As 2012 draws to a close, the continent is once again stepping into a New Year praying that progress will be made in tackling the ongoing eurozone crisis.
Ireland, Spain, Italy, the UK and Greece have all been under intense pressure to turn their fortunes around, to little avail. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, governments and the EU have been working tirelessly to plan for a brighter future.
A comprehensive petition put pay to a proposed gender quota, a labour law reformation is still on the horizon for 2013, and there were significant pendulum swings – especially in the west of the continent – towards the promotion of SMEs, the working-from-home generation, and the significance of start-up businesses.
Throughout it all, Business Review Europe has kept abreast of the latest developments while keeping a keen eye on future developments, often via some of the leading business experts in Europe. And here is the cherry-picked journey through European business over that period:
10. Reforming employment conditions across Europe
By Olivier Wouters, Claeys & Engels
We start at the end. The continent is in need of a reformation, and 2013 could be the year to bring it. This was certainly Olivier Wouter’s view, and his case studies showed that some countries have already taken steps to do so via their employment legislation and policies.
9. Sowing the seeds of change
By Yvonne Sell, head of leadership and talent, Hay Group
Behind every top organisation is a top team, and Yvonne Sell makes some very apt comparisons between the political and business worlds in surviving the ripples of change, while making a few ripples of their own.
8. Social customer service: are you ready to connect?
By Pete McGarr, MD, Tempero
Continuing along the theme of ‘change’, this article sparked a lively debate at the end of November with the key question: ‘You wouldn't let the phone ring without picking up so why would you ignore social media?’ Has the likes of Twitter and Facebook become as important as the telephone to modern-day businesses? If it hasn’t done already, it certainly may do over the next 12 months.
7. Crowdfunding in an ailing economy
By Tom Lloyd
Another trend sweeping the continent, and indeed the world, is crowdsourcing. Crowdfunding is the most significant arm of this phenomenon, and Tom Lloyd’s fascination with the concept led him not only to an understanding of the potential it has during economic struggles, but he got a first-hand example of a success story when speaking to Scottish brewers, BrewDog.
6. Business communication just got faster
By Stan Jackson
From a technological standpoint, the continent has seen no bigger innovation this year than the introduction of 4G. Being touted as an invention akin to the inception of the steam engine or the aeroplane, 4G technology is all set to bring in a new era of business communication and network speeds. Martin Stiven of EE was enthusiastic in imparting his views for the future on Construction Digital’s editor, Stan Jackson.
5. Sharing the wealth
By Matthew Staff
Continuing along the technology highway, and there has never been a more public and opportunist chance to advertise than via the medium of social media; top of which, arguably stands YouTube. This humorous, yet enlightening Top 10 feature counts down the most viewed ads of 2012, showing that an effective marketing campaign online can have extraordinary benefits.
4. More to life than money
By Matthew Staff
I have spoken to a great deal of entrepreneurs this year, with the likes of Rajesh Agrawal , Tracey Bovingdon and Erich Wasserman showing that there is no substitute for front-line experience when it comes to building a new business. However, no-one has overcome more obstacles than Oliver Chapple to become one of UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and he shared his experiences of overcoming serious illness and business setbacks to get to the point he currently stands at, having unveiled his new ProperyPage App.
3. Moorfields Eye Hospital
By Matthew Staff
As well as documenting the most prominent and pressing issues from around Europe this year, BRE has also strived to profile some of the biggest and best companies from across the continent, including the likes of Koti Pizza in Finland and the Balhousie Care Group in Scotland. Moorfields Eye Hospital was especially fascinating though as CEO John Pelly explained its steps towards curing blindness and aiding eye care in the less developed world.
2. Hargreaves Services
By Abigail Philips
Running across three issues in the summer, Hargreaves Services featured heavily in 2012, following Abigail Philips’s interview with the London-based specialist bulk hauler. Chairman, Tim Ross explained Hargreaves’ continuous improvement strategies which have seen them become a major player in their industry since 1994, while also giving the inside scoop on the company’s future plans for international expansion.
1. Hublot Genève: re-born and robust
By Kevin Doyle
The biggest honour for Business Review Europe this year saw us head to Geneva to interview the usually secretive man behind global watch manufacturer, Hublot. Chairman, Jean-Claude Biver has been running the ship of a company competing with the likes of Rolex and Tag Heur since 2004 and gave deep insights into what makes the business so successful. He also described, in detail, the philosophy behind Hublot’s operations and the reasoning behind its affiliation with Formula 1 and Ferrari.