This article is about Technology

Innovation & Legacy

Guilherme Petrilli

Published at
22 de January de 2021

Recently I started my journey at Qintess and right away realized that this was not a conventional technology company.

Not only because it has a black and African CEO and Chief Culture Officer like Nana Baffour, but also because it has a genuine concern for ESG best practices and highlights the Innovation Obsessed slogan. Therefore, it would be very easy to point out here some innovative initiatives that I even was delighted to join, even if I hadn’t been that long into the company.

But what draws the attention the most and goes beyond innovation itself, showing in practice what’s the company's purpose is what we seek to do with these innovative initiatives. No wonder, completing its first year as a brand, Qintess stood out by innovating and diversifying. Whether through the Economics of Change platform, which promoted very high-level discussions on Diversity, Inclusion and Sustainable Capitalism, or through the Ignite Startups acceleration program, it is clear that innovation is, in fact, a means to something bigger: a positive impact in society... a legacy!

This last example, Ignite, demonstrates the ESG concern (mainly in the #technology4good and #partnering4good items) by highlighting the partnership and investment with Vale do Dendê that connected startups such as Afro Saúde and Traz Favela, which very soon, will achieve their purposes with diversity and inclusion across the country. Not to mention the commitment to the UN's sustainable development goals, represented in the training of 2,000 technology professionals and the investment of R$ 10 million over the next five years to support and foster entrepreneurship, diversity and social innovation in Brazil.

It may seem like a lot, compared to other large companies in the same sector that – perhaps – have not yet realized that it is not enough just to innovate to create a better experience for their customers or to be profitable for their shareholders, it has to make the difference on its employee’s and society’s routine. For Qintess, this is the starting point. After all, what’s the purpose of innovation if it isn’t to make a positive impact?

In these first months in the company, I remembered a lot of two authors that I usually quote: first, the dear Mário Sérgio Cortella who, in the book “Qual a tua obra?”, invites us to reflect on the consequences that our decisions can generate on others, and it makes the idea that our “work” is much broader than any activity we realize explicit. It also proposes three essential questions for us to take care of collective life in an ethical way:

Do I want to? Can I? and Should I?. These, in turn, are connected to three others, from the second author: Simon Sinek, who suggests that we must understand: What? How?; Why?. And, as the name of his best-seller says, "Start with Why." By presenting the already famous concept of the Golden Circle, Sinek – as well as Cortella – rescues the fundamental importance of the purpose, that what we seek to achieve must guide all our actions.

With that said, I'll mention Nana again, our CEO, who during one of the company's most recent programs –  Qintess of Change – left just one question to nearly 50 innovation disciples: “What's your legacy?”. I couldn't help noticing that virtually every answer highlighted the importance of people. Interestingly – or not – I refer to the ESG principle that I hadn't mentioned yet: #people4good and as my father used to say, I repeat that the world is not made of countries, continents, organizations, or corporations, the world is made of people!

So, if we have a chance to improve their lives through social innovation, why not aim for that? If we have the option of Sustainable Capitalism through Digital Transformation, why not take this as our purpose? To give you an idea, according to the report “Closing the Racial Inequality Gap”, if the United States had ended the racial gap suffered by black Americans in relation to salaries, education, housing and investments 20 years ago, then 16 trillion dollars could have been added to the economy.

However, the same study also states that if these gaps were closed today, 5 trillion dollars could be added to the economy in the next five years. Just imagine how much positive impact we can generate for society (not just economically) if we have the purpose of using diversity against inequality and innovation in favor of inclusion? Could you imagine it? So I invite you to do this exercise daily.

In this sense, in regards of Innovation, we should not – under any circumstances – disconnect it from the idea of ​​a legacy that we want to leave, especially for people with whom we want, can and must share.

Finally, if innovation is (among other more technical definitions) to anticipate, I propose three other questions, which I believe are worth asking: What future do we want to achieve? What legacy can we leave? And why should we innovate?

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