Back to what drives us
1. Feb 2022

New mindset for New Growth

by Kristina Bonitz
Gehirn aus Baumwolle auf beigem Keramikkopf
Gehirn aus Baumwolle auf beigem Keramikkopf

Kristina Bonitz

CEO of diffferent

"The first time I heard of New Growth, I was excited by the concept behind it. New Growth is a perfect positioning and naming for what we're trying to achive together and also what drives me as a person, leader and strategist."

I spent a long time looking for a name for this new ambition for innovation and transformation, this combination of challenges from society, technology and business, and I actually found it with "New Growth. What particularly appeals to me is that every person - no matter how closely or remotely they are connected to our industry - can imagine something under this term. It awakens visions, thoughts, formulates a high standard and still leaves enough room for individual wishes and interpretation. This is exactly what I have achieved with my innovation work over the past twelve years and what I will continue to pursue at diffferent.

I have compiled my recommendations and thoughts for real innovation, good business design and new growth here:

Letting go of the old to make room for the new

On the customer side, there seems to have been a kind of innovation fatigue in recent years, coupled with a strong desire for more qualitative growth. That's where New Growth comes in, because it considers many different dimensions, such as brand strength, sustainability and digitalization. But you have to be careful and differentiate strongly, because new is not automatically good. When you look at "inventions," like the Lumi diaper tracker from Pampers, you ask yourself: does the world need this?
Some products labeled as new lack innovation, and the companies behind them lack a bold culture of innovation. That's why many brands just jump on supposedly innovative bandwagons or focus on banalities that don't affect the core business instead of venturing out on their own. What many companies have yet to learn: New growth means, above all, saying goodbye and consciously letting go of worn-out behaviors and principles that are no longer useful and which do not lead to true innovation and success.

Enduring ambivalences and discovering true innovations in the field of tension

We live, not just since Corona, in a world that is complex and often difficult to understand. In the past, attempts were made to avoid this complexity by focusing on individual perspectives. But neither the focus on business models nor user-centeredness alone can be the cure. What companies need is to move away from overly simplistic dogmas and perspective gaps. Instead of getting stuck on one or the other, it's important to tackle both at the same time. In order to grow as a company in a new way, it needs a new practice that allows it to navigate between uncertainty, contradictions and ambivalences and to develop its own attitude towards them.

And this task is enormous: companies must ask themselves how opposites, such as long-term strategies versus quick wins, new success factors versus existing KPI frameworks, cross-industry innovation versus industry expertise, and radical visions versus agile working can be brought together.

In this context, it is also important not to innovate everything possible - keyword Lumi - i.e. not to innovate more of the same, but to filter out the promising ideas and to focus on them. Because in today's world, new can no longer be equated with better. Instead, the task is no longer to implement the first innovation that comes along, but to take a more critical approach to solutions and to act with courage and decisiveness in equal measure. The greatest challenge for companies in the area of innovation, however, lies in not limiting themselves despite the critically reflecting on ideas. New Growth has committed itself to this fine line, and this is precisely where its strength lies.

With the Business Design Mindset to New Growth

In order to be able to deal with the ambivalences and to really create something new, you need a very specific mindset. Because new problems cannot be solved with old mindsets. Ergo: If the way of doing business is to change, the mindset must change first and foremost. The New Growth Mindset is tailor-made for today's challenges: It can navigate between the contradictions mentioned above. It understands complexity and is able to take all perspectives and think coherently together. In this way, it reconciles the ambivalences, because multi-perspectivity is its attitude and combining courageous inspiration with business impact is its strength.

But a strong business design mindset alone is not enough: Because after the strategic considerations, the transition to implementation must also be made in the end. And to make this happen, a strong vision of the future is crucial.

Thinking nostalgically into the future

Lately, it's noticeable that visions of the future from today resemble warmed up Matrix fantasies - and if truth be told, that's exactly what Metaverse looks like - or a simple copy of more of the same. The status quo is disappointing. What's needed, on the other hand, is a nuanced exploration of livable futures and, at the same time, a big imagination to get off the beaten path.

We need to ask ourselves: What are visions for the future that we want to get to? We need to get nostalgic for the future and shape the imaginations that answer real longings of people, companies and societies instead of scaring them away or limiting them to nice-to-have utopias. And New Growth is exactly the right lever for this: The goal is to jointly create brands and products to which one feels drawn as a person - not just as a consumer. The ambivalences increase the demands on such products and thus also on the innovations themselves. They no longer have to be user-centric, but must also offer a great brand experience and meet sustainable requirements. Only by combining all these different aspects can New Growth succeed.

A manifesto for new partnerships

To create these products and brands and keep them relevant, you need a partner with attitude and decisiveness, a partner who brings the future to life with courage and drive, but also with a critical perspective.

To make this aspiration a reality, there needs to be more conversations between partners about attitude and opinion, and a broadening of vision beyond the boundaries of their own industry.

It needs allies who can take a view that unites different perspectives and points of view and navigate within the challenging ambivalences of our time.

It needs partners who can classify decisions and stand up for success until the end.

We want to be this trusted partner for our customers. A partner that takes results more seriously than itself and thus combines depth and substance with lightness and a love of experimentation. And I couldn't imagine a better crew for this role than diffferent!