Doubt is healthy; it helps us progress!

Tomorrow is Today

If Europe creates only half as many new businesses as the United States, it’s not for a lack of ideas, but the fear of failure. So, rather than highlight successful business icons, the WATIFY campaign, launched by the EU with Deloitte, addresses this question of “doubt” in a positive manner.

All European entrepreneurs, even if they succeed in overcoming the fears created by their cultural baggage, are filled with doubts.

In Europe, only 6% of the adult population works in a new business, compared with 13% in the United States. And only 2% of businesses in Europe have made a wholesale move to digital, whereas those SMEs that fully exploit the potential of these technologies are growing at two to three times the rate of others. How can this nervousness be explained?

While the Old Continent doesn’t lack ideas, it suffers from a more insidious ailment. “The fear of failure is linked in particular to our education system,” says Vincent Fosty, Partner and Digital Leader at Deloitte. “Of course, research results within the European Union vary. The Nordic countries have a rate of business creation that is identical to that in the United States, whereas Greece and Southern and Eastern Europe lag a long way behind.”

“Doubt is Good”

That’s why the European Union’s DG GROW has launched the WATIFY campaign, conducted by Deloitte in partnership with DigitalEurope and EBN. The aim of the campaign is to calm the doubts that, according to a recent study, are preventing 46.7% of the EU’s adult population from creating their own business. The whole issue is summed up in the slogan “Doubt is Good”.

“This campaign was launched in 2014,” explains Fosty, who is responsible for WATIFY at the leading professional services firm. “WATIFY is designed to run for two years and cover all of the countries in the EU. It’s a mixture of communication on social media and physical events, which makes it fairly viral. The idea is to work on the notion of doubt, rather than highlight successful business icons, because everyone harbours fears – and only a select few can equal the success of a Steve Jobs!”

Everyone harbours fears – and only a select few can equal the success of a Steve Jobs!

New entrepreneurs… and the others

WATIFY is not only aimed at entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who are toying with the idea of launching their own new business. It also targets existing businesses across all sectors. “The entire industrial and economic fabric of Europe needs to change,” continues Fosty. “From agriculture, which is one of the sectors with the greatest potential for digitisation (along with education, the public sector and healthcare in particular), right through to areas that are based totally on intellectual property.”

Because new entrepreneurs are not the only people to have doubts about their ideas. “Certainly existing businesses are not so phased by the idea of failing,” he says, “but they have to face up to a harsh reality: their customers have most likely adopted new technologies. So, how do they get a firm grip on this change within their own organisation? Do they have the right talents to succeed? What’s the best way to attract and retain these key people?”

1 job lost, 2.6 jobs created

Faced with these shared doubts, the dream is to create a one-size-fits-all set of instructions for everyone… “Taking each sector individually, we can measure the speed with which a particular service becomes digitised and then extrapolate a number of trends and clear outlines,” says Fosty. “Banks and applications for smartphones, for example. This makes it possible to create sector-specific roadmaps so that the success factors of each business in the same sector can be defined.”

The stakes are high. It is estimated that 1.5 million additional jobs would be created by the digital economy if businesses in Europe displayed the same digital commitment as the United States or Sweden. As for the fear of whole swathes of jobs disappearing into cyberspace, this is swept away by an interesting figure: for each job lost following the adoption of digital technologies, 2.6 new jobs are created.

For each job lost following the adoption of digital technologies, 2.6 new jobs are created.

De Tijd


In Europa worden maar half zoveel nieuwe ondernemingen opgericht als in de Verenigde Staten. Dat komt niet door een gebrek aan ideeën, maar door de angst om te mislukken. De Europese WATIFY-campagne wil die ‘twijfel’ op een positieve manier benaderen. Want twijfels zijn overal aanwezig, en kunnen voor de ondernemer zelfs een drijfveer vormen.

Published: 10 March 2015



Si l’Europe crée moitié moins de nouvelles entreprises que les Etats-Unis, ce n’est pas par manque d’idées mais par crainte de l’échec. Plutôt que d’afficher des icônes de réussite, la campagne WATIFY, lancée par l’UE avec Deloitte, adresse cette question du “doute” de façon positive.

Published: 10 March 2015
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