The 'Secret Sauce' entrepreneur series: Admoor

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 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 Sonia Byun one of our Consultants in New York about a start-up she helped create and launch – Admoor.

 

Hi Sonia. What did your startup do?

Admoor offers an online tool which small businesses can design and purchase the outdoor ad units.

Times square, New York. Photo sourced from unsplash.com

Where did the idea come from?

I used to work in an advertising agency and saw that media buying for outdoor units is very difficult for small business. The reason is that the process of media buying is not transparent and requires a lot of industry knowledge to execute as a small business. However, people in general remember messages on outdoor ads 20% better than those on online ads. My team thought that we should create a tool that helps small business can utilize outdoor ad units.

 

What did you find most rewarding about the experience?

We got funding! Our team did many pitches in front of a variety of audience. We have pitched the idea during a seed fund event with more than 200 people, and have pitched in front of private investors as well. What is very rewarding is when the audience asks relevant questions, compliments on the idea, and sees the potential of the business. Receiving a fund is great because it shows confidence in our business and the team!

 

What was most challenging?

Most outdoor ad units/real estates are owned by a few media companies such as JC Decaux or CBS channels, and without an established relationship it is very difficult to navigate this oligopoly industry. Many companies also did not want to share their pricing information, as they are all scared of going into the open market. However, without them we cannot deliver the entire value chain experience to our customers.

We pivoted our plan and reached out to small outdoor media owners who focus on digital outdoor billboards. Their feedback was much more positive and they would like to work with us to display their units on our site.

 

Funniest anecdote?

Our team did a pitch of this idea throughout the entire school year at various events, and some of our MBA colleagues/friends became regulars to come to these events to support us. They start to even remember when we do certain animations within the pitch slide. They start to call themselves as “Admoor Groupies.”

How has the experience helped you at Market Gravity?

Everything we did to roll out a prototype of Admoor is relevant to MG. From creating a business plan including GTM, growth strategy, to putting together a team to develop a platform, many of these activities are relevant to what MG offers. This experience definitely helps me see the potential of a project and consider a growth plan for any product/project we roll out.

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.

Sonia.byun@marketgravity.com

Find Sonia on LinkedIn


The tools and techniques that created over $1 Billion in new revenues are now open to all intrapreneurs.

This time last year Robin Baird, Philip Mace, and Nick Sherrard reached a startling conclusion. The way the consulting market operates is broken. Consultancies are typically focused on enriching consultancies instead of empowering clients. And that's why most consultants keep their methodology under lock and key, to make sure their clients, the intrapreneurs of this world, can't do it without them.

So they took the radical step to build DIG, which stands for Disruptive Innovation Guru, an intelligent assistant for intrapreneurs that shares our methodology, tools and techniques. Currently in its BETA phase, DIG empowers intrapreneurs to launch disruptive new propositions, in any industry, anywhere in the world. DIG is completely free and lives on Facebook Messenger.

Rewriting the consultant <> intrapreneur relationship.

Traditionally, consultancies focus on delivering great work through a bespoke, cutting-edge methodology.

This methodology is always a closely guarded secret. After all, without it, why would you hire them? It’s kept under lock and key, hidden away in case the client learns something. You may sneak a glimpse of it when the consultants are there with you but, once they’ve left, you’re on your own… until you buy them back in.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it was deliberate.

At Market Gravity, our method and ways of working are key to our success as a business. But even more so, it is our belief that any big business can launch amazing new propositions, they just need the right support.

That’s why we’ve taken our experience of launching over 50 propositions globally, generating over $1 Billion in new revenues for our clients, and distilled it down into DIG.

DIG, the Disruptive Innovation Guru

DIG is for intrapreneurs everywhere. If you’re looking to learn how to generate ideas, how to test ideas, how to get buy-in from senior leadership, how to prove investment cases, and how to go from a single post-it to a fully launched proposition, DIG can show you.

 

DIG does not cost you a penny, DIG does not tie you into any commitments, and DIG does not keep the juicy stuff hidden away.

DIG lives on Facebook Messenger so you can use it in the office, in a workshop, on the train, at home, in the bath, wherever a niggling question comes to mind. You just need a mobile phone and Messenger.

Learn how to run MG workshops, how to adopt a mission approach to projects, and tackle challenges together.

You can ask DIG any (innovation) question you want. If DIG can help, DIG will share a how-to guide with you. If DIG can’t help, DIG can put you in touch with proposition designers at Market Gravity who can support you further.

