraussetzungen erfüllen, haben gute Chancen, dass der ICO gelingt. Die meisten dieser Firmen sind in den Branchen FinTech, Gesundheitsversorgung, Video Games oder Mobilität tätig. Weitere Unternehmen sind im Supply Chain Management aktiv und verwenden beispielsweise Smart Contracts (4). Gerade in den Smart Contracts steckt ein grosses Potenzial. Hier geht es um die Zustimmung (approvals) unterschiedlicher Parteien zu geschäftlichen Vereinbarungen und Prozessen. Mit Smart Contracts kann Vertrauen zwischen den Parteien aufgebaut werden, sodass keine Kontrollorgane mehr nötig sind, weil alles transparent abgewickelt wird. Werden Vertragsabschlüsse auf traditionelle Weise – und mit Hilfe Dritter – abgewickelt, ist das kompliziert und dauert relativ lang. Mit Smart Contracts kann der gesamte Prozess beschleunigt, vereinfacht, und transparenter gestaltet werden. Dies wirkt sich auch positiv auf die Kosten aus.

 

Kannst du uns ein Beispiel, einer Blockchain-Anwendung nennen?

Ein gutes Beispiel für Smart-Contracts ist die Firma Smartcontainers.. Das Start-up ist gerade dabei, den Versand von Pharma-Artikeln in Containern zu revolutionieren. Pharma-Artikel sind teure Güter, die leicht verderben können. Es ist deshalb sehr wichtig, dass die Temperatur in den Containern im vorgeschriebenen Bereich bleibt. Die Smart-Container können sich selber überwachen. Sie melden laufend die Temperatur im Container, die sich auch selber regulieren kann. Weiter informiert der Container über seinen aktuellen Aufenthaltsort. Das ganze System basiert auf Smart-Contracts, d.h. alle Geschäftspartner wissen jederzeit Bescheid über die wichtigsten Eckdaten des Geschäftsprozesses. Auch die Rechnungen laufen über Smart Contract Payment und über Crypto-Währungen. Das ist ein wichtiger zusätzlicher Nutzen für alle Geschäftspartner.

 

Dies alles klingt aber doch etwas kompliziert…

Ja, so ist es. ICO gehen nicht mehr so locker über die Bühne wie noch vor ein paar Jahren. Damals reichte es in manchen Fällen, dass zwei Jungunternehmer eine coole Idee hatten und schon standen die Investoren Schlange. Das geht heute nicht mehr. Für ein ICO braucht es ein ganzes Team von Spezialisten, die unterstützend zur Seite stehen: Spezialisierte ICO-Berater, Rechtsanwälte, Steuerberater, IT-, Marketing- und PR-Fachleute. Einen Security Audit durchzuführen gehört inzwischen ebenfalls zum Standard, um Hacks vorzubeugen. Ausserdem gibt’s vor dem eigentlichen Initial Coin Offering die Vorverkäufe, die Pre-Sales. Die können umfangreicher sein als der ICO selber.

 

Was ist der Unterschied zu anderen Investitionsarten?

Bei Venture Capital wird erwartet, dass das Geld innerhalb von 10 bis 12 Jahren zurückfliesst. Bei einem ICO ist diese Frist viel kürzer, etwas 2 bis 3 Jahre. Nehmen wir ein Token mit einem Wert von 1000 Franken. Das kann sofort über einen Online Exchange gehandelt werden. Man spricht dann von einem kurzfristigen Cash out.

 

Ist ICO eine Möglichkeit, schnell zu Geld zu kommen?

Nein, ICO ist keine schnelle Geschichte. Es dauert sechs bis neun Monate, um den Prozess und einen Smart Contract aufzusetzen. Und das Start-up braucht ein starkes Team, das wirklich hinter der jungen Firma steht, sich voll und ganz einsetzt und über das nötige Knowhow verfügt. Die Investoren sind zwar oft weit weg, vielleicht in Korea. Doch sie recherchieren die Gründer sorgfältig: Beispielsweise checken sie deren Credibility über LinkedIn sowie über die gängigen Crypto-Netzwerke.

 

Welche Arten von Business eignen sich für den ICO?

Man braucht ein Token, das die Leute unbedingt haben wollen. Ein Produkt, nach dem es eine echte Nachfrage gibt oder einen Service, der ein Problem löst. Civic.io ist so ein Beispiel. Hier wird die Identitätsbeglaubigung von Personen inklusive Datenschutz durch Blockchain genutzt. Diese Dienstleistung hat Milliarden potentieller Nutzer und löst ein real existierendes Problem für staatliche Behörden oder beispielsweise NGOs, die mit geflüchteten Menschen zusammenarbeiten.

 

Man hört und liest viel über die Risiken und Gefahren von ICOs. Was sagst du dazu?

2017 ist das Blockchain-Geschäft und damit die Zahl der ICOs explodiert. Inzwischen hat sich die Sache etwas abgekühlt. Die Investoren verlangen eine sorgfältige Risikoprüfung, eine Due Diligence. Denn viele Gründer sind noch sehr jung. Deshalb sind gute Beraterinnen und Berater sehr wichtig. Sie reden bei der Entwicklung der jungen Firma mit und helfen, die richtigen Spezialisten zu finden. Aber natürlich weiss niemand im Voraus, welche Pferde gewinnen werden, dieses Riskio bleibt. Was aber klar ist: Blockchain ist nicht mehr der Wilde Westen für Start-ups, sondern dabei, ein normales Business zu werden – mit all den nötigen Regulierungen.

 

Wie schätzt du die Zukunft von ICO und Blockchain ein?

Blockchain ist mehr als ein Buzz-Word. Blockchain kann die perfekte Idee für ein Business sein und es massiv verbessern. Es wird ganze Branchen umkrempeln und in Zukunft einen grossen Einfluss auf unser Leben haben. Deshalb sollten alle wissen, worum es bei Blockchain und ICO geht. Mein Rat: Befasst euch mit ICO, es wird die Welt verändern.

 

1) Aliya Das Gupta arbeitet im Zuger „Crypto Valley“. Sie ist 29 Jahre alt und arbeitet als Head of Research bei der Firma Bussmann Advisory AG. Das Gupta stammt aus Bangalore, Indien, ist verheiratet und lebt seit 2017 mit ihrem Ehemann, einem Isländer, in der Schweiz. Sie ist Kommunikationsspezialistin und besitzt einen Masterabschluss in „Global Media and Communication“ der University of Melbourne, Australia. Anschliessend hat sie im Bereich „Research and Policy“ für einen führenden indischen Think Tank und für Indiens zweitgrösste politische Partei gearbeitet. Aliya Das Gupta ist Mitglied des Impact Hub Zürich. Was Aliya im Interview berichtet, ist ihre persönliche Sicht der Dinge. Das Interview wurde auf Englisch geführt.

 

2) Ein White Paper ist eine Übersicht über Leistungen, Standards und Technik zu einem Themengebiet, ursprünglich vor allem im IT-Bereich. White Papers werden immer öfter als Marketing-Instrumente eingesetzt, insbesondere bei ICOs für die Gewinnung von Investoren.

 

3) Beim Initial Coin Offering (ICO) handelt es sich um ein sehr ähnliches Konzept wie bei einem Börsengang (Initial Public Offering, IPO). Statt Aktien werden beim ICO jedoch Tokens verkauft. Sie dienen als Währung, um das betreffende Projekt zu finanzieren. Grundsätzlich gibt es drei Arten von Tokens: 1. Nutzungs-Token, die Zugang zu einer (zukünftigen) Nutzung oder Dienstleistung geben, 2. Anlage-Tokens, d.h. Vermögenswerte wie z.B. Anteile an Unternehmen, Erträgen oder ein Anspruch auf Dividenden oder Zinszahlungen (vergleichbar Aktien oder Obligationen). 3. gibt es auch Zahlungs-Tokens, d.h. reine „Kryptowährungen“, die nicht mit weiteren Funktionalitäten oder mit Projekten verknüpft sind. Beispiel eines Nutzungs-Tokens ist der von storj.io angebotene Speicherplatz. Vgl. zum Thema ICO den Blogpost .

 

4) Smart Contracts sind Computerprotokolle, die Verträge abbilden oder überprüfen oder die Verhandlung oder Abwicklung eines Vertrags technisch unterstützen. Eine schriftliche Fixierung des Vertrages (auf Papier oder in einer Datei) wird damit unter Umständen überflüssig. Smart Contracts können zum Beispiel die Handhabung von Copyright-Lizenzen oder finanzielle Transaktionen abbilden. (Wikipedia)

 

When being small makes a great deal to the future

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

Can SMEs be profitable but also fair, use sustainable resources and be innovative? Is it harder for SMEs than for big companies to create positive impact? Do SMEs or big corporations contribute more for employment and to the SDGs in general? Some of these questions do not have a straightforward answer. But there is quite a clear understanding of current contributions to society.

From around 60% to 78% of the employment creation comes from companies with less than 100 employees. In the opposite direction, larger companies bring the total of employment decline with negative job creation rates from -100% to -330% in countries with job losses. The ranges vary with the income of countries, but the story seems to be basically the same everywhere.

At least 7 of the SDGs would directly benefit enormously if more credit is made available to the smaller companies. Why? From affordable clean energy to education in developing countries, from access to water and sanitization to microfinance, SME’s bring the biggest hopes to the achievement of sustainable development. For instance, Blue Orchard reported a 1.2 Trillion USD potential market for SME’s in the area of clean technology (data from November 2017).

One purpose of my startup, AdvantiKA, is to inspire businesses by sharing stories of successful sustainable businesses.  Our event on June 6th, “Making THE Business Case – Fair Fashion Insights”, tells amazing stories of people and companies who dreamed of a sustainable business and made it come true. We also bring tools and information to support companies, especially SMEs, to build their own successful stories.

 

Here is what my journey and some research made me understand about enabling SMEs to thrive:

  • SMEs would make miracles for our sustainable development given more credit and financial lines, such as sustainable tailored funding, crowdfunding, microfinance, angels, etc. It is needed a combined screening process assuring that positive impact is created, and better if the SMEs receiving funds are also benefiting from business and performance education.
  • Increase access of SMEs to affordable training, consulting and research and they will know exactly how to make good use of it. They are hungry for this.
  • Help developing solutions for the sustainability problems of the SMEs that can be an alternative to expensive certification programs, jointly with a way to tell the right story to the customer in order to create credibility.
  • Look for distribution channels that can simplify logistics to SMEs. Collaboration, associations and cooperativities can be a way for that.
  • More and more incubators, please! The mechanisms to integrate academia, corporations, investors and experts, providing space, support and technologies to inventors is a must. This is still limited to few “winners” and not always has a governance process in place for positive impact.
  • Help education and awareness of the public. The ones deciding what, how much and where to buy have an enormous unused power. The lack of awareness connected to reality in the era of abundant misinformation confuses the public.

 

If you are a startup, SME or if you want to collaborate on some of these topics, know that AdvantiKA is interested in collaboration too. If you are a SME with a challenge, AdvantiKA would love to help you out!

 

My message today is: No matter the path you choose, start thinking about less is more, simple is luxury, small is beautiful, mindfulness is practical.

 

 

How to grow your startup team successfully

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

As a startup founder, I had little experience in growing a team at the beginning of my startup journey. Since piloting Social Fabric in 2015, we have grown from a single founder to a team of nine people, plus a large group of volunteers, and the process has been a great learning experience, with some missteps along the way.

Here are the lessons we have learned about growing our Social Fabric team:

Build a strong culture with shared values and a clear mission.

If everybody knows what they are working for, the right people will be attracted to the team, and everybody will be individually motivated to work hard to achieve the common goals of the organization. If there is a clear and strong vision and mission, it will also help to retain good people; in today’s fast-moving work culture, it’s easy and common for people to switch jobs, and this makes it tough to maintain smooth operations. Give the team a reason to stick with it over the long run. 

 

Find the ‘right’ people.

This is easier said than done. We have had great success in working with Impact Hub’s Summerpreneurship program. Most of our core team has been recruited from the program, and the program has made it easy to access a pool of talented young people. Offering an internship first provides the opportunity for a trial period, to make sure that new team members are a good fit. The program also offers great support in recruiting and team development. We have also done some of our recruiting through our own network and community, which also provides good opportunities to get to know people before taking them onboard. On the other hand, if somebody is not a good fit, get rid of them right away; they can cost a lot of management time and effort, and spoil the overall team dynamics.

 

Clearly define roles.

One of my big first mistakes was giving people tasks and not roles. As the team grew, my own workload grew because I had to manage everybody’s tasks. With the input of a mentor, I quickly realized that this wasn’t a scalable way to grow an organization. Now we try to give very clear role definition, and leave it up to our very capable team members to fill their roles by defining their own tasks. This means that responsibility is distributed, and everybody’s job is easier and more rewarding.

Make sure that team members are supported in achieving their personal and professional goals.

Everybody has unique aspirations, and we try to make sure that we speak regularly among the team, so that we understand each other’s aspirations, and support each other in achieving them. This means that we often have flexible work models. It also means that as the founder, I often end up doing a lot of the menial work (like bookkeeping or logistics), because I want to enable the team to make full use of their skills, especially the ones I lack. We also work a lot with mentors, so that individual team members can access knowledge and experience that we don’t have within our own team.

 

Create a feedback culture.

Create structures and formats that regularly allow the team to evaluate what they are doing and how they are doing things, and figure out whether business-as-usual still makes sense. Be ready to listen to criticism, and respond quickly when something is not working well.

 

At Social Fabric we still make mistakes in team management, and there is definitely room for improvement in our team culture, but we have tried to structure things in such a way that we can grow and maintain our core values, as well as keep great people on board.

Social Fabric is a sustainable textile center based in Zurich. Social Fabric promotes the use of textiles that have a small ecological and positive social footprint, and also supports people from vulnerable groups, for example refugees in Switzerland.

Kollaborative Wirtschaft | Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten in der Schweiz

Im Januar 2018 fand im Impact Hub Zurich die Vernissage zum Buch «Kollaborativ Wirtschaften – Mit der Methode des Community Organizing zu einer zukunftsfähigen Ökonomie» statt, das Ende letzten Jahres bei oekom erschienen ist. Mit dabei waren Johanna Muther, Community Builderin im Impact Hub, Jasmin Helg von Transition Zürich und Prof. Dr. Dominik Georgi von der Hochschule Luzern. Eine wichtige Aussage war, dass die kollaborative Wirtschaft aktuell schneller wächst als die herkömmliche Wirtschaft. Laut Experten könnten kollaborative Modelle rund 1/3 unseres Konsums abdecken, was sich aber in der Politik und der Ökonomie die wenigsten bewusst sind. Wie diese Potentiale nutzbar gemacht werden können, beschreibt Manuel Lehmann, Gründer des Thinkpact Zukunft, in diesem Blog.

