Roland Berger launches digital hub Terra Numerata

22 December 2014

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has launched a new platform – named ‘Terra Numerata’ – which will support large companies with their transformation to new digital business models. With the European-based digital services hotspot, the firm aspires building an ecosystem that will propel established European firms and promising disruptors into the elite of the global digital landscape.

In recent years Europe has gradually been losing ground in the top of the flourishing digital landscape, to among others startup-mecca Silicon Valley and several upcoming digital ecosystems in the Asia. Recent research reveals that none of the 20 biggest internet companies are European (by market cap), with 13 of those companies coming from the US and 7 from Asia. To bring Europe back into the elite, a bold strategy, joint efforts and quick action is required, says Charles-Edouard Bouée, CEO of Roland Berger, and as a result his firm has decided to take the lead. “The need for such a platform is apparent,” he says. “Boosting Europe's share in the digital landscape is the key mission of Terra Numerata.”

European Digital Valley

The Terra Numerata platform will focus on two key areas: boosting the adoption of digital models, and acting as a spark for digital innovation. The digital ecosystem will consist of a broad community of digital specialists, ranging from strategists such as Roland Berger, to technology providers, digital agencies, investors, start-ups, incubators and other digital experts in the field. By bundling the different focus areas, and boosting productive exchange, Bouée expects that European firms will be able to capitalise on the market potential. "Europe's digital business landscape is highly heterogeneous, with expertise and resources spread across the different countries. However, we should not see this as a disadvantage: Networking this diversity among companies, incubators, investors and experts from the different countries, supported by policymakers, may actually be the key to creating new opportunities in tomorrow's digital world," explains Bouée.

The platform’s business model and principles are largely based on the ‘superincubator’ approach of the highly-successful German Rocket Internet, which in essence does the same yet focuses on the market for startups and small firms. Following successful discussions between the firms*, and a shared vision, the consultancy and incubator have decided to join forces, and have as part of Terra Numerata both have taken a 50% stake in a joint venture.

Roland Berger

Strategy-driven decision
From Roland Berger’s view, the launch of Terra Numerata does not come as a real surprise. Earlier this year Bouée unveiled the framework of the firm’s new strategy, in which he shared plans to roll-out sub-brands in certain functional areas (such as Digital) and grow footprint and expertise through partnerships in ‘hotspot’ ecosystems. In the case of digital, the business case is clear. Digital consultancy is by far the largest growing segment in the consulting industry**, and losing out on the digital boom would in the long-run risk the business model of any player that aspires a global position. And although Roland Berger has digital capabilities on board, it has not yet towards the market branded them in a distinct manner done by competitors such as McKinsey & Company (‘McKinsey Soutions’) or The Boston Consulting Group (BCG Digital Ventures’). In addition, the move towards a digital ecosystem hints towards a mindset which goes further than its main rivals – the firm aspires playing a pivotal role in a much larger ecosystem, letting go of the traditional ‘in-house’ approach, but at the same time diverging it from the traditional ‘pure-play’ strategy consulting arena. 

In the case of Rocket Internet, not much has been released publicly on its exact motive for the cooperation with Roland Berger, yet apparent is the benefit it will receive through the strategic and operational expertise of Roland Berger, and access to its boardroom-level client network. Since the IPO a few months ago, which turned founders Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer into billionaires, they have repeatedly highlighted the need for capitalising on Europe’s untapped innovation potential beyond startups through scale and collaboration, and with the partnership within Terra Numerata they obviously take the first step.

Charles-Edouard-Bouee, Marc Samwer, Oliver Samwer and Alexander Samwer

Operational mid 2015
Bouée expects Terra Numerata to be fully operations in roughly six months’ time. In the coming months following Rocket Internet more partnerships with digital players in the ecosystem will be sealed, and in the long-run the French-origin Roland Berger CEO foresees “about two dozen partnerships.”

* German media have over the past months hinted that the partnership between Roland Berger and Rocket Internet was fuelled by founder Roland Berger, who recently was given a position on Rocket Internet’s supervisory board. Bouée though denies, saying that the contact between himself and the Rocket Internet owners had come through “a friend from Harvard ", where Bouée studied.

* In the UK for instance, 52% of firms have in 2014 seen a marked increase in digital advisory work.


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Two thirds of UK employees not empowered enough to innovate

18 March 2019

A culture of equality can drive innovation at work, but only a third of UK employees feel empowered to innovate at present. This demonstrates a significant disconnect between workers and their bosses in the UK, with 76% of business leaders also claiming they empower employees to be innovative.

Despite innovation increasingly being seen as integral to the survival of businesses, innovation remains relatively difficult to achieve. A lagging disconnect between management and staff remains the driving force behind this. One study by PA Consulting previously confirmed that while 66% of companies believe they will not survive without innovation, only 24% said they had the skills needed for that, and only half thought they had the right leadership in place to change that in time.

In order to find a way around this problem, global consultancy Accenture has completed its own study into innovation, polling around 700 bosses and workers across the UK to do so. The key finding of the research is that companies with a culture of equality can see an individual’s willingness and ability to innovate improved by seven times that of the least equitable workplace cultures. At the same time, an innovation mindset is almost twice as high in the most-equal companies as in typical ones.

91% of employees want to innovate but just 34% in typical United Kingdom companies feel empowered to

What remains clear, however, is that most companies are failing to adequately create an equal culture, where staff of all ranks feel comfortable contributing new ideas. 91% of employees want to innovate but just 34% in typical UK companies feel empowered to. That is higher in the most equal companies, where 75% of staff feel confident making suggestions, compared to just 5% of the least equal, and 34% of typical companies. Since those equal companies are comparatively fewer, when averaged out, only a third of UK staff feel they are empowered to innovate.

That figure stands in stark contrast to the perceptions of UK executives, however.  76% of business leaders in Britain believe that they do indeed regularly empower their employees to innovate. As a result, it seems that leaders mistakenly believe that some circumstances encourage innovation more than they actually do. For instance, they overestimate financial rewards and underestimate purpose.

The opportunity which is presented by addressing this divorce is enormous. Accenture calculates that global gross domestic product would increase by up to £6 trillion over 10 years if the innovation mindset in all countries were raised by 10%.Top 10 workplace culture factors - by strength of impact on innovation mindsetAccording to Accenture, the best way to impact positively on a company’s innovation mindset is through the provision of relevant training – associated with a 10.5% uplift to staff’s confidence innovating. Allowing the freedom for employees to be creative followed, contributing an 8.1% boost, while ensuring that training times are flexible and the firm allows a healthy work-life balance both see a more than 7% improvement. Similarly, remote working being available and being common practice will buoy creativity by 6.9% – further demonstrating the importance of flexible working to improve innovation culture at a firm.

Commenting on the report, Rebecca Tully, executive sponsor for Human Capital and Diversity for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said, “Our research reveals that a workplace culture of equality is an overlooked driver of innovation within companies. By understanding what motivates their employees and fostering an environment where people feel empowered, business leaders have the opportunity to unleash the innovation required to compete effectively in an era of disruption.”

The research came as part of a global survey by Accenture, which queried more than 18,000 professionals in 27 countries and 150 C-suite executives in eight countries. The overall research determined that an empowering environment is by far the most important of the three culture-of-equality categories in increasing an innovation mindset, which consists of six elements: purpose, autonomy, resources, inspiration, collaboration and experimentation. The more empowering the workplace environment, the higher the innovation mindset score.