Exago unleashes the force of ideas through an ideation workshop

Because we know how powerful collaborative innovation can be, the Exago team took part in an ideation workshop to align ideas for the next evolution of our organisation’s roadmap.

Playfully named ‘The Force Awakens’, the aim of the ideation session was to unleash the force of our people’s ideas in order to find the best solutions for internal challenges.

The workshop followed the design thinking model, with a focus on user experience (UX), whereby members from different departments were split into separate teams to gain full benefit of their multidisciplinary knowledge and experiences.

Once some of the challenges were defined, and after a brief ‘cerebral warm-up’ to help generate ideas, the teams first completed divergence exercises to generate a large amount of ideas, followed by convergence exercises that involved a clustering session and final idea selection.

Through this co-creation, more ideas were brought to the fore. The session also fostered a feeling of teamwork and collaboration, helping Exago improve its future roadmap and involving all employees in the process.

Why your idea management programme is so helpful for strategic cost-cutting

As business models are being challenged, organisations need to be more adaptable and resilient, naturally also by becoming more efficient and cutting inadequate costs. This change must happen from the bottom up, with the right leadership and sponsorship, to define the areas of improvement clearly and separate the good costs from the bad at both micro and macro levels. Innovation managers can, and should, lend a hand to address this shared challenge.

A well-structured innovation management programme for strategic cost-cutting and improvement is useful to get employees identifying ground-level enhancements, with several additional advantages:

BUILD A COST-CONSCIOUS CULTURE
Involving employees and challenging the organisation’s cost and waste culture will help you develop a cost-conscious culture for a more sustainable business approach. Keep cost optimisation as a strategic priority, even when there is no immediate pressure on costs;

AN ONGOING AND RESILIENT PROCESS
Having your cost-cutting and improvement strategy embedded in your innovation management programme will bring you continuous results, building a sustainable process and putting more robust and flexible foundations in place before introducing transformational initiatives.

EASILY UNCOVER BAD COSTS AND INEFFICIENCIES
Engaging and empowering everyone in the organisation, from shop floor to top management, will expose inefficiencies that would not usually be identified in a typical consulting diagnosis project. Your employees know more about your everyday business than anyone else, so tapping into their knowledge and efficiently getting everyone involved in signalling cost improvements will deliver interesting results for your strategy;

MORE DIALOGUE AND ENGAGEMENT
With effective and transparent communication regarding cost cuts and improvements, companies can face less resistance from employees and more easily ensure business management support. It can also bring higher employee engagement, as more frequent interactions are needed between finance and the operating managers and between managers and teams to keep costs aligned with business and to track results.

Strategic cost-cutting is, however, never blind cutting. It is in fact a method to accelerate the discovery of new and more effective ways of doing business, at a lower cost, which is even more relevant in difficult times. On the whole, it should be seen as a way of questioning how we do things – even why we do them – , exploring new innovative routes and building the foundations of tomorrow’s growth.

 

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

Get to know the Five Steps to Introduce Cost-cutting in your Innovation Agenda here

Exago named one of the 10 Most Creative Gamification Solution Providers of 2018

Exago is proud to be distinguished as one of “The 10 Most Creative Gamification Solution Providers 2018” by Insights Success. The magazine highlights how the Exago gamified innovation platform solves business challenges by creating a collaborative and innovative culture, while rewarding and recognising participants.

In a special issue dedicated to the top 10 winners, Insights Success says that the innovation software house “gives everyone a voice through innovation platforms and combines the wisdom shared to help organisations build the next big thing on the horizon”. Using “points, scoreboards and digital currency rewards to take participation to the next level and engage all professionals”, it also “encourages learning for intrinsic purposes and fosters collaborative innovation as a whole”.

Interviewed by Insights Success, Exago’s CEO Diana Neves de Carvalho explains how the gamified innovation software can harness companies’ collective intelligence to tackle key challenges, while bringing about increased efficiency, productivity and higher satisfaction at work.

Also featured in the top 10 list is Contest Factory, a platform that is transforming customer engagement, and Funifier, a provider of engagement solutions for companies to increase performance results.

Reaching out to managers, consultants, C-level professionals and HRs of various industries, Insights Success focuses on both emerging and established fastest-growing companies, their confrontational style of doing business and the way in which they deliver effective and collaborative solutions to strengthen market share.

Get to know the 2018 winners here.