 

Mein Buch zeigt auf, wie mit Methoden des Community Organizing und der Soziokulturellen Animation kollaborative Ansätze in der Wirtschaft wie Sharing, Social Entrepreneurship, Community-supported Agriculture (CSA), Lebensmittelkooperativen, Bau- und Wohngenossenschaften, Tauschkreise, etc. unterstützt werden können. Für das Buch habe ich sechs Zürcher Projekte untersucht und deren Macher/-innen interviewt. Daraus und aus entsprechender Fachliteratur leite ich konkrete Handlungsempfehlungen ab, wie kollaborative Wirtschaft gezielt gefördert werden kann.

 

Bedauerlich ist, dass die Potentiale der kollaborativen Wirtschaft für die nachhaltige Entwicklung, die Agenda 2030 der UNO (Sustainable Development Goals), aber auch für die gesamtwirtschaftliche Entwicklung, kaum erforscht sind. So spricht der Nationalfond in diesem Bereich so gut wie keine Forschungsgelder und ausgerechnet aus dem SECO (Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft) kommt der Widerstand, dass dies sich ändert. Eine der wenigen Studien in diesem Bereich ist „Share City“ der Hochschule Luzern, Departement Wirtschaft. Prof. Dr. Dominik Georgi brachte daraus in die Diskussion an der Buchvernissage das Ergebnis einerUmfrage ein (repräsentatives Sample aus LINK-Panel), die zeigt, dass drei Faktoren Sharing am stärksten beeinflussen: Erstens die sog. «soziale Norm»: Wenn mein soziales Umfeld auch Sharing betreibt und es gut findet, wenn ich Sharing betreibe, dann mache ich eher mit bei Sharing-Initiativen. Sharing-Verhalten ist ein virales Phänomen, es kommt am ehesten in Communities zum Tragen. Zweitens das Vertrauen: Nur wenn ich den andere Beteiligten an der Sharing-Initiative und ggf. der dahinter stehenden Organisation vertrauen, nehme ich am Sharing teil. Drittens der Nutzen: Wenn Sharing den Nutzern einen Mehrwert liefert, beteiligen sie sich eher an Sharing-Initiativen.

 

«Diese Ergebnisse geben Institutionen, wie beispielsweise Städten, wertvolle Hinweise, wie sich Sharing entwickeln kann. Eine Stadt beispielsweise kann dazu beitragen, dass sich Sharing-Communities entfalten können, sie kann als Vertrauensanker für Sharing-Initiativen und -Nutzer dienen, und sie kann die Rahmenbedingungen so gestalten, dass Sharing einen Mehrwert für die Nutzer liefert.», so Projektleiter Prof. Dr. Dominik Georgi. Letzteres wird beispielsweise in internationalen Städten erreicht, indem Fahrgemeinschaften eigene Fahrspuren nutzen dürfen. Dadurch entsteht automatisch ein Mehrwert, wenn man das Auto gemeinsam nutzt.

 

Wie kann kollaborative Wirtschaft gefördert werden?

In meinem Buch beschreibe ich verschiedene Methoden und Möglichkeiten, um entsprechende Wirtschaftsförderung zu betreiben: Dies kann geschehen mittels Coworking Spaces, Transition Town-Initiativen, Ernährungsstrategien und –räten, Energieregionen und damit verbunden dem Konzept der Energieautonomie sowie Komplementär- und Lokalwährungen. Aber auch mit Initiativenlandkarten (Print, Web) sowie spezifischen Raumangeboten, wie sie in der Soziokulturellen Animation und der Gemeinwesenarbeit häufig gemacht werden, kann kollaborative Wirtschaft gestärkt werden. Besonders spannend finde ich die Erkenntnis aus meiner Forschung, dass es sich bei der kollaborativen Wirtschaft eher um Netzwerke als um eine soziale Bewegung handelt.

 

Wie meine Forschung weiter ergeben hat, besteht seitens der Akteurinnen und Akteure der kollaborativen Wirtschaft Bedarf an Vernetzung und spezifischer Wissensvermittlung in Bezug auf die eigene Tätigkeit. Von institutioneller Seite her (Politik, Verwaltung, Medien, Wissenschaft, Bildung) wünschen sich die Vertreter/-innen der kollaborativen Wirtschaft einen engagierten Einsatz für die Nachhaltigkeitsbildung, verstärkt mit einem Fokus auf die Potentiale der kollaborativen Wirtschaft. In diesem Kontext bringen sich die Initiantinnen und Initianten auch gerne ein und sind offen für Zusammenarbeiten. Aus zeitlichen Gründen suchen sie aber den Kontakt nicht von sich aus. Es braucht Personen und Organisationen, die eine intermediäre Funktion übernehmen. Mein Buch zeigt auf, wie diese Rolle ausgefüllt und wie vorgegangen werden kann.

 

Kollaborativ Wirtschaften in Zürich

In den grössten Schweizer Städten gibt es erste Ansätze für solche Zusammenarbeiten zwischen Vertreter/-innen kollaborativer Wirtschaft und den Institutionen. Auf nationaler Ebene steht man hingegen ganz noch am Anfang. Nächste Schritte sehe ich im Aufbau eines entsprechenden Wirtschaftsverbandes oder einer Handelskammer und in einem Ausbildungsangebot «Community Building im Bereich Nachhaltigkeit». In Zürich ist die Entwicklung bereits weiter fortgeschritten: Transitition Zürich und ab Frühjahr 2018 auch das Ernährungsforum (das aus meinem Projekt «Runder Tisch Ernährungswende für Zürich» hervorgegangen ist) leisten wertvolle Arbeit. All dies ginge aber nicht ohne die vielen Projekte kollaborativer Wirtschaft. Im Folgenden möchte ich fünf davor kurz vorstellen, welche die Potentiale der kollaborativen Wirtschaft veranschaulichen. Alle sind aus Zürich.

 

Ortoloco

Ortoloco ist eine selbstverwalteteGemüsekooperative. Es geht ihnen um hochwertige Lebensmittel, faire Arbeitsbedingungen und ökologische Produktionsmethoden.

www.ortoloco.ch

Comedor Foodcoop

Ein Zusammenschluss von Leuten, die sich ihre Lebensmittel von den Produzenten direkt besorgen und gemeinsam bestellen.

www.foodcoop-comedor.ch

Tauschen am Fluss

Tauschnetz in Wipkingen um Leute kennenzulernen, die Zeit und Talente tauschen wollen.

www.tauschenamfluss.ch

Plattform Genossenschaften

Netzwerk von verschiedenen, innovativen Bau- und Wohngenossenschaften; Organisation von Veranstaltungen, um Weiterentwicklung zu fördern.

www.plattform-genossenschaften.ch

Fablab Zürich

Selbstorganisiertes Lab mit 3D-Druckern und ergänzender Infrastruktur, das von den Mitgliedern genutzt werden kann.

https://zurich.fablab.ch

 

Es gibt viele weitere Beispiele aus dem Bereich der kollaborativen Wirtschaft, die laut dem Ökonomen Jeremy Rifkin aktuell schneller wächst als die herkömmliche Wirtschaft. So hat das Netzwerk des Impact Hub Zurich inzwischen mehr als neunhundert Mitglieder, wie Johanna Muther an der Buchvernissage zu berichten wusste. Um den Austausch unter den Mitgliedern zu fördern, beschäftigt der Impact Hub Zurich fünf Personen. Transition Zürich macht entsprechende, nachhaltige Projekte über ihre Webseite sichtbar für eine breitere Öffentlichkeit. Für den Runden Tisch Ernährungswende habe ich mehrere hundert Unternehmen in Zürich mit einem Bezug zu Nachhaltigkeit nur im Bereich Ernährung gefunden.

 

Experten sagen, dass rund 2/3 unserer Konsumbedürfnisse im Kontext lokaler Wirtschaftskreisläufe abgedeckt werden könnten. Insgesamt 1/3 des Konsums könnte in kollaborativen Modellen erfolgen. Die Bedeutung könnte aber als bedeutend höher empfunden werden, da sich kollaborative Modelle beim Wohnen und der Ernährung in zwei besonders wichtigen Bereichen als besonders stark erweisen. Als äusserst wichtig könnte sich auch die Fintech-Branche und digitale Währungen herausstellen, da sie zur Stabilität des Finanzsektors beitragen. Dies aber nur dann, wenn die Modelle so angelegt sind, dass sie Spekulation verhindern. Und mit Vorteil haben sie einen regionalen Bezug, da so eine lokale Wirtschaft gefördert werden kann.

 

«Kollaborativ Wirtschaften» ist im Buchhandel erhältlich. Es wurde bei oekom veröffentlicht, dem führende Fachverlag für Umwelt und Nachhaltigkeit im deutschsprachigen Raum.

 

Seven simple steps of cofounding done right

„If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.“

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Do you consider cofounding a business with a partner? Find out why it is strategically smart and what you need to know to do it right.

Majority of the startup ecosystem members, including myself, believe that cofounding teams have a higher chance to create sustainable and profitable companies then solo founders. This is also backed by numerous studies. Partnerships create faster growing companies which are more innovative, creative, stable and resourceful.

Unfortunately, about 70% of business partnerships fail because of people / cofounders’ issues. How is it possible that if partnerships are good for us, why are we so disastrously bad in it? Because we underestimate the conversations necessary to set it up right, the knowledge required, and the time needed.

The next practical question is: can we do something about it? The answer is yes, we can. It starts with awareness and knowledge. That we should not expect and assume that we know how. What do you think would be a failure rate for first timers jumping with a parachute without previous experience or instructions? Somehow, there are very few of us who would even think of jumping from 10km high without a parachute or with a parachute that we do not know how to use. I believe it is mainly due to that fact that the fatality rate for skydiving is even less than the one for car driving – below 1%. It is because we are aware that before trying to do that we should first learn how.

However, we consider it completely normal to enter business partnerships – without learning about the pitfalls and mitigating the risks.

So how to do it right? Combining my own experience and expertise, listening to many cofounding stories gone wrong (and occasionally some gone right), working with 100+ cofounding teams and researching everything I could find out there, I developed a methodology of 7 simple steps of cofounding done right.

 

 

Step nr. 1: confirm that partnership is right for you. There is no one size fits all. Before going down the partnership route – check if partnership is the right choice for yourself and your project.

 

Step nr. 2: know what you are looking for: the specification of your future cofounder needs to be based on your business plan. Next important step is to be crystal clear about your motivation. Many failed cofounding teams could be traced to ‘I did not want to do it alone’ motivation.

 

Step nr. 3: preselect potential cofounders: once you know what you are looking for – spread the nets. Usual categories are friends, family, ex-colleagues – and while cofounders found in these pools can work – they do have some inherent increased risks. Plus – there might be other – more suitable candidates out there. Act as if you were recruiting your first employee – look wider & keep looking until you find the right one.

 

Step nr. 4: dating times: do the due diligence! Get to know your potential cofounders – what are their working styles? Personalities? How do you work together? Try before you buy! Very important in this stage is to define the framework – what happens if the person joins your team? What happens if they do not? Do they have any right for compensation? Does that impact the ownership of the intellectual property potentially developed in this time? Make sure you have the conditions clear and understood by all parties and preferably documented in writing.

 

Step nr. 5: get serious: in this step you are going to set a foundation of how well (or not) your team will perform. This includes allocation of roles and responsibilities, defining the milestones and KPI’s for individual team members, flagging potential risks and mitigating them, designing the working culture and going through a list of conversations you need to have – aka what happens if? .. a cofounder leaves, a cofounder gets long-term ill, a cofounder stops performing…

 

Step nr. 6: split the equity: potentially one of the most sensitive and crucial parts of establishing a business partnerships. Default equal splits or ‘naked’ equity splits without vesting – are by definition a wrong choice. For cofounding team to be stable – fairness of the equity split is nr. 1 factor. The discussion about equity should also, next to equity allocation framework, include equity recovery framework – aka what happens with the equity if a cofounder leaves or stops being an active cofounder!

 

Step nr. 7: cofounding agreement: only now talk legal. Once you defined the framework which fits your team – it is time to implement it in your cofounding agreement. Do go through the effort to find a lawyer who will help you to draft a cofounding agreement which is clean and simple. If you do not understand any part of it, it is not good enough! Crucial element is to keep it as a living document – make it a Christmas party tradition to look through your cofounding agreement and see if any part is dated and should be updated to reflect the actual reality of your cofounding team.

Follow the map! It does help to get to the destination of stable and successful business partnerships.

Want to learn more? Get Cofounding The Right Way – a practical guide to successful business partnerships covering all the steps in detail.

#Special offer — get the Cofounding The Right Way book in the next 7 days & claim your 20% discount for all cofounding templates

Get the book until 18.2.2018 and claim your 20% discount on all cofounding agreement templates. The templates also include an option to implement Slicing Pie — the dynamic equity split.

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How to Stand Out in a Saturated Market

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

I know a thing or two about standing out. Born to a Taiwanese mother and an African-American father, I stood out due to my appearance whether I was living in an Asian country or in the States. When I was 13 years, I stood tall at 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm). The next tallest guy in my class was to my shoulders. And because I was so tall, everyone assumed I played basketball. I also stood out when I spoke accent-free Mandarin, because no one expected someone that looked like me to speak anything other than English.

While I stood out unintentionally in these situations, we live in a time now where attention is what we crave. As with most individuals, many entrepreneurs and startups are looking for that edge to get themselves more visibility in the already oversaturated market place, especially during the upcoming holiday season like the Christmas markets here in Zürich and other places in Europe. But what do you do when you really want to project a unique business identity and be seen as special?

This past September, the first Impact Markt was held at the Colab, where more than 30 Entrepreneurs and Startups showcased their products. In a place where the market is quite saturated with similar products, I asked several of them how they stood out from the rest.

Impact Markt im Impact Hub Zürich, Colab (Foto:Udo Sollberger)

 

Rodrigo Cortes Guadarrama

La Silla Acapulco, “Acapulco Chairs”

www.lasillaacapulco.com

Emotional Appeal – Rodrigo would rather appeal to your senses in person than promote his product through normal marketing channels. That being said, having an inviting and engaging approach to your marketing is a great and simple way to get to know your customers on a more personal level. During the market event, Rodrigo placed his chairs out in a sunny spot and observed how people reacted to them.

 

Jurgita Vasiliauskaite

Naughty Linens

https://naughtylinen.ch

Exceptional Customer Service – The name itself stands out already. But Jurgita believes that going the extra mile for her customers and treating them like royalty, differentiates her company from the rest.

