Diederik Heinink

Diederik Heinink - toolshero

Diederik Heinink is an entrepreneur, author and speaker on business strategy and leadership. He is passionate about inspiring and moving companies and leaders to make a positive impact. His company East advises companies worldwide on business strategy, leadership positioning and strategic communications.

Diederik is convinced leadership makes the difference in an era of rapid change. “A Why without a Who is just a hollow phrase” is a quote he often uses. An organization can have a great purpose or wonderful vision. If there’s no leadership to deliver on this every day and in everything the organization does, you’re nowhere.

He is also convinced these times require a different kind of leadership that’s built around authenticity, transparency, but also more feminine characteristics like empathy and vulnerability. That’s why one of his quotes is “Business needs more femininity”.

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The Era of the Who

In November 2020, Diederik published The Era of the Who, an inspiring and both practical handbook for leaders in a revolutionary era. The book is about the need for a new type of leadership in times where consumer behavior is changing rapidly, accelerated by technology.

Backbone of the book is a simple model, the Ultimate Who model, which is based on three pillars: WORLD, WORD and WIRED. Leaders who are doing well in these three areas should be able to successfully adapt their organizations to change.

WORLD is about everything that has to do with truly understanding trends and changing consumer behavior. So, this goes way beyond observation. It’s about developing an outside-in look that translates into a distinctive vision and business strategy.

WORD is about positioning the company and the leadership internally and externally to stand out and grow the business. This is about marketing, communications, branding. How can they love you, if they don’t know you? It’s about having a great narrative, telling the story, but also about how you do this: in an authentic, reliable and transparent way.

The third pillar, WIRED, is about transformation, connection and building communities. It’s about transforming yourself and the organization to become highly adaptive to a fast-changing environment. It’s also about connecting to relevant ecosystems, because in a digital world hardly any company today operates as a stand-alone organization anymore.

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Background of Diederik Heinink

Diederik Heinink founded his company East in 2018 with the vision to help companies and leaders contribute to a more authentic and purpose-driven world. His philosophy with East is that by inspiring and moving companies and leaders to stand out and grow, they can make more impact and change the world for the better. East does this by offering business strategy, strategic communications and leadership positioning services to purpose-driven scale-ups, mid-corporates and corporates.

Diederik’s career has been highly entrepreneurial, even though he also worked in some permanent roles for some leading global companies. He was co-founder and strategy director of RedSnap Inc., a fintech branding, marketing and sales agency. Prior to that, he worked for ING, where he played a key role in building the bank’s innovation and technology leadership worldwide. He was managing the positioning and marketing communications strategy for ING’s global innovation and fintech leadership (a.o. CEO, Chief Innovation Officer, Global Head of Fintech), innovation and fintech initiatives as well as ING’s EUR 200 million Ventures fund and its investments. Between 2007 and 2011 he was running his own marketing and communications consultancy in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

Overall, Diederik has over 20 years of experience in EMEA, APAC and US region as a trusted advisor to top management (board level) of large listed corporates as well as start-ups. As an entrepreneur, he ran several own ventures and he was co-founder of successful internet platform Leadz, which was sold to Sanoma.

Side activities

Some of Diederik’s side activities are:

  • Advisory Board member of fintech Clickpesa in Tanzania.
  • Columnist Business Insider.
  • Columnist for ajaxinside.nl
  • Founder LinkedIn Group ‘Financial PR and Communications’ (4.000 members at 1 April 2020)

Books and publications by Diederik Heinink et al.

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Sheryl Lynn Baas
Article by:

Sheryl Lynn Baas

Sheryl Lynn Baas is our Communications Manager at Toolshero and you might recognize her from our learning videos. Sheryl’s academic background is in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and she is the founder of the Sheryl Lynn Foundation, a non-profit for children and education in the Philippines. She’s a jack-of-all-trades and furthermore shares her gifts as a spiritual coach, presenter and DJ. Fun fact: she is former Miss Netherlands 2006.

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