The Interaction Field: Creating Shared Values To Succeed With Erich Joachimsthaler 

Just as how the world continues to evolve, business values have also come very far. Now, companies don’t create value anymore in the factory; they are now creating values in the network—the platform and digital ecosystems. Taking you into this very interesting topic, Dr. Diane Hamilton interviews the founder and CEO of VIVALDIErich Joachimsthaler. Through his book, The Interaction Field, he reveals the revolutionary new way for businesses to create shared values with customers and society. He particularly points to eCommerce, talking about the success reached by Amazon, Apple, and the likes and what technology and data play in establishing interaction in the action field. Ultimately, companies need to be creative, innovative, and curious to grow and succeed. Join Erich and Diane as they explain more in this conversation.

TTL 756 | The Interaction Field

 

I’m glad you joined us because we have Erich Joachimsthaler here. Erich is the Founder and CEO of VIVALDI. He’s got a new book, The Interaction Field. Erich has lectured or held faculty positions at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, you name it, he’s worked there and he is interesting. I hope you stay tuned.

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The Interaction Field: Creating Shared Values To Succeed With Erich Joachimsthaler

I am here with Erich Joachimsthaler, who is the Founder and CEO of VIVALDI, one of the largest independent global strategy and business transformation firms with offices in the US, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He’s lectured and held faculty positions at many of the world’s leading business schools including Harvard Business School, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth. The list goes on and on. You have an amazing background, and I want to say that you’ve written two award-winning books and you have your latest book. I’m excited to talk to you about The Interaction Field. Welcome.

Thank you, Diane. It’s great to be here.

I am looking forward to this. As you know, I’ve taught several courses and some of the courses I deal with a lot of the stuff you have spoken and written about. I’m particularly interested in a lot of the branding stuff that you focus on, but before we get into your book and everything, that’s quite a background you have. How did you reach this level of success? Can you give us the back story?  

I’m glad you stopped the list of where I was employed because it’s such as that I’m a guy who can’t hold down a job.

They’re all good jobs.  

I went through a journey. I arrived in this country years ago and I was fascinated by a few things. The biggest value a company had was the physical assets. Think of GE or its power plants. They have factories. When you measure the value of the firm, then you found that the biggest value was what the accountants could count these numbers and little was this intangible thing. The brand let’s say and intellectual capital and things like that. Let’s move this forward to now, Diane. You have the opposite happening. You have the biggest value that companies have. Any company you name now is intangible. It’s the brand, the reputation, the trust, sometimes networks they’re the 100 million primetime customers of Amazon and much less, it is the physical assets. I ran early on into this idea that brand is one way to capture that intangible value. That’s where my world comes from a consumer and marketing perspective. From then I evolved over the years. Now I am onto this book and I had to put it down because otherwise, my mind would have been restless.

I hear you on that one. I was looking at some of the people who’ve reviewed your book. I’ve met Rita McGrath and she’s part of the Thinkers50 group that I was with in London and all the people who have written wonderful things about this book. I looked at a lot of what you’re talking about, and it would have helped me to have your work when I was writing a brand publishing course. When I left Forbes School of Business, one of the last things I did was write a brand publishing course based on the work that they had done looking at how complicated it is for companies to deal with. All the services and products and to reach the consumer with a personal message at scale and everything. It’s tough. I went to the Forbes CMO Summit and everybody was like, “We’re trying to do all these things at scale and it’s challenging.” You talked a lot about the eras of what we’ve gone through with branding, and I found your era discussion fascinating. It led to your discussion about what company has been the biggest one. Can you go into that? I love that discussion.  

