The health crisis has presented companies with new challenges. The appetite for digitization is now larger than ever before. Start-ups play an important role as drivers of innovation. Gumption is an innovation hub and ecosystem for young companies.
The group’s 20 companies focus on business challenges and IT solutions, such as customer and employee experience, optimization and automation of business processes, secure and high-performance IT infrastructure, and data-driven policy. Gumption has a stake in every company. Founder and managing partner Bart Embrechts talks about the group’s co-creation strategy.
WE CO-CREATE THE FUTURE
WHY ARE BUSINESSES JOINING GUMPTION?
Bart Embrechts: Since its start in 2012, Gumption has focused on creating a full service for member companies. Gumption represents a solid backbone for these companies, which guarantees continuity for their clients. It offers businesses financial support, strategic advice, and shared services. This allows start-ups and early-stagers to focus on their growth.
This model is interesting for start-ups, because young companies often find it difficult to attract large companies or governments as clients. These organizations choose suppliers based on as many guarantees as possible, which a one-year-old company is hard-pressed to offer. The group is able to ensure cross-fertilization and open client doors more rapidly. Relationships don’t have to be built from scratch.
GUMPTION LAUNCHED IN THE MARKET WITH THE SLOGAN ‘CO-CREATE THE FUTURE’. WHERE DOES THIS POSITIONING COME FROM?
Embrechts: A review at the end of 2018 for a large Belgian client in the steel industry set us on that track. They were looking for an alternative to consulting agencies with expensive theories and poor results, or too little down-to-earth mentality. Our pragmatic approach combined with extensive expertise could be a differentiator for them.
We joined forces with four companies of the group: TheValueChain’s SAP experts, the supply chain architects of valueXstream, the BI specialists of Bmatix and the software testers of Brightest. For a whole month, our organisation was turned upside down, but our collective thinking proved convincing. At the start of 2019, we gave shape and a resonant name to our new strategy: Co-create the Future. The Gumption approach appears to intrigue many customers today. The Co-create the Future story is helping us create new opportunities for all of the companies and employees in the group.
Embrechts: Co-creation is the way to meet the challenging problems of our time, such as accelerated digitization, the climate crisis and the pandemic. Complex issues require solutions beyond the walls of regions, companies, departments, and professional specializations. In innovative digitization, you need both specialists and holistic thinkers in a variety of disciplines. At Gumption, we bring these talents together under one roof.
With our slogan, we want to emphasize our innovative strength as a group and our cocreation capacity. We look at challenges from a 360° approach and use our combined strengths optimally. The companies are well aware of each other’s qualities. They share the same values. They don’t compete with each other: cooperation is a key component.
Gumption’s role: getting our young companies to the table when their contribution adds value for the client. We believe in the innovative power, agility, creativity, and commitment of our young lions. ‘’Interconnected small is the new big.”
ANY EXAMPLES OF CO-CREATION PROJECTS?
Embrechts: In 2018, pgb-Europe, a specialist in fasteners and fixings, got a web shop up and running. For this, they needed an intermediate layer to enrich and manage the product information from SAP. These enriched data make the product more attractive to the customer. For example, in the e-shop you show a video or add a longer article description. Via a product information management system (PIM) you add these data to the enormous portfolio in the ERP.
The PIM system came into being thanks to the efficiently combined know-how of four Gumption companies. Customer experience specialist Oddball developed the system in close collaboration with supply chain architect valueXstream. Brightest tested the functioning and performance. Infrastructure specialist Rank 1 gave support for seamless management in the cloud.
Innovative strength is often at the crossroads of expertise. A good example is MobieTrain, a mobile-first learning platform breaking through internationally. Microlearning’s success is due to its user experience. And so MobieTrain involved UX specialists in the development from the start. Behavioral scientists, gamification experts, software testers. Co-creation, with the aim of providing employees with an optimal total experience. All specializations of Gumption companies.
An example in e-mobility. As all company cars must be electric by 2026, the demand for charging stations in cities and municipalities is skyrocketing. CenEnergy, a Gumption company, specializes in smart charging infrastructure and management. One of the bottlenecks is that posts are often occupied by cars that are not charging. In 2020, Geosparc launched a technology that solves this problem. A driver receives a message when his car is fully charged. As a government or company, you can make your parking policy enforceable.
AS A CLIENT, HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR WAY AT GUMPTION?
Embrechts: The group is organized around three hubs. Digital transformation is all about target groups: clients, candidate employees, end users. They are central to our business model. As a company you do everything you can to offer these target groups a compelling experience, so that they choose you and become your ambassador. That also means the acceleration of your processes, their seamless harmonization, and the automation of tasks. You need to take quick action based on a keen insight into data. And you have to keep your people working safely on well-organized and powerful infrastructure.
Our hubs reflect these challenges: the creative hub; the business & operations hub; and the smart hub. To you as a client, this structure offers something to hold on to.
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Embrechts: To continue to build on our success. We will keep investing. In sales and marketing, to get our co-creation story out there even more. In people. In recruitment and growth. In 2020, the group crossed the milestone of 500 employees. We ended the year with a consolidated turnover of €67.5M. Our goal is to double that in the next five years. And we are well on our way