 

Cattleya Romero-Faude

Sagana, Coconut Sweetner

https://www.sagana.org

Build Credibility – For Cattleya, building relationships and trust with her target market leads directly to credibility and expertise of her business. She gave samples to potential customers and explained the concept and history behind her product.

 

Jekaterina Migunova

Think Balance, Mobile Office Massage

https://www.thinkbalance.ch

Creativity – Thinking outside the box and using innovative solutions can help differentiate your business from the next. Jekaterina has been using “Pay What You Feel It’s Worth” in London for 6 years with success and is trying the same creative approach in Zürich.

I personally think that stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something that may not be expected of you, is a way to stand out from the crowd. Writing is out of my comfort zone, but I saw an opportunity to present myself in another medium and this blog post is the result.

Standing out and differentiating your product from the rest is not an easy task. But I hope that these tips can guide you in finding that edge for your own endeavors.

 

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Erfolgreiche Beziehungen aufbauen mit Radical Collaboration

Heutzutage ist niemand allein erfolgreich. Die Fähigkeit, Beziehungen zu knüpfen und Allianzen zu bilden ist essentiell, sowohl in Alltagssituationen zwischen Individuen als auch zwischen Projektteams, Abteilungen und Organisationen. Unternehmen ohne ausgeprägte Zusammenarbeitskultur verschwenden Zeit und Ressourcen. Sie sind weniger kreativ und zeichnen sich aus durch höhere Fluktuation, weniger Vertrauen sowie geringere Mitarbeiterzufriedenheit.

Der ehemalige Richter Jim Tamm und der Psychotherapeut Ron Luyet erkannten das Potenzial von beziehungsorientierter Zusammenarbeit bereits in den Achtzigerjahren und bauten darauf die Methodologie Radical Collaboration® auf. Diese basiert auf fünf essentiellen Fähigkeiten, die für eine erfolgreiche langfristige Zusammenarbeit nötig sind:

 

1. Kooperationsbereitschaft

In vielen Unternehmen ist die Arbeit ein täglicher Überlebenskampf. Es bestehen starke Rivalitäten zwischen Kollegen, Führungskräften und unterschiedlichen Abteilungen. Fehler werden verborgen oder anderen in die Schuhe geschoben. Natürlich wird so jedes Vertrauen untergraben. Wie wäre es, wenn wir stattdessen alle verstünden, dass jeder Mensch (meist unbewusst) Abwehrstrategien nutzt, wenn er unter Druck gerät? Wenn wir lernten, sowohl unsere eigenen als auch die „wunden Punkte“ anderer zu erkennen, und ein Klima zu schaffen, in dem sich niemand bedroht fühlen muss? Dann würde auch die Bereitschaft zu echter Zusammenarbeit wachsen.

 

2. Aufrichtigkeit

Auch wenn Lügen gesellschaftlich verpönt sind, nutzen die meisten Menschen sie doch jeden Tag. Oftmals gilt auch im Büro der Grundsatz: „Kleine Unwahrheiten schützen den Betriebsfrieden“, was nichts anderes bedeutet als „Ich traue mir/dir/ihr/ihnen nicht zu, mit meiner Wahrheit umgehen zu können“. Wie wäre es, wenn wir nicht nur gegenüber anderen, sondern auch gegenüber uns selbst das Vertrauen aufbrächten, dass schwierige, offen geführte Gespräche unsere Beziehungen weiterbringen?

 

3. Eigenverantwortung

„Warum übernehmen unsere Leute nicht mehr Verantwortung?“ Es gibt wohl kaum eine andere Wehklage, in die so viele Unternehmensbosse unisono einstimmen würden. Die Antwort ist komplex und schmerzhaft: Weil viele Menschen gelernt haben, dass das Leben recht bequem sein kann, wenn man ständig anderen die Schuld gibt. Und weil viele Unternehmen kaum Anreize für echte Eigenverantwortung setzen. Wie wäre es, wenn jeder von uns im Arbeitsalltag nur zehn Prozent proaktiver agierte?

 

4. Bewusstsein für sich selbst und andere

Ein Grossteil der zwischenmenschlichen Spannungen am Arbeitsplatz ist darauf zurückzuführen, dass KollegInnen unterschiedliche Bedürfnisse und Präferenzen haben. Manche wollen in jedem Meeting dabei sein, andere am liebsten in keinem. Manche wollen möglichst alles selbst bestimmen, andere lieber klare Ansagen bekommen. Manche wollen viel Persönliches teilen, für andere gehört Derartiges nicht ins Büro. Wie wäre es, wenn wir unsere Bedürfnisse und die unserer Mitmenschen besser verstünden und uns flexibler auf unweigerliche Unterschiede einstellen könnten?

 

5. Problemlösung und Verhandlung

Konflikte sind im Arbeitsleben an der Tagesordnung. Die Fronten müssten sich aber nicht so oft verhärten. Wie wäre es, wenn wir uns bewusst würden, dass auch bei vordergründig gegensätzlichen Positionen die zugrundeliegenden Interessen oftmals grosse Schnittmengen haben? Die „Interest-Based Negotiation“ ist hier eine erfolgreiche Methode, um Konflikte zu lösen und Verhandlungen zu führen.

 

Die fünf essentiellen Fähigkeiten für eine langfristig erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit können erlernt werden. Im dreitägigen interaktiven Training werden ein beziehungsorientiertes Mindset und die nötigen Kompetenzen für eine erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit vermittelt. Das nächste Training auf Deutsch findet vom 27.-29. November 2017 im Impact Hub in Zürich statt. Impact Hub Members erhalten 20% Rabatt*.

*Wenn du am Training teilnehmen möchtest, der Aufwand jedoch für dich finanziell nicht tragbar ist, setz dich mit uns in Verbindung, um in einer „Interest-Based Negotiation“ einen Weg zu finden, trotzdem teilzunehmen: severin@euforia.org

 

How to pitch in Silicon Valley

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

„Our time together is limited, there is no time to be nice. Don’t be surprised, but my feedback is going to be fairly brutal“ these were the words of Chris Burry, Co -CEO of US Market Access Centre and a serial entrepreneur himself, when welcoming to the 3 day pitch camp organized by Swisscom for the finalists of this year’s StartUp Challenge. It will be tough, that’s what everyone knew by that moment.

 

Chris Burry, giving a pitch coaching session at the Swisscom Pirates Hub.

 

The finalists of this year’s Swisscom StartUp Challenge had the opportunity to attend a whole-day workshop with Chris as well as two 1:1 sessions of one hour each. It was tough and intense, but worth it: „It’s amazing how much we were able to profit from Chris‘ expertise in these three days. The direct feedback that he gave is extremely valuable and something that will help us to improve our pitch in the future “ said finalist and Co-Founder of CARU, Susanne Dröscher. And these are the main points of the pitch camp:

 

  • The importance of sales: Sales or death. If you don’t manage to sell your product, you’re going to fail. More startups fail because they lack customers than because of a failure in the product development. Therefore…
  • Be customer centric, not solution centric/don’t talk about your baby: The customer doesn’t want to know how beautiful your baby is, he wants to know what problem you are solving for him and why that is better for him than letting your competition solve that problem.
  • Define your value proposition according to the NABC approach: Define N: the need -what problem are you solving? A: approach – in what way is your approach unique to solve that problem? B: benefits – what is the specific benefit that the customer will receive? And C: competition – how does your benefits differ from the ones offered by the competitors?
  • Don’t exaggerate: Saying that your solution has a disruptive technology that will be world leading is most probably not true and doesn’t add any information.

 

A cultural perspective

  • Be aware of the cultural background of the ones that you want to convince: Treat them according to their culture, not yours.
  • Some cultures are numbers-oriented, others are human-centred. Some languages are listener-oriented, others are speaker-oriented. The same words (and among them very important ones like the word „yes“) can have a total different meaning in different languages.

 

Plan your pitch according to the human nature of attention

  • First of all, you need a 20-30 seconds statement that gets the listener interested and answers his question, why he should care about your solution and give you his time to explain.
  • Congrats, the listener gave you some more time: You need to have a short pitch of 2-3 minutes that goes a little more into detail and is essential to the question whether the listener will give you even more time.
  • Finally, it’s time for the long pitch: You need a 10-15 minutes pitch where you can go deeper into business model and value proposition.

 

  • Keep it short: Learn to take away all the things that aren’t absolutely critical to the pitch. People tend to use more words than necessary to describe the relevant stuff.
  • Part of a pitch is about the ability of human connection: Connect to the audience, it gives the audience a sense of who you are as people, not as businessmen/-women.
  • You need to address 3 parts of the body: the brain, the heart and the gut. Most important of all is the heart. No one invests in your startup if he doesn’t like you, no matter how great your startup is.
  • Don’t be shy to tell what you lack and need: Every investor knows that you lack and need certain things, it is better to express them in a precise manner.
  • Be concrete with what you want: Amount of time, amount of money, mentoring.
  • Connect as a person: A great team can fix a messed-up product but not vice versa.
  • Don’t lie. Or at least be creative when you lie ;-).

 

10 hiring tips for early-stage startups

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

There are several factors which play a key role if a startup becomes successful and starts to fly or not. One of those essential elements are the persons driving a venture. Even the best ideas can fail miserably if the human component is not working out. In short – team is core. Here are some tips to have an eye on when you are growing and need to hire:

 

1. Vision buy-in

As a founder it’s crucial to understandably share your overall vision. When hiring first employees you’re most likely not able to pay huge amounts of wage or numerous fringe benefits. Consequently, you want to achieve that prospect employees believe in what you want to build and see their potential contribution to it – in this way you transmit motivation and meaning through your vision. #startwithwhy

 

2. Culture fit

In startups teams are relatively small. Hence, every new employee has an influence on team culture and norms. Therfore, don’t underestimate the soft skills as they are the glue within your team. Hard skills are for sure important, but in such a small team equally decisive for a good fit. Test if potential employees match into your team culture before your hire. Give time to mingle with the rest of the team over lunch or for a few hours in the office. The buy-in from your team is imperative for every hiring decision.

 

3. Transparency about compensation

We all know that talking about money is a delicate topic. As you might not be able to offer a standard salary it is even more important to communicate your compensation possibilities in a transparent way. Don’t waste the time of candidates and yourself, by not being clear about what you can offer. #nohiddenagenda

 

4. Expectation management

The daily routines, responsibility range and work atmosphere in a startup can vary immensely from a corporate job. Explain how working in a startup might look like for a newbie. Fast changes and required adaptions are likely to happen in a startup. Be clear about the actual needs and responsibilities of the role you want to fill and give an outlook on how they may change over time.

 

5. Sound human

Take advantage of being a startup and attract potential employees by communicating on an eye level and with modesty. Don’t make the mistake to sound bigger then you are and to oversell yourself. Soon after hiring, you would face the challenge to keep your new employees in your company. #100%human

 

6. Hiring criteria

Having a clear picture in head for whom you actually are looking, will help you go through the hiring process. But let’s face reality, sometimes there are so much open roles and tasks, you might loose the overview. Try to go with a simple trick: before you even start to talk to potential employees, write down clear must-haves and no-goes you have for hiring. This will already simplify your decision process a lot.

 

7. Common rating errors

When interviewing candidates there are several common errors you want to avoid. For example the ‘just like me effect’ – Don’t hire somebody only because they are very similar to you and you get along well. Most of the times we tend then to neglect a real analysis of the hard skills this persons should bring along. The ‘threat effect’ describes the situation when you fear if the candidate can make you look ‚bad’ in your role due to their expertise or superiority. There are many more rating errors you should check out, because when you start to understand them you are capable to minimize them. #failingforward

 

8. Build your reputation

Not all job seekers knocking on your door are a fit for your startup. Be eager to build positive relationships with all candidates you meet, even if they do not match at all. Take this as an opportunity to turn these persons into company advocates and don’t look at it as a waste of time – they might lead you to new opportunities.

 

9. Get hiring support

If you are not an experienced hiring person, reach out to your surrounding to find support for the process. This is even more crucial if you are a single founder. As a basic rule you should always have a second opinion when going through hiring decisions. 

 

10. After the deal, is before the deal

After your candidate has accepted your offer, the hiring process is not over jet. During the first weeks/months of work you’re goal is to strengthen the confidence and motivation of the new employee. Run a smooth onboarding process, give the opportunity to make a real impact but don’t overwhelm at the same time. Make them feel welcome and provide what they need to be successful. You’ll be impressed how this influences your retention rate on a long-term as well as the accomplishments of the new team members.

Six Ways How to Pimp your Story and Make it Stick

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

How can you as a young entrepreneur tell the story of your business idea so that it stimulates public interest? And how can you and your startup draw the attention of the media to your amazing projects? We tried to answer these questions in a special workshop on the occasion of Impact Journalism Day on June 24. Here`s what communication expert Sonja Bichsel and Tages Anzeiger journalist Lynn Scheurer suggest:

 

Step 1: Getting your story into shape

 

Form it: Design your storyline first. Think of main characters, places and how your story evolves through time. Make it visual and draw your storyline on a piece of paper. Having a graph or map of your story makes it easier to stick to the red thread while writing or telling your story.

Develop it: Make sure the main character (this can also be you, your product or your target audience) goes through change and develops throughout the story.

Try it out: Get feedback from your peers. Pitch the story to two or three people at once and encourage an exchange of ideas that could make your story even better.

 

Step 2: Pitching your story to the media

 

What`s new? When pitching to journalists make them aware early on in the story what is new or suprising about what you want to tell them.

Short and sweet: Be prepared and be brief. If you write an email put your pitch in a single paragraph. If you call, start with the important part of your story. If you don’t hear back after a week, follow up.

Make them eager: Be prepared to answer a lot of critical questions once they have voiced interest in the pitch. Also suggest how the readers of the publication could profit from your project as this is something a journalist always has in the back of his mind.

 

And now – start to pimp YOUR story! We look forward to reading all about it in the news.

 

Impact Journalism Day is an initiative by Sparknews, a social enterprise that identifies, shares, and amplifies positive solutions to the important problems of our time.  On Impact Journalism Day 2017,  50 newspapers around the world covered positive stories and inspirational ideas that inspire. Therefore, Impact Journalism Day is an ideal platform for startups and young entrepreneurs who want to make a difference – and get the attention of the media. So stay tuned for Impact Journalism Day 2018 – maybe it`s your chance to make your story stick? #StoryOfChange

 

Start a Startup II: Measure What You Got

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

I once heard a funny yet suitable analogy for social entrepreneurship, which I find fits also quite well to the topic of impact measurement. Replacing social entrepreneurship with impact measurement it goes as follows: “Impact measurement is like teenage sex. Everyone talks about it, few are having it, and even fewer are actually good at it”.