It dawned on me as I reflected on what happened. In ’95, there was Jeff Bezos and he created the technology called eCommerce and that became Amazon. That was the first time where things on the internet connected. There were then these two guys from Stanford, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. These labored around in their PhD program, I’m coming up with a better way of finding stuff on the internet. Look at them, if you will do what they did as they said, “How is the information connecting?” We call this the PageRank. The more let’s say a website or information connects to other information on the internet, there’s a network of information, the more valuable a page or a website is. The more we put that website on the top in search because that’s what people are looking for. That became the algorithm and then they found advertising the way to monetize it and the rest is history. There was the first time, and Amazon did the same thing, they said, “At the other end is not information. At the other end is a book and I could sell the book and anything else.”

When you measure the value of the firm, very little are intangible things. Click To Tweet

It evolved rapidly in 2000 around the later 2000, then 2009, 2010, and 2007. What emerged is that you can’t just connect information, you connect people. The technology became social networks or social media, and everything changed when Apple came up with a smartphone. Eighty-five percent of Americans wake up in the morning and the first thing they do is look at the iPhone, mobile phone, or smartphone. That connectivity was the second wave, where I say like, “My company and I, we created something called social currency.” We got Publix. Why would people share things around the brand? A brand can have some recurrency that people say, “I love Nike. I celebrate my good turn.” That was 2009, but when the smartphone came to that technology together with social media, things took off in a massive way. In 2020, I look at it as another wave.

The wave is now that you can’t just connect people, information, books, and eCommerce. The new technologies are machine learning AI, the cloud computing has become big. Amazon has one version, the AWS, and every major company, Microsoft has Azure. What that does is now everything connects and there’s this what we call exponential connectivity of companies, of people globally, anywhere 24/7, we are all live in some form of an interaction field where we are 24/7 on. We are not going to go off anymore. We are always on. That changes the way you connect with companies, 24/7. Companies connect them with themselves on a real-time basis. You can look at individual technology, AI, and you can call it ad nauseam. What never happened in the history of the world is that all of these technologies, machine learning, quantum computing, edge computing, cloud computing, have conspired now that we are connected.

What that has done is that the way companies create value has changed. They don’t create value anymore in the factory, because they are better at producing, designing, and marketing something in their own four walls. What now happens is companies create values in the network, call it platforms, and digital ecosystems, interaction fieldI call it a business, a platform called eCommerce, all of it. It doesn’t matter how you call it, but the value creation has shifted. Those are the three eras. We are now all of this. It exponentially happens and it changes how you do branding, innovate, scale a business and connect with consumers, your whole nine yards, how you work from home and resume technologies.

I was watching one of the talks you gave, if you’d ask people many years ago what would be the top company? What people would say? I hadn’t considered that it wouldn’t be Apple, Amazon, or Netflix. Can you share that? I love it when you get into the machine learning aspect of getting the 60 points part. I’d like to go all the way through that because this is an important thing that I’d like to share with not only my audience but my students. This is a great story.  

Nobody would have expected who is on the top now in the same way and the value they create. Think of Apple in August 2018, it was the first company to become a $1 trillion value company. In two years, they have doubled it. They are now the only company that’s a $2 trillion company. Look at Amazon, it’s not only one of the richest companies in the world. It made also a check basis, the richest man in the world. If you look at August 2020, Jeff Bezos, one of the major shareholders of Amazon, that in one day earned $13.5 billion. The numbers are astronomical. These companies, they call them sometimes FAANG, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google. Sometimes they add an M to it because Microsoft is also up in that league now. They have pioneered a new way of creating value.

That’s the secret sauce of their success model. Other companies now off the top twelve largest companies in the world, they all have been trying to duplicate, or at least to mimic some of that success with different levels of success of the thirteen IPOs that are coming out now. It is Palantir and Asana. They are off the thirteen that are coming out in the IPO window. Eight of them are all building this business on this new wave that I was talking about. The game has changed. What I said in my book is I’m going to describe some of the real companies with assets like Chandeal, let’s say, or a metal distributor. I describe what these companies must do to become successful in this new world. I described Tesla and so forth.

Those are all great to look at it. As you’re bringing up the IPOs, I have daughters, and one works in Silicon Valley, one in Southern California. I need to go visit great places.

