Co-creating new ways to solve old business and people problems


  • HR & Talent Management


Summer 2019

Haufe Gruppe, one of Europe’s oldest and largest business tech, consulting, and services companies, approached us with a partnership opportunity. They wanted help creating a next-generation people ops system for high-performing companies. The concept road map and vision started years ago. In the beginning their product was a fragmented whole—equal parts software, consulting tool, service provider, and learning program.

“Bridging the gap between business power and people power is unique. How can we look at the power of the business, how can we look at the people power that we have in our organizations and create solutions with both in mind.”

—Kelly Max, CEO Haufe USA, Global Product Leadership and Innovation, Haufe

Better people ops starts with better people management. We knew we needed to give HR a more prominent seat at the table, since they would be partially responsible for finding talent solutions to people problems—both internally and externally. We established a core concept that there was “a billion dollar idea inside your company, you just couldn’t see it.” It allowed us to talk to enterprise CEOs in a way that indirectly gave HR at these Fortune 1000 companies a larger, fundamental role at the business table. Finding, cultivating, and attracting talent was one thing, but empowering current employees to connect with the business strategy by giving them freedom to move inter-organizationally was another.

And this is the crux for the future of talent: connecting a company’s business strategy to its people strategy is not only the recipe for success, it is one of the biggest opportunities for future innovation and market survival. Every CEO faces the business or strategy challenges below. Positioned appropriately, every challenge is answerable through people solutions focused on acquiring and retaining the best talent:



Digital Capabilities

Enterprise Agility

Speed of Innovation

Diversity and Inclusion

Strategy Mobilization


Attraction and Acquisition

High Performance Organization

Engagement and Retention

Learning Organization

Feedback Culture

The biggest opportunity in the HR Tech space over the next decade will not only be showing the connection between operations solutions with people solutions, but will also be around solving people issues around attracting, developing, empowering, and retaining. While a vital component, software alone cannot accomplish this.

“This CoCreation event allows us to create this strong alignment. We are not just talking about the topics, we are talking to each other. And this kind of alignment is very important.”

— Raul Firu, CTO, Haufe Group

“We basically want to create exponential value and impact that our talent has in the organization”

—Jan Uetz, Head of Product, Haufe Umantis

With our support, Haufe developed CoCreation as a way to bring big companies together to create the People Operating System (People OS) of the future via conversation, workshop, and product ideation. Leaders of Fortune 100 brands were invited multiple times throughout the year to attend various tracks designed to illuminate and innovate current processes, and build the next generation systems for their talent game. From Zurich, Switzerland, to Beaverton, Oregon, over a hundred thought leaders, designers, HR leaders, talent recruiters, software engineers, talent managers, data scientists, and industry experts would convene for a 3 day, optimally designed series of workshops and sprints.

Dozens of people from the Butchershop crew participated in CoCreation tracks for a client at an HR/People solutions crossroads, designing methods and approaches, creating workshops, leading rapid prototyping groups. In the end we concepted and built a new core product offering simply dubbed “Career Site”—it’s a unique user experience to help the right people find the right jobs quicker with better matched criteria, provides insights into a company’s culture to help guide it along the way. Essentially, we made a job search more like a consumer experience.

“The big difference in CoCreation is that there is this focus. Things are tangible now. You can touch them. You can see how things work.”

— Trevor Hubbard, CEO + Executive Creative Director, Butchershop

One of the unique aspects of this initiative was in the lead up to the inaugural CoCreation Summit in Amsterdam, where the Butchershop crew developed the brand system that would serve as a jumping off point. When we crafted the CoCreation Summit brand we built a flexible system that allowed each summit to be customized around a theme. It resulted in an identity that would shapeshift to take on different attributes per summit, yet build momentum and progress in its brand impact. This worked for the ever-changing and innovative evolution of each CoCreation Summit.

“We are changing process and changing CoCreation with our partners.”

— Martin Entress, CoCreation Program Manager, Haufe Umantis

Sometimes building a product creates new ways for customers to plug in and participate, but it always comes from a place of creating value. And value created builds trust. This is core to our thinking, and when we can inject some of our philosophy into other companies, things like CoCreation form, changing perspectives and allowing a community of sharing and individual contributions to thrive.

“I think CoCreation is making us think about this process and this work in manageable bits. And I feel grateful that people want to listen to what I have to say. And also push me to think differently. “

— Tanja Hasan-Farm Senior Hiring Recruiter, Nike, Inc.