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Felipe Diaz - Head of Strategy


- elephant skin - 

Interface between two worlds: developers and digital artists
Art announces a new world and the strategy is to connect

All art is revolutionary and heralds new times and new possibilities for ordering the world, as stated by Phenomenological Psychology professor at PUC-SP, Nichan Dichtchekenian.

An artist is someone who has the sensitivity to see beyond what seems to be commonplace,  as if the world were whispering something only in his/her ear. It is the possibility of synthesizing  an absolutely original perception of the world in a work. It is the most objective way of being  human. Those who are on the front line and, by not bowing to conventions, open new paths  and announce possibilities for a new world.

If I had to summarize our strategy in a few words, I would choose “Art,” “Connection,” and  “Integration.” We are essentially a group of artists. One hundred and twelve artists from  different backgrounds (from the most obvious to the most unusual in our industry) that directly impact one of  the largest industries in the world, bringing business results to the largest global players in the  sector with elegance and intelligence, through artistic sensitivity and through what most  connects us as a species: good stories.

What is strategy and how it occurs in the practical life of organizations is a subject widely  debated in the academic community and in the field of business management. To bring a  simple and objective definition, according to the Harvard Business Review, strategy is an  integrated set of choices that position you in a certain field of activity in such a way that you win. It is then a theory of why we should act in certain ways and not in others if we want to succeed.

In a less dynamic world like that of the middle of last century, common sense and linear  thinking were more assertive in helping us discover the best paths and make the best  decisions.

The current hyperconnected world puts us face-to-face within organizations with the ever increasing challenge of complexity. It is not possible to have as much predictability as we  would like. Events such as the global COVID-19 pandemic make it clear that all the certainties  that the most respected minds are capable of projecting onto our reality can overnight become  an obvious mistake.

The complex environment requires a perspective that goes beyond seeing business threats  and opportunities, and requires constant attention to the interaction of these factors. The  enormous complexity of the contemporary world constantly reminds us that the only certainty  is change, and this inevitably requires organizations to constantly adapt.

Jurgen Appelo in “Management 3.0” suggests that all management and leadership is, in itself,  change management, and due to the complex nature of modern organizations we should run  many experiments instead of seeking anticipation and security on which to bet our chips. Bill  
Taylor, in an article for the Harvard Business Review, points out that large companies that  navigate well in a complex world such as Coca Cola, Netflix, and Amazon experience this in  practice, learning from their mistakes.

Its leaders categorically state that if we are not making mistakes, we are not exploring the  possibilities enough. For every “Alexa” we know about, there are countless projects that have  failed of which we don't even ever hear about.

Elephant Skin is no exception to the rule, and being aware of this, we have a culture that gives room  for experimentation. We know that if something doesn't go as we initially imagined, “Sh*%t  Happens” and the show must go on. This encourages everyone to take the initiative and explore  possibilities.

Leading through complexity means thinking non-linearly, thinking differently.  

Having the courage to test. This can represent a great challenge in a world forged from basic  education by positivist thinking. At the end of the day, the best plans depend on a large  number of people within an organization to become the execution of excellence.

It is necessary to be open to the new and the non-obvious and to be aware that in no way does  this mean being irresponsible, but rather taking calculated risks. More and more we need the  culture of innovation to solve the problems of the modern world. And, who better than us  artists to innovate?

In the midst of this sea of abstract ideas and concepts, what is the actual strategy in practice  for us at Elephant Skin?

The strategy is to innovate: A creation platform.  

Marshall Van Alstyne, professor at Boston University, brought in a lecture to the “Platform  Strategy Summit” event of the “MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy,” the notion about how  platforms change the scenario of organizations both in structure and strategy, and that new  perspectives are necessary to 21st century organizations.

In 2007, only 7 market giants controlled 99% of cell phone and smartphone revenues. That  same year, Nokia alone invested 40 billion dollars in R&D, and in a very counterintuitive way,  just 6 years later Apple (which did not work with mobile telephony and only put the first iPhone  on sale at the end of June), would account for 92% of the industry's profits. This presented  clear evidence that something had changed in this emerging world of platforms.