The good news for impact measurement is that you can’t start too early practicing it. And with this we are already at the heart of what to expect from the blog post you are currently reading. What follows is not a listing of state of the art findings, accumulated from an in-depth analysis on the topic at hand, but three top of the mind recommendations for improving your own impact measurement activities, derived from my own engagement with the topic over the past years. So, if you are looking for answers to questions such as “What is impact?” and “How do I measure impact?”, I have to disappoint you, because there are simply not enough words available for a blog post to elaborate on these topics, without leaving the reader unsatisfied. However, to those of you looking for answers to these questions, I highly recommend to take a look at the Social Impact Navigator, published by PHINEO.

Now, let’s move to recommendation one.

 

Start simple and early on

Impact measurement can be a very confusing matter, and to me it gets even more confusing the further I dive into the subject. It is also a very time-consuming and therefore costly exercise, especially in the very early stage where you first have to develop your theory of change (aka logic model or impact value chain). Furthermore, the value and relevance of a sound impact strategy for the success of your organisation seems not that obvious in the early days when starting up. All of this leads many teams to procrastinate the kick-off of their impact measurement journey until the time they desperately need one, e.g. a potential investor is asking for it. Instead of letting yourself be discouraged by the complexity of impact measurement and the effort involved, you can also choose to start very simple early on. Yes, you might not cover all the relevant aspect and the data you are able to collect might technically speaking not be of any impact nature – more on the activity and output level -, but you are taking the necessary first step to get to that level later on, which leads us to recommendation two.

 

Measure what matters later on

It is tempting to stay with what you developed in the first place, and keep using the same metrics and collecting the same data again and again. And why shouldn’t you? You are probably getting a lot of positive feedback on your first “impact” report and your targeted audience seems to be happy with the numbers and stories you shared. However, those people will get more demanding with time and so should you. As a purpose driven venture you ultimately want to bring positive change to the lives of your target group. In order to do so you will need to monitor and measure exactly that, your impact, as otherwise you will never know where you stand and how you can increase it. This means that although to measure and report results on the activity and output level is enough to ask from yourself at an early stage, it is far from sufficient if you want to take impact measurement serious in your organisation, for the simply reason that activities and outputs themselves do not constitute change in a living being’s life. Figuratively speaking, you have to move further down to the right on your impact value chain, where you start measuring outcomes and impact itself.

 

Do not measure solely for the investors

As mentioned earlier, many teams tend to wait with measuring their impact until the time they are looking for serious funding from an investor or when they have to report to an existing one. Of course there is nothing wrong with recognising actual and potential investors as a target audience of impact reporting, but narrowing your focus to that one group bears the threat of missing out on important benefits of impact measurement, beyond a simply means to obtain financial capital. First of all, investors represent only one small fraction in your stakeholder landscape. Meaning, when you measure your impact you should keep all your stakeholders in mind, including you and your team. Second, and here lies in my opinion the true value of impact measurement, solid and frequently collected impact data are an essential input for strategic decision making in your organisation and they will inform you at all time if you are still on track with your venture. Therefore my third and last recommendation is, see impact measurement primarily as a strategic tool for your organisation itself, and only secondly as an outward facing communication instrument.

 

Take these 3 tips to your heart and you’re already on a great way to measure your impact and to inform your startup’s strategy and development. Check out the other tips for your startup in this new series.

 

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Start a Startup I: From Idea to Business Model

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

Starting a start-up sounds exciting, right? Our Impact Hub community is bursting with cool folks with the energy and spirit to start something innovative that could potentially turn our world towards a better one.

Are you one of them? Or want to become one of them? Then this post can assist you in the first steps of laying out your idea.

 

Don’t reinvent the wheel

An innovation is usually called a new product or service or sometimes an entirely new business system. But let’s be honest: there isn’t any product or service that has not been invented yet. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can use the existing products or services to your advantage to better understand the market, the customers, the product, and the price structure. Find out what works for them and where they need to improve — and integrate those elements into your own idea.

 

But let’s start in a more structured way. You can use the ‚Start you Project’ canvas to guide you through the process:

 

1. Think big!

What can you really achieve with your idea should it ever become a great success? If it helps you to visualize, draw a picture of the future and what your idea can contribute to that picture. If you have specific goals you would like to achieve it can help to formulate those as well. For once, don’t hold back – be 100% (or more) convinced of your idea.

 

2. Solve a real problem

Second and very important: your idea needs to solve an actual problem of your target group. This target group can consist of individual people or whole organizations. Depending on that you will create a b-to-c (business to consumer) or a b-to-b (business to business) business model. It is important for you to know what is the customer benefit, what problem will be solved for them.

 

The key to success is not a perfect product or service, it is happy customers. Customers buy to satisfy a need or to solve a problem, e.g. something that makes work easier or enhances their wellbeing. To get a clearer picture of the needs and pains you can draw one or more personas from your target group. A persona is fictive person from your target group for whom you define some basic demographic characteristics as well as there values, goals and main pains. You should be able to visualize these personas; what kind of shoes do they wear? What do they think, see, feel, and do in your product area? Be sure to list both buyers and users of your product (sometimes they are both). If you’re not sure about the needs and pains of your target group, go out and observe, talk to some representative people. You’ll want to be able to clearly link your value propositions back to these needs.

 

Which of the problems and needs that you identified in your personas are you fulfilling with your product/service? What is unique about your value propositions and why should your customer prefer them to the current alternatives? Note it all down!

 

3. Define your success factors

After you got a clearer idea about your costumers and why they will benefit from your offerings, you can think about what opportunities and risks go along with you idea. Are there specific success factors, which might be needed to turn your start-up idea into a success? Or on the other hand, are there risky factors, like a possible change of market, you need to take into consideration?

 

4. Make an action plan

On a next step think about what you need to turn you idea into action. These could be resources or also skills you might need, which you don’t have yet. Understand what is needed and you will able to know what you need to do in order to succeed.

 

Following along these 4 simple (yet not so easy) steps will allow you to lay a great foundation for your start-up. It’s a first move towards guaranteeing your success. But there is more: A business must be profitable in the long term. That’s why we will focus on the business model and how you can earn money in one of our next posts of this new series.

 

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5 Easy Steps to Support Ethical Fashion

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

It is undeniable that something is happening. A movement, we may say, in a new direction, different from all we learned so far, towards awareness and common good. The food industry is an example of how we can change our habits as we tend to be a bit more careful with what we eat and conscious and concerned with our health. We now see new zero waste stores in the neighborhood, organic products at the supermarket, and a lot of plastic packages with the label „green“ or „bio“. Words such as „Fairtrade“ and „Sustainable“ are very trendy and even if many do not know what they mean, it definitely shows that we are starting to care about other issues.

 

As for fashion, for example a t-shirt doesn’t come wrapped in a plastic (and that’s great!) labelled with an „organic“ sticker. And although we do not get ill by wearing a jacket with pesticides residues, we do start to realise that there are other people’s lives and environmental issues involved in the making of a garment.

 

Once we know the story behind our clothes, we feel the need to do different. And when we understand the dimensions and the consequences of our purchases, we also get very motivated to act. With that in mind, here are some practical tips how everyone can start to do to make a change.

 

  1. Reduce

In general, we tend to buy way more than we actually need. This is due to a culture based on consumption where the goods we purchase give us the illusion of happiness. Of course it is always nice to have a new bag or new jacket, but it is the importance we give to it that matters. Therefore, reducing the amount of products we buy is definitely a big step, towards saving resources and helping us to see the important things in life from another perspective.

 

 

  1. Rent

A new concept that has a great potential: just rent your clothes (e.g. Kleihd). Perfect for special occasions, or for items you know you would not wear as often. Also a great opportunity to try out a new style.

 

 

  1. Buy Secondhand

Explore the second hand stores in your city, visit them often enough whenever you need to shop. It’s a whole new world and you never know what treasures you might find. When going shopping in another city or country, do visit their second hand shops, pay attention to the kind of clothes they have. It can tell you a lot about their culture and habits.

 

 

  1. Ethical Brands

Many new brands are being created with an ethical concept. They use raw materials that do not harm the environment and (re)use existing resources. They do not use animals to make goods and make sure their workers are well paid and can work under good and safe conditions. These brands are aware of their responsibility whilst being a fashion brand.

 

 

  1. Swap

Gather some friends and start swaping clothes, cosmetics, shoes, accessories, you decide. Exchanging goods is what we use to do in the past. Make your own rules, set some guidelines (to avoid misunderstandings) and enjoy. Join the Fashion Flip Swap on April 30 to get a first taste!

 

 

Changing a behavior is not an easy task, and it will not happen from one day to the next. However, the main part is the process itself, and there are some small steps that help us to go through it. Although not everyone feels comfortable with all the alternatives, there are many ways to support the change happening in the fashion industry. It is already a big step to bear the above tips in mind when going shopping and the willing to change, is the attitude that will lead to making a difference.

How to attract investors: Learnings from Phil Lojacono, CEO of Advanon

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

As one of the most successful fintech startups in Switzerland, Advanon closed its second financing round in January 2017. Phil Lojacono, CEO of Advanon, came to the Swisscom Pirates Hub to share some of his most important learnings on how to attract investors.

 

„Build a story“

It is very important that you don’t just focus on your product – you need to tell investors where this idea is coming from and build a story around it that you can tell. Especially in early stage investments, VC’s invest in teams, not in products. The product will change in so many ways, things will go wrong, but the team is key. Investors need to be convinced of you as a person and of your story, you need to make them believe that your team will create the next unicorn.

 

„It takes time“

Closing financing rounds will most probably take much more time that you initially thought. In the beginning, it seems like everyone is interested in your business, everyone wants to see your pitchdeck and connect you to the best people, it goes back and forth from meeting to meeting – and all of a sudden someone tells you it’s actually not an interesting investment opportunity for them. This takes a lot of time. Expect at least 9 months from the point that you start talking to VC’s until you close your financing round and make sure you don’t run out of money during this time. You need to have a Plan B. And C. And D.

 

„Financial planning is needed although it’s worthless“

When we did our first financial planning, we tried to be as realistic as possible and went to a business angel, who told us that what we did was not a VC case. Asking what a VC case was, he said that we need to have a hockey stick growth, growing exponentially after a certain point. So we just adapted our planning, increased the numbers – and there it was, the VC case that the investors were satisfied with. After one year we actually achieved our first, realistic planning but were far from achieving the latter. Financial planning is needed although the result is worthless. Don’t be realistic, be overoptimistic.

 

„Be self-confident“

I’ve seen many startups who, when it comes to attracting investors, feel they’re lucky to even have the opportunity to talk to investors. That’s not how it is supposed to be:  You should understand that investors are your partners and that you’re on the same level. Both sides have something to offer, there is no above or below. We always gave them the feeling that there are other investors who are interested in order to make them compete.

 

„Don’t look for an investor, look for a partner“

Investors are not only here to give you money: We get way more than money from our investors, we profit from their experience, network, they open doors for us. You can build very helpful partnerships with them that go beyond investing money. If you have different comparable offers, put a lot of emphasis on how the potential investors did it with other startups: Call startups that the investors worked with and find out what type of investor you’re dealing with. In hard times you don’t want someone who is only interested in money but someone who is sitting in the same boat as you.

 

„Valuation is not everything“

We experienced huge valuation differences: Some VC’s valued us 2,5 times higher than others. Initially you might think you’re going for the higher one. But actually, having a high valuation can be pretty great at this moment, but in the long run, a lower valuation can come with better terms. You get a lot more flexibility, things can go wrong and you’re still on track. If we closed our financing round with an extremely high valuation and we couldn’t manage to achieve very high KPIs within the next year, we wouldn’t be able to close our next financing round since we would need an ever higher valuation for that one. That’s why we chose to go for a fair valuation that we feel comfortable with.

 

PH2 Kopie 2

 

About Advanon:

Founded by three former Google employees, Advanon enables SMEs to prefinance their outstanding invoices easily, quickly and transparently. SMEs can have their customer invoices pre-financed by investors on the Advanon online platform and receive their cash within 24 hours. Companies than therefore customize their short-term financing according to their business needs and avoid long waiting times, while investors receive access to a new asset class.

 

Advanon was among the five winners of the Swisscom Startup Challenge 2016 and after the challenge closed its second financing round including an investment of Swisscom. The application period for the Swisscom Startup Challenge 2017 is open again. Apply now!

 

Three most common difficulties startups encounter – and how to solve them

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We all know friends whose heads are full of ideas, who have so many things they dream of doing and wish to accomplish. Many of these friends never try to turn their calling into a career because they are blocked by fear—fear of failure, of being judged. It is true that starting your own business can feel like a roller coaster with many ups and downs, but it should not be what prevents you from following your dreams. Some challenges startups face are unpredictable, but there are at least some foreseeable obstacles to prepare for:

 

  1. Running out of time
    Things will take more time than you expect. To make sure things get done on time it is important to set deadlines for different tasks, releases and events. Planning is essential for any business to succeed, so take your time and write down the milestones you wish to reach.
  2. Discouraging and negative feedback
    There is a well known saying “Haters gonna hate” and this definitely applies when when you are trying to build your dream company. You will receive negative feedback, but it is important to deal with it in an appropriate way. Think critically – is the feedback constructive?  You can learn a lot from the this kind of feedback, but it’s important not to take it personally.
  3. Financing your service or product
    Money is always an issue – doesn’t matter how much of it you have. Luckily, nowadays the internet and social media are great tools to secure contacts and find advice on how to fundraise and get investors. Believe in your team, in your product or service and the most importantly – believe in yourself!

 

Find more hints from experts, hands-on advice and startup stories in the Swiss Entrepreneurs Magazine! This new startup magazine, created by young people in the region of Zurich, aims to strengthen connections between entrepreneurs in Switzerland. Because innovation does not happen in isolation. #radicallycollaborative

6 Ways to Flourish as a Female Entrepreneur

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The title shouldn’t deceive you. No matter if male or female entrepreneurs, we all need tips on how to find a co-founder or how to invest money etc. But you wouldn’t see an article written with a title „5 tips for male entrepreneurs“ because obviously, women go through some extra hoops before and during they handle such questions. If you come this far in the article, already give yourself a heartfelt applause, because it shows that you are in the right mindset to be an entrepreneur. For the male readers, if there are any, please go ahead and read to support the cause!

 

Female entrepreneur or male, one truth – as we all know – is that the startup scene is not a bed of roses for anyone. I can only share my own experience with you. There have always been things that made me feel lucky because I am a woman and made me feel helpless for the same reason.

I am in my 30s and I am raised by middle-class, loving and self-confidence boosting parents. I left home when I was 18 and lived on my own since then in 4 different countries, travelled 40+ countries. My friends have always been international which made me familiar with the problems that women face in different cultures. It is a known fact that we still have a long way to go for the equality in the workplace and in social life to democratize the given chances to the diverse groups.

