NEWS: Corporate Entrepreneur Awards 2017 Nominations are open

Big businesses are beginning to exploit the opportunities presented by new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and blockchain to create new products and services to meet customer needs and make their lives easier. To recognise the individuals and teams behind these exciting new developments, Market Gravity has opened the call for entries for the eighth annual Corporate Entrepreneur Awards (CEA).

These established awards highlight the technologies, innovations and teams that are driving businesses forward, and aim to inspire and encourage a community of corporate entrepreneurs to share best practice.

Call for nominations

Market Gravity is calling for nominations in several industry sectors including life sciences and healthcare, technology, media and telecoms, energy, financial services, public sector and non-profit, automotive, manufacturing and industry, and retail, FMCG and consumer products. Best New Proposition awards will be presented to winners across each sector with one overall winner scooping the Best New Proposition of 2017.

Nominations close on 27th October and voting begins on 30th October on the CEA website. A judging panel will debate and decide on the final winners announced at the awards ceremony, taking place on Thursday 23rd November at the Design Museum London.

Past winners include Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, Virgin Money, Close Brothers Retail Finance, HomeServe Labs, Dyson, Castrol, Barclaycard, and the Lego Group.

Peter Sayburn, CEO at Market Gravity, says: “Now in its eighth year, these awards recognise and celebrate ground-breaking ideas, products and services that really are changing the status quo. The standard of big business innovation and the adoption of new technology is outstanding and corporate entrepreneurs, also known as intrapreneurs, are bringing new concepts and ideas to large organisations and getting them to market faster than ever before.

“The team at Market Gravity specialises in innovation; creating and launching new propositions and ventures with some of the world’s largest companies. We work alongside some brilliant teams across a range of sectors, helping them to create and launch new products and services that are improving their customers’ lives and helping achieve commercial growth. It's always great to bring together the best innovators from big businesses at the awards. We’re looking for differentiation, customer focus and impact and are inviting companies to nominate their new products, services and ventures into the awards  - we wish everyone the very best of luck.”

 

During the ceremony on 23d November, around 300 of the UK’s most creative, disruptive and entrepreneurial business leaders will enjoy an informal party offering a great networking opportunity and the chance to learn from other innovation experts from some of the world’s largest brands. There will also be a tech zone showcasing examples of the latest technology and the impact it can have, with a competition to win one an Oculus Rift.

How to enter

If you or your team have launched a new product, service or business that you’re really proud of in the last 12 months, enter the Corporate Entrepreneur Awards at corporateentrepreneurawards.com

The deadline for entries is 27th October 2017.


NEWS: Exploring digital transformation in wealth and asset management

Market Gravity to speak at two-day London event exploring digital opportunities in wealth and asset management

Join business leaders at a two-day event in London aimed at highlighting how wealth and asset managers can implement and get the best out of digital technology through agile working and innovative leadership.

Experts from some of Europe’s top investment management companies will gather to share their experiences of digital transformation and how they use data in new ways to make more intelligent decisions and expand marketing reach.

The event is split into two days (7th and 8th February) with day one comprising a series of workshops followed by a day of keynote presentations, roundtable debates and facilitated panel discussions. Expert speakers include Peter Sayburn, founder and CEO of Market Gravity, who will host an interactive workshop on how to use digital technology to create a highly compelling client offering, putting customers and principles over products. He will share insights on how to build platforms and processes to ensure customers of all age groups love interacting with your organisation, and design products and services that are meaningful and relevant to your audience’s needs.

Peter is an entrepreneur, investor and author who has worked with some of the world’s foremost wealth and asset management businesses. He is passionate in the belief that if large companies are to live and grow in the digital age they must create a culture of innovation and embrace new digital technologies to stay ahead in the competitive marketplace.

Peter says: "Digital technology is bringing new and exciting opportunities to the wealth and asset management sector and now is the time for businesses to embrace the technology and implement new ways of working to engage with customers.

“This event brings together experts to share knowledge, experience and predictions on what’s coming up and highlights how new business models and cultures can improve operations and increase profitability, while meeting customer needs. I’m delighted to be presenting alongside leading innovators and trailblazers within digital transformation and look forward to some lively discussions.”

Jodie Paula Cohen, head of content at Event Creation Network, organised the event and says: “It’s important for the wealth and asset management sector to recognise the potential of digital transformation, technology and agile working to ensure customers are engaged, serviced well and enjoy their experience. A Fidelity report showed that managers who deploy digital technology have 40 per cent more assets under management than those who don’t, so to stay relevant, digital has to be an integral part of their offering. This event aims to inform attendees of the opportunities and offer techniques to put into practice within their organisations to make the most of digital technology.”

