Rebel, rebel

The innovative consultancy Vertical Strategy specialises in creating new business models, incubation and customer experiences. Their portfolio counts cutting edge projects such as the Future Mobility Concept at Airbus, revolving around the development of flying cars, and the MobileLife incubator at Danske Bank.

Unleashing the potential

Entrepreneur and visionary Aiman Shaqura has built five prospering companies from scratch during the past six years. Nevertheless, he has decided to sell off most of them in order to dedicate his time to helping refugees onto the job market and incubating first-generation immigrants to break through the invisible glass ceiling of the Norwegian business market.

Dear Mathias

There is a beginning to every journey. In a letter to his younger self, Engagement Partner Mathias Leth Geertsen shares some of his reflections on work, life and the beauty of proving yourself wrong. “You start your career thinking you don’t want to be a partner; you want to be a CEO. You just have to spend 2-3 years as a consultant to figure out what you are good at and what you think is fun.”

The A-Team

QVARTZ Analytics helps organisations extract value from data, always taking actual business problems as the point of departure – because only then does data analytics become truly value-adding. In this perspective, the QVARTZ Analytics bunch unravel their take on the three key elements that rock their world: data, analytics and people.

Digital Transformation – Learn and restart

All transformation processes are complicated and the digital transformation journey is no exception. Often, companies either fail to reap the benefits from their digital initiatives or fail to get the initiatives properly started. However, there is no such thing as a first-take digital transformation success. In this perspective, QVARTZ Associated Digital Advisor Tim Bruun Madsen and Partner Jesper Adeltoft outline three step-zero initiatives that support such a restart of the digitisation process.

Talent management in the digital renaissance

The digital renaissance is running at full speed and is radically changing not only the way we manage companies, but also how we work. Being able to attract and retain the right talent is more crucial than ever before in order for companies to navigate successfully in this new era. But how do you do that? QVARTZ Associate Digital Advisor Tim Bruun Madsen and Partner Jens Friis Hjortegaard have recently published a knowledge perspective addressing talent management as a key measure to long-term survival and realisation of profit.

Organising for a new era – the digital dilemma

The ability of companies to successfully launch digital initiatives depends on factors such as timing, speed and not least organisational flexibility. However, finding out how to structure your organisation to best leverage an increased digital focus and avoid potential “organisational pitfalls” is not an easy task. In QVARTZ’ latest knowledge perspective on digital transformation, Associate Digital Advisor Tim Bruun Madsen and Partner Jens Friis Hjortegaard address six organisational models and their embedded challenges. Read the perspective here

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance has been around for 20 years, so it is by no means a new concept. However, factors such as lowered maintenance costs with reduced downtime and the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to greatly increase the demand for predictive maintenance solutions and services. Adding to this the immense development that has taken place within technology during the last couple of years, predictive maintenance is more relevant today than ever before, and consequently, more and more companies are investing in it.

To Lead and Be Led

To Torsten Hvidt, it is as important to know how to lead as it is to know how to be led – whether you’re 50 or 25. In a recent article published in the Djøf magazine (a Danish trade union for academics), QVARTZ’ Chief Philosophy Officer discusses leadership, management consulting, fighter pilots and what followership is all about. Read it (in English) here.

From competence match to long-lasting employment

The People’s Meeting (Folkemødet) on the Danish island of Bornholm is a unique platform where politicians meet citizens, business people and organisations to discuss opportunities and challenges in today’s society. QVARTZ’ latest knowledge perspective is a game plan for companies and refugees – based on our own experiences – on how to turn initial competence matching between refugees and companies into long-lasting employment. We look forward to bringing the publication to the People’s Meeting and partake in the discussions there. Meet us at the Trampoline House tent (J11) this Saturday at 2 pm. Read the perspective here.

Next generation opportunities in utility-scale solar

The solar industry is steaming ahead. 2016 was another record year, and the current projection is that the total installed capacity will more than double by 2020. However, despite the growth of utility-scale solar, incumbents appear hesitant to enter the market, and most European utilities have less than 1% of production coming from solar. In a recent white paper, QVARTZ outlines opportunities as well as challenges for energy incumbents – in a segment that is rapidly transitioning into a mainstream energy source. Read the entire white paper here.

When to say “No”

Across industries, there is a clear correlation between market share and profitability, meaning that it is better for companies to build a few very strong positions rather than many semi-strong positions. However, striking the right balance between not throwing good money after bad investments and at the same time keeping your people motivated to constantly push new ideas is no easy task. Read QVARTZ’ latest knowledge piece on portfolio management here.