If you’re an intrapreneur, trying to design and launch new products and services, and you’d like to use the same tools that over 100 Fortune-500 companies have used, then follow this link or search for “DIGbyMarketGravity” on Facebook messenger.

We don’t believe in secrets. We believe in building breakthrough propositions.

--

DIG was created by Market Gravity's Edinburgh studio as part of their work building a new breed of creative consultancy.

Get in touch with me at philip.mace@marketgravity.com to talk more about DIG and where your company wants to go next.


Studio B, innovation lab, banking innovation lab,

NEWS: Driving digital disruption with Studio B

Thanks to the power of a continuing partnership, it's all systems go this month as we help Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks to launch Studio B - the UK's first design-led banking innovation lab on Kensington High Street.

Working with the Banks’ innovation team, our talented team has helped design, implement and launch the UK’s first experiential banking innovation lab – Studio B.

Studio B invites and encourages members of the public as well as squads of next generation innovators and talented young designers to come in and test, trial and provide feedback on new technology, develop new products and ideas and share insights on their banking behaviours.

 

Studio B, banking, innovation lab
The Studio B banking innovation lab on Kensington High Street, London

 

Located on Kensington High Street, London, squads will take part in timeboxed sprints and apply their perspective to set challenges in order to create solutions to customer problems. They will work with and design technology to meet the needs of the next generation of banking customers. Applicants can apply to join the studio through social media, design blogs, and creative networks and will be judged on their creative thinking and ability to work in teams via a short video interview.

There will be interactive experiences as well as banking facilities and self-service branch technology to give visitors an immersive experience while allowing them to carry out practical banking activities using new technology.

 

Studio B, banking, innovation lab
Studio B offers visitors an immersive experience.

 

Studio B, banking, innovation lab
The Studio B innovation lab space is both inspiring and functional, it is as much a factory, as it is a showroom – designed to deliver, not just to imagine.

 

Nick Sherrard, managing director Market Gravity Edinburgh, led the project. He says: "Studio B will be a unique experience featuring retail, experiential and interactive activities with a programme of creative and informative events to engage with audiences. It’s exciting to see the concept come to life and it’s great to work with such a forward–thinking team bringing disruption and innovation to the banking sector. We’ll be exploring voice recognition, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, blockchain and other innovations set to disrupt the sector even further. Exciting times ahead!"

Helen Page, Group Innovation and Marketing Director, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, says: "We want to create the next generation of banking services delivered by the next generation of users. Studio B is our way of reaching out to identify the challenges within banking and to draw out creative and innovative ideas for solutions.

"With the development and launch of our super smart banking service "B" in 2016, and now Studio B, Market Gravity continues to be a brilliant partner. Their experience in banking innovation and disruptive new propositions perfectly complements the ambition and creativity within Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. For us, pairing our tech partners with invited guests and members of the public will give us real insights into customer problems and together we will devise solutions that fit into modern, and future, lifestyles and we’re excited to see new ideas brought to market very soon."

If you'd like to read a fuller story and understand how we created Studio B - click here.

For more information about B and Studio B - click here or head to Studio B on Kensington High Street, London.

 

 


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


The 'Secret Sauce' entrepreneur series: Purple Land Trading

When Market Gravity recruit new team members, we look for like-minded entrepreneurs. 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 Andrew Cowley one of our Engagement Managers about a start-up he created and launched – Purple Land Trading.

Hi Andrew. What did your startup do?

In general, it helped British exporters to get a foothold in Latin America. Specifically, my first customer was a… wheelie bin company. The UK’s largest manufacturer (have a look, they are everywhere): www.taylorbins.co.uk.

Where did the idea come from?

Initially, by chance, an ex-colleague was involved in the purchase of Taylor Bins by private equity, and asked me if I could do some research for him on the market in Brazil. As I started to have conversations with the major players in the waste industry out there, it began to emerge that this product had some clear benefits over competitors, and that Brazil was at a real tipping point (pun intended), transitioning from manual collection to more efficient, automated collection. The potential was enormous – so I took on the role as sole agent in Latin America.

More cost-effective waste collection meant cleaner living conditions and freed up money for much-needed investment by municipalities elsewhere.

What did you find most rewarding about the experience?

Well, there was nothing quite like making your first sale. Add in the fact that it was in a country where I hadn’t spoken the language before, in a sector I’d never worked in, with clients I’d developed from scratch – it was an enjoyable moment.

Without getting too worthy, I also felt it was doing good for society, in its own small way. More cost-effective waste collection meant cleaner living conditions and freed up money for much-needed investment by municipalities elsewhere.

