The synergy between innovation and sustainability is shaping our future. At the heart of this intersection lies the pursuit of groundbreaking ideas that drive progress and ensure our planet’s long-term well-being.
Surveys show that younger generations prefer sustainable and socially conscious brands. And they’re willing to back it up with their wallets — Gen Z will pay up to 10% more for sustainable products. A Nielson study shows that 75% of Millennials change their buying habits in favor of environmentally-friendly products. According to a Pew study, addressing climate change is at the forefront — a topic that begins and ends with managing fossil fuel consumption.
With the youngest generation accounting for 20% of our global population, savvy businesses are bridging the gap between innovation and sustainability. That’s exactly what many car manufacturers, including semi-truck manufacturer Quantron AG, are doing.
Michael Perschke, CEO and Member of The Board of Quantron AG, is disrupting the transportation industry with sustainable solutions for short- and long-haul trucking and buses. The Quantron truck series uses hydrogen-powered fuel cell solutions to decarbonize the transportation sector, which Perschke finds fundamental to achieving climate goals.
Perschke developed strategic partnerships to bring Quantron-as-a-Service (QaaS) to the industry. The future of QaaS is to provide a comprehensive zero-emissions transportation solution … on a per-kilometer basis.
There are many lessons to learn from Perschke’s business model. Here are five ideas he shared that span all industries:
1. Adopt visionary thinking.
Always look ahead and envision the future of your industry. By anticipating the needs and challenges of tomorrow, you can position your company to be a leader. This proactive approach sets the direction for your business and inspires your team and stakeholders to rally behind a shared vision.
The challenge is managing rapid growth without compromising stability. According to experts, there are three perspectives to adopting visionary leadership:
- Diagnostic perspective. Visionaries who adopt this perspective take a practical and analytical approach to thinking. They evaluate what’s worked and what hasn’t. These leaders establish a starting point that identifies obstacles, procedures, and personalities that can create blind spots. Visionaries adopting a diagnostic perspective incorporate these potential shortcomings into the overall vision.
- Innovation perspective. Often, true innovation is “hiding in plain sight.” It just takes someone — or a team of someones — to bring it into focus. Visionary leaders create the fabric to bring these opportunities to life.
- Unseen perspective. This perspective challenges the status quo by forging new, unseen territory. Visionary leaders adopting this perspective are pioneers in their field — they genuinely believe “it” will work.
2. Embrace innovation.
Stay ahead of the curve by continuously innovating and adapting. In an ever-evolving landscape, those who remain static risk obsolescence. By fostering a culture of innovation, you ensure that your company remains relevant, competitive, and ready to seize new opportunities that arise.
Research shows that 84% of executives believe innovation drives their success. Although 95% of product innovations fail, 84% of consumers still make purchasing decisions based on forward-thinking innovation company leadership.
Perschke embraces innovation. His company forged a holistic approach to transportation encompassing green hydrogen molecules, dispensing infrastructure, fleet management, and maintenance. He aims to “provide sustainable transportation solutions to meet the global surge in demand for zero-emission trucks.”
3. Forge strong partnerships.
Collaborations can amplify your reach and capabilities. Strategic partnerships allow you to pool resources, share expertise, and tackle more significant challenges. These partnerships often lead to synergistic outcomes, where the combined efforts produce results greater than the sum of individual contributions.
The founders of Quantron AG include a diverse group of passionate engineers and environmental advocates with a singular goal: creating vehicles to meet the demands of modern transportation while paving the way for a cleaner future. Quantron AG is a testament to what businesses can achieve when vision, innovation, and determination converge.
Penschke stresses that businesses should foster collaborations during the initial start-up stages to accelerate growth. He believes in the power of collective expertise and resources.
4. Stay agile.
Agility is critical to address challenges head-on. Maintain flexibility in your strategies, processes, and decision-making. An agile approach allows you to pivot when necessary, respond swiftly to market shifts, and capitalize on emergent opportunities.
Agility is governed by its culture, leadership, and governance — each influences the other and how the company evolves in response to the changing needs of customers and stakeholders. Studies show agile organizations improve revenue 37% faster and realize 30% higher profits than non-agile companies.
Many organizations are becoming more agile by simplifying and shifting their focus. Three strategies to implement include:
- Create an agile mindset. Often, fear is the biggest barrier to agility. An agile mindset involves flexibility, collaboration, and learning. An agile mindset helps teams adapt to change, not struggle with it. It requires trust that team members will do what is in the consumer’s best interest.
- Simplify processes. Complexity can be a hurdle to responding to quickly changing economic conditions. Automate and simplify repetitive company processes. Use technology designed for your industry.
- Maintain open communication. Improve communication between departments using tools such as Slack or Trello. Employ standing meetings or daily team huddles to promote a free exchange of ideas among your team in a less formal setting. Organizations spend 15% of their time in meetings, and most surveys show those are 71% unproductive. A Washington University study showed that teams participating in standing meetings shared ideas more fluidly and improved work product.
5. Commit to sustainability.
In business and operations, prioritize sustainability for long-term success. Beyond the environmental benefits, a sustainable approach can lead to cost savings, enhanced brand reputation, and increased customer loyalty. Integrating sustainability into your core values ensures your company’s growth is responsible and resilient.
Perschke says that “public perception and awareness play a pivotal role.” He aims to transform the heavy-duty trucking industry — forging a greener path by setting new benchmarks in hydrogen mobility. Quantron AG is committed to providing comprehensive solutions to the challenges facing clean energy.
Business leaders should focus on their lane — for Quantron AG, that’s transportation. Sustainability starts with your industry. The principles encompass environmental, social, and economic sustainability. While business may lean in one direction or another, ultimately, a commitment to sustainability is a commitment to all three.
The profound impact on consumer preferences and the pioneering efforts of companies like Quantron AG continue to shape our economy. And while significant improvements have been made in recent years, there’s still room for improvement.
Sustainability is a global concern that can only be achieved through collaboration where organizations each do their part.