Bright lights,
big cities

The QVARTZ Annual 2016

Experience the first 365 days as CEO of a EUR 7.8 billion business. Learn how to avoid becoming a bad rerun of Blockbuster. Read why never to take a bigger premium on commodities. And join the journey towards the endless possibilities of digitalisation. Learn how New York is like a whale. Why redevelopment is in fact a positive mechanism. And how networks are the new black in business. This year’s QVARTZ Annual aims to inspire. With bright lights in the shape of four great cases, four inspiring perspectives as well as a lot of numbers. Enjoy.

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Q in numbers

It’s no secret that we are pretty fond of numbers. In all scales and sizes. The figures below illustrate some of the things we could count our way to in the year gone by.
Dogbiters

Dogbiters

Applications

Applications received

QVARTZ clients

%

Returning clients

Contracts

Contracts signed

Countries visited

Countries visited

Travellers

QVARTZ travellers

Top line

Annual revenue (DKK millions)

Nationalities

Different nationalities

Degrees

Unique master’s degrees

Global reach

The world grows smaller everyday as easy-to-use high tech gadgets allow us to communicate independently of time and space. However, at QVARTZ, we believe in relations. And relations are built through interaction; of people sharing ideas and perspectives face to face. In 2016, we sent 243 of our people out to connect to the world and each other. Together, we have left our footprints in no less than 53 countries.

Rasmus Krogsgaard<br />Tulsa Rasmus Krogsgaard
Tulsa
Jakob Wikefeldt<br />Miami Jakob Wikefeldt
Miami
Henriette Karlsen<br />Montreal Henriette Karlsen
Montreal
Harald Hoch<br />Reykjavik Harald Hoch
Reykjavik
Patrycia Zaporowski<br />Bucharest Patrycia Zaporowski
Bucharest
Jacob Westerberg<br />Venice Jacob Westerberg
Venice
Morten Mondrup<br />Sydney Morten Mondrup
Sydney
Yuran Chen<br />Beijing Yuran Chen
Beijing

Rasmus Krogsgaard
Tulsa

Rasmus Krogsgaard
Senior Consultant, Tulsa:

“In Q4 2016, an extensive strategy project took me on the following route: Copenhagen-Stockholm-Oslo-Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Fort Lauderdale-New York-Tulsa. The Tulsa client and I hit it off really well, so he let me borrow his gigantic four-wheel drive for my entire stay at the site. Pretty cool”.

Jakob Wikefeldt
Miami

Jakob Wikefeldt
Senior Consultant, Miami:

“Last autumn, on a project aimed to accelerate product innovation in the marine industry, my team ended up in Florida. In the Sunshine State, we found ourselves at the largest boat show in the world: talking to industry experts, engaging in conversations with customers and suppliers and eying the competition. Needless to say, our smiles went from ear toear during our time in Florida”.

Henriette Karlsen
Montreal

Henriette Karlsen
Senior Consultant, Montreal:

“During my four months in Montreal, I was working closely with a really cool client on how they could optimise internal collaboration in order to win more customers in the future. Aside from it being my first trip to Canada, I also got to experience a lot of other “firsts” with my team over the weekends; my first punk festival, my first attempt at mountain climbing and my first time spending a Saturday night watching a mixed martial arts match”.

Harald Hoch
Reykjavik

Harald Hoch
Senior Consultant, Reykjavik:

“I spent five weeks working on a project in Reykjavik for one of Iceland’s major insurance companies. We helped them design a new KPI- and incentives structure, which will be tested in a set of pilots. Apart from being on an intriguing project, which deepened my understanding of the insurance industry, it was very interesting to work with a whole new team together with the client and to see the spectacular nature”.

Patrycia Zaporowski
Bucharest

Patrycia Zaporowski
Consultant, Bucharest:

“For the past couple of months, I have worked on a commercial excellence project with roll-out in selected markets in Europe and Asia. For me, that has meant visits to Oslo and Bucharest for workshops at the client site, engaging with the local teams and experiencing very different cultures as well as cuisines. Further, I have been able to use my Polish language skills to conduct interviews on a Denmark-UK-France trip. It’s really inspiring to work in a global environment across time zones, spanning from Portugal to Indonesia and Australia”.

