The Interaction Field Q&A Session with Forbes’ Jenny Rooney and Author Erich Joachimsthaler

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Answering Questions About Creating Value and Igniting Smart Growth

Today, we celebrated “The Interaction Field” book launch with Forbes’ Communities Director and Chair of the CMO Network, Jenny Rooney, and Vivaldi’s CEO and book author, Erich Joachimsthaler. Erich shared with us the key elements in the book and how that might apply to recent challenges in the world todayErich and Jenny answered the audience’s questions about innovative, new business models, evolving roles of leadership, and how the pandemic has changed industries. 

Then and now – what’s different?

Erich explained how previously, we lived in a highly segmented world where industries operated independently through their traditional channels and media. Today, we live in a world of hyperconnectivity where our networks merge and stem from multiple segments within the ecosystem. Therefore, with key players that build the velocity of network effects, we build what Erich calls ‘The Interaction Field.’

Competition or Collaboration?

Historically, competition has been one of the biggest drivers for innovation. The world has been shifting from that traditional mindset and is leaning more into collaboration. Platforms are viewed as the mode for disruption, but that is not the only way to make an impact. Value creation through engagement and participation enabled through hyperconnectivity boosts the possibilities for disruption.

Name a company that exemplifies shared value?

Erich mentions in the book how John Deere was one of the best cases that created shared value in the interaction field. For example, John Deere developed technology that enabled farmers to plant sensors in their fields. These sensors measure agricultural data that are available to all farmers through their open-sourced platform. As a result, the information that the farmers received from the data improved their profitability and overall farming efficiency. John Deere created solutions for the farming industry, as well as the healthy food supply chain of the country. Ultimately, John Deere was able to create value and benefits for all the participants in the ecosystem while increasing their profit exponentially.

Does the interaction field behave as a transaction catalyst in social valuation?

Maintaining and building shared value leads to the valuation of a firm. In Erich’s book, he mentions a need for an “Interaction Velocity,” the frequency and quality of interactions companies have with consumers because it affects social valuation. The interactions can happen within the areas of social, data analytics, and technology.

What is the role of the CMO today?

To orchestrate the Interaction Velocity, the CMO needs to lead the strategic dialogue in an organization. Traditionally, it was just about selling the product and targeting markets. Today, it has matured to engage with consumers and build strategies to invite them to participate in the company’s value creation. Recently, Branding is approached differently because we collaborate with competitors and have the ecosystem in mind.

Have the roles of C-suite executives changed?

In the same vein, the old mindset of pushing out products and services has changed. According to Erich and Vivaldi’s CCO Tom Ajello, it’s not about the competitive advantage anymore— it’s about the collaborative advantage. Consumers don’t think in categories and industries, so it is imperative to not just think about selling products. As a result, C-suite executives need to start thinking about solving industry problems.

What are the current trends you’ve observed with C-suite executives?

According to Jenny, companies are more open to bespoke services and collaborations. Curation of the best talent, not necessarily in-house, is becoming the go-to strategy to cater more towards the clients’ needs. Moreover, Erich added that working with internal and external agencies allows for synergy in the interaction field.

How does Interaction Field thinking help companies during the pandemic?

Erich is a firm believer in having the mindset that nobody does it alone. In Erich’s book, he mentions how Alibaba has helped and provided tools for small retailers to sell in their digital platform. It has streamlined digital transformation for small businesses with few resources once all the stores were forced to shut down during the pandemic. In addition, it also provided solutions for their cash-only transactions through Alipay.


In conclusion, Erich points out in his book that the traditional roles of C-suite executives and the internal and external functions of the company have evolved over the years. The time has come to grow from the old mindsets and to embrace the concept of The Interaction Field. All players of the ecosystem need to collaborate in order to solve both their own challenges as well as large industry problems and provide universal benefit to all. In the book, Erich outlines the steps to build an interaction field to make your company a major disruptor in the industry.


  • 7:54 – How hyperconnectivity has changed the world over the years
  • 11:59 – Competition vs. Collaboration
  • 20:00 – 4 steps to create an interaction field
  • 23:05 – The new role of the CMO
  • 29:12 – It’s not about competitive advantage— it’s about collaborative advantage
  • 31:48 – The role of value has changed over the years
  • 37:28 – Rise of bespoke talents and agencies

This segment was part of The Interaction Field Series of our LinkedIn Live Events. Please connect with us on our LinkedIn page to stay updated with our upcoming conversations.