Herr Thomas Hirschmann and Mister Thomas Hirschmann, two Thomas Hirschmanns from two continents, Herr and Mister. We had been exploring the notion that identity and innovation are interrelated. Herr in Munich, Germany. Mister in Toronto, Canada. Herr looking at identity through the prism of innovation, researching how evolution and personality relates to creativity. Mister arrived at innovation as a key hurdle to navigate in performing identity work. Herr & Mister is our collective thinking on the subject. Herr & Mister is our shared approach to sparking innovation through identity. Herr & Mister create(s) Innovation Identities.
In short, it is an identity that is separate from an original identity. A marginal identity that has permission to explore uncharted territory that the more mainstream identity would not allow. It is Nabakov the lepidopterist (butterfly scientist), ridiculed even as Nabakov the writer was celebrated as one of the greats of his era (hindsight has deemed Nabakov to be an insightful lepidopterist; read more here). It is the Tokyo management consultant by day who DJs at underground Tokyo clubs by night. You can read more about innovation identities here.
It happened to us. When I met Mister Thomas Hirschmann I literally met myself, only different. Mister Thomas Hirschmann operates at the margins of art. Mister Thomas Hirschmann innovated differently and subsequently so did I. The opposite happened to Mister Thomas Hirschmann when he met me. I operate at the margins of science and also innovate differently. I am Mister's Innovation Identity and Mister is my Innovation Identity. The only difference is we're both real people.
He was a brand strategist working on complex scenarios such as helping a multinational beverage company transition to sustainable practices or the largest food company in the world explore the impact of thinking small. He helped dynamic start-ups create radical new forms of crop protection and advanced methods of supporting democracy. His design work had been exhibited at the Triennale di Milano and he had instructed on branding design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.
He was an innovation consultant with a deep understanding of consumer needs, allowing him to use open innovation methods to discover the unspoken interests of next generation motorcycle riders for a big automotive company. For a renowned insurance company he opened up new doors by developing completely new products and services together with extreme users. He merged the best of both worlds by taking a vintage gastronomer into the age of social media and embraced individuality by helping to bring an individualized pet-food start up to life. Herr Thomas Hirschmann has presented his thinking at conferences at Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the United States and successfully published his ideas in international innovation journals.