You’re lucky you don’t have to pay for them anymore. They pay for you.

TTL 756 | The Interaction Field
The Interaction Field: The Revolutionary New Way to Create Shared Value for Businesses, Customers, and Society

That’s right. One works for a startup, and I know a lot of the startups in these areas all want to be unicorns. They all want to be the next Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, all those things. What I found fascinating was your discussion about the one stock that’s the more valuable than any other stock from many years ago, wasn’t Netflix, Amazon, or Facebook. You said it was Domino’s Pizza. That to me is something I don’t think a lot of people would have realized. What I loved was your discussion about how they got to that level. Can you go into that a little bit?  

Yes. There is always this belief that only technology companies can do that because it’s easier and Salesforce is a B2B example. Apple is a good example, and maybe Amazon has done this and they start almost technology first. What I found interesting is with Domino’s that Domino’s was able to do the same thing. This is not a surprise. If you look for example at the Chicago headquarters, half of the 800 people in headquarters are technology and digital people. They have built an organization around.

This is interesting because you’re thinking they’re pizza makers or pizza testers or whatever, but they are tech people. 

You will find on my blogs and in my speeches, this description of how they have been through several eras. When I came to America, at least I played hide and seek with a pizza delivery person in the national student dormitory because we knew that if we are hiding enough from the delivery person and 30 minutes passed, you get the pizza for free. That’s how it started 30 minutes or it’s free. In the dormitory, if you had plenty of rooms and floors, maybe you could hide and we say, “We are not there. You can find us.” We didn’t exploit it too much, but once in a while, that was the fun part of it. Domino’s Pizza went over this, but here’s what happens, they saw a point where suddenly Domino’s Pizza would deliver the pizza at the right place and they had street locations. Usually, in the main street where all the students congregate at the hill or something like that. We call it on the campus. Where all the students at bars side and where the students go.

There was a Domino’s Pizza. In that business, the location was important, the quality of the pizza and all these things. At one point in time, Domino’s Pizza said, “We are going to change this. The game is different. What if we take a mobile order and we take the data and the information about the person that orders.” They call it the first data. “What we will get good at is first a direct relationship with the consumer. To the point that we can predict when that consumer wants his next pizza where I have more and more over time can totally figure out Erich Joachimsthaler is a coach for his son in his soccer. On a Saturday he’s most likely found on the soccer field with the soccer team of 11 or 12 boys. What we need to do is we send a note to Erich’s mobile phone because he always has it in his hand. Erich only needs his face recognition. He needs to look at it and say, “Pizza.” We deliver before they finish off the game for twelve boys and the coach, pizza on the soccer field.” They figured out, they said, “We surround a consumer. We understand them fully and we make the easiest. We applied technology, data, and analytics to establish an interaction field.”

You can find me on the Upper West Side where I live. You can find me Saturdays on a soccer field on and on. By building the system, it wasn’t any more like the old days where they had to do advertising about 30 minutes or you get it for free and all these promotions. They just figured out how to establish a relationship in 150 different ways. “I want Domino’s Pizza. Erich is in the office. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon. He has a downer because it’s the middle of the day. Erich celebrates something. You press the button and the whole office gets pizza. Erich is worried about whether the pizza arrives on time.” I can see on my mobile phone when did my pizza go into the oven, when Fred takes it out, when Dickie is delivering it and I know when the person arrives at my kitchen. I don’t have to get off the office and so forth. It’s seamless and I don’t have to pay for it. I pay for it, but I don’t know this because it automatically deducts.

