We require a lot from one another these days. Consumers are pushing the boundaries for companies continuously with a demand for faster, more flexible and transparent supply of services. Therefore, companies need to respond with continuous innovation asking its consumers to adapt and accept their new behavior. Innovation in its basis is strange behavior as you are trying to change something that was once known and familiar. Strange behavior that is out in the open as innovation is nowadays done in the public eye and we leave all sorts of digital tracks of our attempts.
Innovation requires tolerance from the actors as described in the elements of trust. Believe that the intentions if the intended change are inline with the promise I as a customer agreed on, while being authentic. Or the believe that the newly intended promise can be met and will be fulfilled. It allows companies the room to explore and fail.
I believe that the climate in Europe isn’t that good for innovation as tolerance currently is low. In Europe tolerance is especially important as a collaborative model with multiple actors is in place. Whereas the US has a model that is focused on the individual where money talks and where China is from its start focused on the collective and is steered from a governmental point of view.
To understand the differences between eastern and western culture I recommend the following training and study. One test, for instance, asked a person to draw his social network, with circles representing himself and his friends. Americans tend to draw themselves bigger than their friends, about a quarter of an inch bigger. But Japanese draw themselves, on average, a bit smaller than their friends. “America is No. 1 when it comes to self-inflation,” Telhelm says. “We draw ourselves much larger than friends. We take that as a measure of self-inflation.”
Reasons why I believe tolerance and believe towards large companies and governments is under pressure:
Individual over Collective
Collectives are becoming more and more fragile. The lifelong job at a company is becoming scarce where the trend of becoming self-employed is rising. The believe that an employee will put the good for the company over the good for itself is therefore under pressure due to decreasing involvement.
Government is by default in-stable
When it comes to promises, a government is changing them every four years due to elections. Where we also see that it requires more and more compromises to build coalitions. Also examples as Brexit and populism are challenging the trustworthiness of the governmental institutions.
Smart vs trusted
Isn’t it strange that whenever somebody bends the rules in their advantage and gets away with it they are called smart? Or in sports it is praised when someone is delaying the game or falls on the ground with the lightest touch. It is even called a winner’s mentality. Devaluation of trust in my opinion can be shown by this positive social response to behavior to someone who cannot be trusted.
Rise of mergers and acquisitions
No company seems to be safe for mergers and acquisitions which automically put promises under pressure as new ownership almost always result into new promises. Both the frequency and money involved with mergers and acquisitions is growing.
So how should we deal with this? It is shown in this earlier shared game an action is required as a non tolerant system loses. Europe could choose the US or Eastern model. This would requite a big cultural change and we should accept this change will slow down the economy the coming years.
Accepting the challenge would require learning to understand how to use new digital communication tools to show tolerance as they now seem to be a channel that show no tolerance at all. Looking at a twitter feed of a random corporate shows not a lot of compassion when something is not working as expected.
A safe zone could be a solution where insecurities can be shared, and tolerance can grow in search for trust. Companies would be able to ask her clients whether they believe and accept a new promise made by the company before it is launched.
Companies could also start to provide transparency with regards to their promises. As shareholders receive a yearly report that show whether promises are met, where is the proof towards the customer? Why not be open and transparent about this.
It’s time for Europe to act as the current trend will kill innovation. Once tolerance is low, either we will see resistance or resignation. Both options will never lead to solutions that fulfill our needs.