14 June, 2022

Reinvention is the only constant and the key to success

14 June, 2022

How I went from 5m CHF to 0, from 0 to 1m CHF, from a company of 1 to a team of 17 and back to 2, then 3, 4, and 5 people, all in under 2 years. 

Today, weinvolve have reinvented ourselves into a strong, agile team ready to conquer the world. We’re fast, stable, and conscious. We’re working with a smaller team, but still walking in the same direction.

We have an amazing magazine FiguredOUT, featuring interviews with a Global AI influencer, Linkedin’s top influencer, CEOs and senior executives from some of the biggest NGOs and top banks, professors, entrepreneurs, and media coverage of World Innovation Economics at WEF in Davos.

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We have a working life and business gamification platform connecting people around the world that allows people to build real businesses without capital. which has 100 clients and growing. It’s currently only available for weinvolve clients – but we are planning an official crowdfunding lunch in Q4 of this year. 

We’re launching our Smart-Up reinvention program with nearly 400 people registered already, and it’s not too late to join us to celebrate and co-create with us our next mind-blowing experience where we will share our evidence-based strategies and framework. 

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We’re traveling the world for Innovation conferences, Speaking at World Innovation Economics, an official part of World Economic Forum in Davos, and working with the Swiss Army, Universities, and top financial companies. We have clients asking for support through our crowdsulting services – a totally new kind of reinvention and innovation consulting that turns people into leaders, and passive consumers into creators and profit innovators.

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BUT We had our BIG ups and of course a BIG downs and each of them required to reinvent

It’s hard to believe it’s almost two years since we took the plunge and started weinvolve, right on the eve of the biggest pandemic in living memory, and arguably the most momentous event in world history in the last 50 years, at least

Yet here we are. We have had high points and low points, successes and learnings, and met them just the same. Today, we thought we would do a bit of a round-up of some of the more memorable moments, and a look into the future.

How we won-and lost- a five-million contract in one day

On Friday 13 March, 2020, I was preparing to leave my job as head of Global Innovation at a major Swiss Bank, to make the Me-to-We framework to a wider audience. We were in final negotiations on a 5-million Swiss Franc contract. We received confirmation of the go-ahead on the project just hours before the first national COVID-19 lockdowns were announced. And within hours, we had also received notification that given the new situation, the contract would be put on hold indefinitely. I’m sure you can imagine the range of emotions we went through that day. 

How one #ActofKindness  changed the life of 50 people over 60 days and launched a business

Fortunately for us, reinvention and pivoting in response to changing circumstances is our thing. We saw so much fear and loss happening and decided to act fast and genuinely help people. We chose to focus on the positives and take action fast. In 2 weeks we redesigned the program and had a group of 200 people. 

We wanted to help ensure people used the time wisely to learn and grow, rather than stagnating or going stir crazy. And so we announced an #ActofKindness Challenge. I committed to going live on Facebook every morning for 60 days and delivering a little hit of dopamine through learning, action, integration, and positive self-exploration to reinvent and find new ways of living – new businesses, and jobs. 

During that first experiment, we had some wonderful successes, with people like Armin, a wine-tour operator pivoting his business online to become the White Glove Sommelier, and Yves a graphic designer with a separate socially inclusive design project who we helped to integrate the two ailing halves of his business into a single, thriving one.

We also had human-value explorers rediscovering their passions, healing relationships with loved ones, and identifying the strengths that would lead them to begin passion projects or lifestyle businesses during the pandemic.

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A year of explosive and expensive growth – From 1 to 17 team members, and back to 2 team members 

That first 60-Day Challenge became the basis for our Smart-Up program, and many of the early participants became Alumni of the founding High Flyers cohort 2021. We ran multiple face-to-face design sprints before the COVID restrictions made that impossible, and online ones after that, which connected entrepreneurs from as far afield as Kenya and Singapore, and Europe. We ran a pitching competition and introduced startups to investors, and we grew from a one-woman show to a team of seventeen.

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As a visionary with big dreams, pretty good leadership skills, and an awesome

team, we were fast. Oh, gosh we were running a marathon like a sprint. I realized, until then I had been managing a huge team rather than leading them. Daily tasks took over, with no time and the right energy. Yes, it takes so much time and effort to manage, and communicate. I learned the biggest lessons in leadership. I lost lots of people, including my best-ever co-worker, with whom we could catch our thoughts on the fly and have grown together through this process. She was like my sister and I never thought that this would happen. I had a huge shock and a disappointment.  A series of misunderstandings and the speed of our progress killed our trust and relationship. 

I did suffer heavily, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I learned a lot and grew stronger, better, and more humble. You don’t know what you don’t know and the more you know the more humble you are.

