Why 2020 is the year of trust Julie Vens - De Vos - June 2, 2020

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At nexxworks, we believe 2020 will be the year of Trust. It may already have been a topic of growing interest over the past years, but the accelerated digitization of the world and the workplace fuelled by the corona-crisis has only made it grow in importance.

No surprise that, earlier this year, we welcomed strategist, technologist and (amateur) social anthropologist Jerry Michalski to the nexxworks collective of thought leaders. Jerry helps organizations understand trust and become more trustworthy, by exploring their language, their processes and their intentions. Read all about his vision in this recent interview.

And today we are delighted to expand on this fascinating topic with the introduction of Trust Economy expert Philipp Kristian Diekhoner to our network. Philipp is a trust futurist and innovation strategist who started his whirlwind career in Germany as the digital lead and design thinking champion in the  award-winning German innovation foundry Denkfabrik Digital (DDX). After that, he became the first innovation strategist for FutureBrand in Asia, a founder of MetLife's first global R&D hub in Singapore, Asia's hypergrowth digital telco. And all of this before the age of 23. You can read more about his journey here. Even before Covid-19 turned our lives upside down, Philipp was already convincing his audiences of the fact that creating trust is essential for the way we work. He showed us that we live in a world that needs exponential empowerment, a world in which only trusting each other allows us to lead and to collaborate.

In pandemic times, this trust is proving to be more essential than ever. Fascinating things happened when suddenly companies needed to make a complete shift to remote working. Trust between colleagues, in new technologies and in experimenting with new business models suddenly became one of the pillars of successful business.

Linear control mechanisms simply don’t work anymore in a highly complex, information-rich and uncertain environment. The role of leadership is shifting exactly because of this. Sensemaking systems trump pure knowledge management, as nexxworks Founder and keynote speaker Peter Hinssen also highlighted in his latest book ‘the Phoenix and the Unicorn’. He points to a model of sensing and trying to capture and experiment with new ideas and then consequently to run and scale the most successful concepts that come out of this. Trust is an essential part of this entire process because it’s impossible to create the environment of psychological safety that is needed to experiment successfully, without a deep sense of trust between all the players involved.

2020 has accelerated the need and urgency to have this conversation about trust. In your family, your team, your company, your country and even beyond. One cannot inspire or collaborate if we don’t connect and trust first. Like Jerry, Philipp voices his concern about how we designed for mistrust in the past and how innovation requires structural mechanisms of trust. Trusting new technologies and possibilities or trusting your team or partners to come up with sometimes insanely sounding ideas is the hard part, and the only way innovation can happen. It’s a leap of faith, trying and trusting to build future value. Again, the first months of 2020 have notbeen the most obvious and interesting sandbox one could have hoped fore. Suddenly ‘trust’ in new innovative solutions won from ‘guaranteed ROI’ to go out and try things.

In the past, we humans have commoditised relationships. We’ve traded connection for efficiency, control and productivity. In a world of constant change, in order to succeed in innovation and rebuilding a business that is resilient for the future, it’s absolutely crucial that we we re-learn to collaborate. So let’s refocus on trusting each other and on buildingsystems designed from trust.

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Julie Vens - De Vos

Julie is CEO and partner at nexxworks since 2018. As a natural communicator with 5 years of experience in a corporate FMCG environment, she understands how organisations not only...

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