room44 innovates

When it’s done effectively, innovation defines a roadmap, sets explicit objectives, and provides a guide for everyone in your organisation to follow.

There are two issues that innovation must resolve to succeed:

  1. The need for change must be owned right across an organisation.
  2. There must be someone to do the work after the training team has departed.

Let’s deal with #1 today…

Because the ‘need’ for change is the hardest.

Companies evolve to be super-efficient at delivering their product or service. Their systems and processes develop to avoid waste, and every aspect of production and client service is streamlined for profitability.

Kaisen, Lean, J.I.T. and all the other Toyota Business System-inspired processes help to do this. While everything within the company’s control stays the same, it’s all good – operationally.

So, why worry?

Well, the need for change has a habit of sneaking up on you – not necessarily because you don’t see it coming, but because there isn’t a process to decide what should change, or a system to manage that change.

Knowing that a trend will, unavoidably, hit your top and bottom line isn’t enough. Once you’ve acknowledged that probability, the hardest part is convincing your peers and your management that they should take note of it too.

One of the ways that room44 tackles this challenge is to deliver innovation training in the most democratic and agnostic manner: across the workforce and from top to bottom.

If we can’t gain the support of your directors before we kick off, we won’t start. Resistance to the need for innovation must be resolved before a project gets underway.

It’s been suggested that company directors only ever see 4% of the problems that affect their business. If we start from there, alert the right people to what is coming down the line, and change some perspectives, we can have a significant impact on a company’s chances of survival as its market changes.

We’ve become very good at opening the eyes of management to the reality of their situation. To talk about your management team/ leadership team/ board of directors, please get in touch. 

Here’s how Click here.

To stay relevant to your customers over the next couple of years you’ll need to be aware of mega trends: the very biggest macro factors.

Mega trends are those irreversible, slow-to-grow changes that we tend not to recognise as quickly as we might. It’s a bit like seeing a child (puppy, kitten) after a period of time: you notice their growth much more than if you see them every day.

Who do mega trends affect?

Mega trends affect us all. They offer opportunity and threat to business in equal measure. The opportunities presented by mega trends are visible to companies who actively look for ideas to grow. The threats that mega trends present are also clear to companies looking for ideas to grow. The message is this – if you’re not looking at trends, you aren’t seeing either growth opportunity or risk of disruption.

Here in the UK many brands, especially SMEs, are wrapped up in Brexit, and it’s become really easy not to look too far into the future. While Brexit is definitely a macro factor, it’s also been difficult to plan for.

True mega trends are usually easier to read than Brexit, and definitely more likely to open up an opportunity. These are some mega trends you might like to take a look at…

The sharing economy – this may be a hard one to get to grips with if you sell consumer products. As things are developing, your newest customers are making fewer capital purchases – but there are two sides to this.

If you sell sofas, you can rent out sofas. If you sell bikes, hire out bikes. The transition to a subscription model is not hard unless you just don’t see the need.

Personal Mobility – while governments around the world are pumping billions into the electrification of cars, there is an undercurrent of radical change that still has a long way to go.

Not only are cars and other vehicles subject to changes in fuel systems, with all the knock-on impact that will have on the automotive supply chain, but even this emerging market is under pressure from the sharing economy. This trend is going to run and run, and electricity won’t be the only fuel solution explored. This blog talks about this more:

Emotional intelligence – Human Resource departments are great at building systems to recruit team members who ‘fit’ with each other.

They have known for decades that IQ isn’t the only measure of probable effectiveness. Emotional Quotient (EQ) is now better understood and it’s being managed and exploited. EQ describes the way you monitor your emotions and the emotions of your colleagues, as well as how customers react in response to your brand messages. EQ extends through your recruitment, staff management and how you are able to manage consumer loyalty.

To build a sustainable brand position, your launch planning must be part of the innovation process and persona development at the earliest possible time.

The room44 Innovation Process takes EQ into account. Let’s talk about this complex part of your plan. You can book some time here to talk.

Ages of population – here’s how the ages of the various generations are described.

Your customer personas need to anticipate how the ages of your shoppers are shifting. It’s thought that 75% of the workforce in 2025 could be Millennials.

People who sit in Gen Z and Alpha will live well beyond 100 and have plenty of time for several discrete careers. What does this mean? Well, one theory is that Gen Zs are already approaching an age when their first business sectors are changing enough that they need to retrain.

Law – the legal systems we abide by have been developed over hundreds of years. Prevailing laws are the compound product of ideas and reactions to societal developments that have taken place over time.

