You know those people who seem like they can do it all — juggling multiple projects in and out of work, always on hand to discuss another new idea, endlessly a true representation of themselves . The people who beg the question from the rest of us:
How do they do it?
Christian Homma is one such soul. An Innovation Manager at Siemens Munich, with a PhD in Material Science, who writes short stories in his sabbaticals, works at a metal music internet radio station in his spare time and and just finished a two-year coaching course.
But what’s so fascinating about Christian and his ability to get so much done is that on top of all his own projects, he’s set up a program within Siemens called Quickstarter.
The idea behind Quickstarter — much like the popular Kickstarter from which it derives its name — is to let the power of the crowd propose and decide which projects money and resources should be spent on. There’s €500k set aside for each campaign, employees opt-in as “investors” to get a cut of the budget and assign it to projects uploaded onto the platform by anyone in the company. They can be anything from building a beer garden or a child care program on a Siemens campus to proposing a new offshore seaweed farming business unit around Siemens’ ocean wind turbines.
“It’s about changing the company culture; making it more open and more about ownership,” says Christian. “If you put a project up and get funded, it’s your responsibility to then do it.” He is passionate about advancing democratization within Siemens: “It’s not just about speaking up and talking about problems, but also being able to present solutions and carry them out.”
And now that Quickstarter has been going for three years, Christian has proven that not only is he a “doer” in making the project happen, but also an enabler of all the employees now empowered to carry out their passion projects.
But surely to play both roles successfully in such a huge corporation, it must take a huge slice of patience? Christian disagrees: “I’m not patient at all — I think it’s pragmatism that helps me there. And resilience. The idea of ‘don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness’.”
With an unrelenting desire to do so much, Christian has honed his ability to make things happen beyond his mindset. Believing in prioritization over perfection, he often works using the famous Pareto principle that 80% of results are attributable to 20% of the effort.
“Usually 80% suffices for success — but I also know when 100% is required,” he says. Christian also uses his lunchtimes to meet new colleagues and discuss new ideas over food (using a matchmaking tool developed through Quickstarter to find new people to chat to).
“I often ask people what they’re really yearning for — what they really want to do, what they want to accomplish in their life,” says Christian. “I want to create something meaningful and it’s so cool to talk to people, see them get that smile on their face and gleam in their eyes. I like that.”
But Christian is not a super-human who is immune to stress and feelings of being overwhelmed with life: “I delegate — which is sometimes hard as I have a lot of different topics to work on and to do. But if I’m grounded, I can get into the flow, act fast and it just works.” Christian isn’t afraid to put the brakes on too. “Sometimes I’m really drowning in emails — it comes in waves — and if the wave is too big, I go to my manager and I say ‘stop’.”
Christian is also not the sort of person to focus only on his work, with various interests outside of Siemens. As an Album Screener for Metal Express Radio, he selects new metal music to feature on the internet radio station in his evenings and on his commute to work.
Christian also takes a month off work each year to write short story ebooks published on Amazon. “What is my definition of success?” he asks. “It’s not about getting a bigger car, getting a bigger house or so. It’s about the quality of my life. Sometimes I feel a little bit like Pippi Longstocking, full of creativity and fantasy and trying to create a world around me in a way that I love to live in.”
So what guides someone who is passionate about so many of their own projects and intent on helping others grow alongside?
Says Christian: “There’s this quote: ‘Only what burns in you, can you ignite in others’ — meaning you have to be passionate about something, otherwise you cannot transport it, and be yourself. Be yourself with every facet you have. Don’t play a role, just say who you are, be who you are and then you’ll attract those things that just… fit you.”
At Siemens, Christian Homma is an Innovation Manager and the founder of Quickstarter. He has worked at Siemens for 17 years, with previous positions including Research Scientist and Program Manager. He is based in Munich, Germany. Find out more about working with Siemens.
Christian is a Future Maker — one of the 372,000 talented people working with us to shape the future.