When bright minds from e-business meet, you might think they only talk about new marketing technologies, data protection, design and digitization. However, since empathy was the leitmotif of our ThinkChange on September 25, 2019, the planning of the event was extremely sensitive. We have chosen the speakers and their topics with great care in order to offer our guests an inspiring and entertaining program. Now let's take an empathetic look back.

Thoughts for the now – away with the monkey mind

Kerstin Wilke, Marketing Director at communicode, welcomes our guests to the Red Dot Design Museum at Zeche Zollverein Essen and prepares them for the day's programme. The anticipation of the program is tangible for everyone and offers mindfulness coach Justus Ludwig the ideal start to his lecture. He takes up the leitmotif "empathy" and in his own special way brings the audience closer to why it is so important, even indispensable, in everyday business life. Too many times a day we think about the past, even more about the future. And too seldom are our thoughts in the here and now. Instead, we are so remotely controlled by our "monkey mind" that we hardly experience our days consciously. A little mindfulness exercise makes this fact particularly clear to us. The faces of the spectators reflected pure gratitude towards Justus Ludwig for this first grandiose aha experience.

Win and keep customers with empathy

Empathy is also the key to gaining the trust of your customers in online trading, as Prof. Dr. Maik Eisenbeiß has shown impressively. While sellers and buyers in stationary retail can usually look each other in the eye and establish trust through personal contact, the business relationship on the Internet is rather anonymous. The distance to the provider creates insecurities that can only be resolved with confidence-enhancing measures.

Maik Eisenbeiß makes it clear that personalized advertising on the Internet only works if I know the provider and already have some trust in him. Trust is divided into three types: feature-based, process-based, and institutional trust. Ideally, the provider creates a solid basis in all three areas and can therefore count on long-term financial success. Merely investing in more and more advertising, on the other hand, would not produce satisfactory results. But if you show empathy for your customers and promote trust with the right moves, you can survive in the market in the long term.

The casual tapping in between

At lunchtime, Justus Ludwig spoke again and carried out a small mindfulness exercise with all interested guests and speakers, which was gratefully accepted by those present. After all, a light, sporty unit before lunch never hurt anyone and optimally prepared the participants for the content to come.

During the break, I casually listen to the conversations of our guests and also exchange ideas with different people. I find it remarkable how much the participants get involved in our supporting program. Many exchanges actually revolve around one's own appreciation of family, friends and co-workers. It's not even half-time at ThinkChange 2019, but it's already had an impact.

Ready for the future?

Freshly strengthened and full of vigour, we are now addressing the elementary question of whether we are really ready for the future. Rockets with which we travel from one continent to another. Cars that not only recognize obstacles, but can interpret them. Roberto Vlad from our partner CoreMedia impressively shows us what the future will look like and how marketing and retail will change in the coming years. Where are you travelling to? Sometimes we can only make assumptions, sometimes clear forecasts. In any case, this topic remains extremely exciting.

And which lion do you feed?

Am I a whining fly that decomposes everything around it? Or am I perhaps a lion after all, and if so: which one? Finally, Loredana Meduri, the female protagonist in Meduri & Spanu, tells of two lions that every human being carries within them. The aggressive and the sovereign lion face each other and carry out a constant battle within us. Who wins? "Always the one you feed." The intentionally inserted pause in speaking is drowned out by the famous dropping penny of the audience. But the wave of knowledge continues to roll. Because Alessandro Spanu goes straight to the point by stating that we never long remember the words or actions of other people, but always the feeling that these people triggered in us. Of course, this applies both personally and professionally.

At the end, the two of them - I'll just say it - highlights of the day suggested to the whole audience that they should allow mistakes and enjoy what they're doing more. After all, despite minor flaws, a fantastic result can still come out of it in the end. After all, who would want to climb the straight tower of Pisa?

Software developers and empathy? there are things

It is an old cliché that software developers and IT experts prefer to only think in ones and zeros and are not at all good at dealing with people. Thomas Kopatz and Peter Rossbach show this in their lecture. Because where do the requirements for the software come from? From the needs of the users. Without an empathetic understanding of what the user needs and wants, a developer cannot identify a target and will sooner or later get bogged down in a program that completely misses the actual benefit.

With Zimmermann and Zimmermann in the final sprint

What sounds the same at this point should provide the evening with a lot of variety. First enters Dr. Philipp Zimmermann from Evonik took the stage. He explains to the viewers in a clear way how important the employees are, especially in a large company. People development affects every company that wants to stay in the market in the long term. How do I convey skills? And how do I recognize an innovative manager? For good people development, everyone has to leave their inner comfort zone and turn to their employees. The positive emotions that healthy change management triggers can only be guessed at here, and yet everyone is enthusiastic.

Last but not least, Martin Zimmermann from Otto Dörner GmbH shows that you should not only treat your employees and customers with empathy and affection, but perhaps also the competition from time to time. The disposal company has taken its own structures to heart, analyzed processes and, together with its colleagues, developed a system that should help the entire disposal industry in the long term. Martin Zimmermann impressively shows that with enough empathy you can ensure your own success without having to weaken your competitors.

Now the ThinkChange 2019 is over. The gratitude list for this day is long. Unfortunately, the many valuable impressions cannot be recorded in detail. What remains is the feeling of wanting to show people more appreciation and to listen inward from time to time. With the tiramisu method, more passion is drawn into everyday working life so that colleagues and customers do not experience the emotions that are so important too late: gratitude and joy.

Check out the summary of our ThinkChange event.