History tells us that legislators are slow to evolve laws to meet a new situation, and yet the forecasted rate of change in many areas of our lives means that the legal system must accelerate to keep up. Laws rely on precedent to direct us, but technology is applying pressure here. Financial management, online business, digital fraud, autonomous vehicles, geographic and geo-fenced boundaries, artificial and human intelligence are a few examples of the areas where the law is evolving, but may need to anticipate what’s coming rather than react to what has happened.

These mega trends are just some of those that sit on the horizon. They’re already in play and will cascade to affect your customers’ choices, your brand positioning and your relationship with your buyers.

room44 watches trends, builds systems for our clients to watch for themselves and trains teams to innovate by being aware and informed about the way their markets are changing – before the change arrives.

 We can help with that. Call us to find out more: +44 208 144 9800 or click through to see how our outside insight service works. Don’t worry, there isn’t another form to fill in.

outside insight

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

The digital dust that brands give off every day, both as individuals and as businesses, may create an illusion of what’s on offer. The trouble is, there’s so much floating around, it’s difficult to get your particular dust in the eyes of your prospects.

So, prospective clients look for case studies. In B2B, this has become the low bar validation of a business’s credibility.

Social isn’t as social anymore

Have you noticed how some of your friends are not posting on Facebook as often as they used to? They might be reading the news on Twitter, but tweeting? Not so much.

This trend is being exploited by some clever brands. When they have something to say (sell), they’re everywhere. Otherwise, it’s hard to find them. Exclusivity in being absent.

Similarly, if you’re not looking on Instagram, you probably won’t see your teenage family or friends, and you won’t get to join the chat anyway, because WhatsApp, Messenger and Slack are the places to go for that – by invitation.

On the other hand, have you noticed a decline in advertising by the mass brands you follow? Probably not. Brands are so desperate to tell you how great they are that social platform revenues from advertising are still doing OK.

The ‘by invitation’ nuance is something to watch.

Gaining access to a private conversation is now a ‘must have’ in premium marketing. Being on the inside of a group shows that you are ‘one of us’ and gives you a pleasing exclusivity.

Exclusivity equals scarcity, which equals premium. If a consumer can get a social edge by being the first or the only one to have a new thing, they’ll be happy to pay for the privilege.

Where do you see these trends?

To see new trends before they really emerge, have a look at Instagram and Pinterest, go and see the new media being launched (like this one) – the disruptors are there and the things they’re spotlighting will soon be sought after.

You can forget Fast CompanyInc. and the rest, with their lists of 398 things we love and 128 other things you should do. These guys have lost their edge to Monocle and friends.

It doesn’t matter if you want to play in a fashion market, fruit and veg, automotive or even to see where people’s heads are at in plastics recycling, online is still the cheapest place to find the new ideas if you believe your own curiosity and intuition. For more free detail, go to the latest news outlets. It’s all there for you to explore.

So, where to look isn’t new, of course. But what’s out there is new to to the new audience, where the norm is for everyone to have access to everything, all the time.

And here’s why exclusivity is back: ‘always on’ is beginning to look a bit old. In fact, if you aren’t always on, where are you? Intrigue and brand-scarcity works if you can monetise exclusivity.

Back to case studies and digital dust.

Publishing details about the good stuff your company has done has become the basis of qualifying value propositions across markets.

Look at every website on the internet, and if a company has been there for more than five minutes it will have an ego wall of customer brand logos and a case study behind each one.

But what of the site that shows logos and no case study? What of the company that doesn’t show any clues about their track record? The question is moving from ‘well, if there’s no case study, did they really do that work?’ to ‘if there’s no case study, maybe we should talk to them to see what they delivered.’

Intrigue sells. It always has. The reason is that a buyer has to work for the benefit they perceive in the relationship. Show everything up front and the decision to talk or not is binary: yes or no?  Show a bit of what’s on offer, and a conversation has to start before anything else can happen.

Talk to us and you’ll find that whether we say it in a case study or not, the good work goes on in FMCG, pharma, culture, VMS, personal mobility/EVs, law, accountancy… we’re hard at work in and on all of these sectors.

It can be difficult to go into too much detail about our work, but you know what? Intrigue and exclusivity is what the clever brands are doing.

Want to know what we’re up to? You’ll have to email me to find out.

Click here and most of the hard work is done for you.

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

room44’s founder asks a serious question; what are you going to do differently to make 2019 your best year yet?