The event will run over two days. Workshops take place on Tuesday 7th February at 45 Moorfields, and the second day of presentations on Wednesday 8th are held at 200 Aldersgate, St Paul’s.

As well as Peter Sayburn, speakers include Stephen Ingledew (formerly with Standard Life) and Mary Harper from Standard Life, Billy Burnside from Aviva Investors and Sasha Dabliz from Rothschild Private Wealth.

For a list of sessions and workshops and to book your ticket, http://www.dtiwam-europe.com/index.html


NEWS: New Year Business Resolutions: 5 trends that will transform working practices in 2017

New and rapidly developing ways of working are set to transform businesses - both big and small in 2017. As technology continues to disrupt and advance, businesses must react to these challenges with both speed and agility and adopt the latest thinking and working practices, if they are to survive.

Market Gravity's co-founder and CEO, Pete Sayburn, shares his insight into the latest thinking and ways of working that businesses should be looking to deploy in 2017 and how he and the Market Gravity team have successfully been using these techniques to help their clients grow and transform their businesses.

Design sprints

“Sprints as a concept has gained fast traction in both the UK and US since three partners from Google Ventures published, “Sprint: How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days” earlier this year.

Design sprints enable companies to go from an idea to a launch that’s live in customers’ hands in days and weeks, rather than months. Let's say you have a business challenge that needs to be addressed. From experience you know that it will take weeks- if not months- to mobilise the business into action. But instead of creating a massive programme and stretching out the work, you launch a proposition in days. You make decisions quickly and within ten days, you move from idea to prototype. From a prototype you find rapid ways to go live and experiment. You learn from real customers, with real data. This saves your business time and unnecessary cost. And it gives much needed confidence to invest before you scale.

Market Gravity recently worked with Standard Life on 20 day mission-based design sprints which explored ways to increase the retention of one of Standard Life’s customer segments.

Steven Ingledew from Standard Life said, “We wanted to launch a disruptive solution quickly, but one that would have minimal impact on our core technology systems. By using the sprint method introduced to us and run by the team at Market Gravity, we have found one. A small empowered team, or squad as a sprint team is called was brought together to respond to the challenge we’d set, with a constraint that was time boxed. The result of the experiment was the development of The Financial Butler, a new smart chat interface which were able to get in the hands of a small number of customers, in a real environment with real data before scaling it.”

Mission culture and mindsets

“Alongside the sprint technique, organisations need to pursue a mission in 2017, not simply set a scope. They need to adopt a 'mission culture', which focuses on empowering people to make decisions and organises people around a business challenge, with a constraint that’s time-boxed.

This group of people takes on the ‘mission mindset’. The mission mindset enables expedited decisions, not long committee-led debates. Culture should be at the heart of any company's transformational change. It is people who deliver change, not processes.

Mission culture is already driving change and real innovation within the new breed of challenger brands in the financial services market such as Clydesdale Yorkshire Banking Group with their digital banking platform- B, which launched earlier this year.”

Squads

“Simply forming working teams is old hat. The new approach for choosing an effective group that will be charged with achieving a mission within a certain timeframe is “squad”. They aren’t just a team, they’re a squad whose mission it is to deliver the sprint and build a new proposition, without being distracted by their day-today job roles.

Ideally, the squad will be built from a diverse group of people of differing skillsets, genders and diversity. The more diverse the group are, the more likely they are to bring about positive innovation outcomes for the business.

A squad has a high degree of freedom (agility) with the choices they make within the mission. They can make quick decisions and flex the process as much as they need to in order to achieve it and they aren’t constrained by the normal rules of the business.”

Customer co-development

Customer co-development means involving customers at every stage of the journey when creating new propositions. It’s not enough to just generate one set of customer data at the outset for research and insight purposes. We’ve identified that constant communication and partnership with customers brings better results for businesses in the long run.”

It’s about creating the right culture where consumers are at the heart of propositions. The more exposed your customers are to every aspect of the design stage and prototyping, the more likely the project is to succeed when it goes live.

For example, at Market Gravity we did this successfully with AA recently when we asked a selection of customers to keep diaries on behalf of their cars throughout the year. This enabled them us to help their team design a new service informed by a steady stream of live customer data related to their vehicles.

Sandboxing

“Sandboxing is about creating a safe place where you can innovate and create new ideas for your business - without consequences. It gives you the space and environment to create something and experiment. Creating “a sandbox environment” often means physically removing businesses from their office environment or HQ in order to achieve success.