 

Almost 2 years ago, I and my female partner founded WeWent.com, a marketplace for group experiences tailored for professional teams, families and friends. It started when we won the third place and best pitch award at Startup Weekend in 2015. The memory of myself and my 7 months-pregnant-partner pitching on the stage is one of the proudest moments of my life.

Here is how you can do it, too.

 

Use the Gender Gap to your advantage

Today only 3 out of 10 entrepreneurs are women. The venture capital and angel investor ecosystems are also heavily managed by men. The truth is it doesn’t look very inviting to many women and creates the added worry to start. The good news is, the startup ecosystem is fluid and reaction comes much faster in comparison to the hard-boned corporate ecosystem. Therefore there are many women-specific funding organizations. You can check out ladybirdlist.com – co-created by a friend of mine – for the full list of available funding for women. Huge conferences such as Web summit and alike are offering free or almost-free tickets for women in tech to balance the participation to their events. Enjoy feeling unique and use it for your product PR and use the benefits of exclusive programs built for women.

 

Remove discouraging voices from your life

You might hear negative comments when you express your willingness to start something. It can be due to how the female social role is seen differently in life. Or as women, we are not perceived as strong to exist in such competition. It may come from your friend, boyfriend or even your parents. In my 20s I had a friend laughing at my face when I said I would like to have my own business in the future. We women tend to take these comments to our hearts more than men do. My sole suggestion will be: stay away from that person. If you will need one thing in this journey that will be the people who are supporting you and believing in you. When you are down you will need people around you to remind you how far you have come.

 

Humility versus hubris

Another difference between women and men is very well explained through the „male hubris, female humility“ effect. According to Wharton University research men are more often overconfident. I quote: „What it says is that women have lower levels of hubris than men — they’re less likely to be overconfident. Men are much more likely than women to believe that their success is because of their own doing and failure is someone else’s fault.  Women, in addition to having a lower hubris, also have higher levels of humility. Humility means that in the face of actual success, you’re less likely to attribute it to yourself and you’re less likely to take advantage of it.“ It also adds that women actually have a more accurate judgment of risk in this particular way, however, they are more discouraged to start a business or continue after a failure. In my experience this is true. What I do to overcome this is; I feel grateful for each success or failure as a learning and I take notes of those learnings daily.

 

Women support women

One of the most beautiful and inspiring entrepreneurship stories I heard was from Stephanie Shirley thanks to TED talks. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion. She hired only woman working from home in those years to code with her! Although she had to name herself as „Steve“ to be able to get jobs. Watch the hilarious talk. One of the outputs is increasing female numbers in the entrepreneur ecosystem will help other women to succeed. So by pushing your endeavor, you are also being a hope for the future female entrepreneurs. As an example, at WeWent we are exclusively looking to hire stay-home mums who would like to come back to work part time. In general, the entrepreneurship culture is based on helping each other and as women, we should echo it.

 

Find the gaps that can be only fulfilled by women for women

You know you want to start something but you don’t know what? What you are good at  always deserves a shot. However, keep in mind that there are pain points out there that can be solved mostly by women for women. If you look around most of the baby & kid related solutions comes from women entrepreneurs because they are the audience who knows the problem and the market best. Also wearable tech for eliminating menstrual pain and as such are fascinating technology focusing on women problems. So think of what is there to solve around you that is close to your heart.

 

Your network is your best friend

It starts with an email or saying hello to a person who has been already in the challenge you are facing. Your co-founder, first employee, first customer, or marketer will be very likely to be someone in your network. So even though you are feeling outnumbered in the environment, do not hesitate to knock on other’s doors. As long as your intentions are good, the entrepreneurial community will try to help you. However, it will start with your step only, so make that step. There was a nice article previously on Impact Hub Zürich blog related to networking, you can read here.

 

As every entrepreneur, you will have moments that you are skeptical. As women, we need to be extra careful!

  • Don’t forget to give yourself credit, and appreciate all the effort.
  • Be authentic. Gender is not what defines us.
  • Always focus on the positives.
  • Believe that you are enough.

You will ask yourself why you are going through this roller-coaster. Remind yourself that you are taking control in your hands to change things, to follow your dreams, one step at a time.

I know I touched only a couple of topics, if you want to add other tips please share it in the comments. If you feel like talking, please reach out to me at bilge@wewent.com or you can join our next event on March 16th in Zurich.

 

The Ultimate Minimum Viable Product Guide

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

Every day a new startup comes into the world, full of hope and promise, and every day one dies. Working alongside entrepreneurs, we see first hand how often promising startups fail, and it can be depressing. These are the most common excuses: ‘Our product was bugged!’, ‘Wrong place at the wrong time!’ or ‘We weren’t visionary enough!’ Sound familiar?

It’s time to look past the preconceptions that we all have. Startup success is rarely a consequence of luck, good genes, or being in the right place at the right time, as the startup gurus and media would like us to believe. In reality, startup success can be engineered by following the right process. Although there are many steps in this process, the most crucial is something called ‘idea validation’.

When you are starting up your startup – it has that title for a reason – you know that the two most critical factors are time and money. They’re indispensable resources. What most entrepreneurs don’t realize is that their business idea, their baby, can go bust before their Post-It strips run dry if they’re not willing to put their idea out there for real feedback. The results could be crushing, but they could also save your business.

There’s no tried-and-true way to get the proof of concept that you need, but we’re going to share with you some strategies that we have seen work for others. After all, there are no guarantees when it comes to getting your startup off the ground, but sometimes you just have to throw things to the wall and see what sticks. Here is what we’ve discovered has the most tackiness:

 

Minimum Viable Products

 

Minimum Viable Products, or MVPs, are limited versions of your product that can provide you with the most valid learning with the least effort on your part. This is the single most effective way to test your idea because it will give you a sense of whether or not there is demand for your product and if people are actually willing to pay for it. These are the fundamental qualities that you want in your product. Really, it’s the only reason you’re starting a business in the first place.

The best part is that you can make an MVP today before spending money on things that are irrelevant. There is immediate gratification as well because you have instant proof of concept. This is the best way to make sure you’re not delusional about your baby. Once you have the proof that you need, then it makes sense to proceed and spend more resources.

MVP’s can vary in levels of complexity, and there’re several ways to test them. Think about these different methods listed below and pick the ones most applicable to your product or service.

1. Customer Interviews

Find out where your potential customers hang out and hit the streets. Start asking open-ended questions to understand if they can relate to the problem that your product is going to solve, and whether they want this problem fixed in the first place. Inquire about their current user journey with this problem and propose the solution: your product. Take note of their reaction. If your assumed problems turn out to be not as important to the customer, you still have valuable data that can help you pivot what you’re selling.

2. Landing Pages

The Landing Page is the first page visitors and potential customers come to when they’re led down the funnel towards your product. They’re most often used for marketing purposes but they’re a great way to test the validity of your idea. You can include all the information regarding your product and see the number of people that signup. You can also test different features or price points by changing the description and checking the associated signup rates. This is a great way to see how subtle differences are much more profound than you think when it comes to the customer’s decision making.

3. Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns are a great way to validate your idea, and you can use them if you have a landing page. Head to Google Adwords and set your bidding option to Automatic Bidding to Maximize Clicks with a max bid target of $0.50, and you’re on your way. We suggest that you put your budget around $20/day. When the campaign is set up, choose a couple of keywords and write some ads that explain your product and appeal to your target. (You’ll have to remember to set up conversion tracking). If you only get a few Leads you need to re-evaluate things a little, but if you get tons, you might have a winner.

4. Crowdfunding

A crowdfunding campaign is a powerful way to see if your idea appeals to the broader public. Consider building a connection to your tribe and invest a little time in pre-marketing to generate some buzz. Encourage feedback and questions as much as possible and you’ll gain new insight into what people out there think about your product. In the end, even if you don’t get the amount of funding you seek, you’ll get a good indication of how many people would buy your product.

5. Wizard-of-Oz MVP

A Wizard of Oz MVP is a front that looks like a real, working product (website or app), but in reality, you manually carry out product function yourself. For example, if you want to create a platform that connects entrepreneurs with mentors, whenever you get a request, you start by manually calling each of your mentors until you find the right fit. Wait to take this step until you have validated that there’s enough demand to develop a platform with an automated back-end infrastructure.

6. Social Networks

Using social networks to test MVP’s can be similar to a Wizard-of-Oz scenario, and equally as effective. When The Code Venture first started out, we wanted to test if there was a market for entrepreneurs looking for tech co-founders. Before ever building our team and developing our offer, we created a Facebook page called ‘I Need a Tech Founder’. It was only when we saw hundreds of people and requests coming in that we set-up shop.

7. Core Feature MVP

Sometimes it’s best to focus on a single feature of your minimum viable product to economize resources and avoid unnecessary distractions. Companies like DropBox and Google started with Core feature MVP’s. To find out what to focus on, think back to the customer’s journey, their problem, and figure out the feature of your product that solves it. Release an MVP, and if the feedback’s good, you can start building on it. If the feedback is poor, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

 

The point of all this is: You don’t want to waste resources on building your startup until y0u know you have a brilliant product on your hands. That means not assuming you’ve got a pixel-perfect creation until your potential users or clients feel the same way. Don’t jump off a burning building unless you see a flame!

Design Thinking: das „Problem to Growth & Scale Framework“

Auf der Reise von der ersten Problemstellung bis zur Skalierung eines Start-ups sind unterschiedliche Ansätze und Werkzeuge hilfreich. Mit dem „Problem to Growth & Scale Framework“ werden verschiedene aufeinander aufbauende Ansätze kombiniert. Die Schritte gelten insbesondere für jenen Entrepreneur, der am Anfang seiner Reise steht und ein Problem identifiziert hat, welches es zu lösen lohnt. Der Startpunkt der Reise ist also ein Problem, welches oft noch nicht ganz genau umrissen und verstanden ist.

Unbenannt

 

Das Framework beleuchtet sechs Schritte, die auf dem Weg zum skalierenden Unternehmen wichtig sind.

Schritt 1: Design Thinking
Schritt 2: Research
Schritt 3: Co-Creation
Schritt 4: Lean Start-up
Schritt 5: Business Design & Agile Produkt- und Kundenentwicklung
Schritt 6: Scale

 

Was ist im Schritt 1 „Design Thinking“ wichtig?

Starte mit Design Thinking. Bestimme deine potenziellen Nutzer, Kunden und Stakeholder. Erkenne die wahren Kundenbedürfnisse und finde gleichsam elegante wie einfache Lösungen. Bestimme eine erste Vision des Wertangebotes für die potenziellen Nutzer und Kunden. Nutze Systems Thinking und Data Analytics, um komplexe Probleme zu verstehen und bessere Insights zu erhalten

 

Wie kann im Schritt 2 „Research“ zu Markt- und Kundenzahlen helfen?

Verstehe das Problem und die Situation ganzheitlich. Nutze Marktforschungs- und andere analytischen Ansätze wie Data Analytics und Systems Thinking, um das Problem und die Situation ganzheitlich zu verstehen. Validiere und ergänze deine Erkenntnisse.

 

Warum „Co-Creation“ (Schritt 3) in jeder Phase Vorteile bringt?

Binde weitere Kunden und Nutzer, sowie Lead User ein. Hole dir soviel Hilfe wie nötig von Aussen. Su­che nach weiteren Lösungen und nach noch radikaleren Ideen. Arbeite über Abteilungs- und Unterneh­mensgrenzen hinweg zusammen. Entwickle erste MVPs und baue Vertrauen zu Partnern und Kunden auf.

 

Wie die Nutzung von „Lean Start-up“ (Schritt 4) die effiziente Weiterentwicklung deines Angebots unterstützt?

Nutze den Lean Start-up Ansatz, um mit wenig Kapital dein Angebot weiter zu entwickeln. Strukturiere die Lösung schrittweise. Durch die schnellen Iterationen wird das Produkt beziehungsweise das Geschäftsmodell stetig verbessert und validiert. Kläre mit Experimenten die grössten Unsicherhei­ten ab.

 

Warum „Business Design und agile Produkt- und Kundenentwicklung“ (Schritt 5) zentral sind für den Produkt-/Market-Fit?

Im Folgenden verlagert sich der Fokus von der Problemlösung und Lösungsfindung (Problem-/Soluti­on-Fit), auf das Finden des richtigen Geschäftsmodells mittels Business Design (Produkt-/Market-Fit). Das Produkt und das Geschäftsmodell werden agil entwickelt, hilfreich dabei sind Methoden wie SCRUM. Denke bei der Entwicklung von Geschäftsmodellen in Varianten, wie zum Beispiel Serviceas­pekte (Servitization) oder Entsorgung. Konzepte wie Circular Economy (oder Cradle to Cradle) sollten zudem schon bei der Konzeption berücksichtigt werden.

 

Welche Fähigkeiten benötigt Schritt 6 „Scale“?

Erst im nächsten Schritt wird an Wachstum gedacht und das Geschäft skaliert. Das Produkt wird in den Markt eingeführt. Bereite die Organisation für Wachstum und Skalierung vor. Etabliere skalierbare Prozesse, Strukturen und Plattformen. Überprüfe das Mindset & Fähigkeiten in deiner Organisation und folge nicht einfach einem Blueprint. Bringe die gesamte Organisation einen Schritt nach vorne und gehe neue Wege.

 

Das „Problem to Growth & Scale Framework“ ist eine von vielen Methoden und Werkzeugen aus dem neuen Design Thinking Playbook. Das Playbook (Lewrick, Link, Leifer) ist ab sofort im Buchhandel erhältlich und ein ist ein Must-Read für alle Macher und Innovationsbegeisterte. Hier könnt ihr das Poster downloaden.

 

15 Tips to Step Up Your Slack Game

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

Back in October 2016 I wrote an article introducing Slack and explaining how it can boost your communication and hence make you more efficient at work. This article is following up on that. I want to show how Slack can be used in different roles in the workplace so that you can make the most of this great tool according to your specific needs.

Slack is truly for everyone! However, some features and how you use them is more suited to certain types of roles within the workplace. Here I have listed five common workplace functions along with my top three most useful tips for that role.

Note: I have numbered the tips sequentially throughout as a lot of them apply to multiple roles and functions!

 

Project Managers

Tip #1: Using a bot such as Howdy to help automate tasks (such as pre-meeting questions) can help you save huge amounts of time
Tip #2: When setting up Slack, try dividing channels by purpose rather than audience – #frontend is much better than #developers, as different roles in a company collaborate together often
Tip #3: When you have external people working on your project (freelancers, clients), if you are using a free Slack plan you will not have the option to invite specific users into single channels. Therefore it’s probably easiest to make most channels private from the beginning in order to avoid this.

