Embracing Empathy: The Human Touch in the Future of…

In the rapidly evolving landscape of Software as a Service (SaaS), where it’s all about automation, AI, and innovation.. The human touch is a key differentiator. With years of experience in guiding a SaaS company through growth and transformation, I’ve come to recognize the profound impact that human-centric practices have on every aspect of the business—from sales to customer success to product development. Let’s explore why the human touch is so important in the future of SaaS (and tech for that matter) and how it shapes the humane application of technology solutions.

> Understanding the Human Element

At its core, SaaS is about more than just software—it’s about solving human problems. Behind every line of code and every feature update lies a real person with real needs, challenges, and aspirations. By embracing the human element of technology, SaaS companies can create solutions that resonate on a deeper level, fostering genuine connections and lasting relationships with their customers.

> From Sales to Customer Success

In the age of automation, the role of sales people in SaaS may seem diminished, but their importance remains undiminished. From my experience, people buy into the person who is ‘selling’ the solution, since the human touch in sales goes beyond closing deals. It’s about understanding the unique pain points and goals of each prospect, providing personalized guidance and support, and building trust every step of the way. Similarly, in customer success, proactive engagement, empathetic listening, and timely assistance are the hallmarks of a truly human-centric approach.

> Continuous Development with User-Centricity

SaaS is about solving problems, making things easier and more efficient. We’re not creating problems to sell the solution. Instead, we’re highlighting opportunity for improvement. And so, in the realm of product development, the human touch is essential for creating solutions that resonate with users. By prioritizing user feedback, conducting regular user research, and creating a culture of empathy and collaboration, SaaS companies can ensure that their products meet the evolving needs and expectations of their customers. The human touch extends beyond the product itself to encompass the entire user experience, from onboarding to ongoing in-time support.

> The Humane Application of Technology

In the quest for innovation and efficiency, it’s easy to lose sight of the human impact of technology. However, the future of SaaS lies not only in technological advancements but also in the humane application of those technologies. Whether it’s leveraging AI to enhance customer support or using data analytics to personalize user experiences, SaaS companies must prioritize ethics, privacy, and social responsibility in their pursuit of technological excellence. Watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ to form your own opinion on this ;-).

> Balancing Automation with Empathy

Automation undoubtedly streamlines processes and boosts productivity, but it should never come at the expense of empathy. In the future of SaaS, striking the right balance between automation and human interaction is key. By automating repetitive tasks and freeing up valuable time for meaningful human engagement, SaaS companies can deliver exceptional value while nurturing authentic connections with their customers. We can conclude, that the soft skills of SaaS employees are as – and in some cases even more – important as their hard skills.

Looking Ahead: Embracing the Human Touch in SaaS

As we look to the future of SaaS, one thing is clear: the human touch will continue to be a defining factor of success. By prioritizing empathy, understanding, and genuine care in every interaction, SaaS companies can forge deeper connections with their customers, drive loyalty and retention, and ultimately, make a positive impact on the world. With the increase of the use of AI, let’s not forget that we’re solving human challenges with a humane touch. With a human-centric approach, it would be foolish to rely solely on technology.

And so, it’s important to create tech solutions that not only drive innovation but also uplift and empower humanity. Connect with us today to learn more about our human-centric approach to SaaS.


  • Forbes. “The Human Element: Why Empathy Is Key To A Successful Sales Strategy.” Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/05/07/the-human-element-why-empathy-is-key-to-a-successful-sales-strategy/?sh=63c930242e6d

Dancing Towards a Green Future: Navigating the Transition to…

In the ever-changing landscape of energy production, the shift towards renewable sources like wind and solar power has become not just a trend, but a necessity for a sustainable future. As an innovation agency that has collaborated closely with a leading energy company on crafting a green energy strategy, I’ve witnessed firsthand the complexities and opportunities associated with this transition. While the road to a fully renewable energy system may seem daunting, it’s a journey that requires collaboration, innovation, and a shared commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Imperative for Renewable Energy

The imperative for transitioning to renewable energy sources is clear: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate change, and ensuring a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations to come. Wind and solar power offer abundant, clean energy resources that can help drive economic growth, create jobs, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. However, achieving a fully renewable energy system requires overcoming significant technological, economic, and regulatory challenges.