What was most challenging?

It might sound odd, but bins are very technical things to sell. They need to fit with trucks (which have numerous lifting systems) and there are norms that govern almost every specification, route planning with complex algorithms to optimise collection, and customers are used to using them in very different ways. It was a good while before I felt I could talk authoritatively about the subject.

Other than that, my timing was awful! I arrived in Brazil in 2012, when it was the next big thing, and left in 2015, when it was well on its way to economic disaster. As a result, there was a steady erosion in the value of the currency, which meant my imports constantly crept up in price, to the point where it was almost double my original quotes to clients.

They need to fit with trucks (which have numerous lifting systems) and there are norms that govern almost every specification, route planning with complex algorithms to optimise collection.

Funniest anecdote?

When my Portuguese was still in, let’s say, a development phase, I mistakenly told a client that I had ‘woken up’ with his colleague, when I actually meant ‘agreed’. I like to think the ensuing hilarity built trust.

How has the experience helped you at Market Gravity?

It is quite tempting as a consultant to work at a conceptual level: it is somebody else’s money, so who really cares if an idea will work or not?

I think my startup experience has taught me to be both conceptual (make sure it is a good idea before you commit to it) and practical (do what it takes to make sure it actually happens).

Ultimately, you need to be able to find the excitement in any project.

Ultimately, you need to be able to find the excitement in any project. I never thought I’d be selling bins to Brazilians, but I was hooked. I could recite European safety norms, the exact process of hot dip galvanizing, the benefits of injection-moulded vs. rotation-moulded lids… you name it.

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.

andrew.cowley@marketgravity.com

Find Andrew on LinkedIn

 


So Market Gravity, why Canada? Because it's 2017.

And Canada. It's time to grow.

A few months back when Market Gravity were exploring the opportunity to establish a permanent presence in Canada with a local office, we met with a number of senior innovators at some of the country's biggest businesses to understand their needs. One of them asked me a rather simple but interesting question: what makes Canada interesting to a boutique firm with offices in the UK and US?

Over the past few months I’ve reflected on my response and discussed with tens of people and the more I think about it, it’s the most important thought in my mind right now as we properly establish ourselves.

Canada’s reputation in the world has always been strong, safe, friendly, reliable and well, nice. There’s almost an infinite amount of jokes about it – especially if you have an obsession with shows like ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

There’s almost an infinite amount of jokes about Canada – especially if you have an obsession with shows like ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

But, I digress. Ultimately, apart from its dramatic scenery, Canada has never really seemed that interesting to the world. In 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday, I believe that story is changing. The country is finally making its mark on the world.

Canada has always been wealthy. It’s always been safe. It’s pretty much always been very boring politically (I imagine you would struggle to name five Canadian prime ministers).

During the 2008 financial crisis, Canadian banks were much less impacted than their US and UK counterparts. Whether down to regulation or their own appetite to risk, they had played it safe. With large oil reserves in Alberta, Canada has a certain amount of wealth but at the same time a consciousness of the environmental impact of extracting it.

So what's changing?

One of their biggest challenges has been a brain drain of talent leaving the country. Whether that’s iconic actors or comedians heading for Hollywood, tech stars taking flight to Silicon Valley or top talent being poached by other global institutions (think Mark Carney). Canada has struggled to hold onto its top talent.

While this isn’t always a bad thing, countries need this talent and the confidence to retain it.  It’s something I am starting to see too. Whether that’s the ubiquitous Drake sightings in Toronto and not just at a Raptors game, or tech firms choosing to base themselves around world class ecosystems like Communitech at Kitchener / Waterloo.

It could also be that the nation is making a mark on the world stage. As political leaders like Trump and May add a little fear, Canada is now the world leader in liberalism. Regardless of your politics, Justin Trudeau has transformed the country’s image on the world stage compared to his predecessor.

Canada- a world leader in liberalism has had it's image transformed on the world stage by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

In the year Canada turns 150, the country will welcome a new wave of immigrants that provide great diversity. It is the #1 place to visit on the New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2017  list and most importantly, it will finally give Tim Hortons’ steeped tea and maple donuts to the world.

To come back to the original question ...

... of why Canada is interesting to Market Gravity. After spending much of the last two years working with fantastic companies like ATB Financial and Atlantic Lottery, we want to be a permanent part of this ecosystem. We want to design and launch the best customer propositions for a new world of ambitious and confident Canadian companies. And we want to do that with world class Canadian talent based out of our new home in Toronto.