 

Developers, Techies, Nerds…

Tip #4: Automate deployment cycles, build status reports, monitoring systems etc. by using the many bots available in the Slack marketplace. This will save you many hours of work!
Tip #5: In addition the RSS feed bot can help you pull your favourite news sources automatically into Slack as well; make dedicated channels for these to keep them organised! This is great for staying on top of vendor news and tool development.
Tip #6: Slack’s typing options help you make sure your message is read properly; use markup options such as „` for code snippets and when you type, make sure to use shift+enter to make a new line before sending your message (it’s harder to follow a conversation with multiple messages from different people over different lines).

 

Creative Directors, Designers…

Tip #7: When you upload an image to Slack, use the “title” field to describe the image and the “comment” to go into detail – commenting in-line this way on the image makes it easier to follow.
Tip #8: If you need input on certain topics, try making a poll using one of the many bots available and requesting information this way, instead of typing out a question and mentioning people with @username.
Tip #9: Being in a creative role could mean being involved in a LOT of conversations and/or Slack teams – have Slack email you a digest at the beginning of the week (in your account preferences) in order to catch up on anything you might have missed – it’s quite good at picking out the important stuff!

 

Management, Human Resources, Backoffice…

Tip #10: Using a bot such as PlusPlus or Growbot is a great and easy way to encourage people to praise others. It even collects statistics and totals for you!
Tip #11: The “reaction” feature for messages is an easy way to get people’s opinion – why not use it for voting on certain topics?
Tip #12: Use Slack to better understand how employees communicate – Slack’s built-in statistics about each team are useful for that!

 

Marketing Managers, Social Media Gurus…

Tip #13: Marketing professionals communicate a lot and thus probably spend a lot of time in Slack. They can greatly benefit from the /remind feature to keep on top of things!
Tip #14: Have important things like newsletter signups, contact requests, new followers etc. flow directly into a single channel to keep marketing activities visible, even to those outside the marketing teams.
Tip #15: Make sure your do-not-disturb and notification settings are set up correctly for your preferences – marketing typically “never sleeps” so having notifications waking you up at 2am is probably not optimal.

 

I hope you find these tips useful and if you didn’t see your role here I would like to hear from you!

 

Websummit 2016 – or how I met an Astronaut

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

In the beginning of November, I was at the WebSummit in Lisbon as an Alpha-Startup with my company Koovala. What we experienced exceeded all our expectations. Admittedly, that was easy since we went there rather unprepared and without many expectations whatsoever. But still, the experience was amazing and we can recommend participating without reservations. I’ll give you 5 reasons why in a minute, but let me give you some background information first.

 

Companies face a new reality: Video Content is more relevant than ever. By 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will be generated with video, habits for content-consumption have changed. For marketers, that means that they need to have a constant supply original, compelling content to distribute. The thing is – content creation is very time-consuming and expensive, especially in the field of Branded Content and Ad-Creation.

 

Enter my startup Koovala

Koovala is your fastest way to exclusive, original TV-ad content. Buy ready-made, fully produced TV- and Online-Commercials Online, individualize them to your specific brand, product or service and be running your campaign in no time. Tapping into an international network of professionals, Filmmakers and Creatives create video advertising that companies then can browse by industry, product, mood and many more. When they find an ad they like, they can customize that ad in various ways: add their logo and claim of course, different music, text and voice over, color-grading, editing and so on. They can even request a reshoot if they, for example, need to have their product in the video. Computer Generated Imaging offers yet another wide range of individualization options. For clients, this means a fast way to get original, high quality content at a very competitive price. I could go on and on about all the advantages for all parties involved, but I’ll stop here and just say that we think we are building a new future of how content can be sourced.

 

Tobias Straka, CEO of startup koovala, at the Websummit 2016 in Lisbon

 

Back to the story

A couple months back, I stumbled across WebSummit for the first time. My guess is that, if you’re working as a Startup, chances are high that the same happened to you – their Marketing is very agressive, but effective. They started out as a very small tech conference a couple years back and have now become one of the (if not the) biggest and important event for entrepreneurs and techies with over 50’000 attendees this year. In fact, they got so big that they had to leave their origins in Dublin partly because of that. Infrastructure could simply not handle this amount of people flooding in from all over the world.

 

So I saw that WebSummit was happening and they had this „Alpha“-Program that made it possible for Startups to exhibit for 1 day. I applied, was contacted by some staff and had to answer a couple of questions, then was accepted as an Alpha. We had to pay EUR 2’500 to participate, which I knew from the beginning. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this very topic, Startups having to pay to showcase their product or service. It looks like in the past, communicating this did not really work so good, and of course, people were pissed. Making money off of often early-stage companies is indeed questionable, but I was aware and ok with this. I gathered it would be worth being there, and I was right. Here’s why (in no particular order):

 

1. Lisbon

Lisbon is amazing. It is such a beautiful city. If you’ve never been to Lisbon, do go there – architecture, food, people, weather, everything is just great. The venue for Websummit was great, too, easily reachable by public transportation (it does get crowded, but what the hell) and big enough to host a great amount of people. The grand opening was a bit tricky – getting 50’000 people into the main arena was simply not possible, so tons of attendees found themselves outside, not really knowing what to do other than watching the event on the big screen in front of the venue or on their mobile phones via Live-Stream.

Pascal, my Co-Founder and I, decided to head back to town and have a first look at the nightlife. What also amazed everybody I talked to was that it seemed like all the Locals were talking English, and they enjoyed it. Cab Drivers, Cashiers, People in the Street, everybody was really open, eager to help, proud of their city and always available for a quick chat. You know how in some countries you get the feeling you insult people by not talking their native tongue? Well Lisbon people are different, and it just adds to a great atmosphere for everybody.

 

2. Nightlife / Night Summit

It is pretty well known that some of the best deals are being made over a beer or two. During WebSummit, the attendees basically took over the town, so it was incredibly easy to meet people. In fact, we made connections on the first night that will be of great value for us as a company going forward. Pink Street was packed, drinks were cheap, music was good, mood was great, and even though the organised Pub-Crawls did not really happen because of the sheer amount of people, it was a great way to get to talk to people from all over the world.

 

Lisbon full of startups and investors enjoying the nightlife

3. Talks

There were some great speakers this year, and topics covered ranged from how to prevent Burnouts to Funding and Future Technologies. Lots of great Founders, CEOs, CTOs were present and offering interesting insights. Admittedly, chances are you’ve heard a lot of the discussions before, but it’s nice to actually see and meet people in real life.

 

4. Attendees

This is pretty amazing. Just start talking. You meet people from all over the world doing great things. Not only will you find people that work in the same field, but you also get to meet people that are just great to talk to anyway. When I was invited to a Speaker dinner, the greatest thing happened: I was talking to a group of people, they asked what I did, I told them, then I turned to this gentleman asking the same question – „and what do you do?“ His answer: „I’m an astronaut.“ How. Cool. Is. That. Seriously…

 

IMG_8082

 

5. Networking / Connections

This probably is the most important one. The sheer amount of opportunities that present themselves by talking to people is mind-boggling. All of a sudden, you have business cards from people that you either always wanted to get in touch with or from people you had never given a thought that can actually add to successfully build or expand your business.

 

For us, having a day exhibiting, was especially rewarding. We got in at 8:30, set up our booth, then started talking at 9, not stopping until 6. By then, we had collected dozens of business cards and contacts. We suddenly had the direct contacts to decision-makers from potentially interested (huge) companies (in fact, we are talking Sales now because of this), we had interest from investors (VCs and Angels), we got approached by several Accelerator Programs wanting us to join, we got invited to talk at events in Germany, we had huge interest from from future clients, from filmakers (that are key to our offering), we were interviewed by media representatives and the founder of Product Hunt – in short: when we walked out of the venue this evening, all we could say was: „what the fuck just happened?!“

 

Make no mistake though, this was hard work. Pascal and I effectively had no break and were talking for 9 hours straight. And you do have to deliver. If you don’t have to show something that is of interest to people, you will not have the same experience. Our booth-neighbours did not get the same traction, looking at us saying „how do you do that?“. You really need to show off something that is exciting to people, and you have to know how to sell your product; there is so much to see that you have to stand out either with your idea or your presentation.

 

IMG_8089

 

So there you have it. For us, WebSummit 2016 was amazing. If you are a startup, you really should consider going next year, we know we are. Even if it is just to refine your pitch or to test your idea with a bigger crowd, this event is for you. Of course, if you want to know more about the Summit or my Startup, let’s meet for a Coffee or Beer or whatever, I’m at the Hub most of the time, working on the next big thing… 🙂

 

CreativeMornings Zurich | Wie halte ich eine halbwegs akzeptable Rede?

 

 Es ist uns allen klar: meistens zählt nicht das, was wir sagen, sondern wie wir es sagen bzw. wie wir auftreten. Irgendwie 80 zu 20 Prozent soll das Verhältnis sein. Das ist frustrierend und unfair. Wie wäre es, wenn man sich mit ein paar Tricks das Leben einfacher und einen Vortrag zugänglicher gestalten könnte. Ohne Schweissausbrüche dafür mit wohlwollendem Nicken aus dem Publikum. Gut, nicht jeder ist der geborene Speaker, aber es gilt ein paar Dinge zu beachten, damit alle den Vortrag einigermassen unbeschadet überstehen.

 

Warum Ich?

Es mag platt klingen, aber frag Dich, weshalb gerade Du präsentierten sollst, darfst, musst. Bist Du die Expertin auf Deinem Gebiet? Hast Du eine besonders gute Expertise geschrieben? Ein bahnbrechendes Konzept entwickelt? Toll.

Sei stolz darauf. Hey, Du wurdest auserwählt. Leute wollen Dich hören. Deine Story. Deine Gedanken. Nutze diese Gelegenheit. Enttäusche Deine Zuhörer nicht. Und nicht dich selbst.

 

Garderobe

Zieh etwas an, worin Du Dich wohlfühlst und Du bestenfalls schon mal anhattest. So kannst Du Dich auf die Materie konzentrieren, brauchst Dich nicht ständig zu fragen, ob sich die Schweissränder schon bis zum Ellbogen ziehen, Dein Bauchnabel beim Heben der Arme Hallo sagt, oder sich ungewollt Körperteile unvorteilhaft abzeichnen.

 

Kleines Warm-Up

Fühl Dich wie ein Schauspieler/Opernsänger bevor Du auf die Bühne gehst. Öle Deine Stimme (Warmup-Übungen dazu im Netz, hier mal eine ganz einfache). Ein Hustenanfall mit Auswurf ist nicht gerade ein guter Einstieg on stage. Nimm Dir zwei, drei Minuten Zeit, um Dich zu fokussieren. Wer bin ich (die kurze Version), wer ist mein Publikum und wo bin ich.

 

Nutze Lichtbilder

Bitte, verwende keinen Script. Nie. Nie. Nie. Das geht gar nicht (Lesen können die meisten nämlich selber). Alles verliert an Spannung, alles. Du verlierst den Augenkontakt zum Publikum, das Publikum verliert den Kontakt zu Dir. Es ist alles verloren.

Arbeite mit Bildern und Stichworten. Sie sind roter Faden, Gedankenstütze und Skriptersatz (siehe oben). Aussagekräftige, lesbare Bilder/Videos/Grafiken lassen einen Vortrag spannend und lebendig werden. Sie hauchen ihm Leben ein. Aber auch das will geübt sein. Zuhause. Allein, mit lauter Stimme und von Vorteil mit Stoppuhr. Dein Zeitmanagement wird Dir danken. Perfektionisten nehmen sich sogar auf Video auf.

 

Persönliches Einflechten

Auch wenn Du übernatürliche Kräfte hast, das Publikum hört ab und zu gerne eine lustige Geschichte aus Deinem echten normalen Leben. Lass sie daran teilhaben. Das lockert auf und macht Dich… menschlich, nahbar, sympathisch. Wenn es passt und Sinn macht und thematisch irgendwie einen Bogen zu Deinem Referatsthema schlägt. Ansonsten lass es. Aufgesetzt ist etwas gleichschlimm wie nicht authentisch.

 

Fehler sind ok

Die Technik versagt. Die Stimme lässt nach. Hustanfall. Verwechslung. Blackout. Panik. Sie lauern überall. Überall.
Ok. Ruhig Blut. Einmal durchatmen. Sich Wasser bringen lassen (oder bestenfalls schon ein Fläschchen mit auf die Bühne nehmen). Sich kurz sammeln und vor allem authentisch bleiben. Ja ok, mir ist ein Fehler passiert, nicht so schlimm. Nicht das Ende der Welt. Zwei Sätze zurückspulen, durchatmen, lächeln und wieder loslegen.

 

Fokus

Fokus. Fokus. Fokus. Überlege Dir gut, was die Kernaussage Deines Vortrags ist. Das Resultat einer Studie? Ein neues Produkt? Wo fällt der Vorhang? Wo zünde ich das Feuerwerk? Wo lass ich die Bombe platzen?
Schon in der Schule haben wir gelernt: Einstieg, Hauptteil, Schluss. Vor allem Anfang und Ende dürfen mit Fanfaren-Musik und Brimborium sein (Hauptteil möglichst mit Erkenntnisgewinn für die Zuhörenden). Und wenn’s fertig ist, darf man sagen, dass man fertig ist (oder etwas einfacher: jemanden im Publikum damit beauftragen das Klatschen zu initiieren).

 

So. Ich bin fertig.

Ach, und zum Schluss noch ein Highlight von einer Rede: Holley Murchison (CreativeMornings San Fransicso).

 

Vielleicht sehen wir uns ja am nächsten CreativeMornings Zurich Event am 18. November?

Gegründet – und jetzt? Alltagstipps für Unternehmer aus der Praxis

In den vergangenen sieben Jahren durfte ich in der Rolle als Gründerin und Unternehmensberaterin die verschiedensten Geschäftsideen von Start-ups und KMUs kennenlernen und sie in den unterschiedlichsten Phasen unterstützen. Im Rahmen der Beratungsaufträge waren immer wieder ähnliche ‚Fehler‘ oder ‚Tücken‘ erkennbar, in die sich zahlreiche Unternehmen im Alltag regelmässig verstricken. Aus diesen über die Jahre hinweg gesammelten Erkenntnissen lassen sich drei strategische Tipps für den unternehmerischen Alltag ableiten, die nach der Gründung von entscheidender Bedeutung für den Erfolg eines Unternehmens sind.

