EXPLORE! takes new paths


At the start of February, the international crop of junior executives of Haniel convened at the Academy for the second module of the EXPLORE! programme, which has been completely redesigned.

Under the title “Leading Agile for Innovation”, participants worked as professional founders on the challenges of a dynamic environment. What does agile work mean in an established organisational structure such as the Haniel Group? How do you handle the dynamics of VUCA world and manage to radiate a sense of security in times of uncertainty? These were the questions which the 34 junior executives of 2. EXPLORE! dealt with.

Turns lemons into lemonade
“Finding solutions quickly in groups is more important than ever today,” said participant Sabrina Lanfermann of CWS-boco. Thomas Bleckman, seminar leader for the second module, presented a methodology from global entrepreneurship research: effectuation comprises five principles that successful entrepreneurs apply. In a nutshell, this theory deals with decision-making in a changing and unpredictable environment – a process that many young junior executives are experiencing in the digital age. “It is essential to assess the situation based on the funds and resources available and the bearable loss,” summarised Lanfermann. “Then, the aim is to obtain the greatest benefit as a result, true to the motto turning lemons into lemonade. The very fact that we had little time to deal with the problem when working as a team made the exercise even more realistic.”

Real life customer cases
On the second day, participants applied their theoretical knowledge to real life cases. Here guests from the Haniel Group and from external companies – so-called “case owners” – presented problems from their everyday working lives. Among other start-ups, this included the E.ON initiative :agile accelerator and Deutsche Bahn and colleagues from TAKKT AG and Schacht One. The participants tackled the challenges in six groups and developed a solution for each case within a day. This meant that every team had to understand the challenges and needs of their customers, the case owners, and develop individual solutions – for seven cases, on one day!

At the end of the day, all participants and case owners convened and assessed the solutions proposed by the teams. “Working together with participants across divisions and their ideas has given me an entirely new perspective on customer orientation,” said case owner Konstantin Krauss, corporate digital entrepreneur at TAKKT. “The exchange has also shown how important and valuable open dialogue between divisions can be.”