What has happened was Domino’s Pizza has the classic marketing of having it develop a quality product promoted and branded called, “Domino’s Pizza Promotion 50% pizza off if it’s not delivered in 30 minutes.” They have changed that to, “We primarily connect directly with consumers.” It doesn’t involve much advertising anymore. We surround the consumers. We track the consumers. Erich doesn’t mind being tracked. Let’s say there’s nothing sensitive to what parts of towns I’m going to. They know the location and the services. Through that data analytics and technology, they have at scale created a business model, which we call a platform business model. That bridge an ecosystem interaction field in order to drive that stock price where it is, and the company became hugely profitable. With that also the stock price was bigger than any other company but Netflix.

It’s such an interesting story. I know you also had added that they would let you use your iPhone to take pictures of any pizza that you eat to get points for every time you eat pizza. They can give you after 60 points a free pizza. That was such genius because if you’re looking at it even if it’s not their pizza, you know how much they’ve consumed and you reward them for that. There’s much data out there that you said you don’t worry about it, but do you worry that there’s too much data that can find you that everybody’s reading? When I listened to your talk, you said her name, Alexa, I won’t say it because she turns on and then you said pizza and she started to order one for me when I was listening.

A brand is one way to capture the intangible value. Click To Tweet

I must say that I’ve been suspicious because my daughter bought Amazon Alexa. It’s a nice experience because you can get upset with somebody without offending anybody in your family. You can say, “Alexa, play Spotify. Alexa, stop it.” You can command and she will say, “Of course, sir, I will find it.”

It’s not a problem for me, but some people have a problem with that. Do you have a problem with them knowing anything?

My daughter told me, “It’s strange that in the living room, we were talking about buying these yoga mats and suddenly I get all these yoga mats. They know when I’m online.” I don’t like the idea that she listens to our conversations and then deducts that. That goes too far. Pizza delivery, I don’t care about that. I remember Nike Plus on the Nike Run Club for many years since it started. What I have found in my research for the book is that these health situations, there are eighteen million Americans diagnosed with cancer, and believe it or not, several million of these people who are in treatment centers for their cancer conditions voluntarily provide the data. All kinds of health data about themselves, their physical fitness, and all the treatment data. About 1,500 hospitals send that to care centers and have the doctor and nurse do it on a daily basis.

These data are aggregated by a company called Flatiron Health and makes this data available to all the competitors of drugs. You say like, “I would be sensitive about my health’s data, will it affect my insurance? By the way, I don’t want everybody to know my records. They may find out employment condition and I don’t get life insurance anymore.” It’s a little bit private and this is why it’s important on this day we live now. By doing this, by sharing this data, what the research has now found that for some of the cancer diagnosis we have in the old days, we would just give them our steam, which is a Pfizer drug or an alternative drug from the rush and other pharmaceutical companies. We would put you on therapy for three months. What happened to you? You vomit, you lose your hair, you get headaches, you lose weight and you lose everything and have a bad condition.

They found now that through the data that in some conditions, you don’t need the drug, you can get away with a different kind of eating, a diet that you would use, and therapy that is much less invasive. What it has done is that this whole system and data has enabled the drug administration that approves track from real patient laboratory experiments, real-world data and evidence, they call it and said, “Based on that, we approve the drug for certain conditions much earlier than usual, which means that you save lives.” The benefits of that sharing even the most precious personal data are powerful in this hyper-connected world is in the interaction field world. You can solve big problems like having a cancer diagnosis and surviving that over the eighteen months that you have on the average of living.

I worked for AstraZeneca, many years of pharmaceuticals. We had Navidrex and cancer drugs and all those. I think of all the things that have changed since I haven’t been with them in many years since I’ve worked there, but it’s been a while. I’m thinking of all the data and I saw they’re working with Bayer and all the different companies that are looking at COVID solutions. Is this data going to make it easier to do it faster because of what we’ve learned, or have we not had enough experiences with this COVID yet to have that data that we need to solve this major problem?  