 

  1. Die strategische Perspektive von oben

Jeder Unternehmer kennt den Alltagsstress. Kunden akquirieren, Aufträge koordinieren, Produkte weiterentwickeln, Partnernetzwerk aufbauen sowie hunderte kleine Dinge, die es sozusagen nebenbei zu erledigen gilt und die wichtig sind für den unternehmerischen Erfolg. Der Kalender eines Unternehmers ist prinzipiell immer voll. ‚Man soll nicht klagen, wenn‘s gut läuft‘ wird einem oft gesagt – was natürlich absolut stimmt. Als Unternehmer haben wir lieber zu viel als zu wenig zu tun. Doch die Tatsache, dass wir oft in unserem Alltag gefangen sind, stellt ein nicht zu unterschätzendes Problem dar. Unternehmer sehen häufig den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht mehr, da sie sich nicht die Zeit nehmen auf einen Berg zu klettern und den Wald von oben zu betrachten. Dabei wäre genau ein solcher Wechsel der Perspektive zentral für den unternehmerischen Erfolg. Sich immer wieder eine Auszeit nehmen, aus dem Alltag ausbrechen und das Unternehmen aus der Vogelperspektive betrachten. Der strategische Blick von oben ermöglicht Reflexion und schafft geistigen Raum für Kreativität und Innovation, wodurch sich neue Zukunftsperspektiven eröffnen. Fragen zum aktuellen Stand des Unternehmens, seiner Positionierung im Markt, zur Zielerreichung und Weiterentwicklung lassen sich durch den gewonnenen Abstand besser beantworten. Es empfiehlt sich, solche Überlegungen nicht im gewohnten Umfeld anzustellen, sondern sich mental und physisch bewusst von Zeit zu Zeit hiervon zu distanzieren. Zeit in der Natur zu verbringen eignet sich beispielsweise ideal für solche strategischen Breaks.

 

  1. Der kritische Blick

Als Unternehmer sind wir stolz auf unsere Geschäftsidee und davon überzeugt, dass diese funktioniert und für unsere Kunden einen Mehrwert kreiert. Nicht selten setzen Gründer die rosarote Brille auf und sind der Meinung, keine Konkurrenz mit einem ähnlichen Produkt zu haben. Was Unternehmer dabei komplett vernachlässigen ist der kritische Blick auf die eigene Idee. Genauso wichtig wie die Kenntnis über die eigenen Stärken und zentralen Chancen im Markt ist das Verständnis über die unternehmerischen Schwächen und die möglichen Gefahren. Das Bewusstsein über die eigene Achillesferse und die bestehenden Risiken ist für den unternehmerischen Erfolg besonders relevant. Nur wenn wir nebst den vielversprechenden Aspekten auch die herausfordernden Facetten unserer Geschäftsidee kennen, können wir optimal im Markt agieren. Das bedingt die regelmässige und kritische Auseinandersetzung mit dem eigenen Konzept und die Offenheit, sich selbst für die herausfordernden Seiten des Unternehmens und möglichen Lösungen hierfür zu beschäftigen. Jede Geschäftsidee hat ihre Schwachstellen, mit welchen Unternehmer umzugehen haben. Diese Tatsache gehört zum unternehmerischen Alltag dazu und bedarf einer entsprechend offenen Auseinandersetzung. Das Gefährlichste an diesen Risiken ist es sie zu ignorieren und somit die fehlende Mitigation. Es empfiehlt sich folglich eine konstante Beobachtung der erkannten Schwachstellen sowie ein proaktives Vorgehen im Umgang mit diesen.

 

  1. Die konstante Nähe zum Markt

Wir leben in einer Zeit der ständigen Veränderung, in der Stillstand eine der grössten Gefahren darstellt. Dynamik, Flexibilität und Innovation sind gefragt. Doch der Mensch ist ein Gewohnheitstier. Wir bevorzugen Routine und Kontinuität, nicht aber Wandel und laufende Veränderungen. Eine menschliche Eigenschaft, die sich in der Konsequenz auch bei Unternehmen regelmässig beobachten lässt. Haben wir einmal eine gute Idee, halten wir an dieser fest. Doch der Markt entwickelt sich weiter, neue Trends entstehen und Bedürfnisse verändern sich. Es ist von grosser Wichtigkeit, stets am Puls der Zeit zu bleiben und sich laufend weiterzuentwickeln. Schon zahlreiche, einst erfolgreiche Unternehmen sind wieder aus dem Markt verschwunden, weil sie sich auf ihrem Erfolg ausgeruht haben und Marktentwicklungen ignorierten. Was heute top ist, kann schon morgen ein Flop sein. Unternehmer brauchen einen Spürsinn für die Gesellschaft von Morgen, einen Riecher für zukünftige Entwicklungen, um aus der Dynamik im unternehmerischen Umfeld die eigene Zukunft zu gestalten. Dies funktioniert allerdings nur direkt draussen im Markt. Es empfiehlt sich also regelmässig externes Feedback einzuholen, den Markt laufend zu beobachten, verschiedene Situationen proaktiv zu analysieren und zu hinterfragen und so immer in einer konstanten Vorwärtsbewegung zu agieren. Denn nicht selten verändern sich die Geschäftsmodelle von Unternehmen über die Zeit hinweg und entsprechen nach Abgleich mit den Entwicklungen im relevanten Markt nur selten der ursprünglichen Idee.

7 things I learned on wellbeing

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

A while ago I organized a small event at the Impact Hub Zürich (They’re awesome! You should subscribe to their newsletter) that presented a project co-created by Ashoka Fellows and Ashoka Support Network Members, called the wellbeing project, which aims to improve the wellbeing of 60 Social Entrepreneurs all over the world.

 

In the aftermath of the event and questioning some lifestyle choices, I felt inspired to talk to people about their understanding of wellbeing, how to achieve, maintain and strengthen it. So far, so well – here’s some good stuff, reads and tools I’ve found. Keep in mind that even good things need to be taken in moderation, so please look at this list as a supplement to your lifestyle which might help to increase your wellbeing.

 

1) Nature

In order to think out of the box you gotta get out of it as well. Research has proven over and over again that breathing fresh air, catching some sun (don’t overdo it – use sunscreen!) and generally spending time outside is good for you! Try to incorporate some mindfulness into your outside time: feel the sun and acknowledge it, be aware of the wind, of your body, of the sounds, the animals, or the movement around you. You will find stillness in these observations and a ton of well-deserved peace of mind.

 

2) Nurture

Don’t just find – make the time to spend with your family and friends. Surround yourself with people that make you feel happy, safe and inspired. Life is too short to not spend it with people who uplift you. That means: have a clear social/professional prioritization and communicate that clearly with your team and employer. Try to be the person that is there when needed and not away due to business and work, make space for quality time and suggest activities that can be spent together and will be remembered with fondness. Don’t forget to LAUGH! Try to think back to your happiest childhood memories- they consist usually of activities that create very fond memories for grown-ups, too!

 

3) Nutrition

Feed yourself well and mindfully. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, but it’s no secret to anyone that a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh water (to keep hydrated), fruit & veg (for fibre & Vitamins & Minerals), fibres (I’m highlighting fibres because they help you poop and healthy guts are essential to overall well-being!), healthy mono & poly unsaturated fats (gotta love your Omega 3 in all shapes and sizes!) and a good portion of a source of protein of your choosing (there’s options for meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike).

 

4) Outsource Brain Power

I’ve talked to my most efficient friend who seems to always achieve stuff and yet keeping ridiculously relaxed. He told me about The Secret Weapon, a tool that helps you breaking tasks down to importance and location; outsourcing a lot of brain efforts to your list and making space for creative and productive working. I’ve started using it a couple of weeks ago and noticed a drastic change in prioritization of tasks and hence decrease in procrastination. Using such an outsourcing tool helps you being less stressed and might just be the key for increased well-being.

 

5) Procrastinate mindfully

Whether working long hours or being afraid “to get started” there are many reasons why one procrastinates – however, most of them boil down to the need and impulse of instant gratification. But we all know that satisfying those impulses makes us less happy and more stressed. So in order to control and hopefully rid yourself of procrastination habits it is essential be more mindful and train your willpower. A tool I use to limit my Facebook excursions to a minute is the Google Chrome Extension Strict Workflow. You can adjust the timer to a realistic time setting and use it in combination with the Toggl Timer.

 

6) Meditate

Meditation comes in all shapes, sizes, intensity and time commitments imaginable. But one thing is pretty clear: people who meditate often have claimed to be more relaxed, resilient, happy, clear, less prone to procrastination, creative and efficient. While doing so also practice some gratitude and if you want to go the extra mile, keep a notebook with all the things you’re grateful for. For meditation  I use iPhone apps such as headspace, breathe or calm. Give them a go.

 

7) SLEEPZZZ!

I need to inform you that I am writing this straight from 8.5-hours-of-sleep-land, and while there’s some guilt lingering around, I have rarely felt so refreshed and happy at the office. My efficiency and creativity is booming! I don’t think I want to go back to 6-7-hours-of-sleep-land ever again. Kiss those dark circles and racing heartbeat goodbye: happy 8-9 hours of sleep is the culmination of wellbeing. If you feel “you don’t have the time” check the balance: by sleeping the amount of hours you need to feel rested and relaxed you’re cutting out on time wasted to doctors, procrastination, exhaustion, burn outs, coffee breaks (because you need tons of it if you don’t sleep well) while also increasing: happiness, gorgeousness due to glowing skin and no dark circles (which again makes everybody more self-confident & happy and cuts on costs for expensive anti-aging creams & makeup), creativity, productivity and mood resilience. The benefits of good sleep have been proven by science over and over again – it’s up to you to take life be the balls, grab the ZZZs you need and be simply well.

 

Weather you manage to only implement one of the tips, do it step by step or integrate all of them into your lifestyle – you will soon see and feel the benefits as your wellbeing improves. And with improved wellbeing come more self-confidence – and what is to say against that?!

 

Neuromarketing: does it help unlock sales?

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

When you work as a marketing, design consultant, researcher or you are an Entrepreneur, Start-up or SME owner, you hope that your customers make the decision to engage with your product or service. Whether you do this through social media or other sales channels you want your customers to participate with your offer – frequently through purchase. The problem is, most businesses still look at it solely from an intellectual, analytical framework and professionals tend to make decisions based on data only. As the challenge increases, marketers, brand managers, owners or CEO’s needs to understand customer buying habits on deeper level and translate their findings into compelling products or services.

The title of this article says: “Neuromarketing, does it help unlock sales potential?” Most of the time when we meet with our clients, this is the central question that they ask us. Does it really help?

 

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.05.17

 

Why neuromarketing?

When I was writing this article, I looked around myself and thought, “How and why did I choose these products around me?” or “Why did I buy from the same brand?”, “How did I end up choosing them and not other brands?”. How are we taking our choices after deliberately thinking everything through, collecting information and making up our minds before we actually execute the decision? And how can an EEG brain sensor or Eye-tracking device help us to understand that? Does neuromarketing give me better data than alternative research techniques? Probably these are some of the questions what we all hope Neuromarketing or Consumer Neuroscience tools and methods will answer.

The digital age and beyond marketers you can no longer buy user attention easily. Companies have to prepare themselves against a fierce competition and it is really difficult to forecast and keep up with the constantly shifting market and consumer behavior. To get customer attention, companies, marketers need new strategy, creative ideas, media and research methods.

 

Consumer neuroscience, with its methods and tools, in part, influences the effectiveness of brand related communication campaigns, channels and brand loyalty.

 

Over the last decade or so, the concept of Neuromarketing or Consumer Neuroscience has become accepted and well embedded in research practice. At the heart of the concept of neuromarketing is the notion that research should be informed by the best and latest knowledge, including knowledge, insights gained from biometric research.

 

What exactly is neuromarketing?

Before we go deeper what I want to do is to explain the basics of neuromarketing or consumer neuroscience, so we will know when we use the term, we will use it with precision and we will know how to describe what lies under the promise. Companies like Disney, Google, CBS or Amazon have used neuromarketing to test consumer impressions. But what do they use exactly?

 

Neuromarketing can refer to the commercial application of neuroscience technologies and insights to drive business further. However, consumer neuroscience can refer to the theory which is the combination of consumer research methods with neuroscience tools. The ultimate goal of the field is to find neural explanation for consumer behavior. From now on, I am going to use the two terms interchangeably. Consumer neuroscience tools, such as EEG brain sensor, Eye-tracking, GSR, fMri or Facial coding are likely to be felt through better performing marketing activities, which in turn result in improved brand outcomes such as market position and financial performance. Consumer neuroscience, with its methods and tools, in part, influences the effectiveness of brand related communication campaigns, channels and brand loyalty.

Companies like Disney, Google, CBS or Amazon have used neuromarketing to test consumer impressions. But what do they use exactly?

576d0adbeb5794cb5888f6c0_abm-b-alert-x-10-eeg-brain-monitor

 

The two definitions demonstrate that the concept of neuroscience based research does not only seek to link theory with practice, but that the outcome of those researches improved managerial practice and, more importantly, improved decision-making. The potential benefit of Consumer Neuroscience research is its role of linking neuroscience tools (EEG, Eye-tracking, fMRi etc.) to marketing practice.

  • Neuromarketing strengthens the ability of researchers to demonstrate the impact marketing materials have on people
  • It can help managers, researchers and other professionals to find ways to enhance their practice, improve their offer and ensure their organizations fulfill their mission
  • Consumer neuroscience research can provide marketing and research professionals, managers and designers with:
    • Finding unarticulated user needs
    • Performance enhancement
    • Different evidence compared to traditional marketing research methods.

There are challenges to integrate consumer neuroscience research into practice, simply because research practitioners have different interest, capabilities, time and resource constraints than neuromarketing professionals. Both fields operate in a different circumstance that needs to be integrated to improve business performance.

 

tobiipro_glasses_2_eye_tracker_side_2_1

How to start with neuromarketing?

The development of biometric practice in marketing requires an enhanced understanding of the nature of evidence and its role in marketing, advertising decision-making, and we have to add a range of strategies to take neuromarketing forward. We don’t believe that marketers need to turn their back on tried-and-true research techniques in favor of the apparent objectivity of biometric research. Rather, marketers should use neuroscience techniques when (and only when) it adds value. If it is used in isolation, such methods can be hard to interpret, but when combined with qualitative or survey-based research, they can add a powerful new dimension of insights. So how to start with neuromarketing?

