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Logbook entry #1 – The founding history of d.quarks – taking new paths with attitude

Quite honestly, for the three of us today is the result of our entire professional experience. Almost more important than what you do is why you do it. A truth that is a realization from this experience. In reflection, it seems to us as if the last decades of our professional life have steered towards this point. All our experiences have contributed to this decision. But let us start from the beginning.

What unites us is a long history in various traditional companies. We have been able to experience companies from industry and consulting firms of various kinds. We have learned how people in corporations, family businesses and medium-sized companies make decisions and steer their companies. We have experienced how people deal with people and how exactly these people differ in this matter in these companies. We are all three grateful for these experiences, the positive and the negative ones, because they made us what we are today. For the three of us it always depended on the attitude with which we faced these positive and negative experiences. 

Our common attitude, defined by our values, is what unites us three. Exactly in this question of attitude there are big differences and that is good, because this world needs diversity. Our attitude is what defines us and we have had to discover this first. Attitude is not written on a piece of paper, it is deeply rooted in us and we could only really discover it through the situations that have created conflicts with what has always been a compass within us. Only through the conflict is this recognition of your own position possible. 

An important inspiration for me personally was my great-grandfather. He was imprisoned by the Nazis under inhuman circumstances because of his political convictions and died as a result of his imprisonment. When my grandfather told me about this when I was a little boy, I could only guess what it meant. Nevertheless, the story of my great-grandfather moved me deeply even as a child, although I never met him. To discover our attitude means to find something in us that is so important to us that we are not willing to give it up. d.quarks is the story of our attitude.

The three of us got to know each other nine years ago at Infosys, where we helped build up a management consultancy. At that time, all three of us had already gained relevant experience in corporate structures and smaller companies. Even then, we were already looking into the subject of digital transformation in greater depth, because the fact that increasingly exponential technological innovation is massively changing companies, the world of work and society as a whole is not really new. The foundation for what we do today was laid back then. Our common path then led us to PwC, where we helped to shape the topic of digital transformation and were ultimately responsible for digital transformation in the client segment of family businesses and SMEs. It was a time in which we learned a lot and were able to work with many great people, both on the client side and among colleagues. 

Sustainable, trusting relationships with people have been established, which have become very important for us over time, even beyond the boundaries of the company. For us, these trusting relationships are what creates purpose in our work. We want to make a contribution, do something good and leave these people with a feeling of value for the time they have spent with us. We believe that it is important for Germany and Europe to do work that builds a sustainable innovation society in a democratic value system. Where this common connection with customers and colleagues exists, work feels enriching and easy. It is based on trust, honesty and the own demand for highest quality and best performance is ultimately a logical consequence. Then all of a sudden it is not primarily about making money, no matter how, but about creating real added value. Only with this attitude real innovation is suddenly possible. Today, we call the results of this: disruption. 

Particularly when you have been dealing with pioneering work and innovation for a long time and intensively, as we have, it creates issues if you take pure money-making as your top criterion. But that’s how it is in most companies today. It can become really problematic when you deal with companies that have control systems that are designed purely to incentivise money-making and cost optimisation. The innovators in these companies will have a hard time comparing apples and oranges, will be satisfied with symptomatic and easily predictable process improvements or will sooner or later give up in frustration. These are the problems that need to be solved and it takes courage, vision, empathy, pioneering spirit, perseverance and patience to bring about the necessary changes.

Real innovation only works when decision-makers in companies recognize that the path to the digital future is not a game played according to the classic rules of profit maximization, but another game that has its own rules. And if these decision makers have the courage to act accordingly. It is the game that demands the old pioneering spirit that has always stood at the beginning of all great well-known companies. This game demands a different attitude from the player. We seem to have only forgotten that. 

We have come across it again and again in our work and it has turned out to be our own quality to be able to bring about the necessary positive changes, especially in such difficult situations. We realized that this quality is something special and that it is very rare to find. We have also recognized how important it is for the future of these companies that have become so important to us, for the people in these companies and how valuable what we can do for the people in these companies actually is. Our attitude is the quality that makes us special and valuable to companies. An attitude which is very rare and which, as it turned out, can make a significant contribution to the future of these people and companies due to its positive changing effect on people and structures in companies. At least that is what our customers, employees and colleagues have told us again and again. Only with our attitude we make companies more agile, creative, adaptable, innovative and future-proof. Our entire methodology, tools and expertise is based on this attitude or is derived from it. 

At some point we asked ourselves the question, in which environment can we best play out our own quality? What is the context in which this quality can develop properly? After a learning process that lasted nine months, we realized that this is best possible in the environment of our own company. Only an own company offers us the freedom we need to develop our impact in companies more quickly. We don’t have much time left in Germany and all of Europe in this accelerated world. We need to scale the transformation more quickly and effectively. If you follow the news on climate change, it becomes immediately clear to everyone why this is no big secret. It is too important to us to compromise, for money or status. That is our honest and serious attitude. And the hour of birth of d.quarks GmbH.

#Carsten

Logbook entry #1, Thursday January 30th

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