Jacob Westerberg
Venice

Jacob Westerberg
Manager, Venice:

“Last spring, fellow consultant Caroline Brandt and I found ourselves overlooking the Grand Canal from a rooftop restaurant in Venice, Italy. This happened after we, with a 24-hour notice, were asked to travel to Venice for a meeting with a key stakeholder of our client. The meeting went really well and we ended up starting a new project with the same client, which will run during the spring of 2017”.

Morten Mondrup
Sydney

Morten Mondrup
Manager, Sydney:

“I have spent four action-packed months in Sydney, working for our Australian partner, Port Jackson Partners. I have gained industry-specific knowledge that was vital for the project I was working on, learnt to play touch rugby during our weekly Tuesday matches against other companies, and had the opportunity to explore the country”.

Yuran Chen
Beijing

Yuran Chen
Consultant, Beijing:

“At first, it was hard to believe that as a consultant from QVARTZ, I would have the chance to work in Beijing, the place where I was born and raised. Speaking the same language and sharing the culture, it was such a fun and pleasant experience to work closely with the local team. Together, we provided first-hand market insight into the Chinese strategy for a global player within the wind industry”.

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Global reach

The world grows smaller everyday as easy-to-use high tech gadgets allow us to communicate independently of time and space. However, at QVARTZ, we believe in relations. And relations are built through interaction; of people sharing ideas and perspectives face to face. In 2016, we sent 243 of our people out to connect to the world and each other. Together, we have left our footprints in no less than 53 countries.

Explore our
stories

Behind every person, there is a story. We invite you to meet four Big People whose stories have inspired us in the year gone by. Scroll down to meet Olav Thorstad, CEO of SATS ELIXIA, Marianne K. Knudsen, Head of Digital Commercial Offerings in Grundfos, Jais Valeur, CEO of Danish Crown and Annemarie Gardshol, CEO of PostNord Strålfors.

“Being stuck in the middle is not an optimal situation for those of us who have read Porter”.

SATS ELIXIA

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.

Read article

GRUNDFOS

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. Marianne K. Knudsen, Senior Director, Head of Digital Commercial Offerings in Grundfos, explains why the time has come for the world’s largest pump manufacturer to start thinking beyond the pump.

Read article

“Digitalisation needs to be an enabler for delivering on that strategy”.

“Farmers think in terms of generations, not the next quarter or the next year”.

DANISH CROWN

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.

Read article

POSTNORD STRÅLFORS

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.

Read article

“We are sort of changing the wheels on the car while driving it at full speed”.

Flashes of
light

Rumour has it that life flashes before your eyes when you are faced with your own mortality. Here are a few glimpses of what flashes before our eyes when looking back at 2016 in QVARTZ. Less dramatic, but truly iconic.

Soccer Challenge Soccer Challenge
Dinner chez Hansi’s Dinner chez Hansi’s
Company day & summer party Company day & summer party
Distortion street festival Distortion street festival
Roskilde Festival Roskilde Festival
Retreat Retreat
Club Q Club Q
Community trip Community trip
The Welcome Party The Welcome Party
Punk Royale Punk Royale
Christmas theatre Christmas theatre
#1 Vault ranking #1 Vault ranking
Big data Big data
Vårsalongen Vårsalongen

Soccer Challenge

Soccer Challenge
In keeping with tradition, we hosted the annual Soccer Challenge in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, where teams from professional services firms fought for the unhandy piece of silver hardware and a whole year of shameless bragging.

Dinner chez Hansi’s

Dinner chez Hansi’s
With no less than 57 student events across the Nordics, we met in the ballpark of +2,500 students in 2016. A handful of these joined us for dinner at QVARTZ Managing Partner Hans Henrik “Hansi” Beck’s house. We discussed what management consulting and QVARTZ are all about, shared a delicious dinner and played foosball on the terrace.

Company day & summer party

Company day & summer party
Our combined company day and summer party turned out to be a busy day at QVARTZ. Not only did we chill out in Faelledparken in Copenhagen, eat oysters in Stockholm and go on an “Amazing Race” in Oslo. We also found the time to celebrate the promotions of 24 Big People in our civilisation.

