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Over-investment in the Norwegian power grid

How can regulators, grid companies and other players in the energy sector think in new ways to make better investments in the future? QVARTZ’ recent white paper discusses power grid investments in the light of the future energy landscape and how trends within technology, regulation and consumer behaviour affect Norwegian utility companies. Read the entire white paper here.

Endgames in liner shipping

Container shipping is in an era of low rates and low operating margins. However, despite the recent period of consolidation and a recent recovery of rates, the outlook for the industry remains ambiguous. In fact, no problems have been solved yet in regards to the supply and demand imbalance or the inefficient industry dynamics. Read QVARTZ’ recent perspective on the future of liner shipping and the consequential next steps for carriers.

So long, snail mail

The opportunities of the digital age go hand in hand with its threats. Numerous renowned corporations have missed their opportunities and seen the core of their business become irrelevant before their very eyes. The ones adapting are the ones surviving. But how do you remain adaptive, not only through the digital upheaval we are living in now, but also in the coming eras? To the customer communication management company PostNord Strålfors, this has certainly been a relevant question to consider. Read the case and watch the video to hear Annemarie Gardshol, CEO of PostNord Strålfors, explain how a company that is part of an 800-year heritage has change embedded in its DNA.

When heritage meets performance culture

Danish Crown is one of the backbones of the Danish farming economy. The cooperatively owned company is owned by 7,600 pig and cattle farmers spread across Denmark, and has an annual revenue of EUR 7.8 billion. In fact, Danish Crown is responsible for 4% of all foreign currency flowing into Denmark, so you could basically argue that you only need 25 companies like Danish Crown to keep the Danish economy running. However, not too long ago, Danish Crown was through what can be defined as a near-death experience. During a decade, the company was increasingly challenged on competitiveness and was consequently forced to terminate 7,000 Danish workplaces. Learn what Jais Valeur, CEO of Danish Crown, has to say about working in an unusual organisation where people think not in terms of quarters or years, but in generations.

The great sprint of a fitness empire

The fitness trend took off during the mid-90s, and a fitness membership card has since become a fixture in many wallets. The fitness industry seized its golden opportunity and flourished due to the continuously growing demand. SATS ELIXIA is one of the industry’s greatest success stories, having grown into Scandinavia’s largest chain of fitness centres. However, with time, harsh competition from low-price players and niche clubs squeezed SATS ELIXIA into an unfortunate, middle-market position, ultimately forcing the chain to redefine their entire value proposition. Read the case and watch the video to hear Olav Thorstad, CEO at Health & Fitness Nordic, tell the story of how SATS ELIXIA is in the midst of their greatest sprint yet.

Pumping it up for the future

When Grundfos embarked on their digital transformation journey, it was like looking at a blank piece of paper; everything was possible. The management interviewed 30 thought leaders around the world; everyone from Grundfos’ distributors to professors to consultants to writers to start-up companies, and asked them: “What do you think can disrupt our industry and our company?” The 70-year-old organisation also turned an eye to large international companies such as GE, Apple and Google to gather a trick or two from how they use digital technology. Hear Marianne K. Knudsen, Senior Director, Head of Digital Commercial Offerings in Grundfos, explain why the time has come for the world’s largest pump manufacturer to start thinking beyond the pump.

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.

A technology company that happens to fly airplanes for a living

SAS flies approximately 90,000 people around the world – every day. All the while, the airline is busy gathering customer insights in order to create new products and services, and the passengers are met with a steady flow of new digital features. However, in a not so distant past, SAS was standing on the edge with a free fall in sight. Read the full case and watch the video below to hear Eivind Roald, EVP, Sales and Marketing, explain how on earth SAS managed to turn this around.

Digital Transformation Report 2017

Across the world, executives are focusing relentlessly on the use of digital technology to improve the performance and reach of their enterprises. Together with Microsoft, QVARTZ has interviewed corporate executives from 20 of the largest Danish companies in order to understand how they envision digital transformation from a strategic perspective. Tap into the results and read the entire Digital Transformation Report 2017 here.