The Dance of Transition: Embracing the Innovation Adoption Curve

Transitioning to green energy is similar to a dance—one that requires coordination, rhythm, and partnership. Just as in a dance, it takes two to tango: both energy providers and consumers must actively participate in the transition. Understanding the dynamics of the innovation adoption curve is crucial in this process. While early adopters may readily embrace renewable energy, others may require more education, incentives, or reassurance before making the switch.

Educating and Empowering Consumers

One of the key challenges in accelerating the adoption of green energy is ensuring that consumers understand the benefits and opportunities it presents. To overcome this hurdle, education and awareness campaigns are essential. By highlighting the economic, environmental, and social benefits of renewable energy, we can empower consumers to make informed choices and take meaningful action towards a greener future.

Making Green Energy Accessible to All

While the transition to renewable energy is critical for combating climate change, it must also be equitable and inclusive. For many communities, particularly those in underserved or marginalized areas, access to renewable energy may be limited by economic or structural barriers. Addressing these disparities requires innovative solutions that prioritize affordability, accessibility, and community engagement. Whether through incentive programs, community solar initiatives, or public-private partnerships, we can ensure that green energy is accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Collaborating for Change

At bend & stretch, we believe that true transformation requires collaboration, creativity, and a shared vision for the future. By partnering with energy companies, policymakers, community organizations, and other stakeholders, we can accelerate the transition to renewable energy and drive meaningful change at scale. Creating a more sustainable world for future generations.

Join us in the dance towards a greener future. Connect with us today to learn more about our collaborative approach to driving the green energy revolution.


  • International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050.” Retrieved from https://www.irena.org/publications/2018/Apr/Global-Energy-Transition-A-Roadmap-to-2050

Navigating Tomorrow: The Future of Leadership

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, the role of leadership has never been more critical. As someone deeply entrenched in the realms of organizational development and strategic foresight, I’ve come to recognize that a company without strong leadership and vision is akin to a ship without a captain—afloat but directionless. Let’s delve into the key pillars that will shape the future of leadership: vision, horizon, co-creation, model behavior, shared ownership, clarity, and transparency.

Vision: Charting the Course Ahead

At the heart of effective leadership lies a compelling vision. A visionary leader not only anticipates industry trends and market shifts but also inspires others to embark on a collective journey towards a shared destination. In an era defined by uncertainty and rapid change, a clear and compelling vision serves as a beacon, guiding organizations through turbulent waters. The vision drives motivation and engagement. Without it – many times – I’ve seen team members checking out, delivering the bare minimum, and spending more time complaining than coming up with constructive feedback or solutions.

Horizon: Embracing Forward-Thinking Mindsets

Leadership is about more than just managing the present—it’s about preparing for the future. The vision can be tied to horizons. By adopting a forward-thinking mindset and expanding our horizons, leaders can anticipate emerging challenges and seize new opportunities on the horizon – long and short term. Whether it’s embracing new or disruptive technologies, exploring untapped markets, or fostering low impact innovation, looking beyond the immediate horizon is essential for staying ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving landscape.

Co-creation: Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

In today’s interconnected world, leadership is no longer confined to the corner office with a door nobody dares to knock — it’s a collective endeavor that thrives on collaboration and co-creation. I’ve always preferred working in an agile way rather than a strict hierarchical mode. Yet, in some industries hierarchy contributes to the engagement as well as the success of an organization (eg security).

Whether agile or hierarchical, by fostering a culture of inclusivity and empowering diverse voices, leaders can tap into the collective wisdom of their teams, unlocking innovative solutions and driving sustainable growth. Co-creation isn’t just about sharing ideas; it’s about cultivating a sense of shared purpose and ownership transcending individual contributions. The role of the leader, then, becomes more about engaging with the workforce on the ground, rather than coming up with strategies is a vacuum from the corner office..

