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.

So happy we did it again! Exago in “Happiness Works 2018” TOP 15

Exago is once again one of the TOP 15 companies of the Happiness Works initiative, after first being recognised in 2016. The ranking Exame – Happiness Works 2018 assesses the overall well-being and happiness levels of workers in firms operating in Portugal.

The Exago innovation software house ranks 11th in this year’s edition, with over 4000 respondents. Key study indicators include a positive work environment, personal life/work balance, trust and collaboration, stability and safety, individual contributions to the company’s path, leadership and management support and autonomy, proactivity and entrepreneurship.

 

Happiness is a serious business

With the expansion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and academic and organisational interest in the subject booming in recent years, “it’s more important than ever to find and retain talent, and that means keeping employees happy”, says Georg Dutschke, the professor who leads the research. As he explains, Happiness Works is not just a ranking, “it’s about creating a culture of happiness”.

According to the survey, the internal environment, recognition, and personal confidence and development represent more than 50% of happiness in organisations, with salary representing just 10% of the overall results.

A commitment to happiness seems to pay off, as organisations that invest in employee experience multiply their revenue fourfold. High employee engagement can also result in a 19.2% increase in revenue in just one year, the study concluded.

Launched in 2012, the Happiness Works survey is promoted by Lukkap Portugal, Atlântica University and the leading business magazine Exame. The 2019 rankings will take into account additional stress and burnout factors.

Step 5: Be resilient to create a cost-conscious culture in your innovation agenda

If you are introducing cost-cutting in your innovation agenda, your ultimate drive is to create a cost culture that sustains itself over time and is not forgotten three months after being announced by the leadership.

Your final goal is that your workforce feels that the organisation’s investments are personal investments, which can benefit all.

Still, organisations are living creatures in changing contexts. So, strategic cost-reduction priorities should be regularly reviewed and updated in the same way as business opportunities are.

And so we find ourselves where we started: needing to map out intervention areas at micro and macro level, both good and bad costs, and clearly define and (re)align everyone with your cost strategy over time. Ensure that you have the best methods in place to address each area in an efficient way, using top-down yet privileging bottom-up approaches in your innovation agenda.

For bottom-up approaches, also review the communication plan at hand to help your employees understand the tweaks and turns. Let them have an active role in the process of building the company’s future together.

It will take time and some effort, since resistance is normal under less favourable circumstances. It will take people’s commitment.

Yet, with strong leadership, a clear and well-defined strategic cost-cutting programme and the awareness of shared responsibilities, an organisation can reinvent itself and learn how to do so continuously, as models are challenged and new opportunities arise.

 

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

Access the Five-step Guide to make cost-cutting work within your innovation initiative here

Innovation training day: Exago team updates its facilitation skills

With the aim of improving our team’s skills as innovation workshop facilitators, several Exago employees are attending a certified Workshop Facilitation Training in Lisbon, Portugal.

The session covers topics such as better communication, posture and participation promotion and is arming our teams with the latest facilitation tools and techniques. It was designed to enable them to provide our clients with informative and engaging innovation workshops that draw the most benefits throughout the innovation cycle.

How innovation can help you conquer the new generations

A Gallup report shows that US companies lose $350 billion in revenue every year due to employees’ disengagement. In fact, 70 per cent of your employees are probably disengaged. Yet full participation is an emotional commitment that cannot be forced.

With the Millennials and Generation Z joining the workplace, the challenge rises: no longer can we believe that it is enough for a company to provide the work, and that an employee’s motivation will come naturally.

What is more, data shows that employees want to be more innovative at work and want to take more responsibility. This tells us that fostering creative environments and innovation initiatives will also nurture motivation, engagement and, therefore, productivity.

Three perspectives on the value of making companies more inclusive and collaborative

Innovation can be defined as the development of customer value through solutions that meet new, undefined, or existing market needs in unique ways. Solutions may include new or more effective products, processes, services,  technologies, or ideas that are more readily available to markets, governments and society.

The development of a corporate culture where innovation is incentivised and becomes the way of doing business can bring companies several advantages, according to different points of view:

  • From an organisational perspective, managers encourage innovation because of the value it can capture. Innovative employees increase productivity by creating and executing new processes, which in turn may strengthen competitive advantages and provide meaningful differentiation. Innovative organisations are inherently more adaptable to the external environment; this allows them to react faster and more effectively to avoid risk and capture opportunities.
  • From a managerial perspective, innovative employees tend naturally to be more motivated and involved in the organisation. Empowering employees to innovate and improve their work processes provides a sense of autonomy that boosts job satisfaction.
  • From a broader perspective, empowering employees to engage in broader organisation-wide innovation creates a strong sense of teamwork and community and ensures that employees are actively aware of and invest in organisational objectives and strategy.

In this sense, managers who promote an innovative environment can see value through increased employee motivation, creativity, and autonomy; stronger teams; and strategic recommendations from the bottom up.

READ MORE:
How to create a culture of collaborative innovation in younger generations

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