Own the change: oneUp’s mission to tackle the biggest transitions of our time
Our world is constantly changing and we have to innovate and adapt to keep up.
By Idus de Boer, Managing Director at oneUp
The past few years have seen unprecedented change and challenge. From the impact of the pandemic and the rise of unparalleled economic uncertainty to the widespread maturity and adoption of disruptive technologies, companies today have to be incredibly agile just to keep pace.
There’s no time to sit still. The latest McKinsey Global Survey findings suggest that companies that make new-business building a top strategic priority grow faster, even during times of economic uncertainty. In fact, respondents from new-business-focused companies are more than twice as likely as others to report growth that is more than 10 percent above the market rate - even when times get tough. The responses, which were garnered from more than 1,000 business leaders in 75 countries, showed that the fastest-growing companies are defying recession fears and creating new capabilities, products, services, and new lines of business.
Change is inevitable; own it
Change is often associated with fear and uncertainty. Faced with uncertain situations, the human brain is engineered first and foremost to keep us safe.
As found in EY’s 2023 study The CEO Imperative: How will CEOs respond to a new recession reality? , while 55% of CEOs say this recession will be worse than the global financial crisis, they’re still ready to invest. They see opportunities in investing in innovation and new business platforms, while also looking at new technology investments to boost customer loyalty, and new pricing models to improve profitability.
While continued investment in uncertain times may seem risky, to adopt a culture of continuous change, you need to be willing to explore while managing risks and minimizing unknowns. It can be challenging to know which changes to adopt and which will help to grow your business successfully and deliver a high return on investment.
At oneUp, we know that overcoming fear and owning change is crucial for business growth. We believe that with every great period of change, comes a significant opportunity for those who have the vision to see it and boldness to act. Each and every person has the power to create change - within their company and within society. By changing the way we think and work, we can tackle and benefit from the big transitions that are coming our way.
That is why we have made it our mission to help corporates turn the world's significant disruptions into opportunities.
Shining a light on the big transitions shaping our world.
Embracing change has been part of our DNA since the very early days of oneUp. Over eight years ago Mark Dijksman founded oneUp, starting with one fundamental question: How can we help big corporates drive radical change? If you think that innovating today is challenging, trust us, it was even harder eight years ago before digital transformation and everyday disruption had become the norm.
Over the past few years, oneUp has built expertise around specific industries - finance, fashion, agrifood, and mobility. However, we’ve also seen that many businesses, no matter the industry, face similar challenges in innovating and staying ahead of the curve. So, moving forward, we are focusing on big transitions that are critical for businesses across all industries: Technology, the Environment and Culture.
In the early days of oneUp, we worked on a lot of projects focusing on Big Data, and rightly so, as it was a trending topic at the time. We became experts in Blockchain early on, helping many businesses adopt that new technology at an early stage.
Fast-forward to 2023, and that same kind of shift is starting to rise again in the form of Web3/Metaverse. Along with these technological changes, we see Artificial Intelligence (AI) driving dramatic change in the business sector today with "generative" systems that are capable of creating images and writing like a human. Believe it or not the pictures in the header image of this article were generated by an artificial intelligence tool. ChatGPT, the conversational system launched by OpenAI in late 2022, demonstrated how this new form of AI could transform the way businesses operate. We believe that every part of a business's value chain will be impacted by technologies such as Web3/Metaverse and AI and we want to help businesses turn this into an advantage, rather than see it as a threat.
When we talk about big issues affecting our planet and society, climate change is by far the biggest issue humanity faces. As the UN says, climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment. Today we are coming up short on resources to sustain our $94 trillion global economy because we waste 91% of the material we produce and consume globally.
However, it is clear to us that sustainability has become a top priority for companies in recent years. We’re seeing a strong desire to create sustainable solutions and reduce negative environmental impact, prompting innovation across a number of industries.
Last year alone, more than two-thirds of our projects had a focus on sustainability and the environment. At oneUp, we believe in the circular economy: decoupling the production of new products from the production of raw materials is an ideal approach to help us reuse, re-purpose and recycle as much as possible. The projection is that transitioning to a circular economy will ensure 39% of the potential reduction in global emissions (Circularity Gap Report 2021). It’s encouraging to see that companies are engaging in the circular economy to achieve impact while creating new value.
If the circular economy is the blueprint for reducing emissions, then circular business models are the instruction manuals for creating new value. That is what we are striving for with our unique approach to the data-driven circular business model innovation.
The third and final transition is another topic that we can simply not ignore: culture. The Internet has created a radically more connected world, which is driving cultural shifts. According to a study done by Pew Research Center in 2020, roughly a quarter (23%) of adult social media users in the United States say they have changed their views about a political or social issue because of something they saw on social media in the past year. This number grew compared to the previous report from 2018, when only 15% of respondents agreed that social media changed their views.
The days of mass marketing products to large segments of consumers are long gone. Every product or service has the potential to be personalized to the needs of the individual, through digital interfaces and digital product and service extensions. Every iPhone experience is unique to the individual owner and the different apps that make up this experience reflect the different cultures that each person is part of.
The most progressive brands are building entire digital ecosystems around their products and services. Nike’s ecosystem drives significant value for their consumers. According to CEO John Donahoe, “a consumer who connects with us on two or more platforms has a lifetime value that’s four times higher than those who don’t.” oneUp believes that every new product or service should be treated as an ecosystem that can flex and evolve to different consumers.
Owning the change
In the years since oneUp began, what we’ve seen has been nothing short of astounding. Gone is the idea of 'innovation theater,' where companies would use flashy talk and set up a lab for show, with little to no actual results in terms of creating businesses, products, or solutions.
Instead, there has been a shift towards understanding the benefits of lean startup methodology, innovation portfolio strategies, innovation accounting and all the different tools necessary to transform ideas into real ventures. Companies have become more mature when it comes to encouraging innovation within their organization and the results are evident. It's an exciting time indeed.
From setting up innovation strategies, governance models and visions, to discovery and testing out and launching new business models tailored to various audiences, we do everything we can to make sure our products and services solve real world problems and create value. We do it because it's what will help companies remain future-proof.
There's never been a more important time to make sure companies take this proactive, impact-driven approach. We are looking forward to bringing our mission to further fruition, and we hope you join us as partners on this exciting journey.