Key messages from Web Summit 2021
Last week the technology world descended into Portugal’s capital Lisbon for the 2021 Web Summit, and SwagHut was delighted to be in attendance. We got to hear from inspiring founders and CEOs of technology companies, fast-growing startups, and political leaders. There were a few main topics up for discussion, from climate to crypto. But what was obvious from every talk is that a new world of work has arrived, and one-way businesses and leaders can adapt, and grow is by prioritising a culture of connectedness, appreciation and innovation.
Climate was on everyone’s mind, as governments, policymakers and climate activists gathered at COP26 to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. At Web Summit, we heard from one of the UN’s latest speakers, something that knows a thing or two about extinction, a velociraptor. In a short film before Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Mik Thobo-Carlsen took the stage to talk about Don’t Choose Extinction, we were schooled on the possibility of the end of the world as we know it by a dinosaur. The key message; it’s time for us to stop making excuses and start making changes.
There were over 200 climate-focused impact start-ups exhibiting at Web Summit this year. These companies are developing innovations and emerging technologies that will hopefully move the planet in the right direction. At SwagHut, we’re always on the lookout for products that deliver a mix of quality, style and sustainability so it was great to speak with The Happy Turtle Straw company; a 100% plant-based, plastic-free, edible straw! It was a great opportunity to meet with businesses that are doing their part to innovate for the betterment of the planet and society.
The other big C on everyone’s mind was culture. The pandemic triggered a new era of remote work, with many workers no longer meeting in person or having limited opportunities to interact. Many CEOs addressed the worries that company cultures could be eroded. It’s a critical point to address, especially for growth-oriented leaders. Maria Wlosinska, CEO of Unlock, asked the audience why we were all there? The answer was simple, to connect. We all crave it, we’re all wired for it, and everything is better when we unlock it. As the world of work has become a lot more digitally engaged and physically remote, we miss all these human interactions. So, it’s imperative for businesses to always be looking out for ways to stay connected to their teams. Veronica Costa Orvalho, the founder of Didimo a platform that creates high-quality digital humans, makes sure she has one on one lunches with all her employees. “The lunch could go on for 5 hours, but what I learn about the person in front of me is invaluable”. Sometimes, a cup of coffee and chat is all that we need.
Over the course of the three days at Web Summit, the fastest-growing companies put their difference down to culture. Building loyalty, recognition and engagement with your employees and clients is a daunting task. We understand that you may feel lost and not sure where to start, we get it, that’s why we built the SwagHut platform, to make it easy for you to deliver memorable swag experiences that resonate with your team, clients and community. We focus on curating meaningful merchandise that is impactful, strengthens your company culture and communicates your core values. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
To maintain workplace viability and effectiveness, business leaders were advised to turn their attention to three things: organisational structure, company culture, and employee recognition and appreciation. The message that rang loud and clear throughout the summit? We have a huge opportunity now as we re-build our economies and bounce back from the pandemic to start making changes within organisations. The time to start is now!
Company swag of course is not the total answer to building a strong and lasting culture, but it is a great place to start if you're looking for tangible ways to establish a sense of unity within your team.