More Big People


Words like “purpose” and “meaning” have had their place in business vocabulary since Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations”, but even so, they seem to be enjoying a renaissance these years. Institutions such as the omnipresent Singularity University point out that “exponential organisations” like Facebook and Google all have a “Mass Transformative Purpose” (MTP). Facebook wants to make the world more open and connected, while Google wants to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible. In other words, the MTP states how an organisation wants to contribute to the world, and as such, it may just be the same thing as what “linear organisations” would call their mission statement.

Growing steadily to 250 people since the inception in 2002, QVARTZ is clearly more linear than exponential and even though we might not have an MTP, we do have a TP – because our purpose is transformational by nature. Otherwise, we might as well have joined the traditional strategy consultancies. And that’s the point, and the purpose. We don’t want to become another consulting company that influences people, but rather a people company that influences consulting. To some, this may sound like a half-catchy phrase, but there is a lot of purpose, and consequently also meaning, to it. It states that while our analytical capabilities and the quality of our problem solving must always be exceptional, it’s our social capabilities and the quality of our human relations that set us apart.

In line with our Nordic heritage, we aspire to build a genuinely people-centric company – flat, inclusive and humane, much as it’s described in the essay “The Cities and the Towers”, which can be found on pages 24-26 of this report. With this as our core, we offer clients rigorous analysis on par with the established strategy firms, but at the same time, we proclaim that there is no such thing as organisational transformation; there is only personal transformation. Organisational change is a consequence hereof. Accordingly, we only hire the brightest people. People who adhere to our two core values: Results & Relations. Big People. With big brains, and hearts to match the size. People who are capable of seeing a human being in every client, and not a client in every human being.

First and foremost, this report is a testament to the human beings we have met in the year gone by. At our clients’ sites. In the CSR work that we have undertaken. To us, they are all truly Big People. We invite you to meet Ann Isaksson, Operations Manager at Alla Kvinnors Hus, which last year alone housed 133 children and 103 women who have been subject to domestic violence. Peder Tuborgh, the CEO of one of the largest dairies in the world, who, during his tenu, has doubled its revenue, but is far more proud of his work in ensuring strong shared values throughout the global organisation. Nancy Mohsen and Ismail Yagoub who had to flee their homes as part of the so-called refugee crisis, who are now valuable colleagues at QVARTZ.

Eivind Roald, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, SAS Group Worldwide, who could choose to look back at a good year, but rather wants to talk about what needs to become even better. And Alex Myers, President & CEO at Getinge Group, who merged three independent divisions into one united company.

And then there was the night when we, as tradition will have it, invited 150 clients to join us at our backstage venue at the Roskilde Festival – this time to see Paul McCartney perform on the legendary Orange Stage. Also a fairly big person. Though we have to say that the bands which graced our Club Q lounges with their presence during the past year gave Sir Paul a run for his money – Miriam Bryant in Sweden, Emilie Nicolas in Oslo and Winnie Who in Copenhagen. In total, they drew more than 1,000 guests to our three offices.

Or the time when Shaun Usher, who out of boredom created a website consisting of old letters that has now surpassed 100 million visitors, honoured us by dropping by our offices for Christmas. Shaun read some of his favourite letters, and he knows the funniest, the most profound and also the most beautiful ones. Truly big.

But when it comes to heart, it’s difficult to match Lisbeth Johansen, who left a promising business career and everything else to establish LittleBigHelp, which is an GO that helps vulnerable children in the slums of Kolkata, India. Lisbeth came by and inspired us in a way we are sure very few others could. See more of these iconic moments on pages 36-37.

Inspiration is what this report is all about. We hope you will be inspired by all the Big People portrayed on the following pages. We also hope that the pieces on issues as different as the future of oil prices and the future of marketing will inspire you. Finally, we hope you will take notice of the thoughts we bring forward from a new friend, Steve H. Hanke, Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Because even though there are a lot of Big People out there, there are also problems to match them. Like always.