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Culturas Connects: A Journey into Brazil’s Innovative Corporate Culture

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Last month, Culturas embarked on an illuminating benchmarking journey to delve into the intricacies of Brazil’s corporate culture, renowned for its robust connectivity and high engagement levels. Our decision to explore this cultural phenomenon was driven by empirical evidence, including data from Gallup surveys, affirming Brazil’s consistent top-ranking status in global employee engagement. These surveys underscore a significant correlation between Brazil’s emotional commitment and job satisfaction levels and its innovative workplace dynamics.

Armed with science-based insights, we are resolute in our commitment to integrate the principles founded in Brazil’s corporate culture into our training programs. Our aim is to bring these strategies back to Norway, a nation characterized by a more reactive communication style, as explained in the cultural framework by Richard Lewis. We aim to ignite a transformation towards greater connectivity and engagement within our local workforce. By doing so, we hope to harness the benefits of both multi-active and reactive communication styles, fostering innovation, flexibility, and adaptability while preserving the harmony and consensus-driven approach inherent to Norway’s culture.

The Quest for Connection: Brazil’s remarkable ability to foster collaboration, even within a more hierarchical organizational model, has resulted in substantially higher engagement rates than those typically found in Norway. Our mission was twofold: firstly, to decipher the factors contributing to this exceptional success, and secondly, to delve into the methods employed by Brazilian organizations in integrating personal development into their innovative strategies.

A Capital Link: We selected Brasília, the vibrant capital of Brazil, for our research. This choice was especially significant as it marked a homecoming for one of our team members who has deep-rooted ties to the city. Our decision ensured that we were fully immersed in the local culture, establishing valuable networks, and gaining access to a wealth of insights.

The Seminar of Innovation: Our journey began by attending the First International Seminar on Innovation for Public Policies. The seminar focused on innovative environments and approaches to strengthen public institutions. The multi-day event provided a platform to explore and learn from diverse approaches.

A Meeting of Minds: A standout moment of our trip was a one-on-one session with Luana Faria, Psychologist, Technical Analyst of Social Policies, and General Coordinator of “LA-BORA! Gov” at the Ministry of Management and Public Service Innovation. Her goal is to drive the implementation of innovative management methodologies and practices to generate public value. She had the vision to enhance the employee experience. During our discussion, Luana shared her challenges and how she overcame them. She presented several initiatives undertaken by Labora Gov. Since 2019, they have been supporting leaders to work empathically with a people-oriented approach, resulting in greater engagement and productivity. Labora Gov actively promoted the dissemination of innovative methodologies and practices among more than 300 organizations. They initiated efforts to foster psychological safety and creative freedom, recognizing the vital role these factors play in driving innovation. Other topics she touched upon ranged from fostering inclusive work environments to the importance of creativity, behavioral science, and employee engagement.

As Luana shared, these initiatives have not only significantly boosted engagement but have also yielded compelling results, underscoring the tangible benefits they bring to the Brazilian public sector. Labora Gov has further enhanced their impact by establishing a dedicated portal for direct communication, effectively addressing and qualifying users’ needs.

What inspired us the most was the results of these actions that have impacted more than 118k public agents already: Asynchronous collaboration and time optimization, prioritization, and productive meetings, which foster autonomy and self-responsibility in managing people and projects, all following the LA-BORA! gov model. In addition, Labora Gov’s dedication to data storytelling, engaging presentations, and narrative competence has played a pivotal role. Their commitment to simplicity in communication, along with a focus on recognizing small victories and daily progress, has significantly contributed to leaders’ goals. Furthermore, their emphasis on 1:1 mentorship, flow-state self-awareness, and skill mapping using a competency deck has yielded impressive outcomes. The incorporation of behavioral profiles for both introverts and extroverts, along with integrative techniques, has enhanced interpersonal interactions. Building intentional relationships through icebreakers, dynamics, and corporate games has fostered a more collaborative work environment. Their comprehensive understanding of the innovation project lifecycle, coupled with immersion techniques like problem diving, Human-Centered Design (HCD) matrix, and insight mapping, has resulted in positive impacts. They have also excelled in promoting diversity and inclusion in ideation processes, testing policy prototypes, iterating based on feedback, and sharing their learning widely.

Of particular note were the acclaimed programs from Labora Gov, which had earned international recognition for their data-backed transformative impact on Brazil’s public sector. Among others, La-bora! Gov received the ‘Global Government Excellence Award’ for its impactful initiative in supporting professional development and investing in people.

An Unforgettable Encounter: An unexpected turn when we had the privilege of an unplanned encounter with the Vice President of the Republic of Brazil, Geraldo Alckmin  A photograph with this influential figure served as a powerful symbol of our unique opportunity and newfound connections.

Bridging Cultural Insights: Culturas recognized the profound divergence in self-development skills required in Brazil compared to Norway. Brazil’s cultural emphasis on trust-building and an open mindset stood in stark contrast to Norway’s growing demand for inclusivity and connectivity within a relatively more closed culture. These perceptive cultural distinctions have yielded invaluable insights that will shape and direct our future mission.

Unlocking Innovation: Throughout our transformative journey, Culturas explored and analyzed a diverse array of data-driven methods aimed at elevating engagement to new heights. Our discoveries emphasize that the crux of innovation lies in fostering an environment where individuals not only feel secure but are encouraged to take calculated risks, learn from mistakes, express vulnerability, and openly engage in constructive disagreement. These invaluable insights serve as catalysts for the birth of groundbreaking ideas, reinforcing the notion that innovation transcends the confines of cutting-edge technology, extending into pioneering approaches that permeate the modern workplace. Our findings are grounded in the tangible results and best practices shared by esteemed industry leaders and organizations like Labora Gov, recognized globally for their data-backed innovations in public services. This journey has fortified our commitment to implementing these proven strategies, backed by empirical evidence, as we endeavor to reshape the landscape of engagement and innovation in Norway.

Challenges and Triumphs: The organizations we encountered on our journey faced their share of challenges when introducing innovative approaches. Resistance was not uncommon. However, we gleaned from our experiences that grounding these initiatives in scientific principles and rigorously measuring their results provided the key to surmounting these obstacles and achieving enduring success.

Looking Ahead: Armed with a treasure trove of data-backed insights from Brazil, Culturas is primed to infuse the magic of connectivity and engagement into our methodology. We are set to launch pilot programs aimed at adapting these Brazilian practices to the Norwegian market, with meticulous measurement of results as our compass. As we forge ahead, we pledge transparency, sharing both our successes and setbacks along the way.