TRANSFORM calls on social enterprises to apply to the open call

To help scale bold ideas to tackle the world’s big social, environmental and economic issues, TRANSFORM, the joint initiative between Unilever and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), is now calling on social enterprises to apply. To invite ideas and promote collaboration to further catalyse impact, TRANSFORM uses Exago’s open innovation software.

TRANSFORM was founded in 2015 to support social enterprises that meet low-income household needs in developing countries. The partnership is currently supporting 19 projects across nine countries, which have so far benefited over 400,000 people.

TRANSFORM’s aim is to enable 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to gain access to products and services that have been shown to improve health, livelihoods, the environment or wellbeing by 2025. To achieve this, earlier this year, the partnership announced the expansion of the joint commitment from £10 million to £40 million and is now welcoming new ideas and projects.

Do you have an idea TRANSFORM can help scale?

TRANSFORM is looking for social entrepreneurs and innovators with ideas for market-based solutions in three areas:

  • Delivering products in hard-to-reach rural locations, with a particular interest in Nigeria, Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Providing sanitation to low-income urban and rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • Raising awareness and demand for safe, affordable drinking water in highly dispersed rural households across South Asia, with a particular interest in Bangladesh and India.

Projects must demonstrate the potential to be financially sustainable, target low-income household needs in an innovative way and focus on one of DFID’s priority countries. TRANSFORM offers grant funding up to £300,000 and bespoke business support to take ideas to scale.

For more information and to share your ideas, visit www.transform.global.

 

How Human Resource leaders make the most of innovation management

With innovation management capturing rising interest from human resource managers and directors, Exago’s team took part in the Expo’RH2018 in Estoril, Portugal, to discuss the latest news and trends in the sector. The event organised by the International Faculty for Executives gathered hundreds of HR directors from leading companies such as Nestlé, Ageas, Pfizer, Renova and McDonald’s, under the motto “Experience is the way”, on March 14 and 15.

In the spotlight was the importance of communication for employee engagement. Effective communication not only has to be continuous, but also two-sided, said Maria do Rosário Vilhena, Human Resource Director of Nestlé Portugal. The food and drink company is using focus groups to launch internal challenges and collect insights, while searching for better ways to convey “consistent messages to everyone” across the different business units of their large organisation, “and to be understood by all”.

Ongoing communication and a close relationship with employees has also been part of Renova’s success, explained their HR Director, Paulo Santos. The family-run paper consumption goods company expanded internationally as “the sexiest paper on Earth” and is a renowned case study for incremental innovation.

To open communication channels and bring together the experience and know-how of all employees, larger, multinational companies are also using platforms that allow them to reach their people across business units and geographical locations.

Promoting change through your innovation programme
Internal communication is critical in processes of organisational change, according to Paulo Teixeira, Pfizer Portugal Country Manager. The pharmaceuticals company opened a communication channel with employees through a post box placed in each business location to get ideas and suggestions, but also their feedback. Similarly, an internal tool has supported the recent image and culture change at Montepio bank, Fátima Silva, Head of Talent & Development at Montepio bank, told the audience.

To strategically realign its workforce, the insurance company Ageas used Ding!, built on Exago innovation management software. After Ageas bought AXA’s Portuguese operations, Ding! is helping the company spread its organisational culture and communicate with all the employees from the different brands they now operate, Portugal Human Resource Director Rita Baptista said.

“Listening to our employees was the most important factor for this successful transition, since we were able to make people feel part of that change,” she added. The Ageas management was able to promote company goals and engage people in the process of transformation, bringing everyone together in a collaborative innovation platform.

The HR Director of ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, Catarina Horta, also highlighted the importance of a company’s collective intelligence as a learning tool.

Keeping in mind the words of Ray Kroc
The quote “None of us is as good as all of us” is attributed to the founder of McDonald’s and defines the company’s DNA, says Sofia Mendonça, HR Director of McDonald’s Portugal. She explains how collaborators, franchisees and suppliers are the corporate pillars involved in the business evolution. The iconic 50-year-old Big Mac, for example, is a by-product of this approach: it was originally suggested by a Pittsburgh franchisee after several construction workers commented that the hamburgers were too small.

McDonald’s connects with those three pillars through several types of channels, both face to face and digital. Gamification and social features, along with a vivid communication tone, are particularly relevant in the digital linking to their workforce, whose average age is between 19 and 23.