Digital innovation becomes increasingly global: Do inspiration, disruption, and transformation come from partnerships that establish far beyond our backyards?
As technology continues to expand and inventions and innovations further connect the world, globalization is surely set to increase as well. In fact, HTEC is the case study for just that.
In October of 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic, HTEC had roughly 400 employees and already a group of clients spanning across America and Europe. A year later, with three major acquisitions, one of which was the top design Silicon Valley company, Momentum Labs, and dozens of new hires per month, we sit at the precipice of 1100 employees with offices in 14 cities across 8 different countries. We are harnessing the relevance of technology in an increasingly tech-demanding world.
HTEC Group at the forefront of innovation
Inputs and outputs of innovation, technology, and the forefronts of industries historically, have mostly been concentrated in very few clusters. However, South-Eastern Europe (and HTEC Group, in particular) are capitalizing on the increasingly global nature and ubiquitous demand for technology—strong technical institutions, creative and exceptionally driven people, emerging technologies, and lower costs have created a wonderful microcosm that is increasingly enabling the world’s largest innovators and fostering new ecosystems. Although the region of South-Eastern Europe is still considered an “emerging innovator region”, HTEC Group is steadily opening possibilities for some of the most technologically advanced companies across the world.
Growing the world’s top talent
Combine the infrastructure and resources necessary to incubate top engineering expertise with a commitment to inspiring young generations of talent to show their maximum potential, a mission to build solutions that will move boundaries and help create better futures, and you have an incredible cocktail of growth that I am experiencing first-hand at HTEC.
Beyond studying abroad, volunteer service, and trips with friends or family, mot people under the age of 25 don’t get to experience a truly global business culture. In fact, most people never get to experience it at all.
After my recent trip to Belgrade, the importance of interacting and sharing experiences with organizations around the world cannot be understated. Aside from an office that would fit perfectly in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood or Chicago’s River North/River West neighborhoods, the energy and intelligence from my colleagues were palpable. Rooms were filled with teams of engineers working on complete digital transformation projects and new product innovation roadmaps while leaders were discussing onboarding and recruiting employees at a rate of 50-100 per month. What I found most impressive was the willingness to connect. A genuine interest not only to connect with me but to connect with others and connect me with their work and ideas. I felt a sense of entrepreneurial curiosity that was only surpassed by their curiosity in me as a person, which led to a feeling that I was unmistakably in a special place.
Cultivating diversity and excellence through a growth mindset
Fundamentally, people work differently now than they did two years ago. As a leader, you have to change how you think about that. A significant portion of the population already work remotely – two, three days a week, with portions of the workforce permanently working remotely. Teams are inherently becoming much more global. Now more than ever, leaders have an indisputable ability to build more diverse teams and assemble diverse thoughts. Diversity begets differentiation and competitive advantage—organizational excellence and sustainable business growth come from creating an environment that empowers people to become the best versions of themselves. Being part of a team like HTEC Group that is truly global in makeup, partners, clients, and way of thinking is an incredible avenue for that achievement.
Creating a vision through inspirational leadership
It’s rare to have such high-caliber industry individuals in one place. HTEC leaders have the expertise that is sought after across industries, but, more importantly, they have deep empathy and understanding of the importance of building a great culture. There is an acute focus on how we can help each other to achieve any objective and goal. We have built a framework that is all about inspiring people to become leaders – there is an evident grit and determination to grow bigger and maximize each opportunity.
Key principles for achieving transformational growth
Achieving transformational growth does not happen in a vacuum. Every company that is focused on success likely has a different formula for achieving it. HTEC Group has transformed in concert—everyone, albeit in different roles, is focused, doggedly persistent, and always looking for opportunities to get out of their comfort zone. Our teams go above and beyond to find solutions to some of the most complex problems, turning the impossible into the art of possible and, ultimately, make an impact.
The genesis of these qualities lies in a culture that’s centered around principles that help others grow.
Choose the right digitalization partner.
Digital transformation and innovation are not only about technology—they are about culture, intimate knowledge of the industry, clients, and the team. Innovation is essentially not driven only by good ideas, but the right network as well. A recent WSJ article highlighted that the majority of directors and executives viewed digital transformation as their biggest risk even before the pandemic. In the two years since, the need for many to digitally transform has only compounded. To mitigate this, find a partner that understands the industry, shows dedication and empathy towards business needs, and understands the importance of growing their teams to be able to deliver excellence every step of the way.
Surround yourself with opportunity-creators and status-quo shakers.
One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to product innovation and digital transformation. If you are going to take on the role of transformation (digital or otherwise), make sure you have the agility and presence of mind to stretch beyond the “best practices” approach. Work with people who want to understand your goals from where you are at, not duplicate solutions that worked from a company totally different from your own.
Always go the extra mile to support your client’s effort to achieve success.
Transformation and growth take time and diligence – two important characteristics of strong collaboration. No one exemplifies this more than the leadership team at HTEC Group—we’ve grown by going above and beyond for each and every one of our partners. As our president, Dušan Kosić said in an interview with CIO Review, “As a service company, we learned early enough that we can be successful only if our clients are successful. That’s why we always go the extra mile to support them in achieving their desired success, as this is directly proportional to our success.”
Build and nurture a culture of change.
If you have the power of deep industry knowledge and technological expertise, learn how to use it to the benefit of your employees and your partners. Digital transformation works for organizations because leaders go back to the fundamentals before they decide to implement any drastic digital change. My time spent in Belgrade emphasized this. HTEC’s leadership focuses on the mindset of its clients as well as the organizational culture and processes before they decide what digital tools to use and how to use them. It’s a process of learning, understanding, and building a culture of change. What we envision with the clients and what we envision with each other at HTEC, drives transformation and technological advancement, not the other way around.
To find out more about Andrew, read HTEC Features: Andrew McGee.