If you flew on an Air Canada flight during the latter part of 2016, you will likely have seen this wonderfully confident statement to the world. I can think of no better way to sum up how the country is made interesting, because the world needs more Canada.

 

If you’d like to chat about ideas you have to launch a new proposition, how to overcome innovation challenges you’re facing or about our move to Canada- get in touch with Iain.

iain.montgomery@marketgravity.com


The 'Secret Sauce' series: buzzumi

When recruiting for new innovation and proposition design consultants, Market Gravity look for something different. We look for an ability to inject an entrepreneurial spirit into the projects and propositions they’re working on. That ability is like a ‘secret sauce’ to us. It’s what makes our approach and the way we help our clients deliver projects different to other innovation and propositions design consultancies.

But how do we know if someone can inject an entrepreneurial spirit into a big company? Well. A lot of the team at Market Gravity are entrepreneurs in their own right. They’ve started their own businesses outside of Market Gravity – something the company advocates and actively looks for. They know the work it takes to get something off the ground. They are passionate about ideas in the same way as our clients are passionate about theirs. They’re able to draw on their experiences in client projects.

And because we love to share, celebrate and support our team’s entrepreneurial passions, we’ve created a series of blogs about them. This month we chatted to Kirsten McIntyre one of our Principal Consultants about a start-up she helped launch – buzzumi.

Hi Kirsten, tell me, what did your startup do?

It was a knowledge market place, where people could buy or sell time with someone to give or receive knowledge, information or training. So you could learn Japanese from someone in Tokyo from the comfort of your own home. The platform provided integrated video and learning tools, appointment booking and payment handling.

Where did the idea come from?

It was a venture that my former employer co-founded. Instead of investing cash they seconded me to work on the start-up for nine months as ‘sweat equity’. I got involved when it was a kernel of an idea, pitched as ‘an eBay for knowledge’ but with very little detail beyond that, and worked it up from there.

What did you find most rewarding about the experience?

Being involved in it from day one through to launch and getting to be involved in some many different areas. I worked on it from initial concept through to launch. This included my first experience of user experience and building wireframes, naming the business and developing the branding. We worked with developers in New Zealand to build it, preparing investor decks, planning the launch and getting our first customers signed up.

I was also working with a project manager who I have since married!

 

An 'eBay for knowledge'- buzzumi was a knowledge market place where people could buy or sell time with someone to give or receive knowledge, information or training.

What was most challenging?

Lots of things were challenging! Ultimately the start-up pivoted about six months after launch into something quite different after we failed to secure funding from investors. Instead the same technical architecture was re-purposed to provide a software-as-a-service solution to business customers. This was easier to scale without the need for significant up-front investment. The technology was used successfully by Big White Wall and Doctor Care Anywhere to launch their telehealth platforms.

Launching the original business was very challenging. Firstly, creating a market place is incredibly hard, it sounds obvious but it’s twice the effort. I’d definitely think carefully about doing that again in the future unless you already have easy access to at least one side of the market.

Our timing was off too in terms of the technology. The video technology we were using just wasn’t stable enough, delivering a poor user experience, which we ultimately couldn’t control.

Funniest anecdote?

At one point a (dodgy) decision was taken to approach psychics to get them to sell their services through the platform – definitely not an area that I would ever have envisaged myself getting involved in.

How has the experience helped you at Market Gravity?

Seeing the whole thing through end to end and how everything fits together helps me to see what’s important and what order I need to tackle things in, and which things I can park for a bit. For example, you need a stable proposition that works for customers and the business before you need to worry about branding and messaging.

The importance of focus and making decisions about what you’re not going to do is as important as deciding what you are going to do, and sticking to it. But conversely knowing that there could come a point when you have to completely change track if your strategy is not working, and being ok with that is really important. Although the business no longer exists, I’ve been able to draw from the experience and process and help clients facing similar challenges which is really valuable.

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

Kirsten.Mcintyre@marketgravity.com

Find Kirsten on LinkedIn


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


The 'Secret Sauce' series: The Dark Peak

Market Gravity look for something different in the people they recruit. They look for an ability to inject an entrepreneurial spirit into the innovation projects and propositions they’re working on. We call it the ‘secret sauce’ – it’s what makes our approach and the way we help our clients deliver projects different to other consultancies.

But how do we know if someone can inject an entrepreneurial spirit into a big company? Well. A lot of the team at Market Gravity are entrepreneurs in their own right. They’ve started their own businesses outside of Market Gravity – something the company advocates and actively looks for. They know the work it takes to get something off the ground. They are passionate about ideas in the same way as our clients are passionate about theirs. They're able to draw on their experiences in client projects.

