We’ve been back in our Brazilian office for over a week now.
It is an absolute delight. Our passion for Brazil is only growing.
Instead, we bring paper, lots and lots of paper. We’ve packed some eight Moleskin Notebooks, some 3000 pages of notes and sketches and, of course, three copies of “Dream Bigger: Your Personal Innovation Sketchbook”. All of it containing our on-going research and background work for our upcoming book “Strategy Tools for the Next Generation”. Due late 2013, we plan to spend the coming weeks for a deep dive into the material we have collected.
Over the coming 80+ days we aim to write, reflect, surf, kitesurf, meet up with our Brazilian friends and have ample time to think, chill and generally enjoy the Brazilian lifestyle. Our daily batch of homegrown coconuts are a daily fix as we slowly adapt to the local conditions. As one of my colleagues at BI Norwegian Business School recently said: “simply enjoy”.
Most companies are in need of more innovation. But few leaders have the tools, training or time for it. To solve this challenge, we have developed the Innovation Pyramid: A toolkit and process to develop and execute innovation.
This July, we had the opportunity to go deep dive into the innovation challenges facing a Norwegian Oil & Gas client. As an integral part of their Strategy seminar at Villa Vista Taiba, we spent a full day on the Innovation Pyramid.
Working through the process, revealed startling insight into how easily the innovation process can be facilitated. While most companies find the whole idea of “innovation” to be challenging, leading few to have a shared understanding and a shared process for it, the Innovation Pyramid help overcome this challenge. In the span of a few hours, the entire team had a shared basic language and was fast at work, developing action items. Put in the right context and process, Innovation (like change management) can be both fun – and highly productive.
Groups hard at work innovating. But pleasurable surroundings at Villa Vista Taiba make for a perfect Strategy and Innovation camp. Few places allow participants to move from lecture room, to private terraces and to a nearly private beach all while working on post-it’s…
Parts of the management team discussing the next steps. In the span of a few hours, the entire wall was filled with ideas and input; innovation. Put in a proper structure and model, the team had for the first time a shared model for innovation. Using the Innovation Pyramid allowed the team to discuss Business Model Innovation, Process Innovation and Product Innovation in a structured and organized manner. A first for this team.
Taking a step back allows participants to take in the big picture. The visual design is an important part of the process, allowing participants to visualize the challenges and their suggested solutions. Do this in PowerPoint or (much worse) Excel, and you lose most of the creative, visual languages. Our work is heavily inspired by the work of David Sibbett, Dan Roam, Nancy Duarte and the team behind Business Model Generation. We can strongly recommend Sibbett’s book, Visual Meetings, as an introduction to the field.
The experiences from running the Innovation Pyramid in Brazil have proven – yet again – that the framework and process holds up. Companies get a shared language, shared model and shared actions around innovation. Travelling back to Norway this week, we will continue to write and develop the work. We are already booked to give a range of lectures and seminars on the Innovation Pyramid in Norway during the fall. Looking forward to helping more companies innovate how they innovate.
In collaboration with the boutique hotel, Villa Vista
Taiba, Engage // Innovate offer Strategy & Innovation Camps for corporate clients. These management camps are a great retreat for management teams. The tranquility of Taiba naturally provides peace of mind, focus and extended concentration into the big issues facing you. From radical innovation, engaging leadership, strategy and business opportunities in Brazil, our programs can be tailor-made to fit your goals.
Our internationally experienced facilitators guide your team through a series of tailor-made processes. With extensive experiences in consulting, facilitating creative processes, management coaching and regularly teaching at business schools, our facilitators are there to make you and your team perform to the next level. With increasingly deep knowledge of business and politics in Brazil, our facilitators can be the perfect solution to your strategy, innovation or Brazilian market challenges.
Among the one-week programs we offer are:
– Impact: Successful strategy processes for the management team
– Radical: kick-starting strategic innovation
– Innovate: building the innovative organization
– Engage: powerful team and leadership development
– Always: Leading by example – your personal leadership boost
– The B in BRIC: business opportunities in Brazil (in collaboration with Brazilian partners in foreign investments, infrastructure, energy and property development)
These days, we are also working to develop market entry programs to Brazil and Negotiation training programs for our international clients.
