3 Reasons You Might Want to Change Your Watch to Foster Innovation in Your Company

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Do you want to be a leader of a museum or a business? There is a time to think about history and tradition. However, there must also be time spend to envision the future and create innovations. Don't get me wrong: The legacy, the roots, and all the achievements of your company are essential. However, everything this company stands for could be diminished if you fail to lead it into the future!

"Leading by example "is a famous paradigm almost everybody in business has heard about and that is often forgotten or ignored when it comes to innovation. The research of Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen (2011) provided clear facts about the behavior of hugely successful entrepreneurs. Some of them changed our world with their innovations.

In general, business executives seem to be aware that not only their statements and behavior but also the way they dress and select accessories send messages. The global luxury goods market has been a multibillion-dollar business for years. Luxury cars, exclusive wristwatches, handbags, and other things can create the full spectrum of feelings in humans from joy, admiration to jealousy, and disapproval.

Wristwatches belong to those particular items people wear daily and sometimes almost for a lifetime. Especially luxury wristwatches from famous and exclusive brands send strong messages to others: They can indicate wealth, success, status, tradition and a sense of style.

I stopped wearing my quartz watch a long time ago. I broke my right arm and learned to do everything, including hand-writing with my left arm. In fact, I've become an ambidextrous person. At that time, wearing a wristwatch on my left arm became just inconvenient to me, and all types of watches were everywhere around. Raised with a sense of British style understatement, I also did not need to send any message to my environment with such an item. It changed decades later when a physiotherapist encouraged me to purchase a fitness tracker. I bought a smartwatch instead of when I discovered the sophisticated fitness features those devices provide.

Why am I telling you this? Well, many of us have watched or given speeches about "digital transformation "and participated in numerous meetings about "digital topics "in our companies. If you belong to those leaders who still use paper and pencil to take notes you send messages to your workforce: Either you are not willing to try out one of the excellent tools for collaboration, or you are not willing to find and invest in such a tool for your company. In both cases, you cannot expect that anyone in your organization takes statements such as "digital transformation is a top priority" seriously.

Furthermore, many people seem to miss that today's smartwatches are not just additional gadgets to a smartphone. Especially smartwatches with cellular connectivity and integrated digital assistants have become sophisticated part-time replacements for smartphones. If you still wear a traditional watch, you send the above explained powerful messages about wealth and status. However, in the eyes of people with a strong affinity to innovation and technology, you risk being perceived as not up to date. Traditional watches vs. smartwatches can look to them as vinyl records vs. music streaming services. Of course both works. Which will be the business of the future?

Please think again: Why should you seriously consider wearing a smartwatch?

A smartwatch can be your closest and most personal digital device. I am letting all types of medical devices aside, and I don't care which brand people favor. In my opinion, a smartwatch can redefine your relationship to the digital world and inspire your business:

  1. If you, as a leader, wear a smartwatch, you send a powerful signal to your workforce. You not only talk about digital topics such as digital transformation but are trying out the latest digital technology. You are willing to integrate it into your daily life and dive into the digital world.

  2. Especially younger people with interest in technology will recognize that you wear a smartwatch. It can be the signal that encourages them to get in touch with you and also function as an icebreaker at the beginning of a conversation. Human Resources managers work so hard to recruit promising talents for your organization. Maybe, one of them will perceive you as a "digital leader "and find the courage to get in touch with you. He or she might come up with ideas that significantly improve your customer relationship management and drives business growth.

  3. You will get first-hand experience with smartwatches and an idea of what their benefits and their limitations are. Most probably, new thoughts and ideas will come to your mind: you will discover opportunities for how smartwatches might contribute to your business or could be helpful in your private life.

My recommendation: Try it out. You neither have to wear a smartwatch every day nor forever. However, it can be the initial step to slightly shift your mindset and behavior that could inspire your workforce. As I explained several times before, "The Most Important Factor in Innovation is Humans". Human mindsets and behaviors provide by far the most substantial leverage to create remarkable innovations. As a leader, you have the opportunity to "Create a Culture of Innovation Within Your Organisation" and achieve outstanding business success.


In general, business leaders are aware of the messages they send with statements and their behavior. However, this is often not true when it comes to innovation. Many business leaders risk being perceived as old-fashioned because of their reluctance to adapt to digital tools and working styles. It strongly contradicts their efforts to lead their workforce into a digital future. Wristwatches belong to those items, that can represent tradition, status, and wealth from past achievements or can send an inspiring signal to people about the digital future.

What do you prefer? A traditional watch or a smartwatch?

Get in touch with me today to discuss your needs and desires and find out how I can help you and your organization to reach growth, profit, and success through technology innovation. Schedule Your FREE Discovery Call Now.

Sources and Recommendations

Dyer, Jeff, Gregersen, Hal B, & Christensen, Clayton M. (2011). The innovator's DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.

Thiebus, S. (June 11, 2019). The Most Important Factor in Innovation is Humans. Retrieved from https://www.thiebus.com/post/the-most-important-factor-in-innovation-is-humans

Thiebus, S. (2019). Create a Culture of Innovation Within Your Organisation. Retrieved from https://www.thiebus.com/create-a-culture-of-innovation

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