But why sandbox part of your business? Businesses are not always set up to allow for innovation. Or they have the ideas but lack the mindset, speed, skills and environment required to get them out of the door quickly. In addition, there’s an ongoing business to run which can mean there isn’t always internal resource available to work on these types of ideas. That’s where companies like ours come in – we effectively create start-ups within their companies. Sandbox environments that allow us to play, reinvent and re-imagine projects.

Sandboxes are becoming increasingly important in the financial sector as it is subject to frequent regulatory changes. Sandboxing creates am environment for financial services firms in which to play and develop their proposition using customer data.

 

Read about the 10 benefits of sprints here.

 

If you’d like to understand more about these trends and how you can use them to grow your business, get in touch.

peter.sayburn@marketgravity.com


NEWS: Market Gravity predicts business trends for 2017

Technology will continue to be one of the biggest disrupting forces in big business in 2017, with innovations such as Blockchain and robo-advice finally breaking through. In 2016, we saw the time it takes to go from breakthrough technology to mass market application reducing as technology disruptors reshaped big business practice, and this breakneck pace doesn’t show signs of abating as we enter a new year.

Market Gravity's co-founder Gideon Hyde shares his predictions for 2017 and advises what big businesses should be doing to recognise 'tomorrow's business' and ensure they enhance their offerings to stand out in this increasingly competitive marketplace.

Blockchain 

Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen cites Blockchain as “one of the most fundamental inventions in the history of computer science". Put 'simply', Blockchain uses complex cryptography to ensure that financial transactions can be verified and can’t be tampered with, with minimal third party involvement.

Bitcoin is the best known application of Blockchain so far, but its potential extends far beyond digital currencies. The Blockchain process makes error and fraud easier to spot and it can remove the need for a middleman, thereby reducing costs. Indeed, experts say it is set to disrupt every industry where transactions and trust are key.

Robo-advice

An increasing number of businesses are developing and launching Robo-advice services for customers. Robo-advice involves replacing face-to-face advice with online, automated guidance and execution – not from an actual robot, but from an algorithm which engages with customers to create an improved experience. The savings and investment sector, in particular, has adopted this new technology to engage with their customers in a way that adds values and helps create an improved brand experience. Take the Standard Life Financial Butler, for example; an automated chat-based app that provides customers with a new way to explore and interact with their pensions and investments, make changes to their account information and get quick and easy access to Standard Life experts.

Whilst its growing popularity could mean the beginning of the end for traditional face-to-face advice, there is an opportunity for advisers who are willing to consider incorporating these automated services into their offering. Major banks are already beginning to do this by targeting potential customers considering their first steps into financial advice. This low-cost stepping stone can help get customers on side ready for when they may require more comprehensive guidance.

 Chat Bots – the rise of the chat interface

More and more companies are using Chat Bots to hold automated conversations with potential customers to help them make decisions that eventually lead to sales or bookings. The advantages to businesses considering using them are that they are less expensive to produce than apps, they help raise brand awareness and they can save human resourcing costs, effectively replacing the work of customer service agents and personal assistants. The prospect of Bots actually replacing human jobs is still a way off, however. Businesses should look at augmentation rather than replacement.  Bots can help make employees' lives easier by taking away some of the strain but, when enquiries become more complicated, customers will still require the help of a human being.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), also known as 'connected devices’ or ‘smart devices’ has seen new products and services being launched and developed at a fast pace in the past couple of years. The continued development of connected devices, wearable tech and enhanced connectivity means the IoT is progressing into every part of our lives, potentially changing the way we live forever. From smart meters to automated lighting, customers are increasingly embracing these new technologies into their lives. These new, connected technologies are also changing the way we shop. Take, for example, the new megatrend known as 'frictionless retail', which could make wallets, checkouts and queues things of the past. To take advantage of these developments and create new growth opportunities, companies need be open to changing their traditional systems, procedures, processes and ways of communicating. They must embrace technology to maintain a competitive edge, enhance customer experiences and drive business growth. There are a wealth of companies embracing the technology, with further developments expected in the next year within utilities and energy, automotive (connected cars) and retail, as well as consumer electronics.

Voice and motion control interfaces

Recent developments in user interface (UI) - the way human beings interact with a device - are now offering us much more attractive options than a simple keyboard and a mouse.  Take voice recognition technology, for example, Apple's Siri - a personal assistant application designed to work through IOS. And, launched much more recently, Amazon's Echo. Using advanced voice technology, 'Alexa' can tell you the time, deliver news updates, play your music choices, notify you of your day's appointments and much more.

Another emerging UI was first foretold by Tom Cruise in the 2002 sci-fi movie, Minority Report when he was seen donning his magic gloves and gesturing at a screen to manipulate images and datasheets on his computer system. Now motion control, or gesture interface, is actually beginning to show us a future where computer systems will be able to interpret human hand gestures and emotion recognition from the face via mathematical algorithms. Users of the Blippar app will soon be able to scan people’s faces with their smartphone cameras to reveal their personal information as reported in the Evening Standard just this week.

