Navi – Setting Out A Common Course For Your Merger

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 Group 21 - Robin Hollebrand - Michelle Johnson - Florine Segers - Loes Wagter

Who is Navi?

Navi is a design consultancy that guides companies that are undergoing a merger or collaboration.  We help you to make this merger or collaboration a successful one

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Our positioning statement

For companies involved in a merger or a collaboration that are looking to effectively integrate their individual values, innovation processes and/ or brand images, Navi is a creative consultancy that provides a human-centered tool that creates a shared understanding among the people and aligns the brand image and creative processes with their core values.

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Elaborating on this we as Navi focus on the human factor within mergers. We do this by staying close to the core values and capabilities of your company, as well as working with a transition team, those are the people who will be at the heart of the merger. With this transition team we search from the outside-in for the company’s values to later on solidly work from the inside-out on building your brand. Approaching it mainly from the inside-out will help us start with the companies’ shared value through that create a cohesive brand image and creative processes that align with the capabilities of the both companies. Through a human-centered approach we believe that we can make your merger or collaboration a success!


Why do you need Navi?

In a constantly changing competitive environment it becomes more and more important for companies to sustain a competitive advantage and cut costs where possible. One of the ways to achieve this is for companies to engage in a merger, a collaboration or a partnership. The intention is that the combination of resources (products, people and knowledge) will take the business to new heights.

We’ve found that many mergers fail not only due to misallocation of resources, but due to incompatible cultures of the merging companies. This is often because companies address mainly the practical aspects such as merging technical processes , knowledge, and resources, but forget to consider their employees and culture such as in the case of the Skype-eBay merger of 2005.

In reality the business will not always reach new heights through a merger. The new business has to deal with multiple markets, a more diverse set of target groups, different cultures among the employees and a more complex product or service portfolio. So we were not surprised by the numbers of KPMG’s study (2008) evidencing that 90% of the deals/mergers fail to deliver on management’s promise of increased shareholders value.

As Navi we focus on the role of compatibility culture in mergers and acquisition. Abrams research shows the importance of the human factor during a merger and have acknowledged the complex interaction between the different cultures of the two relevant firms. The human factor is a typical factor that can not be ‘fixed’ through rationality. That is why we believe that as a creative consultancy, employing design tools such as empathy, human-centered design, co-creation and holistic thinking we can drastically improve ‘cultural fit’ within mergers, taking away at least one of the obstacles preventing a successful merger. We want to empower you, as company, by giving you insight in the core values of employees and insight in the value gap between the involved companies in order to make your merger manageable.

Design Capabilities of Navi

Navi provides solutions to clients that are based on synergy, empathy, co-creation, human centered design, holistic and integrative thinking, visualization and creative facilitation. This ensures that clients receive a tool tailored to their needs during their merger. Visualization allows clients to be aware of and recognize their core strengths (Calabretta 2014). This is incorporated in the tool in order to create a new shared company value. Since two companies are merging, they need to have a shared language and understanding. According to Beverland and Farrelly (2011), empathy stimulates a shared understanding. Fusion Design delivers a tool that uses empathy in order to gain perspective and understanding of the needs of all of the stakeholders. Understanding their needs and taking them into account prevents a value gap from being present after the transition phase of the merger (Abrams). As a designers we use integrative thinking to create holistic solutions that address the needs of the companies as a whole.


What does Navi do?

We Navi help you to start up a transition team that manages your merger. We believe in the strength and knowledge of your employees and we help them form a transition team and go through the transition. Abrams suggests that timing of the transition phase is essential to the success of the merger and to the avoidance of a value gap. The best time to start planning and coordinating the transition is at the moment that the letter of intent of the merger is signed. A transition team is formed and resources are allocated. Our role is to enable the transition team to be proactive so that they can maximize value during the integration.

With this transition team we will walk through our tool as explained below and we will support them with feedback throughout the whole transition phase.

Tool

We’ve created a toolbox in which we create and train the transition team that is responsible for the merger. The toolbox is used during a pressure-cooker session in which we simulate various phases of the transition period. The tools we give to the transition team will be used during the actual merger. We’ve identified different stages of the training session.

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Example

Skype & eBay merger failure (2005): eBay bought Skype so that they could improve communications with their clients. Aside from the fact that clients were content with emailing eBay the reason why the merger failed was a huge culture clash in between the two companies. The company eBay had a conservative company culture whereas “Skype was out to be the democratization of voice” (pcworld.com) If eBay and Skype would have had our help the Preparing the Ground and the Empathizing and Understanding phases could be used to merge the two cultures in such a way that they complement each other.


References

  1. Abrams, H. .Mergers and Acquisitions: How do you Increase the Value of Two Companies Joined Together?
  2. Beverland, M. B., & Farrelly, F. J. (2011). Designers and Marketers: Toward a Shared Understanding. Design Management Review, 22(3), 62-70.
  3. Bamford, I., Chickermane, N., Kosmowski, J. (2012). Growth through M&A: Promise and Reality. Deloitte Review, Issue 11 (http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Mergers-and-Acquisitions/gx_ma_Growth_Through_MandA.pdf)
  4. Calabretta, G., Gemser, G., Wijnberg, N. M., & Hekkert, P. P. (2013). Collaborating with Design Consultancy firms for Effective Strategic Decision-Making in New Product Development.
  5. KMPG (2008) Taking the Pulse – A global study of mergers and acquisitions in Healthcare
  6. http://www.pcworld.com/article/171267/skype_ebay_divorce_what_went_wrong.html

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