Lena Marie Glaser is one of the founders who devotes her energy not only to her own business success but also to make the world a better place. Her company, Basically Innovative, looks at needs in professional life, asks how work is changing and accompanies companies that want to offer their employees a better work experience. It’s worth paying attention to them – especially in times of crisis. Because change will only happen if we look beyond the horizon. That is precisely their motto: Thinking outside the box = Basically Innovative.
Interview with Lena Marie Glaser, expert on new work for Generation Y & founder Basically Innovative.
On your homepage basicallyinnovative.com there is an interesting questionnaire for the readers, a kind of self-check. Will you also let us ask you one of the questions? What did you want to become as a child/teenager? Can you find any of this in your profession?
I used to want to be a journalist or a curator. I was always very curious and on the lookout for exciting developments. I was interested in people and their personal experiences, but also in how our society is changing. I love writing and conducting interviews. After my law degree and many years in the civil service (staff position for reforms), I founded Basically Innovative, my future lab for new working, in 2017 and have been developing the Basically Innovative method and toolset ever since: I immerse myself in new working worlds, become part of them, observe, analyze and communicate my learnings with reports and analyses. As an expert for new work, sparring partner, and idea incubator for companies and start-ups that now want to learn from their experiences due to the Corona crisis and use the potential sustainably. With my Future of Work Labs for companies, schools, or educational institutes, which I develop, curate, and moderate, I create experiences that give me the courage to go a new way. I set the topics and scout exciting, creative minds and concepts. My goal is to change mindsets. Just like art can. That’s why both career aspirations are now part of my current job description.
You are committed to a new work culture and a better system that preserves the mental health of workers, and you focus especially on female workers. How is the NEW WORK project affected by the current crisis? Is your concept modified, and how is the interest in alternative ways of working at the moment?
Where do we go from here? As an expert in new ways of working, I am currently being asked this by many people. From ORF to Kununu and companies from software, banking, insurance or politics. The Corona crisis shows everyone where the weak points are. Back to the old patterns? No, encrusted thought patterns must now be broken up and mindsets changed: It takes openness, creativity and courage for new things. On the personal level and in the organization. For me, this is NEW WORK. Because in the V.U.C.A. world, copy & paste and standard solutions no longer work.
It is now a matter of continuing to learn, reflect, try out and discuss. The fresh wind must be used to create a culture that prepares us for the future. Politics and business are called upon to set the right course in a sustainable and authentic manner. Only in this way will we be prepared for the major transformations of the future. What is needed is a new attitude at eye level and working conditions in which employees are heard, involved, and accompanied in their further development.
I accompany companies and start-ups here with my Basically Innovative method. “Whoever is the smartest person in a room is in the wrong room.” That’s what I learned on my New Work Learning Journey in Copenhagen in January 2020. Only the brightest minds from inside and outside together can enable this change and unleash its full potential. Young women like me, in particular, want to actively shape and work in a modern environment. My research shows that quite clearly.
The New Work Love newsletter is particularly inspiring because it presents human stories. Which story has captured your heart the most?
Yes, storytelling is particularly important to me, because it shows why things have to change in the working world as we know it in the future. I am still touched by the story of a young Austrian woman who told me in Copenhagen that she can hardly imagine coming back. Her experience here was to be controlled and to be afraid. In Copenhagen, on the other hand, she is trusted, her boss sets the framework and lets her work in a self-determined way; new approaches are demanded. The story of a young journalist, who also told me her story, testifies that in many places in Austria it is exactly the opposite – toxic, rigid structures and a work culture that destroys rather than recognizes and promotes potential. Young talents in particular no longer put up with this and change employers or start their own businesses.
Your blog is wonderfully motivating and best of all, based on research and facts. Would you like to tell us more about your current research ideas?
Thank you for the beautiful feedback! Since it is very important to me to give courage. Especially to all those committed forward thinkers who want to go new ways and rarely find a hearing with their ideas. As I often hear on my Learning Journeys.
My approach is to clearly communicate complex challenges with personal stories and always evidence-based, and to motivate and empower my readers as well as my clients.
My learnings of the last years make me aware that there is a need for more eye level in the working world. Young people in particular demand this, as my projects in Vienna and Copenhagen show. The Corona crisis now offers employers the chance to start here and to develop new rules and framework conditions together with the employees. This is where I provide support. In autumn 2020, my first scientific contribution will be published in the anthology “Digital Humanism” at the University of Vienna.
You let different people accompany you in your entrepreneurial journey. What helps you the most and who?
I regularly seek exchanges with young creatives, such as graphic designers, artists, or architects. Their way of working with the mindset of “thinking outside the box” is exactly what we need now. I think that way too, so these conversations are always very fruitful for both sides. I also have a few trusted people and mentors who give me feedback and guide me in my personal development. For a few years now, I’ve also been seeking out coaches for specific topics to advise me with their specific toolset. Mindfulness, developing resilience are also very central to this. Meanwhile, I am a mentor for young women myself and learn a lot from them.
At Konsultori, we work with creative industries, startups, and medium-sized businesses on their business development topics – in workshops and consultations.