We have interviewed Tobias Lutz, Senior Consultant Chemicals at Schlegel und Partner about how to make partnerships successful.
Could you please introduce yourself?
As a Senior Consultant in the chemistry sector, I am focusing on providing valuable information to clients from an industry, characterized by an intensive need for collaboration in R&Ds and business development. In this industry it is essential to gather as much insights from various experts along the value chain as well as finding potential collaboration partners and customers. They most often provide important capabilities and market successes – necessary for innovations in the chemicals industry.
In my profession I can make use of my educational background from my chemistry and business studies in Frankfurt, Münster and Groningen. During my studies, I collected valuable working experience in digital innovation, both in start-ups and large chemical cooperations, using findings from my research on corporate knowledge sharing for my master. After my graduation, I joined the special chemical company Evonik in their Strategy & New Growth Business department. Intensive collaborations between research institutes, external development partners and internal stakeholders were my part of my tasks. At Evonik I also discovered my passion for digital innovation and bringing products to the market successfully. After a few years, I switched sides and currently we are advising chemical companies by screening and assessing markets, trends and innovations and their strategic implications for our clients.
In my private life, I am a passionate squash player, long-distance runner and enjoy listening to and making music (though not with a band anymore).
Why start a partnership by a vision alignment?
From various experiences in the past I can tell that a shared mission is key when it comes to a successful partnership. Like this everyone who is involved knows what to do and has something to aim for when a project gets off rail.
Which questions do you recommend?
This is highly dependent on the industry I would say. It could be questions on the communication culture, used methods, structure and best practices, like ‘which habits and cultures can we develop to foster teamwork with open and effective communication?’ or ‘How do we recognize when things are going in the wrong direction in our collaboration?’.
How will partnerships change in the chemical industry within the next years?
In my opinion the need for collaboration will increase within the chemical industry, based on the development we see in both the end applications and raw material changes. Interdisciplinary and knowledge transfer between several partners will be fundamental to maintain long term competitive advantages.
In how far do you see the digitalization as a chance for partnerships to be successful?
It is definitively a big enabler. It was never easier than today to get to the right collaboration partners. Identifying, assessing and contacting can be done within a short period. Yet, I am confident that good collaborations also include a good portion of factors like trust, respect and shared memories to work out fine, which is easier to build in face-to-face interactions. And in these times of rapid change and disruptive innovations this is what we need as well.
Thank you Tobias.