Antistudy 1st edition

1st Edition  ●  2nd Edition

The Anti-Study

1st Edition

Learn how business leaders are adapting & reacting to the current challenges

MARCH 2020




Welcome to the first edition of the Anti-Study led by TheVentureCity.

In this report you will find out what leaders around the world think organizations should do to keep being relevant in the current and future business context. And we’ve actually done this analysis from a very special perspective. In addition to gathering their opinions and predictions, we went a step further to understand as well the profile of the person behind the leader, their worries, wishes, and even a bit about what makes them human.

The Business environment is changing at a very fast pace due to new technologies and an increasingly competitive landscape. Many organizations around the world are starting to rethink their strategies to face the exciting challenges ahead of us.

In this world-wide initiative we have gathered the vision of leaders of different types of organizations to help us understand how the current and future business world will be transformed. We have summarized here the most interesting insights that we hope you find useful as you drive your business forward in this current and future business context.

In the current business context Corporations and Startups share challenges and see technology as a powerful enabler.

Participants from corporations and startups agree that their number one challenge is currently understanding their customers and they see technology as a fundamental tool to achieve it. In addition to this corporations see the need to better manage and analyze their data and making an effort to apply new technologies more broadly. In the case of startups they are also focused on access to funding sources, scalability and entry to new markets.

“It is a time when you have to decide whether you want to be an engine of innovation to be a winner (and really invest in it), or to follow those who innovate trying to play it safe”.

Isabel Moraleda, Business Development, Caixabank

The trend in organizations today is no longer to work distantly and disconnectedly but to collaborate together to obtain amazing results.

As a result of the study we found out that executives and founders count with skills such as global strategic thinking, ability to collaborate cross-functionally and sensitivity to cultural diversity. Nowadays it’s becoming more common to see how they are more interested in incorporating diverse profiles that can bring to the table new ways of doing things and enrich the conversations.

Today’s leaders are not afraid of future uncertainty but instead embrace the challenges that will come.

There is an close relationship between how leaders describe themselves as a person and how they behave as leaders. Regardless of the generation they belong to (Gen X or Millennials) a good majority are not afraid of the future but embrace the challenges that will come, develop an effective communication style and empathic leadership with their teams and definitely are not comfortable doing the same for too long.

How do leaders see themselves?

So how do organizations think they can keep being relevant in the future context?

From the analysis of the interviews we carried out, we identified the following 5 very clear areas where organizations are currently placing their focus:

1. Defining a future vision

Nowadays it’s more important than ever to imagine and define the future of our organizations by studying the behavior of users, designing new products, services and experiences and constantly incorporating creativity and data. In order to achieve this 48% of participants consider focusing on the client as their priority and 20% recruiting the best talent.

What are the leaders’ priorities to achieve their future vision?

“My vision of the future would be an organization that changes the market by creating a friendly and sustainable environment for the professional and personal development of its employees”

Luis Oliveira – Partner, Paystrat BE Iberia

2. Adapting the culture and mindset

In terms of culture organizations expressed two main challenges that are top of mind for leaders today: having a flexible and adaptable culture that fosters diversity and having the right talent to support critical growth areas, particularly in the areas of analytics, robotics and other advanced technologies.

These are the initiatives in terms of culture that organizations will focus on in the near future:

3. Promoting a Product driven organization

A Product team is a way of working, it’s a company vision; it is the best tool to build the best product within a framework defined by the limitations and scope of the business, the technology and the needs that our customers have. In our study however we found out that almost 50% of corporations still define Product Management in the product category/marketing space.

This is how participants described the maturity stage of Product Management (PM) in their organizations:

4. Collaborating with the ecosystem

There are many reasons why startups and corporates collaborate together. In our study the main reason for corporations to join forces with startups is the creation of new products and/or services (30% of respondents). On the other hand, 41% of participants from startups see in corporations an opportunity to access a more mature client base. In any case for this to happen there needs to be a strong culture alignment and knowledge sharing between the organizations.

And according to the participants what are the mostly used collaboration vehicles?

”Only those corporations that truly open their operations and assets to collaborate agilely with startups will survive. The rest will be disrupted”

Manuel Martínez – Head of Open Innovation, Ferrovial

“Startups should understand the corporation’s needs, especially the decision makers’ and create a plan to serve it”

Oswaldo Trava – CEO, InstaFit

5. Focusing on Operational Excellence

In order to innovate companies must focus on improving the way they operate. Organizations now need to be much more flexible and create new channels for participation and communication. In many cases it is necessary to implement less hierarchical structures and more flexible ones to reinforce teamwork that leads to better decision making and problem solving.

In terms of operations the participants of our study ranked the most important challenges that they will face in the following 5 years:

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