Model Behavior: Leading by Example

Leadership is as much about deeds as it is about words. Model behavior sets the tone for organizational culture, shaping norms, values, and expectations across the board. Whether it’s demonstrating integrity in decision-making, championing diversity and inclusion, or prioritizing ethical business practices, leaders must embody the values they espouse, serving as role models for their teams and stakeholders alike. The credibility of a leader depends on it. “Practice what you preach” is often quoted in exit conversations by team members who want to resign because of “poor management”.

Shared Ownership: Empowering Every Voice

In the future of leadership, shared ownership could be the new business model. Co-ownership links individual and team effort directly to business success that can be experienced individually. It can be a intrinsic driver for employees to speak up, change behavior, invest in professional development etc. Share Council is a platform that offers co-ownership through participation plans for SMEs. Yet, co-owning the company is not enough, leaders must create the time and space in work processes to recognize that every member of the organization has a stake in its success; truly empowering them to take ownership of their contribution to business success in their roles with their responsibilities.

Clarity and Transparency: Building Trust Through Openness

Without a vision we’re afloat..And, without trust, we’re stuck. “Why do you expect me to do X, Y and Z, if you can’t even trust me with the information I need?” is something I’ve often heard in doing a company culture assessment. Trust is the currency of effective leadership, and it’s built on a foundation of clarity and transparency. Leaders must communicate openly and honestly, sharing information, insights, and expectations with their teams in a clear and transparent manner. By fostering a culture of trust and transparency, team members can perform to their potential -and- leaders can inspire loyalty, strong collaborative teams able to weather the storms of uncertainty.

Looking Ahead: Embracing the Future of Leadership

By embracing visionary thinking, fostering collaboration, leading by example, embracing co-ownership and prioritizing trust & transparency, leaders can navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape with confidence and conviction. Let’s go beyond..where leadership is not just a title, but a transformative force for positive change.

Join us in shaping the future of leadership by embracing visionary thinking, fostering collaboration, and leading with integrity and transparency. Connect with us today to learn more about how you can be part of this transformative journey.


  • Harvard Business Review. “The Importance of Vision in Leadership.” Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2009/12/the-importance-of-vision-in-leadership

Rethinking Consumption: A Shared Responsibility for a Sustainable Future

In a world where consumerism reigns supreme, the burden of responsibility for sustainability has often been placed squarely on the shoulders of end-users. From recycling initiatives to eco-friendly product choices, consumers are frequently urged to make more sustainable decisions. However, this approach fails to address the root of the problem: the production and supply chains that drive consumption patterns. To truly effect change, we must shift the focus from consumer responsibility to shared accountability across the entire value chain.

Reimagining the Production Line: A Path to True Sustainability

At the heart of the sustainability challenge lies the production line—the often-overlooked source of environmental impact. While recycling efforts certainly play a crucial role in mitigating waste, the true potential for sustainability lies in reimagining the processes that produce the products we consume.

At our innovation agency, we advocate for a holistic approach to sustainability that starts at the source. By innovating and optimizing supply chains, companies can reduce waste, minimize resource consumption, and prioritize environmental stewardship at every stage of production. From raw material sourcing to manufacturing and distribution, every aspect of the supply chain presents an opportunity for improvement and innovation. This means that the threshold for collaboration and clear communication between supply chain partners have to be lowered.

Collaborative Solutions for a Sustainable Future

Achieving true sustainability requires collaboration across industries, sectors, and stakeholders. Through strategic partnerships, alliances, and cooperative initiatives, companies can leverage collective expertise and resources to drive meaningful change. We move from the traditional ‘provider/client’ relationship to:

  • Partnerships: By forging partnerships with suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors, companies can align their sustainability goals and work together to implement innovative solutions throughout the supply chain. Collaborative efforts enable shared learning and resource optimization, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and mutual accountability.
  • Alliances: Industry alliances and coalitions provide a platform for collective action on sustainability issues. By joining forces with like-minded organizations, companies can amplify their impact and advocate for systemic change on a larger scale. Through collaborative research, advocacy campaigns, and policy initiatives, alliances can drive industry-wide transformation and promote best practices for sustainable business operations.
  • Reward-based collaboration: Incentivizing sustainability through rewards and recognition programs can encourage positive behavior change across the supply chain. By recognizing and rewarding suppliers, manufacturers, and partners for their sustainability efforts, companies can create a culture of accountability and inspire ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.