Distortion street festival

Distortion street festival
For a couple of days each year, Copenhagen is turned into one huge street party: Distortion. We joined the feast in the beginning of June, and invited 25 enthusiastic students to join us. Starting out with a barbecue in our backyard, conveniently located at the centre of the festivities, we then took to the streets.

Roskilde Festival

Roskilde Festival
For the third consecutive year, we invited many of our close friends and relations to join us at the Roskilde Festival. True to tradition, two iconic QVARTZ sites fired on all cylinders: our backstage venue, with a cool lounge area and a sizzling restaurant, and the QVARTZ tent camp, primarily inhabited by our younger colleagues. At both sites, we enjoyed the music and that special Roskilde vibe… completely invisible, yet completely evident.

Retreat

Retreat
At our annual company retreat, 225 members of our civilisation joined forces. Besides many great discussions, we launched our flag: the North Star.

Club Q

Club Q
From Ola Salo, The Ark’s flamboyant front man in Stockholm, to a blowout performance by the fantastic MK’s Marvellous Medicine band in Oslo, and cool tunes from Alex Vargas who shackled up the audience in Copenhagen. Thank you to all who joined us for great chats, catchy tunes and colourful drinks.

Community trip

Community trip
Our civilisation is composed of a number of communities where peers can share ideas, learnings, frustrations, fun facts and experiences. The experience part is definitely in focus when each community takes off on their yearly trip. In the year that passed, some went to Mallorca, while others went to London. Our manager community decided to go to Germany… in style.

The Welcome Party

The Welcome Party
This autumn, a lot of Big People and Big Companies joined forces to go high and host Velkomstfesten (the Welcome Party) for the many refugees who have come to Denmark recently. A main objective of the day was to get more refugees into the Danish labour market. QVARTZ was one of the organising forces behind the Job Zone, where refugees met companies to discuss qualifications, motivation and employment possibilities.

Punk Royale

Punk Royale
30 students who visited our Stockholm office were in for a culinary experience quite out of the ordinary. After an introduction to our civilisation and the work we do, we moved on to one of Stockholm’s most edgy restaurants, Punk Royale, for a spectacular dinner (which among other things involved eating caviar by hand).

Christmas theatre

Christmas theatre
The Tivoli Gardens spellbinds children and adults alike, and keeping with tradition, we invited good friends of the house and their families to join us for mulled wine and hot chocolate, and to Eventyrteatret’s annual Christmas show.

#1 Vault ranking

#1 Vault ranking
“I have never experienced such a cool company culture in a traditionally very corporate setting – EVER”. In QVARTZ, we make a very big deal out of culture – internally and at client sites. We were therefore pleased as punch to find that Vault ranks QVARTZ as #1 on Firm Culture among all 25 ranked major consulting companies in Europe.

Big data

Big data
A couple of QVARTZ colleagues went to Boston to gain inspiration. Deeply inspired by Professor Ferreira of Harvard Business School, we invited her to visit our Copenhagen office, where she delivered two awe-inspiring lectures on the use of big data to some of our close relations.

Vårsalongen

Vårsalongen
We kicked off yet another tradition by inviting our closest relations in Sweden to experience this year’s Spring Salon together with us. At the exhibition, we were met by a multitude of exciting and thought-provoking artworks created by professional and amateurs alike. One of the pieces now ornaments our Stockholm office.

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Perspectives

Some ideas can make a world of difference. In the following three perspectives, we share the ideas, thoughts and findings of some of our favourite pioneers, mavericks and crazies. Prepare to be dazzled.

“You don’t have to be faithful to a single idea”.

BJARKE INGELS

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”, Bjarke explains.

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.

Read article

GEOFFREY WEST

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.

Read article

“If you visit General Motors or American Airlines, you don’t see crazy people”.

“The enemy was self-organising and did not wait for decisions from superiors, but made them themselves”.

TORSTEN HVIDT

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.

Read article

KENT HARRISON

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.

Read article

“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”.

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The QVARTZ Annual 2016

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