First, the data was used almost a self-serving way by companies like Amazon. They say, “I know exactly what Diane is buying.” The next time you go on Amazon, there will be an ad that says, “Other people, like you, also bought X, Y, Z. Would you like to buy?” You click on a basket and then you buy stuff that Diane does needs. Retargeting stuff. It was almost like self-serving. It’s increasing the basket size by Amazon and so forth. People have now said, “This is not how things should be. We need to create.” That’s why I call it in my book, shared value, not just my own value or not for customers but for society at large. Not just talking about purpose, but delivering on a larger social purpose. In the medical, healthcare, or many other fields that I studied is that this data are shared within participants in an ecosystem. In the agricultural fields, a fertilizer company, the crop company, the agricultural university, that research on the productivity of the field with all the farmers and all of these.

They all come together and say, “We are not only solving for better productivity or profitability of a farmer, but we’re also serving for a larger question, namely healthy food for everyone.” In the healthcare field, as your example and the pandemic situation, the biggest worry at least I have is that they are pushing the vaccine down at an accelerated pace and you don’t even know what you take when you take the vaccine. Accelerated pace also can have a real problem because you go through testing of animals and on mice. With these data, you get much more massive amounts of data. We can say that, for example, a person over the age of 50 in California, living in a sunny, warmer temperature, with weight or conditions of that has that reaction. Another person that lives in New York City and the stress of the New York police department that gives you tickets on the streets is a different stress situation and he reacts in that way.

In a pandemic, these data become incredibly useful because they are provided by human beings. We can now discern the side effects, not on a general basis. If you read the side effects in general, you may vomit, have headaches, lose your hair, lose weight, insomnia or sexual drive disappears and others. You’re like, “I’m going to go with that one?” You think that you’re not the only one. Through this data that had this enabled through this hyperconnectivity, we can now apply treatments in the health situation we live in, the pandemic. More specific and say for this condition. It’s an incredibly social value, these data. To your question, Diane, is there too much data? I don’t think so. The technology comes along for us to manage it. AI is one example that helps to manage the massive amount of data and make sense out of it.

TTL 756 | The Interaction Field
The Interaction Field: The way companies create value has changed. They don’t create value anymore in the factory because they are better at producing, designing, and marketing something in their own four walls. What now happens is companies create values in the network, the platforms, and digital ecosystems.

 

It is interesting to see how much there’s data overload for a lot of people. You have much data that knowing what to look at and what’s useful, where does intuition play a role? Is that factored in anymore? What’s interesting to me is looking at the things that make companies successful. When I wrote about curiosity, I researched what held people back from being curious, because curiosity plays such a big role in the success of companies. They all want to be innovative. They want to be able to create this data and learn these new things. To me, curiosity is the spark to that. What I looked at were the things that kept people from being curious which were fear, assumptions, technology, and environment, where the four factors. You have favorite examples I’m sure of interaction field companies, do they encourage curiosity and where does that play?  

How I see it is that there is a value. You mentioned your daughter is in a startup in San Francisco and somewhere in the Silicon Valley. I don’t know what work she does, but I assume that she says, “Farming is important, healthy food is important. I want to go into the startup in the agricultural field.” If you can do that and you can go into your whiteboard and do a design thinking routine with a bunch of people and some experts, then you can create some ideas, app that you could sell to a farmer that improves farming and the farm productivity tool. Think how more powerful that is if you as a startup built those ideas on the existing data that are shared by these participants, what I call the interaction field.

Is it like the open-source? Is that what you’re saying?  

Yes. That’s what it is. The key is that it’s open-source. When Amazon keeps their data to themselves to sell you more then it’s closed. It’s called the open platform. It’s an open system. Everybody can join. It’s critical. I encourage a startup, for example, to look at what are the networks available. Build your idea on the basis of an existing data set. To your question on curiosity, the data will not give you the answer to a good business model. What the data enables is something, what they call it at MIT, a professor he calls it the inverted firm. That means by having this data, sharing this data, you can source curiosity, creativity, and ideas from a much broader set of people than just your own company. We all look at the same data, but we need to still apply creativity.

