What does an acceleration manager actually do?

What does an acceleration manager actually do?

Sonja our acceleration manager has been with us since mid-February. She told us what this role means and what she expects from it at Deep Impact.

A warm welcome, Sonja! Everyone is talking about innovation. But the implementation of new projects seems to be a problem for many companies. Why do you think this is?
My experience is that many people find it difficult to leave their comfort zone. But we have to leave our comfort zone to develop new ideas, so why is that so difficult for us when it comes to driving innovation? I think there are four reasons:
  • We can't help but use our knowledge
  • We can't stop gaining experience and using it
  • We can't ignore all the rules and principles we have accepted at some point We find it hard to ignore our gut feeling that tells us what to do
But these are exactly what create the comfort zone we find so hard to get out of.
At the same time, management often confuses growth with progress, which are by no means the same thing. What counts for growth is not the number of ideas, but the number of successful innovations. Progress, on the other hand, consists of ideas that serve a purpose. Ideas with purpose cannot be slowed down. Innovations, on the other hand, can be. The challenge for the future is to combine existing ideas with new ones and to transform them into successful innovations.

Acceleration manager is quite a new title. Can you explain to us exactly what you do as acceleration manager?
Large corporations usually have their own Development & Innovation business unit. However, since the majority of Swiss companies are small and medium enterprises, this role is assumed by the owner or the management.
As an acceleration manager, I see myself in partnership with our customers, helping them to develop new business ideas or to sustainably develop innovation. I also try to ensure that each client's project has a higher chance of survival in the marketplace with intensive support from Deep Impact’s modern, self-developed tools and resources. This benefits our customers considerably, as they often need to bring in external experts to complete their teams.

Why did the position as acceleration manager at Deep Impact appeal to you?
My business management training supports my strength in identifying client needs, taking up innovative ideas and driving development. After my many years in a variety of company sizes, roles and industries, Deep Impact now offers me a balance of enabling and developing innovation and building new business. My expertise in Design Sprints as well as my experience in setting up ventures or partnerships definitely help me. I especially like that we offer our customers an external think tank with our own experts and resources. It makes my job an exciting playground.

What did you find in the first few days with us?
I like the SME spirit, and I enjoy working with colleagues from different nations. They create a warm and helpful culture. I also like that everyone works on clients' projects in a focused manner with a lot of know-how and without political noise.

If you had to capture the atmosphere at Deep Impact in a picture, what would it look like?
The rocket is a symbol I also use in other areas of my life. I see our team in this rocket, travelling at incredible speed, with everyone playing an important role and fulfilling it excellently. As soon as the goal is reached, everyone holds a glass of gin in their hands and there is a celebration… something like this.

Is there any routine at all in your daily work?
I can't expect routine in terms of content. But from a project management point of view, there is. I use proven methods to give an important anchor point in cooperating with customers. Structure does not exclude innovation or progress.

What can you expect in the coming months?
I've already had the pleasure of joining two exciting customer projects, and I hope to add one or two more. It's also a matter of getting to know the D! team even better and internalising the competencies and processes. My goal is to become an intuitive team member.

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