We conceptualize, design and maintain digital applications and strategies that give brands and companies an extra boost. But we like to think that’s not all we do. We continuously step over the chalk line to discover new ground. Explore new possibilities, stay one step ahead, create new chances. Innovate. All in the customer’s advantage, and ours.
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The circle of trust
Jo Martens (CEO): “The most important factor in innovative projects is trust. Building up a relationship of trust and mutual appreciation takes hard work. You have to earn it, at both sides. We carefully select who we work with. There has to be chemistry. Once you have that, anything is possible.”
How we build this trust? For us that actually starts right here, with our own people. We try to create an environment of trust and psychological safety. When people feel secure and at ease within their working space, it automatically boosts the entrepreneurial atmosphere. People will be more likely to step out of their comfort zone and willing to try new things.
And that is exactly what you need to innovate. The will to face the unknowns (that are a given in innovative projects) and tackle them as they come. We really encourage our people to speak up, be daring, take risks. This rubs off on the customer as well, and when that happens, well… there are almost no limits to what we can achieve.
Jo: “It’s okay to disagree with a customer, just do it elegantly. It will often lead to an even higher quality level.“
Novatio is a good example to illustrate this. Robby Remmerie (CXO): “We were looking for a partner who could introduce a new wind in our company and brands. A strategic partner with a long-term vision who could link our brands and IT in view of human-centered design. Nascom was the perfect match.”
Novatio also approached us to help with their product innovation. We launched ‘Bike7’ together, based on extensive customer and user testing and interviews with all the different stakeholders. Instead of focusing on this project alone, we took a step back to look at the bigger picture. We scanned the entire organisation and worked out a strategy in order to align everything.
Jo Martens: “We couldn’t have done this without having insight in Novatio’s business strategy. Thanks to the relation of trust that we managed to establish, they felt comfortable enough to share that delicate information with us, and listen to our advice.”
“It takes more than just getting to know your customers. We want to achieve a situation where both parties not only appreciate, but actually like each other. You need empathy to get there. The ability to crawl under the customer’s skin and understand what he stands for. That’s the only way to build up a durable relationship focused on innovation. In our book at least.” Jo Martens
When did learning become failing?
Jo: “Nascom is like a small tugboat with innovative views on the industry. We tug our customers into a new direction. One that leads us to a path of co-creation, new insights, and challenging risks that we are not afraid of taking.”
We love a quick learning curve. But there will be lows too. We’re not scared of falling flat on our faces. We prefer to do it early, though, when there is still time to adjust our course. Every project we do is one step closer towards growing into something bigger, better.
The trick there is to be bold enough to admit your mistakes. That’s something we all have to learn. But even more importantly, we must also recognize all the positive things we’ve accomplished to keep everything balanced.
In fact, that’s why we’re not such big fans of the popular mantra ‘fail fast, fail often, fail cheap’. In our experience its negative focus harbours the risk of biasing a complete team, and creating a downward spiral instead of an uplifting experience. Because an innovative project is an experience. Or put differently; an innovative experience creates a project. Isn’t innovation about learning? And when did learning become failing?
Tools to enhance learning
We’re constantly questioning what we’re doing by means of demos and retrospectives. ‘Was this the best decision to make? Could we do it more efficiently next time? What do we want to learn from this effort?’ That’s what lean management is all about. Not only taking the time to look back and evaluate, but also looking forward so you can grow.
Want to know how we organize these learnings? Stay tuned to find out more later.