From Pyongyang to Cupertino

Gallup’s most recent workplace survey shows that only 13% of employees around the world feel engaged in their work, while 63% feel disengaged and 24% feel “actively disengaged”. A staggering 87% of the global workforce are not passionate about their work! There is no doubt that these figures are directly related to the widespread use of conventional managerial practices, such as static hierarchy and convoluted bureaucracy. These practices were invented in the early days of the last century and were perfectly fitted for an era where human beings had to act as living robots, in the name of efficient mass-production. But today, real robots and other technologies are taking over from human robots. Traits such as predictability, obedience and uniformity might be hailed in Pyongyang, but in other places, companies look for qualities such as passion, creativity and initiative. Read Co-founder Torsten Hvidt’s article on how to manoeuvre a networked world where passion and creativity are rapidly claiming ground.

Turning fiction into fact

Companies could learn a great deal by looking at how cities are able to turn their decay, redevelopment and cultural characteristics into winning variables, says Danish architect and wonder kid Bjarke Ingels. Bjarke sees cities as living entities that all have a starting point, but no finish line. A work in progress. “Architecture is fiction of the real world; of turning dreams into concrete reality using bricks and water”, says Bjarke. Among many other feats, Bjarke has equipped a power plant with a ski slope and a chimney puffing giant rings of steam. And why not? To Bjarke, this is the quintessential world-altering potential of architecture. Learn about Bjarke Ingels, why he is fond of patriotism and how he finds the unique differences as the very key to success – for cities and companies alike.

Why cities live and companies die

Is the Maersk Group a great whale? Is Stockholm an elephant? Why do cities live forever, while companies don’t? Experimental physicist Geoffrey West, who holds a degree from Cambridge, a PhD from Stanford and a day job as a professor at the Santa Fe Institute, is the man behind these kinds of questions – and their answers. By applying the logic of physics, West has found a remarkably consistent set of mathematical laws that govern the growth and lifespan of plants and animals, and a still more surprising set of rules for the growth and lifespan of cities and companies. Read the full article about Geoffrey West’s groundbreaking research.

Dear newly hired consultant-self

There will be ups and downs in the years to come. Some of those downs will feel like falling off a cliff. You will break, get teary-eyed and come very close to hurling your Lenovo laptop through a hotel window 31 floors above the streets of Toronto. This is the nature of you, and the business you are getting into. But when you get close to that cliff edge and frustration has you moments from testing your laptop’s ability to fly, reach out and grab onto colleagues, friends or family. Be honest and transparent about how you feel and what’s going on. Read the entirety of Engagement Partner Kent Harrison’s letter to his younger self.

The holy grail of brand building

We all know them: the brands that consistently outperform the market, that sustain their brand value year after year and retain a nearly unbreakable bond with their customers. There is an abundance of opinions on what constitutes the root cause of their success. And understandably so; their success stems from a plethora of reasons.

Let your customers’ voice guide your strategy

Whether your company is (or is not) highly customer-centric appears to be one of the hottest management topics today, especially for B2B businesses. Research conclusively shows that companies with outstanding customer relationships significantly outperform their peers, and consequently, many are actively trying and consistently investing in becoming more customer-oriented. QVARTZ has developed a tool and approach to help B2B clients improve their performance.

Big Players, Regime, Uncertainty and the Misery Index

Last year, Torsten Hvidt, Co-founder of QVARTZ, was invited to join the board of the Stern Stewart Institute – alongside Big People such as the former Prime Minister of Canada, Joe Clark, Emerging Markets Editor at CNN, John Defterios and Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University, Steve H. Hanke. As a consequence of this association, Steve H. Hanke has allowed QVARTZ to reprint one of his most recent articles called Economic Headwinds: Big Players, Regime Uncertainty and the Misery Index. All international companies should be aware of the misery index, which is simply the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. Check out the tables for Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa/the Middle East.

A blessing at our doorstep

Approximately two million asylum seekers have crossed the EU borders during the past two years. The majority of these are not expected to return any time soon. 22,000 entered Denmark in 2015, but only 31 of the asylum seekers got a job during that year, due to the fact that refugees generally face inexpedient regulation and practices that make it difficult to be employed. It is estimated that an unemployed refugee costs the Danish government more than DKK 200,000 a year. You do the math. Read QVARTZ’ perspective on how the refugee situation can become a valuable asset to European societies and companies.