Happy 10th birthday, Exago!

In a historic building in Lisbon, overlooking the Tagus river, Exago celebrated its 10th anniversary on Friday, November 24. It was the perfect opportunity to bring together the people who are part of us and our history: our team (past and present), our clients and our partners.

We would like to thank all those who joined us in celebrating this milestone, which marks a decade of collaborative work to help businesses innovate, while engaging over one million users across the world to build their organisation’s future.

Here’s to another 10 years of making innovation happen!

When all roads lead to the Web Summit

As world-class speakers, innovative Fortune 500 companies and ground-breaking startups descended on Lisbon this week for the Web Summit 2017, we at Exago couldn’t miss the event Forbes called “the best technology conference on the planet”.

Since the opening on November 6, more than 60,000 entrepreneurs, investors, journalists and startups from over 170 countries have been networking, exchanging ideas and listening to the 1,200-plus speakers at Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL) and Altice Arena.

With all eyes on innovation, technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – highlights have included talking robots taking the stage and self-driving cars –, the opening night welcomed António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who highlighted the importance of making sure “innovation works for the good of humankind”.

The biggest surprise of the night was physicist Stephen Hawking, who delivered the keynote speech through live video. “The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” he warned. Noting that robots are already threatening millions of jobs (confirmed by Sophia the Robot), he added: “Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus not only on making our AI better and more successful, but also on the benefit of humanity.”

What’s next
The Web Summit comes to a close today with speaker Al Gore, former US vice-president and Nobel Prize-winner, who has been extremely vocal in tackling climate change.

Created in Dublin in 2010, the Web Summit started as a vehicle to connect the technology community with all industries. The Web Summit 2018 will take place in Lisbon for the third time, from November 5 to 8.

How strategic cost-cutting helps you shift from survival to growth

In a weak growth environment, with low investments and rising risks, companies gamble on cost-cutting to ensure that they are prepared and equipped to grow stronger, as they wait for better times to come. Yet, cost-cutting is more and more seen as a way to drive growth, rather than as way to survive or avoid insolvency.

With recession, macroeconomic concerns, digital disruption and commodity price fluctuations fueling uncertainty, Deloitte’s 2016 data illustrates this shift from survival to growth. Its fourth biennial cost survey shows that the ‘save to grow’ strategy of ‘using cost reduction to fund growth initiatives’ remains prominent today.

However, in 2016, many US companies were ‘simultaneously pursuing seemingly conflicting goals of aggressive growth and aggressive cost improvement’. Deloitte calls this the ‘thriving in uncertainty’ paradox.

Then, whatever the future holds, the key to cost programme success lies in ‘choosing a cost management strategy that aligns with your company’s needs and is capable of delivering the required level of savings’. In this context, tactical initiatives to pursue aggressive cost targets will not be enough, and are likely to be ‘a recipe for failure’, the report adds.

The change has to go deeper then, beyond tactics, reaching a strategic level. This means that a company’s most valuable assets, people and their talents, become top priorities, ‘consistent with a growth mindset, since having qualified workers and deploying them effectively is key to successful growth’, writes Deloitte.

(to be continued)

FROM THE START:
Strategic cost-cutting and improvements in the innovation corporate agenda

Andreia Agostinho Dias, Sales Executive
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Strategic cost-cutting and improvements in the innovation corporate agenda

At the end of the 20th century and in the early 21st century, CEOs were mainly focused on growth and innovation and on how these combined to deliver real results in organisations. Yet CEOs have become more pessimistic in the last decade, as world turmoil has intensified, innovation has failed to deliver the promised land and growth has become a more elusive and complex goal to reach.

Long-term stability is highly unlikely, and we all have questions and uncertainties churning in our heads, CEOs included. They are, right now, looking for answers and for ways to include their organisations in possible solutions.

Too much indecision remains

How will the European Union redefine itself and what will it mean for trading within and outside its borders? What impacts will Trump’s election have in the medium to long term, in the US, with its main partners, and also around the world? What’s next for the United Kingdom? Will Turkey still be in NATO in two years’ time? And how does all this combine with the ongoing work and technological revolution?

Political uncertainties can strongly impact the volatile financial markets, as the Euro area still recovers from the banking crisis, deals with Brexit, Catalonia’s separatist movement and with the refugees’ migration crisis. The huge Chinese economy is also expected to continue reflecting weak exports and decelerating investment and its growth has slowed to its lowest rate in 25 years (though still near 7 percent). Japan is stuck in a decades-long recession, while the US economy is highly dependent on political decisions, with outcomes difficult to foresee.

In a weak growth environment, with low investments and rising risks, companies gamble on cost-cutting to ensure that they are prepared and equipped to grow stronger, as they wait for better times to come. Yet, more and more, cost-cutting is understood as a way to drive growth, rather than as a way to survive or avoid insolvency, as we will next seen.

READ MORE:
How strategic cost-cutting helps you shift from survival to growth

Andreia Agostinho Dias, Sales Executive
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Six best innovation practices to engage Millennials and Gen Zers

All businesses are created first by ideas. Then, once you are in business, you need new thinking for design, engineering, radical improvement, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, problem-solving, customer retention, etc. Often the difference between success or failure in business is a simple idea.

On the one hand, many corporations have limited resources, funds, and time to give creative dreamers sufficient power to produce breakthrough ideas. On the other hand, other companies have many ideas, but are short on ways to assess, screen, prioritise, leverage and execute them.

Disciplined and well-managed creativity breeds successful idea generation and cross-pollination. Idea management systems and processes can help your company make innovation a discipline. They can help make the hunt for new possibilities each and every department’s business, as well as involving broader and more enthusiastic participation among managers and employees.

As we have seen, building a collaborative innovation culture comes hand in hand with conquering Millennials and Generation Z. This means you not only have to promote innovative thinking in your organisation, but also have to get a feel and touch in your corporate culture that inspire and retain these new generations.

Finally, remember as well the following six best practices:

  • Have strong leadership and role modelling
  • Promote regular learning
  • Give employees self-improvement possibilities
  • Create free time for interests and new ideas
  • Encourage and reward ideas and creativity
  • Do not forget mobile and flexible platforms to reach employees

Any organisation’s most valuable resource is its people. That being so, the capacity to obtain and inspire the best, most innovative and competent employees and to attract the leaders of tomorrow is the ultimate key for your company’s success.

FROM THE START:
Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO