From idea to reality: interviewing start-ups on Launch Break

The latest Market Gravity podcast is all about the start-up mentality. How do you go from idea to reality? What’s the process behind launching a product, and what do you learn along the way?

Ben and I interviewed Noah Geeves from LIC Frozen Cocktails and Edward Tweddle from Flint Watches to hear how they started their respective companies. Their stories are similar: ideas sparked by recognising a need for something that they didn’t feel existed. (Listen to the full interview on the podcast here

 

LIC Frozen Cocktails was born from a complaint by Noah’s co-founder’s Mum. She was wondering why she couldn’t buy a frozen cocktail whilst on the beach. On returning home, Harry told Noah (both have backgrounds in Chemical & Electrical engineering) and they started from there. Ed’s company Flint Watches was sparked by a vintage Fossil watch found in a charity shop, which got him thinking about ways to bring new materials into the watch market.

How on earth do you go from an idea in your head, to a real product on the shelves of Sainsbury’s or being sold online I hear you ask. Each founder had a slightly different approach, but both reinforce the idea of continuously learning at every stage.

 

“We have a bit of a process around it…we’ll say ‘what is the end goal’? And we will sequentially work back one step at a time…essentially you break it down and break it down into tiny problems and then just knock them out the park one at a time – that’s the theory anyway” says Noah with an easy confidence.

 

Ed’s process was more organic – “when we release a product now it’s different to how it first happened” he said.  “The first product was a learning curve, and it took a lot longer than we expected to bring that to market. We learnt everything we needed to know in order to release products in future…and I don’t think we would have learned that without going through that process.”

In order to learn, Flint Watches tested with customer focus groups to understand what they wanted from a premium watch brand. LIC Frozen Cocktails tested with family and friends before heading separately to two events determined to sell all the stock they had – with the belief that if they managed to sell it, they had a good product.

 

Ed’s determination was similar, driven by a passion for watches and wanting to create something that incorporated his passion for art and design. “There wasn’t anything out there that was really an artistic product” he says. However, passion alone wasn’t enough – it sounds as though getting the product out there was difficult at first: there were issues with their supply chain and their grass-roots, low budget approach led to complications.

“In order to produce a product and set up a company from a low budget, you need to take time, and it’s going to take you building relationships” says Ed.

Noah agrees wholeheartedly, “if suppliers don’t feel like stakeholders [in the business] they won’t work for you and they won’t invest.” Both founders impress strongly that neither company would be where they are today without the difficulties and everything they learned along the way.

Both founders have a can-do attitude – something that seems to be a pre-requisite if you’re starting your own company. We asked them their final piece of advice for fellow start-ups:

 

Noah: “Throw yourself in, reach out to people and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t need to be solving the biggest problem in the world but, so long as you’re providing a better solution to someone’s problem, there will be someone who will want it. The next job is to get it in front of them!”

 

Edward: “Don’t replicate the winning components of all your competitors, as it will weaken your brand. Build a clear identity around your products, without overcomplicating your messaging.”

Find Flint Watches here or on social @flintwatches (Twitter and Instagram)

 

Find LIC Frozen Cocktails here or @havealic (Twitter and Instagram)


BREAKFAST EVENT: GO LIVE. How to launch a venture

Launching a venture may not put lives in danger, but innovation teams may feel like this at times....

 

"When you're getting ready to launch into space, you're sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen.” Sally Ride, American Astronaut

It's exciting. The days, hours and minutes leading up to launch speed by…and there’s always the underlying possibility of things not quite going according to plan.

So how do you go live and avoid venture death?

Join us at this informal breakfast event at the Market Gravity 'Arches' and you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the challenges you’re facing, and gain valuable insight on how to navigate them. You’ll hear from our community experts including Neil Hinwood, new ventures lead from Unite Students, Sam Flynn, senior business transformation and strategy business manager from HSBC and Alan Ferguson, product operations and technology director for the AA. Neil and his team have recently launched ‘Conker’ and navigated the challenges of working as an entrepreneur from within a big business. Sam and team created open banking app 'artha' in collaboration with fintech startup Bud. And Alan and his team created Car Genie, a connected car solution - one of the first consumer led offerings in the telematics space.


The Market Gravity team will share their experience and knowledge on how to get your ventures live having worked across various sectors and with big business like HSBC, Automobile Association, Boots, Visa and British Gas.

Are you ready to go live and join us?!

If you're working within an innovation team, leading or sponsoring one for a big business - this event is for you.

It's really important we maintain the integrity of our corporate entrepreneur community so this event is for industry personnel and not for consultants or consulting firms.

 

RESISTER HERE!

 


AGENDA

08:00 Arrivals and coffee warm ups!

08:30 Intros | How to spot the six causes of venture death

08:45 Go Live discussion | Experimenting, the methodology | Measuring success & reporting | Successful venture leadership | Building the right team

09:30 Award winning launches

09:35 Networking

10:00 See you soon

The team look forward to welcoming you!!


Celebrating the best in corporate innovation at the CEA 2017

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, The AA, British Gas, ŠKODA, Ageas and rradar scoop CEA awards in what has been another incredible year of corporate innovation!

Market Gravity has announced the winners of the eighth annual CEA (Corporate Entrepreneur Awards) - the only event celebrating corporate innovation and corporate entrepreneurs, the individuals and teams behind the ideas remarking that “Science fiction is becoming science fact. It is the large, established businesses that are leading the way”.

The proposition design consultancy opened the nominations and voting out to the corporate entrepreneur community with shortlisted entries from big businesses in sectors such as retail, fintech, healthcare, telecoms, media, non-profit, banking, automotive, utilities, legal and wider technology which were then judged by an independent judging panel. Innovations needed to meet criteria such as differentiation, customer focus and demonstrable impact – both in the market and within the organisation.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank scooped the top award for Best New Proposition for Studio B. Studio B brings together an in-branch open innovation lab (the first bank in the world to do so), a digitally led branch, and events space to create an exciting, engaging environment. It’s doubled B’s brand awareness in London, attracted the attention of global businesses and visitors and has been shortlisted for design awards. Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank also scooped the Innovators' Choice award for Studio B which was voted for by guests on the night.

Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank - 1st Place winners of the CEA 2017 Best New Proposition & Innovators' Choice awards for Studio B

Second place was awarded to The AA for Car Genie which was launched exclusively to AA members this year. From helping to prevent breakdowns to tracking the location of a customer’s car, this engaging multipurpose connected car solution is helping to engage customers and staff alike. And it can be set up by the customer in their specific vehicle, in under one minute.

The AA team - CEA 2017 2nd place winners of the Best New Proposition for Car Genie

Third place was awarded to the Local Heroes team from British Gas. Local Heroes offers jobs completed in the home; booked within 30 seconds online and backed by a 12 month British Gas guarantee. Since launch it has consistently achieved a Net Promoter Score in the 80s and bought 30,000 new-to-brand customers into the British Gas eco-system.

British Gas Local Heroes - 3rd place CEA 2017 winners for Best New Proposition for Local Heroes

Three brands also achieved a huge number of peer votes and a strong response from the judging panel and were Highly Commended. These were:

ŠKODA for ŠKODA Live Tour which connects customers through live video streaming to a Live Tour showroom, where a Product Host uses a mixture of cameras to showcase ŠKODA cars in HD detail is on-hand to answer questions.

ŠKODA - Highly Commended at the CEA 2017 for ŠKODA Live Tour

Ageas for Elastic – a more flexible home insurance that fits with people’s lives. Just like the Netflix of home insurance, it just keeps rolling on a monthly basis. You don’t get tied into an annual contract and can choose monthly price plans.

Ageas - Highly Commended at the CEA 2017 for Elastic

rradar for rradargrace and rradarstation - a virtual assistant, powered by AI and machine learning, that provides simple answers to complex legal and HR questions. 60,000 businesses can now access rradar’s 24/7 and unlimited risk management advice and business protection for Legal, HR, Claims and Regulatory Investigations.

rradar - Highly Commended at the CEA 2017 for rradarstation and rradargrace

It’s been an incredible year of innovation.

In the past 12 months both Amazon and Google helped us talk to our homes. Dyson and Volvo announced their commitment to electric cars. And marking the tenth anniversary of the original, Apple released the iPhone Ten.

Peter Sayburn, CEO and founding partner for Market Gravity, says: “Bigger and better than ever, the CEAs have steadily become THE event for big company innovation. Everyone that enters the awards and guests that join us at the CEA party truly represent the pinnacle of corporate entrepreneurship”.

“We started this event eight years ago with a clear purpose. That purpose still makes sense today. We believe in the positive power of entrepreneurship. And we believe that entrepreneurship is alive and well in established organisations, as well as start-ups. So good to see that our previous year’s winners too are going from strength to strength, a few of which joined us at the event tonight”.

“2017 has been a big year for Market Gravity! We now have over 60 people in our five locations around the world. We helped our fantastic clients to design and launch dozens of new propositions for their customers. And in June this year, in recognition of our amazing team and the great work that we have done together, we because part of Deloitte - the world’s leading professional services business”.

 

The CEA is a showcase of the best in big company innovation and they recognise the incredible commitment and achievement of the teams that deliver it. The people behind the ideas.

The award ceremony took place on 23rd November 2017 at the Design Museum, London with over 300 of Europe’s most creative, disruptive and entrepreneurial business leaders from over 100 brands attending the unique event.

You can find out more details about the CEAs and how to enter at www.corporateentrepreneurawards.com.

 


We do!

We know how much work it takes to create and launch a new proposition. And that’s why each year we take time to celebrate and recognise the best in big business innovation at the Market Gravity Corporate Entrepreneur Awards (CEA).

This Thursday, the 23rd November 2017, over 300 corporate innovators from over 100 of the world’s biggest brands will gather at the Design Museum, London for the 8th annual Market Gravity Corporate Entrepreneur Awards (CEA) party.

Here’s a taste of what’s to come on the night!

The Awards presentation

This year’s nominations came from a range of industry sectors including energy, healthcare, non-profit, financial services, telecoms and media. The CEA winners have been decided through a combination of public voting and our independent judging panel, and will be revealed on stage at 8.15pm! Preview all the nominees here.

Innovators’ Choice Award

All our 2017 nominees have a chance to win the Innovators’ Choice Award! Guests can cast their votes from 7-8pm on the night.

MG Hammertime

Guests can come and chat to the Market Gravity team in the MG Hammertime area about innovation, and how to inject an entrepreneurial spirit into big businesses innovation projects. There’s also a chance for guests to have their photo taken on the largest hammer ever to have graced the Design Museum!

Deloitte Digital TechZone – Building the Future of Experience

There’s a new TechZone to be explored this year where the possibilities of the latest tech and its impact on business will come alive! Guests will discover the future of an immersive and enhanced experience through Deloitte Digital’s emerging technology and trend showcases.

The ‘Connected Industry’ space showcases the possibilities of Industry 4.0 manufacturing sensors including automation, RFiD, robotics, artificial intelligence, sensors, data analytics, sharing economy and blockchain, that are now impacting organisations both across their end to end supply chains and within their factories.

The Connected Supply Chain is an industry agnostic demonstrator that every business can relate to. Guests will see the stages of the supply chain represented by physical assets that come to life throughout the journey. Interact with key challenges and statistics impacting each stage of the supply chain, and join the conversation around industry leading case studies.

The ‘Smart Spaces’ demonstration showcases the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and an increasingly connected world by utilising live data of the surrounding environment. Track people traffic, movement of products and use data to enhance decision making and experience journeys with emerging technologies.

Through the ‘Augmented Human’ guests will discover how new technologies are blurring the boundaries of our physical and digital worlds… guests will be challenged to beat the clock and save the day with smart tech prizes up for grabs!

 

And of course there will be plenty of chance to chat, make new connections, eat and drink in our fantastic venue - the Design Museum!

 

Stay in touch and join in the conversation:

@MG_CEAs
#CEA2017
cea@marketgravity.com

 

Checkout the highlights video from the CEA 2016 below!


Meet the CEA 2017 Judges

The Market Gravity Corporate Entrepreneur Awards 2017 (CEA) is nearly here! On the 23rd November c. 300 guests from some of the world's largest global brands such as Vodafone, Jaguar Land Rover, Talk Talk, Bupa, Carlsberg, Cisco and HSBC will join us for an evening that recognises the people and teams behind some of the world’s best innovation. From breakthrough new products and services, to standout new ventures and businesses, CEA is an event like no other.

This year, the CEA winners are selected by a combination of public votes and an independent judging panel, formed of academics, practitioners and pioneers who we're excited to introduce below!

Amelia Kallman
Futurist, Consultant, Speaker

As an innovation and technology communicator, Amelia regularly writes and speaks on the future of business and brand experiences. Curator of international tech labs and exhibitions, she works with start-ups and corporate clients to make connections and future-proof strategies. She has lectured at Cambridge University, written an award-winning book, and directed the first burlesque show in Virtual Reality. Her writing is often featured in IBC365, WIRED UK, The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Fresh Business Thinking.

www.ameliakallman.com @AmeliaKallman

Iain Gibbons
Futures Director, Thomas Cook

Iain has extensive innovation and creative change experience. He began his career in advertising, becoming Managing Director of McCann-Erickson in 1999 where he developed the Bentley Knowledge Bank program. He then founded Mobious, a multi award winning digital marketing agency where he worked with brands such as Carling, Sky, Ladbrokes, Sage and Virgin. After selling Mobious in 2013 Iain joined the senior leadership team of Virgin Money as Customer Proposition Director where he led the development of the award winning Mortgage Lab. He is currently Futures Director for Thomas Cook Money, leading on innovation across finance and insurance for the business.

Dr. Muhammad Azam Roomi
Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Growth; Vice Dean of Faculty, Research and Executive Education at the Prince Muhammad bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC).

Dr. Roomi is a passionate “entrepreneurial mindset activator” and has successfully conceptualised, designed, and conducted training and development programs for entrepreneurship development and business growth for over 50 global clients. He has consulted for national governments including the UK, Qatar, Oman, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Honduras: for multilateral development agencies, and a range of private commercial organisations. His innovative teaching and capacity building pedagogies have earned him global recognition. Being the recipient of several international teaching and research awards, he is a recognised thought leader and prize-winning author in his field of practice.

Alex Marsh
Managing Director, Close Brothers Retail Finance

Alex Marsh is an inquisitive and passionate intrapreneur and business leader, with a proven track record across multiple disciplines of developing and executing strategies that deliver rapid yet sustainable transformation and growth. He is currently the Managing Director of Close Brothers Retail Finance, a fast growing and multi-award winning consumer finance business that helps specialist retailers unlock growth. Outside of work, Alex is passionate about encouraging education and development for young people, acting as a Chair of Governors for a large comprehensive secondary school in his home town of Brighton, mentoring both individuals and teams, and volunteers for a number of charities that support education. He also enjoys long-distance running and recently led a team to complete a 100km ultra-marathon for charity.

Joe Norburn
Head of Digital, Innovation, Business & Client Experience, Development, Coutts.

Joe joined Coutts in October 2011. He is the Head of Digital, Innovation, Business Development and Client Experience and a member of the Executive Committee. Joe has worked in banking and security for the online environment for more than 20 years, and has previously held a number of digital roles within RBS. Prior to Coutts, Joe spent five years as Managing Director for EMEA & Asia Pacific and as Global Head of Customer Relationships at IdenTrust. Joe holds an MBA and is married with two daughters.

 

Danielle Winandy
Head of RISK Innovation Office chez BNP Paribas

Danielle is a serial intrapreneur, with an experience of 10 years on Financial Services and eight years on innovation. She put in place Gate4 (an internal crowdfunding/sourcing platform for intrapreneurs), Lumen (a collective with other external companies to create a real status for the intrapreneurs (they are creating new laws about this topic in the French Market), and the intellectual property around intrapreneurs. She created Innovation Factory @ Securities Services. Last but not least, Danielle is certified on Disruption Strategy by Harvard Business School.

 

If you're a big business innovator and corporate entrepreneur, and would like to join us at the CEA party on the 23rd November at the Design Museum, please email fiona.elkins@marketgravity.com to request your ticket and for more information.

Visit corporateentrepreneurawards.com for further info about the CEA.


open banking

Open banking disruption and SMEs – where to next… for traditional banks?

Small and medium business owners are desperate for the disruptive changes which open banking will deliver - even if most don't know they are coming yet. Banks should think about how to turn open banking from a challenge into an opportunity. One way to address key business customer needs is by opening a “data dialogue” with them now, before others own this conversation.

Established banks are facing a perfect storm

Technological innovation and regulatory changes are lowering the entry barrier for financial services companies. Nimble newcomers are no longer held back by stringent compliance and banking license requirements. They are also not encumbered with huge infrastructure costs. They can deliver the modern, easy, personalised, and integrated service that retail – and particularly business – customers have not been getting. SME owners are increasingly frustrated with the contrast between their financial experiences as individuals and as businesspeople.

Customers worldwide are increasingly open to receiving financial services from non-banks. Look at PayPal, Apple Pay, TransferWise. Even the mobile payments revolution in Africa, which bypasses the traditional banking relationship. Now the upcoming EU PSD2 open banking regulations will compel banks to let in third parties via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). They will have access to customers’ account information, and will be able to make payments on their behalf. Suddenly a traditional bank looks like a bland money safe. And customers cherry-pick providers who offer them delightful experiences around their finances, that are just the right fit.

The UK Government is happy to speed up these changes. The Competition and Markets Authority is introducing reforms to force more competition into small business banking. It wants to address low rates of bank switching and product comparison. Nesta – a UK innovation foundation – is running the Open Up Challenge. It’s a contest for fintechs to take advantage of the transparency and healthy competition PSD2 will enable. Their mission is to transform how small businesses “discover, access and use business-critical financial services”. Crucially, five large UK banks are contributing to a customer data sandbox which entrants can use to test their technology. Such participation is very encouraging, but it also looks like a slight case of “being made to play nicely”…

Banks were slow to understand and respond to business customers’ needs

The rapid pace of technological and regulatory change left banks alarmed about being lapped by competition that didn’t even exist ten years ago, and struggling to decide on the best way forward.

Another reason to worry is that fintech newcomers have really listened to customers, and are addressing their main banking issues. Traditional banks have either not been listening, or listened but for various reasons haven’t done enough about it in time.

I recently heard a great webinar on business banking disruption. The panel participants included Sigridur Sigurdardottir (Chief Customer and Innovation Officer at Santander UK), Pete Steger (Head of Business Development at Kabbage), Luka Ivicevic (Co-founder and Head of Growth at SME-focused bank Penta), and George Bevis (Founder and CEO at SME-focused bank Tide).

Several interesting UK challenger banks were discussed. They all had one thing in common. They’re solving key small business banking frustrations that I’ve heard from Dublin to Hong Kong:

  • “My bank doesn’t know me and my business. They waste hours of my time, and can’t offer relevant financial support”. CivilisedBank has an elegant solution – a fluid network of “local bankers”. This replaces branches and relationship managers (who are only available to larger businesses anyway). It says: “business banking happens where you do business. Our Local Bankers come to you. You’ll always speak to someone you know - your personal banker or their support team”. This kind of thing is what can get SMEs to consider switching banks.
  • “Computer says No” decisions. SMEs feel hamstrung by banks’ inability to accurately judge their creditworthiness. They find that banks are unwilling to take a chance on their potential, and make rigid decisions based on sometimes limited history. Oaknorth describes itself as “the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs”. One of its key promises is a dialogue between entrepreneur and lending decision maker. This avoids categorical yes/no decisions read off computer screens.
  • “I can’t plan because I can’t get quick decisions from my bank”. Oaknorth is focussed on continuity of lending. It’s one of the main reasons SMEs are afraid to switch banks. It’s also why they are drawn to venture capital investors who are seen as more committed. CivilisedBank promises to “run in real-time [so] you and the bank access up-to-date information for faster, better decisions”.
  • “I wear many hats in my business, and need to feel in control of everything – but there isn’t enough time for all my responsibilities”. Coconut is a bank account for freelancers and the self-employed. It “works out your taxes, tracks your expenses and helps you get paid on time”. This is a good call in light of the huge increase in UK sole-trader businesses. It’s fuelling demand for integrated services, allowing one person or a small team to run a small business more efficiently.
  • “I get nothing back for my loyalty to my bank”. I’ve heard from many SMEs that while they consider themselves loyal to their bank, they don’t feel it’s reciprocated. Lintel is a digital bank which differentiates itself on ethics and rewarding loyalty. Its customers will receive a bonus based on average account balances.
  • “Personal banking is dead”. Here I see a generational divide. Established SMEs do mourn the almost-extinct local bank manager who knew them by name. Younger ones have rarely known one. They are realistic, even cynical, about their mostly transactional “relationship” with their bank. The webinar panel discussed whether entrepreneurs will stop caring about “personal banking” completely, and value speed and efficiency above all. I personally doubt this. It’s true that saving time on admin gives entrepreneurs more for doing what they are good at, and enjoy most. But there is a risk with fully automating banking. Especially those aspects involving some discretion, faith, and relationship building - like lending. It could make banking convenient most of the time, thanks to apps and snazzy UIs, but even more frustratingly impersonal when it’s the last thing an SME owner needs. CivilisedBank’s Local Bankers are a response to this. And Sigridur Sigurdardottir stresses that SME customers should always be able to pick up the phone and talk to Santander!

Will banks out-fintech fintechs?

Currently banks – established and new – are pursuing several (related) ways to keep up with the competition:

  • Opening themselves up to “plug-in” services via APIs. Penta has embraced this. It’s aiming for an open platform to “enable creative app writers, for customers to benefit from great services”. Mobile-only bank N26 is creating a bolt-on ecosystem which is already looking beyond core financial services, to insurance and lifestyle.
  • Full partnerships. Santander has partnered with Kabbage to provide its SME lending in the UK. Santander chose to partner with a fintech delivering excellent customer experience in a particular area. Kabbage partnered with an established bank to benefit from its brand recognition and trust. Barclays is opening Rise, a huge co-working space to “match fintechs with business challenges we we face as an incumbent bank”. Market Gravity is currently helping another global bank implement similar partnerships as part of our work on its business banking proposition.
  • New digital banking platforms, allowing banks to do creative things with customer data, including through APIs. Monzo built its own platform. Atom Bank partnered with FIS. Market Gravity is helping 10X create a universal platform, built on open banking principles. It will allow banks to deliver very personalised financial experiences to their customers.

A potentially disruptive threat is from non-FS service providers already engaged with SMEs and doing something really well. “Could Xero apply for a banking license, or partner with Kabbage?”, asks Luka Ivicevic from Penta. This could create a one-stop-shop for banking, lending and business / financial admin – making banks less relevant. Watch this space… In my own research I see accountants pushing their SME clients towards cloud packages like Xero. These allow them to keep a closer eye on clients’ finances and to act as an adviser. Accountants have SMEs’ ears, and I can easily see them recommending “Xero Bank”.

It’s not yet clear whether banks will be strengthened by the rush to collaborate with fintechs, or fade into the background. They could become difficult to tell apart, and lose their grasp on the customer relationship. What is the right thing for a bank to do? Become an app store and allow a universe of fintechs to plug in and serve any customer need imaginable? Pursue tactical partnerships to become best-in-class for certain customer types? Rebuild themselves on top of a new banking platform? Or just serve as the “plumbing” infrastructure in some completely new banking environment?

Banks should open a “data dialogue” with business customers

Customer data underpins all these new conversations about the future of banking. George Bevis from Tide sees the very definition of banking changing to acknowledge that it constitutes a huge “data hub” of any business. I believe that there will be a rise in data processing platforms which will enable SMEs to glean insights from all the data they generate, helping their growth. All sorts of interesting data sources will also be coming into play. This is happening already – Kabbage makes lending decisions by using customer data which Santander can’t.  However, there are still important legal questions to resolve. Who owns the data – customer or bank – and who can access it? Pete Steger from Kabbage points out that this is a hot issue in the US – so we may be leading the way with PSD2 in Europe.

I think more banks will take steps in the right direction by opening  a “data dialogue” with their SME customers. This will give both parties real-time awareness of a company’s cash flow and banking behaviours – and of how these affect its credit score and borrowing options. Businesses could be guided towards optimal financial health. They should be better able to quickly secure credit that suits their needs. Market Gravity and a major Irish bank recently developed an SME working capital proposition based on this thinking.

Open banking is a challenge and an opportunity for traditional banks

Now is a crucial time for banks to formulate a clear strategy to survive and thrive in the new world of open banking. How to take advantage of the best of what’s already out there, and upcoming changes? How to reflect their own unique strengths and identity?

And above all – how to understand customers’ changing needs and expectations, and translate it all into products and services that result in delightful, long-term engagement?

Open banking is an opportunity for a long overdue reset of established banks’ relationship with their customers. A client with their eyes firmly set on this opportunity recently told me: “We want to be the most-loved bank in the UK.” Are you aiming this high?

 

Igor Zakhleniuk, Insight Lead, Market Gravity

Market Gravity partners with the most ambitious companies across Europe, Americas and Asia to create and launch breakthrough propositions that make their customers’ lives better.

Get in touch with me at igor.zakhleniuk@marketgravity.com to talk about where your company wants to go next.


Joining forces with London Tech Week Academy to launch mini-MBA

We are delighted to be working in partnership with London Tech Week as it launches its first Academy. The London Tech Week Academy offers a series of unique learning experiences bringing the best and brightest talent to London.

Running from 12th to 16th June, with a focus on innovation in the digital age, London Tech Week Academy will be held at the Academy by Google. Up to 60 individuals from different backgrounds including product, digital, marketing and finance will join a corporate innovation journey going from Post-it® to prototype. The journey will culminate in a pitch to an expert panel.

This ground-breaking new programme, aimed at attracting the brightest and best talent in the UK and globally, will help executives unlock and commercialise digital innovation. Market Gravity co-founder and CEO Peter Sayburn co-created the programme with London Tech Week Academy. And Peter will also lead and facilitate the innovation curriculum, which will allow participants to take corporate innovation frameworks and capabilities back to their organisations.

The learning experience is for individuals with the drive and ambition to move their careers to the next level and help change and drive how their organisation innovates. Employers can sign up executives and high potentials to take part in the experiential learning programme. The programme goes through the innovation process focusing on four types of activities: learning, experiencing, engaging and delivering. Participants can also access exclusive TechXLR8 events, which showcase the latest technology. And they also have the opportunity to meet leading tech experts and innovation strategists.

Peter said: “It’s a fantastic honour for us to be delivering the Innovation mini-MBA together with the team at London Tech Week Academy. We look forward to welcoming innovators working within large and medium business from all sectors. It’s a unique opportunity for executives with between five to 15 years’ experience, as well as their employers, to access insights into delivering innovation within the workplace.

“Innovation is bringing new and exciting opportunities to businesses and now is the time to embrace the technology available and implement new ways of working. London Tech Week’s Academy is the ideal platform for executives looking to learn more about innovation processes first hand.”

Fionnuala Duggan, Director of the London Tech Week Academy added: “This is the first time we’re including an Academy element as part of London Tech Week. Market Gravity was the ideal partner for this immersive and engaging programme, thanks to the team’s deep expertise and experience of innovation within big businesses. We're looking forward to seeing participants engage with tech leaders and innovators at the different events happening throughout the week."

London Tech Week Academy will run three core programmes during London Tech Week:

  • A bespoke one or two-day C-Suite Digital Disruption and Innovation Immersion for senior management groups within a specific organisation, aimed at experiencing and understanding rising technology in action
  • A five-day Innovation Mini-MBA aimed at helping participants learn and practice how to unlock and commercialise digital innovation
  • A one-day digital marketing fast-track running each day from 12th to 16th June for individuals wanting to learn about all the digital marketing tools available today and trends to look out for this year.

Applications for the mini-MBA are open now. To find out more about London Tech Week and to register for the Innovation Mini-MBA, visit https://tmt.knect365.com/londontechweek-innovation-mba .

London Tech Week 2017 will be organised by founding partners, KNect365, London & Partners and Tech London Advocates, with support from strategic partners Tech City UK, ExCeL London, DIT and techUK. More information on can be found https://londontechweek.com/


The 'Secret Sauce' entrepreneur series: Dirty Baps

When Market Gravity recruit new team members, we look for an entrepreneurial spirit. The ability to inject entrepreneurialism into projects is at the heart of what we do to help big businesses create new, successful propositions. It’s this ‘secret sauce’ that makes us different to other innovation and proposition design consultancies.

Many of the team at Market Gravity are entrepreneurs. They’ve started their own businesses outside of Market Gravity – something we advocate and actively look for. Our entrepreneurs know the work it takes to get something off the ground. They are passionate about ideas in the same way our clients are passionate about theirs. And they’re able to draw on their experiences when working together to create new products and services.

And because we love to share, celebrate and support our teams’ entrepreneurial passions, we’ve created a series of blogs about them. This month we chatted to Sheena Campbell our Office Manager about a start-up she helped create and launch – Dirty Baps.

Sheena and Oz working their Peckham market stall

Hi Sheena. What does your startup do?

Dirty Baps is part of the street food wave in London. Selling outrageously tasty breakfast sandwiches from good quality ingredients at a reasonable price. Let’s face it we all like to indulge at the weekend and stop counting calories. We have sold at a few Markets across London; Hoxton Street, Brick Lane and currently pitched at Peckham Square. http://www.dirtybaps.com

Dirty Baps comes in four mouthwatering varieties

Where did the idea come from?

The ideas man behind it all is Oz. He visited L.A a lot for work over the last few years and sampled a lot of the local food trucks and breakfast spots. One which stood out to him was EggSlut. At the heart of the L.A food scene Oz upholds they do the best breakfast sandwich in existence (apart from Dirty Baps of course).  A breakfast bap is sometimes a lost concept in the UK with little choice between a greasy spoon or expensive brunch spot. With his love of food and passion to start his own business, Dirty Baps was born.

Dirty Baps is about making breakfast classics even better with unique sauces and ingredient combos. Let’s face it, we all like to indulge at the weekend and stop counting calories. We try to keep our margins as low as possible but never cut on quality. Ingredients are sourced mainly from the Ginger Pig farm, local brioche bakers, and cooked to order for only £5!

As Oz’s partner, I naturally got involved with helping him start his journey to break into the street food scene in London. I try to get stuck is as much a possible, from working on the stall every Saturday to creating a digital media campaign and the odd bit of accounting.

 

Where did the name Dirty Baps come from?

The name Dirty Baps of course conjures up a mental image far from breakfast sandwiches. We wanted the name to be memorable, something which would make people smile. It’s a light-hearted pun on the product. The breakfast baps are dirty; we make them with runny eggs and melted cheese in a brioche bap. We must spend half our profit on napkin stocks as you need a lot of them when eating one!

 

Dirty Baps are all made with top quality, locally-sourced ingredients

 

What did you find most rewarding about the experience?

There’s always that feeling you get when you make your first sale and suddenly it all becomes real you’re selling your own product. For me though it must be the feeling that comes when we sell out! In our first week in Peckham, we sold out within three hours and ended up turning away so many customers. It was an incredible feeling we were both overwhelmed with how well it went and Dirty Baps seems to go from strength to strength each week. It’s that feeling which makes it all worthwhile.

 

What was most challenging?

There are a lot of challenges which we have come up against – from finding somewhere to trade, to setting ourselves up to work every weekend. For me, it’s learning that less is more. We have gone through so many iterations of the brand, stall design and product. It takes a long time and many hits and misses before you settle on something you’re happy with.

 

Funniest anecdote?

The name does create a lot of buzz with customers. Someone will walk past and ask for a picture under the sign because they find it so funny. The best one had to be a lady in her 70s – she couldn’t stop laughing and had us take a photo of her under the sign to show her husband. I have this image of her showing friends the picture over a glass of wine and having a giggle. I love that it made someone laugh, the name is definitely memorable!

Hungry punters arriving at the Dirty Baps stall

 

How has your experience helped you at Market Gravity?

When you start a business and you must learn it all yourself, build your website, create a digital media campaign, manage a budget, business accounting, juggle third party relationships. Some are part and parcel for me in my job but others are new and have given be confidence to add value to Market Gravity through those skills, like Marketing for instance. My role as Office Manager has always been a varied one but now I can contribute so much more from having first-hand experience with my own business.

 

 

If you’d like to talk over any ideas that you have for launching a new proposition, or how to overcome innovation challenges you’re facing- get in touch.

Sheena.campbell@martketgravity.com

Find Sheena on LinkedIn


Women in Innovation - driving growth through gender diversity

JOIN US: Women in Innovation networking event on Thursday 15th September.

Innovation is a hot topic. Industries are being disrupted, start-ups are eating away at your business model and the average company these days lasts about a third of the lifespan of 50 years ago. Consequently, there is plenty of thinking and advice out there around different methods and approaches to drive innovation; from design-led thinking to co-creation and agile development.

But how important is diversity in driving innovation, and specifically gender diversity? What can women bring to the table and why are they still under-represented in this space? Should companies do more to attract, develop and retain female innovation talent, and if so, how?

We will be exploring and debating these questions at our Women in Innovation networking event on Thursday 15th September, being held in our central London office, from 5-7pm.

During the evening, we will share our research findings on the topic, having interviewed a number of leading women and men working in innovation. This will be followed by a panel debate, facilitated by the writer and entrepreneur Polly Courtney with leading figures from the field of diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation, including:

  • Suzy Levy, Managing Director, The Red Plate
  • Moran Lerner, CEO, Chirp
  • Alison Hands, Director of New Customer Proposition Development, Boots
  • Jo Towers, Director of Strategy & Planning, Payments and Cash Mgmt, HSBC
  • Rakhi Rajani, Global Director, Customer Experience and Design, Travelex
  • Kaisie Rayner, Head of Strategy & Investment Development, Aegon UK

After this, you will have an opportunity to network with colleagues (men and women) from across sectors over nibbles and drinks, as well as explore a jewellery trunk show from Stella & Dot - an inc 500 fastest growing company based out of San Francisco and a social selling venture that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women.

For more information and to request your place at the event, please contact Heidi O'Leary - heidi.oleary@marketgravity.com

Header courtesy of wocintechchat.com.


Contactless is killing savings

It’s time to introduce some pain into payments

The best new business propositions we develop hang off an unresolved tension between opposing needs or desires.  “I want a girlfriend but I can’t be bothered to leave my sofa” – hello Tinder.

In banking, customers have a pressing need to save money, but are constantly presented with easier ways to spend it. UK contactless transactions per month trebled in 2015. Yet customers tell us that contactless makes them feel out of control. They miss the time they had to hand over hard cash. But what’s the difference? It’s all money isn’t it?

Well, no. Contactless removes a ‘decision point’, where the customer has to stop and think about whether this is money they should save or spend. So how can you insert more ‘decision points’ in retail banking to help the customer save, without affecting convenience?  You could give customer electric shocks each time they’re faced with the temptation to spend money – that’s what first direct’s savezap does.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIxYUKzZwe8

Well it was a good April Fool’s gag…

But here are a few ways you might really approach it:

Split up big sums of money into smaller lumps which consumers can relate to. Or partitioning, in behavioural economics. This Wired article describes how, when people are obliged to open several smaller packets of crackers rather than eat from one large bag, they generally eat fewer crackers. They have to stop and think before they open each new bag. In banking, seeing the split of spend by category follows the same principle: tell someone they’ve spent all of the salary this month and they’ll most likely shrug. Tell them they have spent 25% of it improving their castle defences in Clash of Clans, and they are more likely to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror.

Make small sums seem as important as big sums. Yes, the old adage of ‘look after the pennies’ is very true. Fact is few people do it. Behavioural economics tells us we are less likely to save small amounts like a £10 scratchcard winning than bigger ticket items like a 10% end of year bonus. But that £10 is money which can be saved – the customer needs help to understand that. Like tracking daily progress towards a pre-established savings goal. That £10 might make all the difference to a daily goal.

Minimise the mental separation between purchase and payment. Credit cards separate the joy of a new purchase from the pain of having to remove money from your bank account – often causing horrors at the end of the month. The new move towards ‘predictive’ banking (as touted by Atom) is starting to tackle exactly that problem: showing you how spending behaviour today will affect your future balance (like the amount of interest you’ll earn).

Give customers a chance to think twice. Pension reform now gives customers the freedom to spend a proportion of their pension early. ‘Cooling-off periods’ are proven to reduce projection bias (the thing which convinces you ‘my future self will want this Ferrari just as much as I do now’). One of our clients, Standard Life, has introduced a 2-step process, whereby there is a week’s gap between the first call and completion of the withdrawal. In the interim, Standard Life can provide information on all of the implications of withdrawing, such as the impact on future income.

Try it. A little pain can sometimes be a good thing.

Market Gravity can help you turn an idea into a breakthrough proposition.

Get in touch with Andrew to find out how.

andrew.cowley@marketgravity.com