Taiba is also a perfect spot for teambuilding. Kitesurfing lessons, Dune buggy rally, wine tasting, Brazilian cooking classes and much more can be arranged for your team. The beach lends itself to combined exercises and strategic exploration. The poolside bar and local restaurants are the perfect place to unwind or extend the discussion into the late hours.
(Despite the) sun, surf and good lifestyle; our facilitators are there to ensure you will have significant effect from your Strategy & Innovation Camp in Taiba.
“Amazing potential……but you have to work around the hassle….”
That was the conclusion British businessman Jamie Macdonald-Murray gave tonight during his guest lecture at our client strategy seminar in Taiba.
The Dark Side of Doing Business in Brazil
Engage // Innovate invited Jamie up to Villa Vista Taiba for an informal keynote speech on the “other side” of doing business here in Brazil. “The Dark Side of Doing Business in Brazil” was the topic we challenged Jamie to discuss.
With six years of business experience in Brazil, Jamie has started, closed and developed a range of companies across industries. In the process he has made a series of invaluable experiences, experiences other foreign companies can learn from. Tonight he shared some of his stories with our Norwegian oil & gas client.
It’s who you know
Like in large parts of the world, personal relations rule supreme. Your ability to get in the door. To meet the right people and network with them is key. Without the relations, your project timeline can extend well into the horizon. According to Jamie, this requires a lot of facetime, long dinners, late night ‘meetings’ and the occasional vacation spent together. For our client, this was a clear message that investments in Brazil will require management to spend significantly more time than they are already doing.
Not one of the world’s top 200 universities
Education is a strategic area for Brazil’s future growth. But for the world’s fifth most populated country, education has long been a challenge. Today, significant investment is being done in the national educational system. But Brazil has a long ways to go. Private schools are growing quickly. And the last few years have seen a boom in privately run language schools teaching English. Jamie highlighted this trend by showing to the rise in private schools, where all subjects are taught in Portuguese in the morning and English in the afternoon. Compare this to the most recent “Times Higher Education” ranking, showing not a single Brazilian university in the world’s top 200, and Jamie’s conclusion, “it’s going to take a generation to get the education system right, but it’s coming”. Our Norwegian client got a reality check in terms of the level of competence they can expect when they start staffing up projects. The human capital challenge Brazil is facing is significant, and will limit economic growth for the next two to three decades.
Amazing potential….but learn the lingo
As Director of MDMY Jamie is heading up the development of real estate projects across Brazil. Following the economic growth over the last six years, Jamie sees amazing potential for the country. “The people at the top are genuinely interested in and open to attracting talented foreigners”, he believes. But, as always, adapting to local business culture can be challenging. “Knowing how to work around the bumps, all the hassle, is key to being successful in Brazil. Spending time here, investing in truly understanding how to get business done in the growth market Brazil is key to success”, according to our guest speaker.
And yes, learning the language is essential.
If you want to learn more about the recent and future economic development in Northeastern Brazil, we recommend “Catching up in a hurry“, from the Economist’s May 19th issue.
World class beaches, world class strategy seminar and world class kitesurfing. Sometimes work is a lot more than just work……
Last week we arrived in Ceara, Brazil for an extended client seminar. In collaboration with the Boutique hotel Villa Vista Taiba, Engage // Innovate has developed a strategy seminar for a Norwegian oil & gas client.
Coming from a very strong position (50 % market share) in Norway, the client has been working to expand the international business areas. Building on a strong Norwegian competence in oil & gas, emerging markets have been designated future growth areas. With operations in India and West Africa, the firm help their clients develop petroleum technology competencies to international standards. Recently, the client has begun developing business opportunities in Iran, Venezuela, Russia and Brazil.
But as always, finding the right market entry strategy for various markets, and align it with keeping the core business at home healthy, is challenging. Through a one-week strategy and training seminar in Brazil, we will assist the client in both finding focus in strategy execution at home, align board members and employees behind the internationalization drive and find the right market entry strategies here in Brazil. For client employeess and their spouses, an extended vacation is planned for a total of two and a half weeks here in Taiba, Ceara.
Hosting the event is the boutique hotel Villa Vista Taiba. Located directly on the beach, with one of Northeastern Brazil’s best waves breaking directly in front of the hotel, is a sight to be seen. From our facilitator’s chair, we look directly down on this amazing ‘housewave’.