Jeroen Kraak

What's the deal with 2020?


In 2020, we won the Nobel Prize for Communication. In 2020, we are the Dutch WeChat. In 2020, we buy Google!

As Facilitator and Navigator of innovation acceleration, we have listened to many beautiful dreams, as referred to above. Excellent visions and so-called Moonshots. This is very important since setting a higher goal inspires people in an organisation and the users of a service. According to Jim Collins, having a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), or a concrete, clear point on the horizon, is even the determining factor that separates successful companies from their less successful counterparts. It turns out that plotting that point is a tried-and-tested method for subsequently taking small – or larger – steps and iterations to arrive at accelerated innovation on the way towards that point.

But what if that point is never reached? Won’t we be fooling ourselves? Like a donkey chasing a carrot hanging from a stick or the opportunist seeking the end of the rainbow?

The reason for asking this question gradually became clear during the many innovation sessions and Design Spirits that we have facilitated in the past year. Suddenly we hear CEOs saying: “It will be us in 2025!” What's the deal with 2020? Is it just too close to say? Does that suddenly make it all too concrete? A quick survey yielded surprising and sometimes disconcerting answers. In some cases, the 2020 goal had been passed years ago. In other cases, people simply haven’t really believed in it for years or, taken up with the issues of the day, they were not at all concerned with a strategic goal, but rather with frantically keeping an antiquated business model alive. “Change when you can, not when you need to”, as Jack Welsh has already said. We also often hear that people just can't really recall the 2020 goal any more.

Everything's possible with the right focus

One of my favourites is that 2020 is so close that we have no chance of making it....The opposite is true! We live in an era of unlimited technical possibilities, new methods of working and endless potential collaborative opportunities. Everything’s possible with the right focus! Don’t push the point further away, but double your efforts to get your drive wheel spinning and realise that dream. Dare to innovate! Dare to experiment! And dare to fail! Don’t give up this fight and just decide to look forward to the next. But win this one – the 2020 game – by focusing on innovation and, of course, look forward to the next: the 2025 game. Did you plot that 2020 point just to inspire yourself or boast to others?
Send us a message and we will help you to focus and accelerate innovation. Because you’re not boasting if you can prove yourself, as Mohamed Ali said. I’m really curious to know about your 2020 goals.

Jeroen Kraak | Director Connext Lab


PS: “And what about your 2020 point?” is the counter-question directed at me.

Us? In 2020, we will be travelling around the world with the best Design Spirit Teams to help local entrepreneurs and starters to improve their world.

When Jeroen Soeterbroek gave me the opportunity in late 2016 to further expand Connext Lab, the innovation lab of Connect Holland, we shared a common vision. A vision in which the very best Facilitators and UX specialists will go all over the world like a travelling circus in 2020 to help accelerate innovation. One month we will be in the world’s most affluent cities, where the leading companies and institutions will pay to book a Design Sprint from us. We will be known as the very best in our field, so there will be plenty of competition to secure tickets. Eight Design Sprints in two weeks in one city.

And two months later, in the areas where they really need it. In the poor and destitute parts of the world, where with the same team of specialists, we will offer local entrepreneurs free assistance in improving their lives. This could be a deprived neighbourhood in a Dutch city or somewhere else in the world torn by war and hunger. We will be doing this in collaboration with those leading companies from the rich areas we referred to earlier. Using the results of their Design Sprints and accompanied by the specialists from their teams.

To achieve this goal, we are following a very clear roadmap for our people, method and resources. We will continuously improve our Design Sprints and stay focused. In everything that we do. Always.

More blogs