• Niklas Hall

Shaking the tree

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Over the past weeks we have been writing extensively about the impact of technology, concepts like centricity, the experience economy and exponentiality. This blog post aims to pull it all together and give some context as to where we are going with all this.

"Shaking the tree" is the title of a song by Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’Dour celebrating the emancipation of women by changing the status quo. We think it captures the spirit of diversity of minds, transparency, global community and need for change that we are aiming for. Listening as you go requires a headset...


Complexity is all around us. Every day we experience how easily complexity emerges and we experience the cost of dealing with it. If you have ever tried to put your nicely ordered headset in your pocket only to find it completely tangled up after a few minutes, you will know what we mean. You spend what feels like forever to untangle, but you might have saved yourself the trouble with the right tools and a little preparation.

We use headsets a lot, but our main interest is trading processes. Complexity also creeps into trading processes all the time and like the headphones, you spend time dealing with the complexity ("untangling the wires"). As time goes by you grow an organizational tree of methods, competencies and systems, that make you quite proficient in dealing with the complexity. The tree grows roots and everything growing on the tree becomes "the way things are". And still, complexity grows, and costs rise. Tradeoffs are made to make ends meet.

In Acumex, we are driven by a set of core beliefs, which drive us to see and do things differently. Because we think it is necessary to do things differently. Indeed possible.

We think it is time to shake the tree.

NETWORK THINKING – THINKING NETWORKS We like to think about how people, systems and companies are connected and what the connections do. We think in networks and communities and believe, that the connections between people and companies drive creativity and business. Meaningful relationships built on trust.

Trust is valuable, because it is an eminent way to handle complexity. Lack of trust is costly. So is secrecy and opacity. While they may seem advantageous at first, they hinder the development of networks and strong, meaningful relationships. Transparency and trust are key elements in strong networks.

Networking also means expanding our own skills and know-how via our community and leverage the many smart minds, which happen not to be on our payroll. We want to work with the leading researchers in their fields. We want to learn from the smartest students. We want to develop great things with our business partners and we want to inspire and be inspired by our clients. Diversity of minds creates stronger thinking.

This is the mindset we believe is required to be truly competitive in the world today. We also happen to think it is a fun and interesting way to work and creates a whole new working experience for all.


It is easy – and quite common – to throw around buzzwords about AI, disruption or exponentiality. Many valid questions can be raised: Is it really AI? What is AI even? Is it disruption or innovation? Is exponentiality truly exponential? Much has been and will be said about these topics. We share a lot about what we read and what we think about it on our website and on LinkedIn, so make sure to follow us there.

But here is what we think about it in simple terms.

AI is a direction, not a destination. It is not magic. It is science, mathematics, data and structured processes. Although much is known in theory, much needs to be done to make advanced real-life applications work. It is an exciting field moving at phenomenal speed and accelerating and this is why we invest heavily in research in AI technology. It is a journey we encourage our clients to take part in.

We do not see an opposition between human relationships built on trust and using advanced AI helping to deal with complexity and optimize results. In fact, we see the two going hand in hand and playing to each other’s strengths.

Whether you believe the growth to be exponential or not, the fact remains that the field of AI is moving very fast. Adopting the wait-and-see position to evaluate is a possible strategy, but we see it as a losing strategy.

Exponential technologies are key enablers in our pursuit to shake the tree.


We have previously written several blog posts about centricity, which you are encouraged to read for more details. The principle of centricity is the foundation for the redesigned processes, which are reflected in our services.

To ensure a centric mindset, we base our thinking, our systems, our processes and our organization on the design principles of the Experience Economy.

A failure to ensure customer centricity – not being customer centric – not only has consequences for the customer experience, but also drives inefficiency and destroys value. Externally as well as internally.

Centricity is another key enabler in our quest to shake the tree.

IT'S A MINDSET To sum it all up we are shaking the tree of complexity based on 3 core design principles:

  • Network thinking

  • Exponential technology

  • Centricity

These three beliefs shape our mindset and shape how we design everything we do. What we offer our clients is not so much a system or a technology, but rather the seeds for a new, taller and stronger tree. We will grow it together and we assure you: the view from the top of the tree is great!










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