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GipfelXpert: Successfully reaching the summit of innovation

When I visited DMEXCO 2022 in Cologne, I was initially a little confused when I found a presentation by software manufacturer SAP on the agenda that dealt with the topic of storytelling.

In the B2B category, SAP developed a new form of dialog marketing that accompanies customers from “base camp” to “summit meeting” and was honored with the EDDI Award.

After the lecture, I realised that people have been passing on knowledge through stories, the narrative, for thousands of years. In the following blog, I would like to show you that start-ups in particular can derive many valuable lessons and insights from a summit expedition for their own business.

  1. Clearly defined goal: As with a summit expedition, it is important for start-ups to have a clear and concrete goal. They should know exactly what problem they want to solve with their product or service and what added value they want to offer.
  2. Planning and preparation: A successful mountaineering expedition requires thorough planning and preparation. Who will accompany the start-up on which stage and for how long? The planning of the business idea, the relevant markets and the target groups should also be comprehensively analysed before the journey begins. The viewing areas could be the equivalent of the markets.
  3. Flexibility and adaptability: During a mountaineering expedition, the weather can be unpredictable and unexpected obstacles can arise. Start-ups must also be flexible and able to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, competitors and customer needs.
  4. Teamwork: A mountaineering expedition requires a strong team that works together and supports each other. Teamwork is also crucial for start-ups. The founders and employees must work together effectively and combine their individual strengths to drive the company forward.
  5. Focus and perseverance: A mountaineering expedition requires strong focus and perseverance to overcome difficulties and reach the goal. Start-ups also need to be persistent and not be discouraged by setbacks, but work continuously on their vision.
  6. Resource management: Resources are limited on a mountaineering expedition and must be carefully managed. Start-ups must use their resources such as capital, time and talent efficiently and set priorities in order to develop the company sustainably.
  7. Learning from experience: During a mountaineering expedition, unexpected situations often arise from which valuable experience and knowledge can be gained. Start-ups should also learn from their experiences, obtain feedback from customers and partners and continuously improve their business model.
  8. Risk management: Summit climbers must assess risks and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety. Start-ups also need to identify and assess risks in order to optimise their business strategy and identify potential problems at an early stage.

Failure therefore offers a unique opportunity to learn from mistakes and failures. People learn to build self-confidence and develop greater resilience in the face of future challenges. Ultimately, it is only through failure that new creativity and innovation can be developed. If a certain method or strategy does not work, new solutions are researched and developed that may lead to a summit after all.


The challenges and lessons of a mountaintop expedition can help start-up founders and teams prepare for their journey into the business world, overcome obstacles and maximise their chances of success. The parallels between these two undertakings can serve as a motivating comparison and show that great things can be achieved with determination, team spirit and a clear goal. Finally, I would like to emphasise that not every summit expedition was a success on the first attempt.

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