Embracing a Win-Win Mindset

Ultimately, the transition to a more sustainable future requires a shift in mindset—from competition to collaboration, and from individual responsibility to shared accountability. By working together towards common goals, companies, and their partners can unlock new opportunities for innovation, growth, and positive social and environmental impact. What we have in common is our environment, it’s the foundation for everything, including our grounds for business. By not taking care of it collectively, we’re setting ourselves up for the opposite of long term success. Leaving this solely to the end-user is a missed opportunity.

At our innovation agency, we believe that sustainability is not just a responsibility—it’s an opportunity. By embracing collaboration, innovation, and shared accountability, we can create a future where sustainability is ingrained in every aspect of production and consumption. When it comes to sustainability, doing business is not a zero-sum game. Together, let’s reinvent the way we do business and pave the way for a more sustainable world for generations to come.


Cultivating Green Knowledge: Nurturing Environmental Awareness for a Sustainable…

In my journey of collaborating with organizations to co-create impactful programs, one initiative stands out—a project centered around greenery and environmental stewardship. Together with a group of enthusiastic trainees, we dove into the task of developing innovative solutions that wouldn’t just benefit the community, but also ignite a deeper connection with nature. What we discovered along the way was the significance of carving out space to champion environmental causes and spread awareness in fun and engaging ways.

Empowering Green Advocates

As the world grapples with environmental challenges, it’s crystal clear that nurturing green knowledge and sparking environmental awareness are pivotal in shaping a sustainable future. Organizations hold a unique opportunity to empower their people to become advocates for the environment, equipping them with the necessary tools, resources, and encouragement to make a positive impact, whether it’s inside or outside the workplace.

The Case

The non-profit organization we collaborated with offers nationwide accommodations, travels, and activities for nature enthusiasts and social activists. They initiated a program called ‘Green Traineeship’ tailored to their junior members, young professionals under 30, aiming to engage them in creating solutions for visitors and the local community to connect with nature. Their aim? Fostering awareness about the needs and conservation of nature.

From Awareness to Action

Over the course of five months, the program focused on several key aspects:

  • Learning about the diverse animal and plant species native to the Netherlands
  • Understanding the needs of nature from a conservatorship perspective
  • Adding value to visitors, members, and local communities alike

At the core of any impactful environmental endeavor lies the belief that even the smallest actions can lead to significant change. By providing a platform to explore the trainees’ passion for environmental sustainability, we could set off a chain reaction of positive transformations within the local communities, each effort contributing to a collective movement towards a greener, more sustainable future. These trainees were very passionate about making positive impact and learning how to do so in a sustainable manner.

We introduced Design Thinking as a solution-building approach, allowing trainees to apply their newfound knowledge and insights to create solutions tailored for the local forestry and community.

The Power of Playful Engagement

Perhaps one of the most profound takeaways from our green project was the importance of infusing environmental education with a dash of playfulness and creativity. By approaching sustainability initiatives with a sense of curiosity and adventure, we can captivate people of all ages and backgrounds in meaningful conversations about the environment.

The various phases of Design Thinking, particularly the Empathy and Ideation stages, proved instrumental in this. As well as being in nature: instead of talking about something “far away” from an office building, being in nature at one of the accommodations provided an environment in which we could have a dialogue with nature. Through conversations with conservators, experts, the community and exploration walks. This space was pivotal in creating solutions that made ‘sense’.

Creating Space for Innovation

Innovation flourishes in environments where creativity is nurtured, and differing perspectives are embraced. The solutions created could be rolled out nation wide, including a game fusing the exploration of the local forests and education on nature preservation, the use of plants in the kitchen and around the house. The trainees paid it forward by sharing their newfound knowledge. As a result, they were more engaged and felt a sense of fulfilment.

And so, by creating the space for environmental stewardship and innovation, we not only unlock the potential for impactful solutions but also cultivate a sense of purpose and fulfilment, propelling us towards a brighter, more sustainable future, collectively.


  • World Economic Forum. “Why It’s Time for Businesses to Take Nature Seriously.” Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/businesses-nature-environment-biodiversity-ecosystems/