VR and AR

Immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have started to hit the mass market (see Facebook’s Oculus Rift) but the way in which they will affect businesses has yet to evolve. In 2017, the consumer and business content and application of VR and AR will become clearer. VR and AR has huge potential to control a flow of information to the consumer, integrated across mobile, wearable technology and IoT etc. allowing rooms and spaces to connect with consumers, virtual worlds and conversations. It’s possibly one of the most exciting areas to be working in for brands right now.

 

Gideon is one of the co-founders and a partner of Market Gravity and is passionate about creating growth and innovations businesses across the UK and beyond. He is an expert in helping big businesses launch significant new ventures into the marketplace and take them to scale. He led the programmes to develop and grow npower’s home energy services business, to launch B for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group and to design and launch Retiready, Aegon’s digital retirement service.

If you'd like to understand more about these trends and how you can use them to grow your business, get in touch.

gideon.hyde@marketgravity.com


10 benefits of Sprints

You have a business challenge that needs to be addressed quickly. From experience you know that it will take weeks- if not months- to mobilise the business into action. But instead of creating a massive programme and stretching out the work, you launch a proposition in days. You adopt a mission mindset, make decisions quickly and within ten days, you move from idea to prototype. From a prototype you find rapid ways to go live and experiment. You learn from real customers, with real data. This saves your business time and unnecessary cost. And it gives much needed confidence to invest before you scale. What’s more this new way of working starts to change the way you do ‘business-as-usual’ (BAU).

Welcome to the world of sprints, a concept that is gaining traction in both the UK and US since three partners from Google Ventures published, “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”.

We've been using the sprint technique with some of our clients over the last year and these approaches to business challenges have transformed the way we deliver projects and launch new propositions for our clients. For big businesses, sprints bring together the best of both worlds; the tools and ways of working that digital pioneers such Spotify and Google Ventures apply with the scale and deep domain expertise of big companies.

 

10 benefits of Sprints:

1. Reduced costs
Small teams working to tight deadlines minimises investment cost. They simplify decision making and are more likely to deliver real impact versus large big project teams that generate lots of process, governance and PowerPoint presentations.

2. Rapid growth
Organising sprints and small teams around growth opportunities as they present themselves allows businesses to quickly go after new opportunities.

3. Improved team morale
Removing hierarchy and empowering people to get things done creates a feeling that they can affect change in their company, despite how big it is.

4. High productivity
Time boxing responses to business challenges simplifies decision making and focuses the team on an outcome, not a process.

5. High energy levels
As team morale improves, adrenalin kicks in and everybody focuses on getting the job done within the timeframe.

6. Less risk
By creating a culture and environment that enables teams to experiment before- and as they scale- ensures that decision making is informed at all stages by real customer data, not hypothesis.

7. Competitive advantage
As business environments become faster and more uncertain, the ability to mobilise teams of talented people to start and deliver projects quickly is critical. This helps organisations become more resilient.

8. Better outcomes from diversity
The most successful sprint teams embrace diversity. Diversity of culture, experience and expertise. This helps them solve modern, complex challenges.

9. Seed cultural change through delivery
Sprint teams are empowered to define their own working practices and make their own decisions, stripping out layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and reporting that can slow progress down.

10. More agility
Being able to pivot quickly to the challenges of our rapidly changing world is vital. Sprints bring talented and diverse people together to solve problems. Once the challenge has been met, they disperse or kick off the next challenge.

 

Sprints focus on real business challenges- not blue sky thinking- which means that new opportunities and innovations are delivered quickly, refined, validated and tested before they are scaled. We've used sprints to transform ideas into breakthrough propositions at speed whilst unleashing entrepreneurial talent that exists in big companies.

We recently worked with Standard Life on 20-day mission-based sprints which explored ways to increase the retention of one of Standard Life’s customer segments.

Stephen Ingledew from Standard Life said, “We wanted to launch a disruptive solution quickly, but one that would have minimal impact on our core technology systems. By using the sprint method introduced to us and run by the team at Market Gravity, we are able to find one. A small empowered team, or squad as a sprint team is called, was brought together to respond to the challenge we’d set, with a constraint that was time boxed. The result of the experiment was the development of “The Butler”, a new smart chat interface which we were able to get in the hands of a small number of customers, in a real environment with real data before scaling it.”

 

Get in touch if you'd like to talk about how Sprints can work for you!

paul.bowman@marketgravity.com