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Rik Vera

Rik is a renowned thought-leader, worldwide keynote speaker and author of business bestseller "Managers The Day After Tomorrow". He’s a trusted advisor on the topics of extreme customer centricity, innovation in the digital era, business model change, sales, marketing and leading companies on their journey to their very own Day After Tomorrow.

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Rik has designed the TREE-formula of exponential growth, the CIA (Customer InterAction) model, the Pirate-model of organisational change as well as the Innovation Checklist. He is always challenging, highly engaging and energetic when inspiring people with new insights and he always avoids the big hypes of the day in favour of a hands-on and holistic approach. Never a dull moment with Rik Vera.

Having gathered over 25 years of C-level experience in sales, marketing and general management at companies such as Desso, Armstrong  and Domo Contract Flooring, Rik has always built his businesses on innovation, new business models, customer centricity and technology as a powerful enabler. He now uses that experience to inspire companies to develop their own strategy fit for a digital and connected world.

Rik started his life as an inspirational keynote speaker in 2012 and has given several hundreds of highly rated keynotes around the globe at numerous international retail, HR, automotive, food, health, etc. conventions and to international companies like Assa Abloy, Cisco, Volvo, Swedbank, Telia, MasterCard, Randstad, Tesla, Nestle, IBM, Microsoft, Barco, DSM, Bol.com, Smurfit Kappa, Etex, EY, KPMG, Deloitteand many more.

Rik is member of the jury of Deloitte Best Managed Companies Belgium and is active in Advisory Boards and Boards of Directors. He is also a frequent lecturer at the London Business School.


In 2015 Rik was one of the founding partners of nexxworks together with his friends Peter Hinssen and Steven Van Belleghem so they could help companies prepare for their Day After Tomorrow. He spends several weeks per year in Silicon Valley, China and other hotspots of innovation and is always eager to share his experience and learnings in the matter.

Rik combines his experience as a manager with his passion for the digital new normal in retail, manufacturing, food, health, pharma, automotive, banking, insurance, HR, IT, logistics, FMCG, packaging,... sales, marketing and management.

He knows both the B2C and B2B environment, but believes in a growing H2H (human to human) driven C2B (customer to business) world.

Topics

Business and life in The Day After COVID-19

The Day After Tomorrow has been given a name. It is has become The Day After Covid-19. When the meteorite struck planet earth and killed the dinosaurs in a short period of time, those little rats, that we now call mammals, were already around.

The same is going to happen right now. We are not going to witness a brand new economy or a brand new customer. We are not going to have to interact with that customer in a brand new way. Every aspect of the post-Covid-19 era was already around, but it had to fight the old normal of old business models that were still making money. People and companies that were locked in fixed patterns did not know how to escape the boxes they created themselves. Nobody likes to kill the old to give birth to the new. Rik predicted the ‘Twilight Twenties’: a decade of in-between zone. He was wrong. The Covid-19 lockdown will be our devastating Twilight Zone. That is what Covid-19 will have done: kill the Old Normal and make way for what was already there. The boxes are gone. The future will be here at full force.

What does it mean for a company? What does it mean for you and me that are in business? The answer is simple and not new at all. More than ever: extreme customer centricity is a must. Connect to many will be easier than ever before and engage individuals will be more important than ever before. Combining both is a matter of survival.

In this keynote, Rik sets the scene and warns leadership to not just freeze a company in a temporary coma, but to act right now and at full force. There never was a better moment to make companies future proof.

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Managers The (new) Day After Tomorrow

In January 2018 Rik finished his book “Managers The Day after Tomorrow". He had been struggling with the fact that writing a book about technological changes and fast changing times is an almost impossible mission by definition: a book is static. The recent happenings about the pandemic however, are a pretty good reason to re-discover the book.

The content of the book has evolved as the context has changed over time and so has the meaning of the content. In this keynote, Rik revisits Managers The Day After Tomorrow from the perspective of the new challenges to better understand the new Day After Tomorrow and how managers should prepare for that New Normal.

Time corrodes both content and structure. Today, faster than ever before.

What is the best strategy for the digital world? How can you deal with unpredictability? How is it possible, both as an entrepreneur and as an enterprise, to keep in sync with the outside world, the world of technology and the world of the consumer?  Where do you focus your attention? Which of the countless possibilities do you explore? How can you redesign your company to make it sustainably relevant? Which technological wave do you need to surf? What do you have to build up and what do you have to tear down?

(…) it is a feature of our rapidly changing world that there is no longer a single answer to any of these questions. The moment you give one, you already need to think about how you can best modify it. It is impossible to work with a prefab design when developing a strategy for the digital world. You need to build systematically, block by block, adjusting and amending as you go, so that you can keep up with the changing fashions and opportunities of the day.” (Managers The Day After Tomorrow)

The questions that Rik wanted to answer in his book are more relevant than ever before as the changes in the outside world and those of the consumer are more devastating than we could ever have imagined in 2018. The waves of change are not only driven by technology, but are being amplified by the disruptive force of a virus that has killed the world as we have known it for many decades in just a couple of weeks. And that has created room for a completely new world of unknown ecosystems, business models and customer behaviour.

In this keynote Rik re-visits his book and re-defines what management should be like for Managers in this New Day After Tomorrow.

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Curiosity did not kill the cat

We know that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. But are we aware that a culture can kill companies in no time? The good old ‘robust’ culture was killing companies in the past and it will be killing even more companies in this era of lightspeed and devastating changes to come. Change that culture while you still can and start very simply by implementing an essential new KPI, which is the perfect antidote for the ‘robust’ culture: the Net Curiosity Score (#NCS). 

We have entered the Twilight Twenties. It is the time of monsters and creeps. There are no scripts and those that travel it based on assumptions will not survive. Assumptions will kill.

The good old ‘robust’ culture was inside-out, top-down, balanced scorecard driven, hierarchical, rigid, no longer in tune with the outside world and based on patterns and assumptions. It was killing companies in the past and it will be killing even more companies in this era of lightspeed changes. Change it while you still can and start very simply by implementing one essential new KPI which is the perfect antidote for the ‘robust’ culture: the Net Curiosity Score (#NCS).

The scripts for The Day After Tomorrow are in the making, the game will be won by those that know how to adapt to the new rules and it will be the curious ones that will re-write those rules. In this keynote, Rik explains the why, how and what of the new culture that companies need to adapt and why curiosity is the leading force to make that change.

What is curiosity? How to create it? How to measure? How to enhance it? What are the enablers and what are the barriers?

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The Smart Ecosystem Economy (build antifragile systems)

The business environment has been reshaped dramatically in between 2000-2020 due to technological waves that have changed people and society. Due to big data, AI and robotization, we live in a data-driven world what will lead to a blurring of old industry lines. The new competition will be one between ecosystems. COVID-19 will be a tipping point:  the world came to a standstill and when it reboots, it will reboot in a variety of small and smart ecosystems. We are just witnessing the opening moves of a very exciting endgame that is going to unfold in the next decades to come. Companies need to play the game. Not playing it is not an option.

This is the era of the Smart Ecosystems Economy. We need companies to be ready to cope with randomness and unexpected events. We need companies to be systems that are not eaten by chaos, that do not think they can control chaos, but companies that are antifragile and grow by randomness.

We all know that antifragile systems are the answer, but how do you actually build them?

In this hands-on keynote, Rik explains what it takes to become antifragile and how to build an antifragile system. He will explain what “smart” is and how to build a smart ecosystem or how to participate in one. Rik will help you to solve this antifragile mystery and turn it into actionable building blocks.

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