A characteristic feature of this type of business model is the externalization of the value  proposition. We need to be more open, inclusive, and community-oriented when thinking about  the design of our strategies. We have several examples such as Spotify, Apple and iOS, Netflix,  Amazon, Facebook, and Airbnb among other platforms that simply transformed the market in  which they operate.

Elephant Skin is a platform that connects artistic talent and technology to major players in the  real estate market, enabling the collaboration to develop assertive concepts and products and to  communicate them effectively in advertising campaigns that connect.

We are gradually building a flexible business model capable of meeting the demands of a sector that is  still quite conservative, so that we can benefit from the network effects of a platform. We  enable competence networks articulating groups of agents into teams of excellence  that deliver a value chain.

We are the interface between two very different worlds, that of developers and digital artists.  We allow integration and connection through a virtual environment conducive to creativity and  a culture of freedom and trust. Our model and culture provide our partners with the  necessary team management structure for this community of artists to organize themselves  around the client’s business challenges in a modular way.

Artistic creation carries with it a character of self-realization in the form of individual expression.  What the artist wants to see is the materialization of his perspective of the world in great works,  which have scope and generate impact.

Therefore, freedom is fundamental here, and we believe that the artist knows the best  way to self organize to produce art. Our role is just to provide the necessary structure so that  they can better manage their own time and be able to produce art in a way that generates value consistently for the client on the other side of the table (or rather, of the platform).

Freedom as one of our values also encourages us not to be trapped by the standards that little  by little we have seen being reconsidered in a great process of digitization of work driven by  the pandemic.

It has been more frequent to come across articles like this one from The New York Times about  a test of reduced working hours at Unilever and this one from The Verge about Microsoft's  announcement regarding its unlimited free time policy. This indicates that we are moving  towards a world where there is more room to test new ways of relating professionally. Nothing  new under the sun for us, who always have been and always will be remote and always cherish  freedom with responsibility.

We are a company that thinks of the work environment differently. We are aware that because  we are a relatively recent startup, we are still learning daily how to improve our processes,  always aiming at the well-being and professional satisfaction of our community. But it is clear  to anyone that despite the challenges that the coexistence of a large number of people brings,  we are highly flexible and open to testing in our protocols what makes sense for those who are  here using this community as a means to add value to the world.

Stories connect and technology integrates.  

In the book Sapiens, author Yuval Harari suggests that one of the reasons for the hegemony of  the human species is our ability to create stories and collectively believe them. Despite being  infinitely more fragile than many species, we are able to flexibly articulate on a large scale and  coordinate our actions. If this is a human characteristic, then having the sensitivity to perceive  the right signals and knowing how to tell an excellent story is a powerful tool. Good stories  connect and that's our specialty.

Especially in 2023, much has been said about the power of Artificial Intelligence and all the  new possibilities it is bringing.

Anyone who has watched the Netflix series Black Mirror may have felt the frightening sensation  of imagining that some of the proposals that the series brings could eventually become reality.  And if we push the bar a little, maybe something that was suggested there is not so far from  happening. Award-winning Brazilian scientist Miguel Nicolelis (as described in an article from  the USP-SP medical school) managed, in his research at the Duke laboratory in North Carolina,  to make a robot in Kyoto walk controlled from a distance by the neurons of a monkey. I prefer  to keep my feet on the ground, but I bring this reflection to provoke ideas about the  possibilities of using technology to generate more value for all agents on our platform.

We want to take advantage of technological advances to raise our capacity for coordination  and integration to another level. The main objective is to bring continuous improvement to the  work environment for the benefit of the community, and to add more value to our customers.

Here we use technology to place the human at the center and foster creativity, enhancing our  ability to tell stories, be creative, and have a better quality of life. Here there are large R&D  projects in their initial stages, and we believe in the power of technology to redefine  possibilities, always placing the human and the artist at the center as protagonists. If art has  the power to pave the way for the new, here we have fertile ground to innovate and generate  great impact, leading a revolution in the way we work in the sector and making it possible to  tell new stories that will pave the way for unlimited possibilities for the real estate market.


Communications Manager - Roberta Lemos | Communication Intern – João Victor Campos
Author – Journalist Daiana Barasa and Juliana Rodrigues | Naiá
Interviewed – Felipe Diaz
- Head of Strategy

*All Rights Reserved to Elephant Skin Group Corp.​

03/02/2023 - 3:53 PM EST

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