Angelika Sodian, Buch, Sinogility, China, Start-up, Proof of Concept

Proof of Concept – my bestseller

“No, sorry: there’s no chance of your book being published before the end of next year …”. Naturally I was pleased that the publishers were interested in the idea of my book. However, I was disappointed about the length of time that was being mooted. My friends thought I was being unrealistic, pointing out that I hadn’t started writing my book yet and that things didn’t just happen overnight. “Angelika, you are taking on too much!” became a comment I began to hear too regularly! 

Yes, I wanted a lot. I didn’t just want to go public with my ideas as soon as possible – because at the moment we still have time to learn from China, although, admittedly, time is running out. What I wanted above all else was to write a bestseller. And I would put my heart and soul into making this a reality.

“Wanting a lot in a short time and setting about it with great pleasure and an immense amount of energy? That’s sinogility for you,” I thought to myself with a smile. 

Therefore, I decided to make my book into a Proof of Concept for my ideas on sinogility. I wanted to demonstrate that the success formula which we see in Chinese start-ups in the automotive world can easily be transferred to other areas. Sinogility puts forward five target criteria for this:

Five target criteria for success

I spent the last 12 years working in a Chinese/European environment within the automotive industry, the last four and a half of those as part of the senior management team of a Chinese global start-up. And this gave me the opportunity to experience the mechanisms of Chinese success close up. And with this experience behind me, I defined five target criteria:

  1. Ambitious targets. A significant part of the spirit of Chinese start-ups lies in visionary strength. Ambitious goals point the way. For example, they don’t just want to build a car. Their aim, more specifically, concerns revolutionising the entire automotive industry. In this example, electromobility was the ideal way to achieve this visionary goal. The lack of experience in the preliminary stages of what you would call the classic automotive industry could be missed out. 
  2. Speed. The amazing speed at which these leaps are made is part of the strategy. Speed is an important part of success. The fast-paced dynamism is like a red thread running through the start-up culture of the country. Change in Europe, for example, tends to be accepted more or less with a grinding of teeth. In contrast, change in China is not only tolerated but in fact continuously expected. 
  3. Scale. If you want success, you don’t limit your possibilities from the outset by defining too tight a framework. When Chinese start-ups act, they do not just narrowly view the national market, they, instead, think in broad international terms.
  4. Value based. The focus placed on values is also an aspect that should not be underestimated when it comes to the success of Chinese start-ups. If the whole team can identify with the values and has the desire to get involved in a start-up experiment, then the team will most likely become imbued with an infectious sense of drive.
  5. Emotional experience. In Europe, and particularly in Germany, innovations usually come from an innate desire to develop a better product. The focus is on the technical aspects; everybody puts their energy into improving this technical experience. The Chinese think exactly the opposite way around. For them, the product is neither the goal nor the actual innovation. The product is nothing but a tool, with the help of which they can create a new emotional experience for the customer.

If you, in your company, succeed in implementing these five target criteria, making this sinogility spirit palpable in your organisation; then you can certainly take an optimistic look into the future. My book-writing project demonstrated that this is also possible in other areas, not just in the automotive industry.  

Proof of Concept 

In the traditional book sector, it takes a long time for a new book to develop. I quickly became aware of that when I put out my feelers six months ago and received the first publishers’ offers. It reminded me of the length of development time involved in European automotive manufacturers coming up with new models. I wanted to take a different path. 

My book had to satisfy all five success criteria of sinogility. It had to:

  1. … have an ambitious goal, a vision. I didn’t just want to write a book, I wanted to write a bestseller.
  2. … be on the market in a short time. Speed. That was an important aspect for me in view of the urgency of the matter. I wanted to launch the book at the start of the next Chinese New Year. I only had six months’ time.
  3. … have a large framework. Scale. It was clear to me that I would publish internationally, and that meant I had to have my book published in German and English, both as a book you could hold in your hands and an e-book, both on the European and international market.
  4. … get you caught up in its values. Value based. Everyone was pulling together: I put together an international, highly dynamic, flexible team that implemented my bestseller and brought its ideas to the world with enthusiasm, great commitment and consummate professionalism.
  5. … become a great emotional experience. Emotional experience. It is only natural that I, as the author of the book, have this great sense of emotionality. But together with this dynamic team, we turned the book launch in Vienna, in London (and soon also in Istanbul) into an experience that enchants the doers and inspires the guests. And it is this emotional experience which spreads the spirit of my book further, makes it more well known, that is the heart of the success. 

The heart of the success

Yes, I wanted a lot. And I am incredibly proud that I reached my targets – and, above all, that I was able to deliver the Proof of Concept for sinogility as a successful path. That in Europe we too can deliver fantastic, top quality products fast, that sinogility does not just work in the automotive industry but in other sectors too.

And my book project shows that this is precisely what is possible. In not quite half a year, I wrote a book and had it published in two languages on international markets; together with a committed, dynamic team, I organised highly emotional, international events – and ended up with a bestseller. Proof of Concept? Yes! 🙂

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