Get the ticket to innovation is for companies are that one. It’s not about looking within your own four walls, your R&D department and your consumer insights department. It’s not about hiring a consultant who says, “I have a better way of thinking about it.” Your agency that says, “I have some creative people that can help you to think about these things in a new way.” It using the data you have about how business functions, how the agriculture field, or how healthcare functions, and then sharing those data broadly and drive the innovation from the outside. The inverted firm, because it’s not inside the firm, it’s inverted, it’s outside the firm like open innovation type of thing. This is the beauty of the connectivity. To your question, it puts curiosity, creativity in overdrive. It makes it exponentially more valuable rather than thinking that data give you the answers.

A lot of companies, they’re thinking in their cubicle, their silo, or even their industry I know in my research, in my book on curiosity, I wrote about a hospital who went to a Formula One race car team to help them with their efficiency. You can go outside. There’s going to be a lot of this getting outside your comfort zone. To me what curiosity is, it’s about getting out of status quo thinking. That’s what a lot of companies do, but when I went beyond curiosity, I started a little look into perception and there’s so much perception in the business world too which causes some issues. We can all look at the same data and come up with new ideas and different ways of looking at it. 

I have this part in my book, a chapter I called in the example I made is with Lego, which is a client of VIVALDI. The technical term is called framing. How do you frame your business? Lego at one point in time, they said like, “We are in a difficult situation. We sell plastic blocks and kids don’t want to play that anymore. They like to play video games and stuff like that and it’s become digital.” They fought their way out. They go out of business and then they did a study on consumer insights that we drew on in our work. We didn’t do this study and they did it in the Lego Foundation. They called it The Future of Play. They didn’t define and say, “What is the problem that kids and parents face in growing up?” They found that the creatively, the free play, and the shared social play with parents is the most important development factor for kids, creativity, schooling, and development. It isn’t about a confined game like Fortnite where you shoot people down and competition.

They found that parents more and more have less time spending with their children sitting down. Based on that, they said, “How can we encourage this? What’s our brand about?” We helped them articulate this at some point, the joy of building and the pride of creation are two words that are used in part of their brand position. It’s a summary we call it an essence of a brand, but then what they did is they had several initiatives in the book. I described this idea of legal ideas. You can create anything about Lego ideas. A parent, a son or a daughter, let’s say. There was this tool by Mick Jagger that is a big red tongue if you remember that. The father being a rock and roll fan reproduces this tongue with his son. Lego encourages people to post it on Lego. There’s a site called Lego Ideas. If you like that, you need to encourage your friends and family and everyone else to vote in favor of your idea. That is a tongue from Mick Jagger and built on Lego blocks.

If it gets enough votes, 10,000 votes, Lego decides or not to produce it and you get 1% of revenues or something. This has become an enormous success, shared play, you have a creative idea. You don’t have to be confined by the Lego set that the Lego produces. You come up with your own idea. You work together with your father, mother, or your uncle, let’s say, there is a shared play and you can engage. That’s a way to source creativity and new ideas from outside building at Lego in Billund, Denmark.

The technology comes along for us to manage it. AI is one example that helps manage the massive amount of data and make sense of it. Click To Tweet

I used to train people with Myers-Briggs training in the day when it was more popular and we used to give them Legos. You put people on teams who are all alike, you’d give them Legos, and you’d ask them to build a house. You’d then switch it up and you’d put people on teams who are not all alike in their personality type and have them build a house or something. It was interesting as the people who were all alike and had the same personality type would build the most boring houses. The teams that were all diverse would build a castle and a moat and all these great things with the Legos. We learned that the more diverse the team, the more creative the idea, more challenges.

That’s what I’m thinking of as you said that, but it also brought to mind iWoz, the book written by Wozniak. He talked about his dad bringing home gadgets from work with the electrical wires and different things and how they sat down together. It was a form of play, but it was also a form of learning where you would share why you need this electricity to make this work and why this is required for this to do that. Look what it did for Woz. We need that.