  1. Neuromarketing Workshop
  • Join us for a comprehensive introduction to EEG Brain Monitoring, Eye-tracking, hardware, software, and methods. Our neuromarketing workshop helps you to understand how to approach neuromarketing research, and why you need and how to apply it to your business or practice. The workshop is designed to give you a solid introduction to the technique of EEG Brain Monitoring (ABM B-Alert X10), Eye-tracking (Tobii Pro) and its applications. To learn more click here (link)
  1. Before you start any biometric based research, it is useful to ask some of the following questions:
  • Does the approach tell us something meaningful about our brand or marketing communications?
  • Does it tell us something new that we don’t already know and enough to justify it?
  • Are consumer neuroscience tools are practical for your business?
  1. Choose the tools carefully for your neuromarketing research
  • You are looking for good quality data to get good insight from it. To do that you will need high quality equipment – such as ABM B-Alert EEG Brain Monitor or Tobii Pro Eye-tracker.
  1. Be critical
  • Ask the same questions from neuromarketing researchers as you would ask from any traditional research marketers.
  1. Make sure you have a forward looking strategy.
  • To use consumer neuroscience tools in your practice is not merely about creating a new marketing plan. Neuromarketing tools and methods can open up new communications channels and help marketers to meet with unarticulated needs.
  1. Think innovatively about research
  • Eye-tracking or GSR, Facial Coding can help you to re-evaluate the way businesses and marketers approach product and service development.
  1. Add neuromarketing tools and methods while you are doing your research work.
  • To be effective, marketers need to transform how they investigate user needs; together with traditional research these tools can provide powerful discoveries/ insights.
  1. Use consumer neuroscience tools to monitor customer environment and product usage
  • Consumer neuroscience tools can help managers and marketers to build a more extensive evidence base.
  1. Attention is a tool in the marketer’s toolkit, not a goal
  • Same applies to neuromarketing. Use it as a tool and do not think of it as a goal that will solve all your problems.
  • Don’t think neuromarketing is just another term created by clever sales person.
  • Neuromarketing is an applied science and its associated fields have brought a fundamental new insight to the market research industry. Don’t ignore new techniques; understand how to integrate them into your practice.

 

Brand has meaning beyond functionality that exists in people’s mind. Brand memory is a really crucial component in how we receive brands and its marketing messages, but also how customers imbue value and effect the way in which we perceive and enjoy products, services. Combined with traditional marketing research methods, Consumer neuroscience has the potential to help marketers to understand the unconscious drivers of choice.

Tips from Pepshot: 5 Essential Photos for Startups

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

Building a brand for your startup? Then you’ll need to look beyond the logo and into the lens. Distinctive and attention-grabbing photos are an exciting and powerful branding tool. When you’re seeking to introduce a new concept in an eye-catching way, or to bring your founders to the attention of investors and journalists, expressive images are what you’ll need. In this post you’ll find out which 5 photos every startup needs.

 

  1. Team Headshots

Pleased to meet you! These days, first impressions are made online. Simple and clear headshots are a priority. Potential clients, investors and collaborators will be looking on your About Us page for evidence of a competent and approachable team. You’ll also use headshots for your LinkedIn and Xing profiles and to accompany any opinion pieces you write.

 

To inspire confidence in your ability, use a professional photo. A holiday snap or selfie is too casual. However, authenticity is definitely called for. Show the real you! Avoid the blank white wall and artificial lights of a studio. Instead choose an outdoor location with natural light and a pick a photographer you can relax with. To grab attention, try a colourful or patterned background. Definitely make eye contact with the camera.

 

portrait1 portrait2

  1. Founder Portraits

Entrepreneurs have exciting creation stories to tell. Tell the first 1000 words with one arresting photo. The people you want to influence, especially any journalists, want to know why you do what you do, what makes you tick, and what it’s like to work alongside you. To satisfy their curiosity, you’ll need a descriptive, personal portrait.

 

The most interesting business portraits are ones that reveal a person’s character. They depict a scene that expresses passions, skills or particular personality traits. Choose a place that has real meaning for you, perhaps where you work, or a place you go to get inspired. Use props, such as products or the tools of your trade. Remember to shoot both portrait and landscape orientations for your press kit.

 

founder founder2

 

  1. Action Shots

A series of photos that capture the “how” of what you do will bring your company vividly to life. The same shots can be used one-by-one to illustrate blog posts and articles, and as behind-the-scenes images on Instagram and other social media channels.

 

If it’s a service you provide, show yourself going the extra mile for your clients. Whether you’re a web designer, personal stylist or architect, action shots show the effort you put in to prepare, deliver and follow up. These images help to distinguish you from the competition. If you sell a product, show its step-by-step manufacturing process on your website. This gives you the chance to demonstrate your company values in action. You’ll also reassure customers of your transparency and attention to detail.

 

action1 action2

 

  1. Products

We all know we should “show not tell”, so be creative with the ways you illustrate your products. To increase conversion in your online shop each product should be shown against a plain white background. To convince the waverers add images showing the origin of ingredients, close-ups of details, or lifestyle shots of the product in use. These shots give your social media feeds an attractive and distinctive character.

 

product product2

 

  1. Your Locations

Invite customers over to your place by showing them what your office, shop or restaurant looks like inside and out. Needed for the Contact page on your website and your press kit, these shots also make ideal banner photos for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn business pages. Consider boosting your Google My Business listing and Google Maps presence with an indoor Street View virtual tour.

 

location location2

 

Now you know which 5 photos every startup needs, it’s time to build your company’s collection of hard-working images. Ownable, high-quality photography is an inspired way to build a recognizable brand. Versatile shots can be used again and again; they represent a great return for an affordable investment.

 

 

Real-Life Apache Spark: Tips and Tricks from the Trenches

Leider ist der Eintrag nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

We happily hosted the Zurich Apache Spark Meetup with  Noah Bieler, Principal Data Scientist at Wealthport, presenting about „Real-Life Apache Spark: Tips and Tricks from the Trenches.“

 

The Big Data revolution: Spark

Researchers from Google started the Big Data revolution with their original publications of the Google File System and the MapReduce data processing framework for clusters of computers in 2003. Everyone got excited about the orders of magnitude in cost reduction for data storage and speed increases for data processing that these technologies enable. People soon realized, however, that the MapReduce framework was too specifically designed for Google’s purposes and not generic enough for general data analysis needs. This is when researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, started their work on Spark: a cluster computing framework using Resilient Distributed Datasets in 2009. This opens up the advantages of Google’s original Big Data technologies to a much larger range of application areas.

 

Tobias Widmer and Wolfram Willuhn started the Zurich Apache Spark meetup in the spring of 2015 to bring together the growing group of Spark practitioners and enthusiasts and establish a place to exchange experiences of using this new technology and to brainstorm about novel application areas. Previous meetups included 4Quant, an ETH spin-off that uses Spark to scale up the automated analysis of images and videos, and a visit to IBM’s Rüschlikon research lab to learn about their progress in text understanding.

 

Successful first meetup

The main focus of the Meetup in March was to share some of the lessons learned during a more complex Spark implementation. The talk presented a range of practical aspects and allowed the audience to get a glimpse of Wealthport’s actual code base. Noah shared his insights on:

  • how to overcome the most common pitfalls, i.e. when to use RDDs, DataFrames or DataSets;
  • how you can enrich the functionality of some Spark classes or add your own types;
  • and finally how you can deploy Spark in the cloud together with Cassandra – a large-scale database for the cloud.

More than 50 people came to listen to the presentation. This was surprising given this very technical topic and the still young age of the technology. The questions and discussions after the presentation showed that the interest and practical application is growing. Noah was kind enough to put his presentation on slideshare.

20160314_193304

 

About Wealthport

Wealthport is a startup that aims to make preparing and integrating data much less painful than it is today. It does so by offering an automated service based on machine learning technology. Since such customer data is often generated at scale, Wealthport is employing Apache Spark in order to deal with such volumes efficiently. The use cases for such technology are in matching and integrating data and in clustering and segmenting data. These problems occur in any industry with e-commerce and financial services being particularly prominent areas.

 

On July 4, the next meetup will happen around Spark Summit 2016: Trends & Insights at Impact Hub Viadukt.

 

Wie aus Designern erfolgreiche Unternehmer werden – “können”

Studien, wie der Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2014 (GEM) machen deutlich, dass in der Schweiz ideale Bedingungen für Gründer vorherrschen. Dazu tragen beispielsweise die tertiäre Ausbildung, die finanzielle und wirtschaftliche Infrastruktur sowie der Wissens- und Technologietransfer bei. An immer mehr Hochschulen ist eine Weiterbildung im Bereich des Entrepreneurship eine etablierte Ergänzung für diverse Studienrichtungen geworden. Auch vor der Schweizer Kreativwirtschaft macht diese Entwicklung nicht halt. Wir vom Creative Hub befassen uns täglich mit Designern aus der ganzen Schweiz, welche mit dem Gedanken spielen sich mit ihren innovativen Produkten und Dienstleistungen selbständig zu machen.

 

Mit diesem Blog Post möchte ich aufzeigen, mit welchen Fragen sich die Designer im Kontext der Gründung befassen, wie der Creative Hub den Designern in der Seed- und Startup-Phase hilft und wo ich die grössten Stärken und Schwächen von Design-Startups sehe. Zudem möchte ich auf das grosse Potenzial hinweisen, welches ich für komplementäre Gründerteams – bestehend aus Designer und Entrepreneure – sehe.

 

Das grosse Fragezeichen vor der Gründung

Designer aus den verschiedensten Fachrichtungen, wie dem Application Design, Textildesign, Corporate Design, Interface Design, Lichtdesign, Schmuckdesign und dem weit gefassten Produktdesign kommen mit ihren Ideen und dem Gründungswunsch zu uns. Die Ideen befinden sich dabei in den unterschiedlichsten Entwicklungsphasen und werden meist von einer unfassbaren Leidenschaft des Ideengebers begleitet. Das sich der Gründer mit der Idee aber erst ganz am Anfang seines Marathonlaufes befindet, ist den wenigsten Designern bewusst. Manch ein Akteur wägt sich mit einer guten Idee schon auf halber Strecke beim Lauf zur erfolgreichen Selbständigkeit. In den Gesprächen bei uns wird dem Designer oft erst das volle Ausmass einer angehenden Gründung bewusst. Es kommen dabei immer wieder folgende Fragen auf, welche einer Klärung bedürfen:

 

  • Befriedigt mein Produkt die Bedürfnisse von künftigen Kunden? Sind die potenziellen Kunden bereit den geforderten Preis zu bezahlen?
  • Wie ist die Markt- und Wettbewerbsstruktur aufgebaut?
  • Wie kann ich den Vertrieb und das Marketing optimal ausgestalten?
  • Lässt sich meine Idee schützen?
  • Kann mein Produkt zu dem geplanten Preis hergestellt werden? Was kostet mich der Vertrieb? Ab welchen Absatzmengen wird mein Projekt profitabel?
  • Wie erstelle ich einen Business- und Finanzplan?
  • Ist mein Gründerteam vollständig? Welche personellen Ergänzungen wären sinnvoll?

 

Dabei handelt es sich nur um einen groben Auszug der gängigsten Fragen. Jedes Projekt wirft zudem eine grosse Menge an spezifischen Fragen auf.

 

Das umfassende Angebot des Creative Hub

Um den Designern auf dem Weg zur Selbstständigkeit möglichst viele Fragen zu beantworten hat der Creative Hub drei Dienstleistungsbausteine entwickelt.

 

Creative Committed: Zweimal im Jahr können sich Designer im Kurs Creative Committed, mit seinen sechs Modulen, das notwendige Basiswissen für die Gründung aneignen. Verschiedene Fachreferenten vermitteln Wissen zur Entwicklung der Value Proposition sowie dem Geschäftsmodell, zur Markt- und Wettbewerbsanalyse, zur Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, zur Finanzplanung, zum Branding und zu Rechtsfragen.

 

Creative Link: Designer können sich zudem auf das “one-to-one“ Coaching-Programm Creative Link bewerben. Im Monatsrhythmus werden die ausgewählten Gründer von Fach- und Branchenexperten durch massgeschneiderte Coachings unterstützt. Dabei kann beispielsweise der Zugang zu Produzenten in der Uhren oder Schmuckindustrie hergestellt werden oder ein individuelles Vertriebssystem entwickelt werden.

 

Creative Plattform: Gerade in der Seed- und Startup-Phase greifen Designer gern auf das Angebot der Creative Plattform zurück. Der Creative Hub schafft dadurch erleichtert einen Zugang zu Messen, um erste Kundenkontakte zu erleben, und ermöglicht ein gemeinsames Vermarkten über die webbasierte “Vitrine” des Creative Hub.

 

Das Schöpfen des Potenzials von Design Startups durch Tandem-Teams

Die Gründer aus dem Umfeld der Kreativwirtschaft sind häufig geprägt durch eine hohe Leidenschaft, welche sie für die Entwicklung, das Design und die Produktion von innovativen Ideen aufbringen. Einem grossen Teil der Designer gelingt es sich darüber hinaus auch notwendiges Fach- und Praxiswissen für die Unternehmensgründung anzueignen. Hierzu leistet der Creative Hub, neben anderen hilfreichen Playern der Kreativwirtschaft, einen wesentlichen Beitrag. Allerdings kommt es immer wieder vor, dass sich einzelne Designer lieber dem Entwickeln, Designen und Produzieren widmen, statt dem Vermarkten, dem Kalkulieren und dem Führen eines Unternehmens. Deshalb gibt es Fälle, in welchen das grosse Potenzial von Designprojekten weitestgehend unentdeckt bleibt.

 

Auf der anderen Seite gibt es kaufmännisch geprägte aktive oder angehende Entrepreneure mit ausgezeichneten Fähigkeiten im Bereich Marketing- und Vertrieb, Finanzplanung und Unternehmensführung. Teilweise fehlen dieser Personengruppe jedoch die Produktidee und das Wissen, um Produkte zu entwickeln und optimal zu produzieren. Würde es gelingen diese beiden Personengruppen in einem Team zu vereinen, so könnte man komplementäre Tandem-Teams für erfolgreiche Startup-Projekt hervorbringen. Genau diesen Ansatz möchten der Creative Hub und Impact Hub Zürich beim gemeinsamen Event “Designer meets Entrepreneur” verfolgen. Designer und angehende Entrepreneure sollen sich während diesem Anlass am 23. Juni in Zürich kennenlernen. Neben einem Interessensaustausch rund um das Team Design und Startups könnten sich daraus vielversprechende Teamerweiterungen ergeben. Personen mit unternehmerischen Fähigkeiten sind herzlich eingeladen sich für den Anlass anzumelden.

In diesem Sinne hoffe ich, dass es zu einer stärkeren Annäherung von gründungsinteressierten Akteuren in der Schweiz aus den verschiedensten Fachrichtungen kommt und das Potenzial von Startups aus der Designszene stärker genutzt wird.

 

Über den Creative Hub

Der Creative Hub ist als gemeinnütziger Verein organisiert, wird von einer Geschäftsstelle mit drei Personen betrieben, ist mit wichtigen Organisationen der Designförderung vernetzt und wird durch einen Beirat begleitet. Rund 40 Fach- und Branchenexperten aus allen Schweizer Regionen unterstützen angehende Designer auf dem Weg in die Selbstständigkeit.

Der Creative Hub wird ermöglicht durch Engagement Migros, Partner von Impact Hub Zürich.