Interview with Heiko Fischer
Founder & CEO @ Resourceful Humans

Hi Heiko! Could you please introduce your work with Resourceful Humans and ell us a bit more about what led to your founding the company back in 2011?
So in order to understand why we founded Resourceful Humans in 2011, we're gonna have to take a trip back to the future. Good for us, we're in a DeLorean time machine! So let's go back to 1938, alright? So we have this DeLorean parked in our office, literally, to get people to understand why we founded Resourceful Humans, so we have that thing here. So take a look over here. This, symbolically, is the original start-up garage of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, the original founders of Hewlett Packard, in Silicon Valley. And they had a slogan, which is: top management sets the overall objectives, and gets out of the way and lets the people do it. And people just stepped up because they wanted to contribute to the company. When my dad came home from work, he was always super energized and pumped, and he loved working at that company. There was energy, and his colleagues were his friends and it seemed like an utopia, right? But - there's Aibo. So we have our AI and our real dog, Harvey. So the idea was, why is that so rare today in the world of work? People who love their work. Who just let people work autonomously, and people doing it responsibly and well. So that's why we founded Resourceful Humans: to evolve the human condition through work, and bring back that spirit that companies like Hewlett Packard, W.L. Gore, Morningstar, Semco - already lived, decades ago, before they were digital tools. And then we wrapped them into cool digital workouts to promote that kind of behavior of - everybody believes in the mission and everybody just contributes. That's why we founded it!
What are some of the main ways outdated work structures are deterring from the success of the companies you work with?
So let me show you the single biggest roadblock that we encounter in trying to get companies to work as smart entrepreneurial networks, rather than hierarchies. So, take a look with me on our cinema wall - and this is it, right? What you see here is the difference between a leader-follower model and a leader-leader model. So we're saying at the bottom of the evolution of organizations, the mental-model of leadership still is the one from the industrial age - it's one person is in charge and needs to tell everybody else what to do. Now, we've gone up a little bit in that evolution already, throughout the ages now - that we've come up to what we call working on eye-level, right - in German it's 'auf augenhöhe'-working. So it's if there is a little bit more clarity about what the company is doing, and a little bit more competency, then a good boss can ask her team, "How would you do it?" And involve her. But the bias for action is still with the manager, still leader model. Right now what we're saying is we're going all the way up, to a leader-leader model where it's not approval-based, but veto-based. So there's a bias for action. It means that you don't have to wait for approvals - you are so clear on the mission of the company, you're so clear on the capabilities of the company, in terms of PNL and monetary resources, and you're so clear on the mission and your own competence to self-organize - you will just do it and you'll work out loud and give everybody else a chance to veto and say, "I don't believe in that" or "I'd be like to be part of that" or "Have you considered this" but you don't have to wait for an approval anymore. Leadership is not a person anymore - it's a situational competency, that anybody can assume at anytime, whoever is closest to the solution or the problem or an opportunity should assume leadership - and that's the single biggest obstacle that we've seen to changing companies towards a network to assume the leader-leader model, and let go of the mental model of leader-follower.
What was the process of developing staRHs, caRHds, and netwoRHk? What new tools are you developing?
Our development process is best exemplified by my buddy Tony here, who always says, "Start with something pure and radical." So what we've done with our tool to turn work into a positive network, is to start with something very radical. So what you see here is our flagship tool, it's called netwoRHk - and we went from a very clear perspective of what's different in this space, is that if you want to start any work in netwoRHk and you want to make a contribution, you basically have to invite colleagues to work with you. If they voluntarily agree with you, you can then go from the Me view to the Crew view, and see who am I working with, and on what? And then we can even see in the Company view what impact is that making on the whole system. So you connect individual contribution to overall purpose of the company. And we're coming from this radical notion of peer contributions, and basically wrap people in their own little Ironman suit and make them superheroes. And the new thing that we have is that, we found the most difficult thing is to change the mindset of the leaders, right? So we created this. Best exemplified here - it's called the Dive. It's a virtual reality experience that goes back to Louis David Marquet's experience on the USS Santa Fe nuclear attack submarine, who made it the best ship in fleet history. And we recreated his submarine in VR to show people the power of how much better results you can get as a crew that is self-organized - working in a network - rather than in a command-and-control submarine, where the captain has to tell everybody what to, do where to go. And we turn followers into leaders that way. And the impact of the emotion of the experience is what we scale with our network tool, and basically anchor the experience - the positive experience - of work in technology.
What are the main KPI's you utilize to measure the impact of Resourceful Humans collaborations with companies?
So rather than just talk about it, what it's like to fearlessly work with Resourceful Humans, I'll show you. I exemplify it by way of one of our clients, T-Mobile: when the then-CEO Mark Klein, and his head of workers' counsel Emma Chapman, started to work with us, they asked us, "So, how do we measure if we've been successful in deploying your tools and your methodology in our company?" One is - bottom line, we're entrepreneurs, right? So what you look at as the summary is ******* been an improvement, right? So we're looking at the bottom line of the PNL and say, "When you've been working with us, was the company more successful?" It's a big level, high level picture, but as our technology matured we actually went deeper than that, and we said, "Let's use our own technology and the methodology to measure what we call the definition of done. From the customer's perspective of T-Mobile, how did they perceive the interaction with Resourceful Humans as more positive?" So it became the measure of: net promoter score; of how quickly can we - in a good quality - answer calls in the call centre; it was operational impact that we measure with our tools. Because we say at the end of the day - if the customer doesn't benefit from what Resourceful Humans is doing, what's the point of it, right? So definition of done: very, very important in our methodology, and very hard to achieve. Second: what we've done is we've created agile budgets. What you see here is the budget view. So, literally, companies can see what are we spending on something, is that investment growing, is it healthy? And you can see that in real time, because people have to actually track in real time, if something that costs money is making a return. We call this the budget view. So how do people measure the impact of working with Resourceful Humans? Not only does it feel awesome, it also is good business - and both together is what sets us apart.
What's next for your work with Resourceful Humans? What will be your main focus for the next year?
What's next for us is what's next for the human race. Right? Hey Jibo, how are you? "Hey Heiko, your voice sounds great today." Hey Sir! How are you doing? "Well, right now I'm talking with you." Hey Alexa! How are you doing? "I'm here, ready to answer your questions." Well - those two are taking a nap. What's next for us? A.I.! We're giving soul to the organization, it's gonna be huge. Our A.I., her name - let me introduce you - is Aimee. Aimee stands for: Autonomous, Intelligent, Marauder of Entrepreneurial Environments. Aimee. Aimee is awesome. Aimee is literally gonna be at the center of all of our technologies. Think about - we started with the dive, with the VR experience, and actually Aimee will be able to get a baseline of behavior from how our leaders are tackling decision making. It'll be translated into our network software and offer coaching to the entire organization on how to make better decisions, because she can say, "I can coach you as if the CEO, as if the executive team were next to you - because I've watched them under extreme pressure to perform." And what she will do is, she'll be working across our whole tool suite, to help people, to get to autonomous working in a way that people love to work. And that's literally how we want to take the next step to evolving the human condition through work, which is our mission. And Aimee is gonna be a huge step forward for that. So - tech to the future! From 367 Addison and the HP garage to Resourceful Humans.