room44 innovates

When a business gets to a certain size, the next step is, usually, to grow it. This is a critical point in a company’s lifecycle when the real question is ‘do we grow or do we scale?’

Founders go through this pain when they find themselves struggling to keep up with demand and paperwork.

The cycle is usually

  • Start a business with a purpose – to meet a need
  • Get busy
  • Employ help
  • Manage the help
  • Realise you are managing and not doing what you started out to do yourself
  • Scale

Problem: scaling is not the same as growing

There is a point in every business’s lifecycle when ambition overrides purpose:

  1. Why did you start doing this? Because we saw a need in other people’s lives.
  2. How can you grow your client base? Go digital.
  3. Why are you going digital? To reach more people.

See the shift? Purpose has been pushed aside and scaling back to profit has become the incentive.

Case study

Take a training company, for example. Training of any sort is delivered best by someone who has experienced a process, seen the transformation for themselves, learnt how to be brilliant at delivering the method and who inspires trust, enthusiasm and purpose. And changes the way you work for the better.

A training company, however, is only able to reach as many people as they can stand in front of. So, they bring in more trainers who are also brilliant and do a great job.

Next step is that overheads grow and the training company needs more work, so they invest in a portal. They go digital.

The digital version of their training product is interactive, responsive, easy to access, can be delivered while you’re in the bath and doesn’t encroach on your life too much.

This is scaling. The only thing this grows is the training company’s top line. It certainly isn’t going to turn the brilliance the training company once delivered into ‘change’ in your daily life.

Scaling ≠ growing

The digital system may be the best there can be today but the brilliance has gone from the process. Digital may deliver a process efficiently but sometimes it genuinely gets in the way of delivering what a client needs. 

Digital isn’t clever enough, yet, to listen to the room, turn the problems that get discussed into nuanced case studies and help a specific client to improve their business.

It may do this in time. It doesn’t do it now.

Our answer

The answer, we believe, is to stay true to ourselves and only work with clients face-to-face or one-to-one.

The programmes room44 delivers are only available from a core team or by email with the same people.

The objective we aim at is to create a sense of purpose in you and provide you with the tools you need to change your company’s prospects.

We strive to create an environment in which change can occur and we prepare you to be the nucleator.

Our website says “Product innovation strategies for revenue and growth. It doesn’t say ’strategies to help you scale and distance yourself from your client need’.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.

Here’s one way we do it. Click to download the 10, 20-30 programme outline, new for 2020.

Does this sound familiar?

“Mum, where are you going?”

“There and back, to see how far it is.”


“Dad, where are you going?”

“To see a man about a dog.”

“We’re getting a dog?”


The management has a purpose they can’t (or won’t) reveal or describe, so what do the kids do? Is there time to get the Lego out, or do they just sit and wait for the dog to arrive?

I mean, who lies about getting a dog and then expects people just to get on with it?


“So, son, what did you do while I was out?” (not seeing a man about a dog)

“Well, I didn’t know where you’d gone, what you were doing, how long you’d be, or how I could contribute, so I just sat here and ate cookies.”


“And do you think that was a meaningful use of your time?”

“Frankly, with the data available to me, yes.”


Let’s run the scenario again, and see if it sounds a bit closer to home.

The CEO says, “Change is inevitable. We need to become a customer-centric business. Now go back to your desks and make that happen.”


WTF? We make washing machines/chocolate bars/medicines/pants…how much more customer-centric do you want us to get?

“We need to innovate: be more like Amazon/Uber/Google/Tesla – but I’m still the boss, and I’m doing what I’ve always done.”


Is it any wonder that (when they’re asked), staff responses to blind pronouncements like Our culture needs to change are mostly not very polite?


So, stop right there. Don’t run off to change your culture. Even HR has got bored with that one. You can tell there’s something wrong with an idea when the industry changes the language it uses to describe itself. Like changing ‘HR’ to ‘People Services’.


Try this: base your decision-making process on innovation, and decide what your consumer-focused, strategic direction will be. Announce it, declare it, sing it from the podium every chance you get, and see your company culture change. Watch it become interested, motivated,  purposeful and efficient. Being a part of something challenging but creative gives the whole company a single purpose. If you want to be more like Amazon or Google, this is how you do it.


“Hey kids, let’s all go to the shops and get ice cream on the way back if you’re good.”

“Yay! Let’s go.”


Seeing it differently. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.

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case studies

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We’re collaborators – so we can’t do it alone

Tell us what your company needs.


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