I see this with my children here, they connect over a video with someone else. They may modify a video. They may produce a video of what the particular dance on TikTok. They may share some creations and then one of them builds or expands on it. The beautiful thing is in this hyperconnected world, you can create the diversity that you mentioned in the Myers-Briggs exercise. You can create it almost like on a global basis. There are people you don’t know would work on a creation that you have started. The Lego had to have one of these examples called Cranky-Wonky is no particular name, it’s made up. It was this global community that built whatever you think is a Cranky-Wonky. The Germans methodic Cranky-Wonky looks like a car.

My daughter did an exercise like that in grade school, they had her build a girfle. They made up a word and all the kids had to come in with what they thought a girfle looked like. I got part of that exercise because I helped her build on the girfle. It was 6 inches tall, but it had a certain amount of weight, but she wanted to sleep with this thing. I couldn’t put sand in it. We put marbles in it in case it broke to give it some weight. It was a creative exercise and we sewed little overalls on him and he was a cute girfle, but other people came up with things that look like snakes. The creativity was a fun thing. It sounds a little like that.

That’s what the successes of the business is also. In what I described in the book of this company, what I call The Interaction Field but being through interactions, through connections, being connected, working together, and in order to solve some of the most intractable problems, world hunger, zero CO2 emissions, healthy pets, mass pet food, on and on. There’s a health insurance company I discovered in South Africa, that if you follow the program of what they prescribed, you add eight years to your life expectancy. It’s impossible things that we could never have done, but why is it possible? It’s because we are all connected and we unleashed this creativity in some ways to what particular solving problems that we couldn’t have solved before. That’s the world where we are living. That’s where the ticket to success is of these companies and brands.

It’s the cooperation and interaction of all this. It’s an important book that you wrote. Everybody thought they had a lot of the answers and that everything was going to be a certain way. Foresight and proactive qualities took a little backseat to what they need to take because we don’t have the control we think we have. What’s the most important thing you think they’re going to get from if they read your book? What are you trying to send home with your message?  

The most important thing is that before companies were able to say, “We have the best engineers. We build tractors for 100 years. My name is John Deere. We have the best factories. We have quality initiatives. We have black belts that run our machines most effectively. Therefore, you should pay a higher price because we are German and we sell BMWs, which are the ultimate driving machine. There is nothing better. We are Nike. Nike is better than anybody else.” We have now found that nobody does it alone. If you want to solve the problems that consumers, industry or an entire society faces, climate control, cancer, or the pandemic issue the COVID-19 situation, you need to figure out how to leverage this connectivity. You need this hyper-connectivity of everything.

You need to begin sharing data. It’s not about shared shareholder value anymore, “I run a company that is profitable and everybody’s happy and I get rich.” It’s about shared value because even if you share to add value, the pie of the market grows. Everyone is better off. That is a mindset, Diane. A mindset that you have to wrap your arms and your head around it. It’s not that easy because you like to think that you are special and you need to keep everything that is special about you.

TTL 756 | The Interaction Field
iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

Didn’t Thomas Edison have to buy a lot of patents to create the light bulb? There are many other factors involved in any creation, aren’t there? Even in those days. It’s an interesting cooperative time to look. I think younger generations are open to that. We didn’t do it that way in the Mad Men days. Times have changed quite a bit. I’m hoping that a lot of people can learn a lot from your book. As I said, The Interaction Field: The Revolutionary New Way to Create Shared Value for Businesses, Customers and Society. I know they’re going to want to read your book and follow you. I was hoping you could share a link or someplace to follow you. Are there some social media or something you’d like to share?  

