Successful in other ways – a RedBox alumnus report

For being a winner, it is not mandatory to make each and every idea successful in the proper (financial) meaning of the word. Success can have many different nuances and impacts on people in various ways. In this article, we proudly present a client’s impressive KICKBOX journey.
RedBox holder Roland Donner is Sustainable Development Manager and Change Ambassador at Siemens Energy, based in the German town called Mulheim an der Ruhr, and at the same time «CEO of his own idea» and therefore proud RedBox alumnus of the KICKBOX program. Even though his original business model was not feasible, it was a highly inspiring experience to remember for him. It did and still does have an effect on his work routine. The KICKBOX program – provided by rready – raised both his motivation and awareness. It also changed a lot in the company’s structure. 
And that’s what the KICKBOX program is also about: being an inspiration for other people, showing them that everything is possible, learning how to think different, transforming, and striking out in new directions.

RedBox stage

Roland’s approach was installing solar roofs on all Siemens buildings, starting with the 680 square meters of the German branch located at Mulheim an der Ruhr, in order to produce green power for operating the company’s machines. This idea arose from both his social responsibility and sustainability at Siemens Energy. The company’s declared climate protection goals are 100 % green electricity until 2023 and a climate-neutral balance for all operations all over the world until the year 2030. Roland was already familiar with the KICKBOX program and loved the idea of being able to pursue a vision. He had met the concept on an in-house fair and shortly after that Siemens Energy launched KICKBOX globally. It was summer 2020 when Roland had his solar panel idea but was at first not sure if this idea was really KICKBOX-worthy. His thought was, «If this idea is realizable, I will take this chance!»

Roland smirks while remembering his initial period. «I was all alone with this idea. My friends and colleagues were quite skeptical at first and pointed out that solar panels were not really our company’s core business – and inventive Roland comes along with such an idea.» Roland Donner has been a very creative man throughout his life. On the one hand he has been working for Siemens for almost 30 years, on the other hand he is also an autodidact, an actor, a painter, a talk show host, and a cabaret artist – maybe one could say: he is a kind of rare, colorful bird. No sooner said than done, Roland proposed his idea to the Siemens Energy KICKBOX team. He was encouraged to go on and got the famous, promising RedBox. «So, I got started.»


The process

And how he went off! Roland received the RedBox status, met his KICKBOX coach who provided helpful tips and highly motivated him. Thanks to the KICKBOX program, Roland was now able to dedicate himself to the photovoltaic project during 20 % of his working hours. Plus, he got a lot of support from work colleagues and managers. They all started to like this sustainable RedBox project, because they had remarked that they were part of a fundamental transformation process and were able to benefit in a certain way of the company’s lasting change for the better. After meeting many experts, Roland was able to greatly expand his knowledge regarding sustainable energies and learned really a lot about the costs and possibilities of photovoltaic systems. At the same time, both his professional and service network transformed and grew steadily, and he gained several insights concerning the universal KICKBOX methodology which teaches not only to focus on the idea itself, but also on many other topics. The photovoltaic journey was a challenging one. Roland had to clarify some major points such as static problems, a land register entry and a veto from the Siemens Real Estate department, before realizing that his initial idea of solar panels on Siemens roofs was just not feasible. Unfortunately, Roland had to bury his dream of becoming a practical BlueBox pilot after this intensive and energy-sapping validation cycle.


No defeat

But Roland is not disappointed at all. He sums up, «Above all, I realized how important it is to concentrate on the problem itself, to mercilessly question who my customer is, and to know exactly how they will benefit from my solution. All of this cannot be achieved by reading a chapter in an innovation textbook. It can only be internalized when you gain experiences that touch you personally.»

Big circles

And it’s not over yet. Roland’s project has transformed: it drew – and still draws – big circles all around the world. Roland gets calls from India, Oman, and California. Innovative people ask for help and seek his advice because they had heard about his idea and had adapted it to their circumstances. Roland Donner rejoices, «It’s really fascinating and a great opportunity to support people. I created a kind of open place where we can discuss and evaluate projects. My idea spans the world like a gigantic, friendly octopus.» Roland enjoyed his KICKBOX time very much, he truly estimated the extensive personal and professional lessons by his KICKBOX coaches – so much that he is now also a KICKBOX networking expert regarding photovoltaic issues, gave the impulse for the construction of a «filling station» for electric cars on the company premises, and is already preparing a new RedBox project with the support of his colleagues from Berlin, Ludwigsfelde, and Nuremberg.



«The entire journey was and still is a highlight,» says Roland Donner. «Although the solar panel idea was actually not a success, it’s all about making the world a better place. And we at Siemens Energy are indeed well on our way. I can see much more power that our enterprise didn’t have before and we are way more on eye level with the management now. We are taking a turn for the better. A transformation takes time and when we have kindred spirits at our side then everything is possible!»

With all these innovative projects, Siemens will surely achieve its ambitious goals by 2030. Siemens will show both its clients and 90.000 employees all over the world that a change is indeed possible – even in big companies and also thanks to the KICKBOX program. «Well, I know that it’s a stony path and surely not easy, but I know that it is right,» confirms Roland Donner, «and the whole KICKBOX-thing surely actuated a lot.»


Whom is the KICKBOX program aimed at?

Roland Donner is all fired up about this program. He warmly recommends it to all innovative people with that certain something who want to make the world a better place. «During my artistic career, I developed an ability to quickly get a feeling whether there is something special slumbering in the people I talk to. And if I remark something special, I ask them directly if they have already heard about KICKBOX.»

This good piece of advice Roland Donner gives to all prospective Kickboxers, «Be creative, adapt, and grow with challenges.» And, as mentioned before, Roland is a very artistic person: the KICKBOX journey had impressed him so deeply, he even did a KICKBOX comic which he named «The Rick Thunder Story». Have a look at it and get inspired yourself, too.