Jacob's Moment of Impact

Daring together

“I recently worked on a project with a client who had a long and proud history, but also faced a situation where conditions for ‘business as usual’ were no longer present. It was a manufacturing company that produced paper for newspaper magazines, but due to the digitalization of media their market was rapidly decreasing. So, they asked us: how can we take a step outside of what we do today?

Typically what you would do in a situation like this is to initiate years and years of analysis, make huge plans and then finally act. Instead, we recognized that, in a world that changes exponentially, we can’t afford to do linear developments. Somebody else – smaller and smarter – is going to do it quicker. Instead we dared to flip the process around and act from a couple of hypothesizes and ideas they had brought to the table. One of them was to enter the plastic market. Quite radical you might think. Nevertheless, our hypothesis was that plastic could be produced cheaper and more sustainable if the raw oil product was mixed with 50% wood fibres. Since this company was exceptionally good at extracting wood fibres from trees, we saw opportunities.

However, by acting this way we had to accept that we did not have all the answers. Therefore we invited as many potential partners and customers to brainstorm on product solutions. The outcome was overwhelming – but at the same time I believe the whole process required deep courage from both sides. But through involvement and an equal mix of intuitive thinking and well proven project management tools, we succeeded in knitting the team together while also producing concrete results within just a few months. Being on this emotional roller-coaster, I will never forget the smiles on their faces when the first new machine was installed in one of their old factory buildings. You could see in their eyes that they were now dreaming big. Standing there I realized that none of this would have happened if we hadn’t dared together in the first place.”