Joyshree Reinelt of Innate Motion tells us about helping companies & brands to use business as a force for good & to contribute to the triple bottom line.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Joyshree Reinelt: I must confess the pandemic has been a roller coaster ride, like for many other families within a new reality. Just as we had settled into the so-called “new normal,” my husband suffered a severe heart attack. Whilst it came as a big shock, it made us resilient, even closer, and grateful for the recovery as well. And now we are living happily ever after with our son and dog. Thanks!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Innate Motion.
Joyshree Reinelt: Since I was a child, I was fascinated by people, discovering and understanding the beauty one sees beyond the surface. Growing up in my native home city of Frankfurt, there were two things that shaped me: the culturally eclectic environment and witnessing the social inequalities at play. I became a psychologist because I wanted to create a positive impact on people’s lives. In 2006 we founded Innate Motion as Business Humanizers. We wanted to help companies and brands to use business as a force for good, and to contribute to the triple bottom line.
How does Innate Motion innovate?
Joyshree Reinelt: First and foremost, we use innovations to bring about meaningful change and sustainable growth. We innovate to make empathy attainable for us by developing tools, platforms, and programs to grow empathetic skills. Because empathy is the key to unlock change. We value thought leadership, and we invest 15- 20% of our net revenue into this development. We strongly believe in the diversity of people and a multi-stakeholder perspective to innovate on what matters. Internally, one of our favorite activities is inspiring and challenging each other to push our thinking further. We use the power of our diverse backgrounds (20+ languages, from 30+ countries) and co-creation to refresh our tools and signature processes. This happens by being in sync with market developments and the needs of the clients we serve. Next to that, we define strategic innovation projects with clearly defined objectives. We form teams according to passion and expertise, and we actively create opportunities to co-create with individuals or fellow agencies that fuel the regenerative business movement. Best innovation happens when we share our thinking and break the silos.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Joyshree Reinelt: In hindsight, we have been very lucky. When the pandemic first hit, we were equally in shock as our clients. Many confirmed projects got frozen, postponed, or even canceled. We made a commitment as a collective that we would leave nobody behind and go through the crisis together. Firstly, we made a careful analysis of our resources and workload. Secondly, we saw the crisis as the opportunity to redefine how we do our work (e.g., switching from f2f to virtual workshops). Thirdly, we wanted to stay in touch with the world to share inspiration and knowledge. So we curated articles, webinars, and coffee talks. And lastly, each and every person chipped in. We all made sure to work flexible hours, take some time off, or even temporary unpaid leave. There was not a standard solution that fits everyone. Whilst we had people who happily took off refurbishing their home, learning a new hobby, looking after their little kids, we also had people who were mostly around. In the second half of the year, business picked up, and everyone was happy to have a very busy year-end. The bottom line is that we reached our adjusted target and even made an unexpected profit.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Joyshree Reinelt: We did not have to make any difficult decisions as such. We were completely transparent and had frequent conversations, company-wide and in smaller groups, formal and informal. We planned for playful bonding sessions where we invited everyone to dress up, choreograph a dance and simply laugh together. We know how important the power of play is and also use it in our client workshops. In addition, we formed a SteerCom through votes to think about the future vision. This voted group consisted of six people, ranging from co-founders to more junior people in the company. We learnt so much along the way, how to become more agile, more lean, more innovative. My biggest lesson that got re-confirmed, however, is the following: our shared vulnerability makes us stronger.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis
Joyshree Reinelt: The Purpose Dive is one of our signature processes to craft the purpose and positioning of a brand. We had already developed a digital platform for this pre-pandemic. This gave us a headstart during the pandemic when we actually were in big need of it, and we could even evolve it further. We were born officeless and borderless right from the foundation of Innate Motion. We work fully remotely on connected platforms and with several video conferencing systems. During the pandemic, the one new platform we started using is Miro.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Joyshree Reinelt: Difficult to say who our competitors are. We have three distinct practices that span from cultural decoding over purpose positioning to change engagement. We are a proud B Corp and believe in shared, sustainable prosperity that comes through radical collaboration. As such, we nurture and seek partnerships where the individual company input results in a stronger collective output.
Your final thoughts?
Joyshree Reinelt: We want to fuel the regenerative business movement, for people, as people.