Because we love to share, celebrate and support our team's entrepreneurial passions, we're creating a series of blogs about them. This month we chatted to Lee Chapman who's one one of our Senior Consultants specialising in Insight, about his business – The Dark Peak.

Hi Lee, tell us a little about your startup, The Dark Peak.

The Dark Peak is an eCommerce business selling unisex clothing made exclusively using British products and manufacturing. After tracing the life of a typical garment, we believed there was a more economic, environmental and socially sustainable way of producing affordable clothing. That is what we set out to prove. This was reinforced by the idea that people should be able to make an informed judgement about the origin of their clothing and the cost to who of producing it.

 

The Dark Peak sells unisex clothing made exclusively using British products and manufacturing.

 

Where did the idea come from?

I had always wanted to start my own business but in all honesty, The Dark Peak began more as an experiment than a business venture. A friend and I read a story about a company in Yorkshire that still hand-stuffed duck down sleeping bags that were being used for serious expeditions. It amazed us that this type of industry still existed in the UK – very manual, highly skilled, cherished with the community and deeply connected with the past.

We asked ourselves, ‘I wonder what else exists out there?’ Before we knew it, we were travelling the length and breadth of the country visiting hand-knitters, shirt manufacturers and sixth-generation cobblers, all working under a veil of secrecy since the introduction of cheaper global labour, keeping these phenomenal, traditional skills alive.

The business fell out of that. We decided to reject the traditional fashion industry model of producing two collections a year in favour of utilising the downtime in factories between the production of those two collections for major brands – that would typically be a cost base for the manufacturers – to keep production cost of high quality garments as low as possible. That was saving we wanted to pass on to our customers.

Plus, the factories loved us! We were easy to deal with in comparison.

 

Production costs of our high quality garments were kept as low as possible by rejecting the traditional fashion industry model of producing two collections a year, instead utilising factory 'downtime' outside of this period.

 

What did you find most rewarding about the experience?

That first pint after your first sale. That’s pretty rewarding.

What lessons would you give others?

When you’re running your own business, you learn very quickly that bad suppliers don’t exist. If something goes wrong, it’s likely because they have been mismanaged. You can spend your time blaming others when things go wrong but when it’s your own business, that doesn’t help you. Instead, put frameworks in place that enable effective communication of your values and expectations early.

What was most challenging? 

Running a business. That sounds like an odd thing to say but it’s true. The thought of running your own business is such a wonderful idea but it’s anything but easy.

My co-founder and I used to joke between ourselves because when we incorporated the company, the two of us became directors in the business; he had a real flare and capacity for all things creative, so he naturally took on the role of ‘creative director’ but I was the ‘director of everything else’. Funnily enough, everything else is a lot of stuff: sales, marketing, supply chain, wholesale, logistics, finance, regulation. The list goes on.

Getting to grips with that stuff was the biggest challenge for me and for a very long time, we had no other option but to find shortcuts for absolutely everything in order to keep things ticking over.

Funniest anecdote?

People see the fashion industry as an extremely glamorous industry. We never referred to ourselves as a fashion business but people, none the less, had that expectation of us. One week, we were visiting one of our favourite manufacturers, based in the beautiful coastal village of Flamborough. Despite her very generous offer of a bed for the night, we stayed at one of nearby Bridlington’s finest establishments, three to a room. Far from the champagne lifestyle, we found ourselves drinking pints of John Smith’s in the hotel bar, watching a part-time magician entertain a room of people exclusively 50 years our senior. Amidst all the furore, we sat in silence. We looked at each other and just laughed until we cried. I think we all questioned our decision to start a business at that point.

How has the experience helped you at Market Gravity?

Starting, building and scaling a business can an extremely emotional experience. I suspect most people who have done it – for themselves, or somebody else – would vouch for that. Dealing with that emotional roller coaster is not something you can teach somebody but it’s certainly something you can support people with. I know from experience that having that person there when things feel like they’re going to the wall can be the difference between success and failure.

 

We learnt quickly to put frameworks in place that enable effective communication of our values and expectations early on. That was a valuable lesson and something I encourage anyone else to do when setting up a new venture.

 

If you'd like to talk over any ideas you have to launch a new proposition or how to overcome innovation challenges you're facing- get in touch.

lee.chapman@marketgravity.com

Find Lee on LinkedIn

You can find the The Dark Peak website which is a live project in progress here.