  1. People don’t see what you see. They see what they want to see, from the space they are in and from their own experiences and this is why trust is so crucial. 
  2. We all do the best we can in the moment with what we have. If we could do better we would do better.
  3. “Letting go doesn’t mean you stop caring. It means you stop trying to force others to care.” – M. Hale 
  4. “If you love someone, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” – Anonymous 
  5. They tell you to be a vulnerable leader. I tell you, “Yes, after you get your sh*t together because when you are in it you stink.” 
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Being Eaten by Sharks

Weinvolve has a dream to create a Human Valley to rival Silicon Valley, but with Humans at the heart of everything. We want to connect investors with startups, entrepreneurs with coaches, corporate warriors with employers, and human value explorers and hackers of all types, including students and children, with each other in ways that drive innovation, reinvention, and collaboration. We want to build on the co-working space trend and turn it into something more potent, a real force for good, where everyone can be a part of building a better future for people, the planet, and profits. 

We already have Human Valley 1.0, our co-creation business incubator space in Wettingen. But we found and fell in love with a hotel in the Swiss Chalet style at Interlaken. We secured a million in investment and entered negotiations to buy what we hoped would be Human Valley 2.0. We paid our deposit and signed a contract stating that if the sale fell through we and the investor would each lose five percent of the deposit amount. In exchange, the property would be taken off the market for 30 days while we secured a mortgage and completed the deal.

It was only then we discovered that the investment was not an investment but a loan with ten percent interest and that the investor wanted more than fifty percent shares in the business on top. This set off alarm bells, and we took further advice and decided it wasn’t a good deal. At which point the investor chose to pull out, and we were left trying to secure a mortgage without the investment. Which, in the wake of the pandemic was impossible, as banks had no appetite for loaning against a hotel.

Long story short, we were eaten by sharks. The investor made a deal-behind-the-deal with the real-estate agent that stung us with the full ten percent of the deposit, and the real-estate agent continued showing the property throughout the reservation period. This was a painful learning process, which you will read more about in one of the next newsletters.

But this one didn’t make me cry, rather surprised and sharp. 

Back to Square Two

As a result of this, we were unable to sustain the rapid growth of the previous year and were forced to reduce back to two. We took a strategic break. Reassessed our strengths, and reevaluated our goals. We scaled back plans, and we did what we teach. We pivoted to meet the current reality.

Because one of the things we teach is not to quit but to rest. And that when you start again after a break, you never start from scratch, or from nothing. You start from experience.

Reinvention is a part of life. We change as we grow because we learn new things, and our values evolve. We have certainly packed a lot of learning and reinvention into our short two-year history. And while some of that has been painful at times, we are proud to be approaching this 2-year milestone with renewed growth.

As YODA says, though it is sometimes hard to believe and follow: 

“Do, or Do not. There is no TRY.” 

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The Journey is Far from Over

So, what’s next?

As previously mentioned, we have the FiguredOUT magazine, which will be issued quarterly. We will be crowdfunding the business gamification platform in Q4 of this year, and we will continue to deliver our Smart-Up program and reinvent the way we do business to improve the world. 

And it is not too late to join us to celebrate and co-create our next mind-blowing experiences with us and join the Profit Innovation movement. 

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Join us for our week-long celebrations- First time for Free 

On 20-25 June, as part of our second-anniversary celebrations, weinvolve will be running Inspirathon 2022. That’s our online Transformation Design Sprint Experience that will introduce you to the Me2We framework we use to help human value hackers, corporate warriors, and entrepreneurs tweak, pivot, or reinvent their lives, careers or businesses and gain the skills of tomorrow to thrive in an uncertain future.

We’d love you to join us every day from 11 am to 1 pm CET and experience the Me-to-We Framework in a hands-on, action-oriented adventure of self-discovery, networking, creativity, and collaboration. You’ll be working on real-life projects and problems, and learning skills you can put to use in your life, career, or business the very same afternoon.

What’s the Me2We Framework About?

The Me2We Framework is the result of over a decade of teaching design thinking, human-centred design, and agile methodology to the top talent and high performers in Fortune 500 companies. It has 5 stages: 

Hacking ME 

Before you start any innovation, you need to start by addressing your own systems and even Hack it to allow the change. We investigate strengths and instill a positive mindset and productive habits using neuroscience and psychology research.

Understanding THEM 

They are your clients and stakeholders. And we show you how to use design thinking and design tools to solve everyday problems and discover your inner innovator through learning how to understand what makes people tick so that you can deliver what they want from you and make it easy for them to say yes.

Joining US

We talk about why it’s so important to co-create with your clients and stakeholders, and how you collaborate and design experiences and prototypes putting the human at the center of the process.

Together, WE Can

We talk about building communities and ecosystems that create a virtuous cycle of feedback and improvement in business development, where people play to their strengths, listen to clients, and work together. In this environment, collaboration, not competition is the way to profit. This is what we mean when we talk about Profit Innovation, and that if we change the way we make money, we can change the world.

If that sounds like something you would like to learn more about, you can register for Inspirathon, our free week-long design sprint experience here. And if you know anyone who would also benefit, you’re welcome to bring a friend.

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We look forward to seeing you there.


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