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The value of first-hand experience

In Part 5 of our new insights series, we look at how choosing a partner with authentic entrepreneurial DNA helps amplify resourcefulness and resilience, and brings invaluable first-hand experience.

min read

Over the past 18 months, we’ve gone from helping our clients adapt and respond to disruptive forces, to being thrust head-on into that disruption ourselves. Navigating change and uncertainty is always challenging, but this period of intense, accelerated learning revealed the five qualities we believe are essential when establishing any digital innovation partnership. In this insights series, we look at those qualities one by one.

Innovation is more critical than ever, and it’s key to unlocking post-pandemic opportunity and growth. But it’s no secret: innovation is tough. And coming up with an innovative concept is just the beginning. Successfully developing and delivering a new solution, or actually capitalising on growth opportunities in a new and unique way requires a multitude of skills, from soft skills to hard skills and everything in between.

But with no map to follow, and constant challenges and uncertainty, how can you build and keep momentum, and confidently make tough decisions under pressure? That’s when a partner with real-world entrepreneurial experience can help, and in this post, we look at how such a partner brings real value when it matters most.

First-hand experience inspires resourcefulness and resilience

In the pursuit of innovation, there are two key traits that are particularly important: resourcefulness and resilience. Resourcefulness in terms of creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, the ability to visualise different ways of approaching a problem, and ultimately, succeeding in finding the best solution. Resilience in terms of withstanding, or rebounding from, the difficult situations or challenges that innovation teams often face e.g. frequent changes of approach, or perceived ‘failures’ especially vis-à-vis other parties.

By its very nature, innovation demands relentless resourcefulness and resilience, and our inherent levels can only stretch so far, especially when the going gets tough. At times like this, generic advice and pep talks from those who haven’t been in the same situation with skin in the game can fall flat, and fail to give the boost needed. On the other hand, honest and open exchanges with a partner who has lived this experience themselves can help put failures and frustrations into perspective, and re-ignite energy and optimism.

Gain a headstart by leveraging lessons already learned

Successful innovation is about much more than just the product or service itself. Of course, the solution should respond to a real user need, provide a unique competitive advantage, and be aligned with the company’s strategy and goals. But beyond that, a whole ecosystem needs to be in place if a company is to successfully bring the solution to the market – from marketing and sales, partners and suppliers, to human resources and beyond, depending on the solution.

With so many interconnected elements, it’s crucial to be able to take a holistic view and understand how the aspects influence each other. Furthermore, making the right business decisions at the right time can make all the difference between maximising the potential of an innovative solution, and having it fall by the wayside. To avoid costly trial and error when the finish line is almost in sight, it makes sense to leverage the lessons learned by those who’ve been in a similar situation.

Key take-away

Sustained success requires sustained innovation. But innovation is hard, and sustaining it even more so. Working with an innovation partner that has authentically entrepreneurial DNA is the ideal way to maximise the potential for success. Drawing on their own hard-earned experience, they know how to energise, inspire and motivate, and can provide invaluable trusted advice to help you succeed in bringing your innovation to life.

Tom Vroemans

Co-founder & CEO

Tom Vroemans

Co-founder & CEO

min read

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About Fast Company’s ‘Best Workplace for Innovators’

November Five was named one of Fast Company’s global 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators in both 2020 and 2021. This annual list, developed in collaboration with Accenture, recognises and honors the top 100 businesses from different industries that inspire, support and promote innovation at all levels. For the consecutive year, November Five was the single Belgian workplace listed.

Fast Company is the world's leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company and inspire readers and users to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations and create the future of business.

Jeroen Van Winckel

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Ralph Van Tongelen

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Dario Prskalo

Associate to the executive team

Brecht Spileers

Chief of Staff & Director Corporate Strategy

Emily Stewart

Senior Content Writer

Rindert Dalstra

Brand & Marketing Director

Robin Van den Bergh

Managing Director at Appmiral

Maarten Raemdonck

Co-founder & Managing Director at Spencer

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Executive advisor - Strategy

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Executive advisor

Marc Wojciechowski

Assistant Director

Muriel Mwema

Director Product Management & Delivery

Nick Verbaendert

Co-Founder & Director Business Operations

David De Bels

Product Owner at Appmiral

Tom Vroemans

Co-founder & CEO

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