I am on LinkedIn. I usually go with the initial of my first name, so E like Erich, and then my long last name Joachimsthaler. Nobody will ever figure them to do that correctly. It took me many years, even in grade school, in elementary school to get my name right. I was almost getting a psychological disorder on that. Everybody could write their name except Erich. Another way to do it is to look at our website www.VivaldiGroup.com, there’s a way to buy the book or get a free copy or something like that. I’m also on Twitter to be found and I have my own website, www.ErichJoachimsthaler.com. Maybe Google has given me a PageRank high enough that when you type something close to it, you’ll find me.

Erich, this was fun. I thought you have great information. You have such authority, it’s out there saying great things about your book for good reason. I was glad that you were able to join me on the show. Thank you.

Thank you, Diane. I most appreciate it.

You’re welcome. It’s fun. 

I’d like to thank Erich for being my guest. Erich is interesting. I hope you take it some time to check out some of the talks he’s given. It’s entertaining and educational. Everything he talks about is fascinating because it ties into what companies are trying to do. Be more innovative, creative, and curious. It was wonderful having Erich on the show, but we get many great guests and I know it’s hard to catch them all. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can go to DrDianeHamilton.com and find them there, on iTunes, and everywhere else podcasts are listed.

I hope you take some time to check that out. You can also find out more if you want to contact me regarding speaking or writing and all the things that I do. The book Cracking the Curiosity Code, or the work with Power of Perception, Curiosity Code Index, or the Perception Power Index, or any of the assessments that are on the website. If you don’t find it, can’t locate it, you can always contact me through the site. I’m happy to answer any questions about that. Doing some amazing work with some of the major organizations around the world to ensure that companies are more innovative and creative and that all starts with the spark of curiosity. Doing great talks and training with organizations to ensure that they learn about the things that are inhibiting their curiosity. If you’re interested in knowing more about that, you can go to my site or go right to DevelopCuriosity.com and take a quick little course. It’s free.

It gives you a whole lot more insight into the value of curiosity. We’ve also launched MOOC around the world which is a Massive Open Online Course as part of FutureLearn. If you’re interested in taking a course there that also is free, you can just go to FutureLearn and search for my name or curiosity, and you should be able to find it easily there. There’s no excuse for not being curious anymore. There are a lot of ways to find all the information. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode.

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About Erich Joachimsthaler

TTL 756 | The Interaction FieldI am the Founder and CEO of Vivaldi, a strategic business transformation firm that focuses on brand, innovation and growth; and the best-selling author of several books and over 100 articles. I study the impact of technology on customers for brands and businesses from a demand-first perspective. I work closely with senior executives inside companies.

My new book: The Interaction Field: The Revolutionary New Way to Create Shared Value for Companies, Customers and Society, will come out on September 15, 2020.

Prior to founding Vivaldi, I have been an academic at various business schools in both Europe and the U.S. With my academic colleague, Professor David A. Aaker, I have pioneered work in branding – particularly the dominant brand leadership model, including brand equity, brand strategy, and portfolio and architecture work. In the early 2000s, I co-authored the well-known “Branded House vs. House of Brands” model that helped companies optimize their own brand and product portfolios. Over the last seven years, I have focused my research on the role of network effects and exponential technologies in building platform businesses. I have created the concept of Social Currency to study this impact on customers and consumers of all kinds.

Most businesses today focus on competition and disruption instead of collaboration, participation, and engagement. They focus on transactions instead of interactions. They seek to optimize or extract value rather than share it. They build assets and thrive on enormous scale, huge distribution networks, and brand recognition. But then along comes a rival that doesn’t care much about your brand and your other assets, and it either rushes past you or mows you down.

The only way to thrive in this environment is through the Interaction Field model. Companies who embrace this model generate, facilitate, and benefit from data exchanges among multiple people and groups—from customers and stakeholders, but also from those you wouldn’t expect to be in the mix, like suppliers, software developers, regulators, and even competitors. And everyone in the field works together to solve big, industry-wide, or complex and unpredictable societal problems.

The future is going to be about creating value for everyone. Businesses that solve immediate challenges of people today and also the major social and economic challenges of the future are the ones that will survive and grow.

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