With a proper teacher or little push in the right direction, things can work. That's the case in chemistry as well as in real life. Dance instructors also play such a role. Dance instructors overcome the barrier between two persons and bring couples together – without being involved in the dance themselves.
In chemistry, there are catalysts consisting of a noble metal and a ligand, and they are not different to dance instructors: They bring molecule A together with molecule B, which otherwise would not react with each other or would react only very slowly because the activation energy would be too high. They therefore ensure that the product is formed without themselves participating in the reaction, or more precisely, without themselves being consumed. And since they are, so to speak, not consumed, they can catalyze such a reaction a thousand times over.
Chemical processes that require a catalyst occur in all areas of daily life. The most important large-scale reaction is also carried out at Performance Intermediates: In the so-called Oxo Verbund, unsaturated compounds, the butenes, are converted into aldehydes and then alcohols by means of a hydroformylation reaction using synthesis gas, i.e. carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and a catalyst. The oxo alcohols 2-PH (2-propyl-heptanol), ITDA (isotridecyl alcohol) and INA (isononyl alcohol) formed in this way are then converted into corresponding plasticizers or surfactants.
In addition to products from this reaction – the oxo alcohols and the plasticizers, Evonik also sells such a "dance instructor" with its OxoPhos®17 – a highly selective catalyst.