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

Transforming cost-cutting into growth in your innovation programme

In times of uncertainty, when business models are challenged, companies are bound to cut costs to become more agile, robust and adaptable to change. Managers can support these efforts, namely within the corporate innovation programme.

Indeed, books do not set out which costs are good or bad for a specific company, or how they impact business strategy and operational reality. No measure fits all.

A successful strategic innovation programme thus implies the definition of specific priorities and mapping out what can be potentially bad and good costs, at different organisational levels:

  • On the one hand, bad costs should be seen as those that do not align with the growth strategy. They are waste and an outcome of inefficiencies that can and should be reduced;
  • On the other, good costs are those that support business capabilities to achieve growth goals, and may be worthy of more investment – so that in the mid to long term you end up saving more or increasing return.

In this process, it may seem easier to make centralised decisions at the board level, at a more macro level, with potentially higher impacts. Yet, simply externalising tasks and reducing headcount are often ways to overshadow a complex problem. Strategic cost-cutting challenges you to look at the bigger picture, to seek the root cause of the problem and to transform the system and its architecture.

In other words, the change must also happen from the bottom up, always with the right leadership and sponsorship, to define the areas of improvement clearly.

The employee community has to understand what’s happening, and to share and collaborate with the company’s challenges. They must be aligned with the business strategy, and feel they have a role to play and can have an active voice in the decision-making process. As an interested party, they must be welcomed into the discussion about the best ways to reach the proposed goals.

 

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

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.

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.