Please click on the link to see the video. It’s less than two munutes long and it offers some ideas that could make a difference to your 2019 trading year.

My dad broke his back in a motorcycle crash. It was a time when spinal injuries weren’t well understood and he didn’t walk again. He was nineteen.

In those post-war years, being a paraplegic put some pressure on your job prospects. It took three years to get my dad into a wheelchair and then home. For most of that time, he lay on his back and had few visitors.

Cause and effect.

One person who did visit was the chap who was riding pillion at the time of the crash. He came to see if my dad’s insurance would cover the cost of a new suit (the suit he was wearing had been torn when my dad broke his back). No-one seemed to think it remarkable that this guy had been the pillion rider in previous bike crashes. Unrecognised cause and effect?

Being from a farming family, when Dad was lying in hospital it relieved the family of the need to feed him. When he went home, he was a burden. He got a disabled carriage: one of those small, single-seater, single-cylinder cars with handlebars instead of a steering wheel, and started selling different grades of oil to farmers, displayed in Kilner Jars so they could see the colour difference and know which oil was better for their tractor or rotovator. Not a common job these days.

You can’t buy more time.

Eventually, Dad trained as a watchmaker and found his groove. For over sixty years, he repaired watches. He fixed clocks too, and old clocks became his speciality. Those rickety old timepieces that were never really destined to keep good time, but which did a better job when he’d replaced their steel bearings with brass or jewels. Engineering that did a good enough job when timekeeping was more of an approximation than a science.

When man made it to the moon, watches became electronic, so Dad learnt to fix them as far as he could. When quartz watches launched, he decided he was not going to try: the technology is disposable, and the chips too small and cheap to try and fix. Even in the old days, there were companies that only made movements, and they supplied the same workings to all brands.

My dad made a good living from watches and clocks. He sold some, he fixed some, and he got paid what the service was worth. Because everyone knew what an alarm clock, or a Timex or a Rolex, cost, there was a limit to what he could charge for these repairs. But because no-one could put a price on an antique grandfather clock, or a Fusée movement, he charged what the customer would pay: value-based pricing in the service sector.

Over time, my dad became the only watchmaker in town. He outlived the others, or just kept working when they retired. Being in a wheelchair meant he couldn’t take up golf or sailing, so he did what he did. We never played football together, but we did go fishing. There were pastimes that he could apply some logic to – use his engineer’s mind.

To be in an industry that’s showing signs of changing in ways that you can’t see is not unusual.

As time went on, though, the price Dad could charge for repairing a clock became a matter of intense negotiation on every job. Whether the clock’s timekeeping was accurate was usually not a question: it was its status as a heritage piece, with an emotional value for the customer, that dictated what they’d pay to see it working again.

Gradually, the value of his work dropped. The quality was still as high – sixty years of knowledge and practice was hard learnt. But, whether you pay £5 or £50,000 for a watch, you can’t buy more time and can’t buy accuracy that makes that much difference. Watches and clocks now hold a different place in our value eco-system. Phones, screens and cars tell us what we need to know.
The old master made enough to live off by being good at what he did, but the market moved on. We all forgot about watchmakers – most of us are unlikely ever to need one.

This story is one that you can track through time and industry sectors right across the consumer product and medical landscape. Things that mattered to our parents and their parents simply don’t matter to us. Technologies that have come and gone are easy to list as far back as you can remember. My dad didn’t have a strategy: he had a skill that fell out of favour. Everything does eventually.

To be in an industry that’s showing signs of changing in ways that you can’t see is not unusual. Your time will come: that’s why we do what we do.

We help you to see how the trends developing around you will impact on your revenue line, and we work with you to develop a plan that underpins your continued business success.

Innovation isn’t an option.

Innovation isn’t an option, it’s an imperative. Unless you are planning to play golf or go fishing, and that isn’t really much of a plan.

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

If your boss drops £1million into your bank account today there’s a good chance you won’t mind too much. In fact, you might feel pretty good about it. Whether there are strings attached or not, you’d probably be inclined to like the act and appreciate whatever the motive was.

On the other hand, if you went to work today and were told to move desk and do a different job starting right away, you might feel a bit miffed. Perhaps you’d question how valued your effort in the old job was. Perhaps you’d look over your shoulder to see who was now sitting in your seat and make some comparative conclusions.

In both cases the time would come when you’d question what lay behind the decision to pay you a bonus or displace you. Why? Because while we love to change, we hate to be changed.

Of course, if you had known what was coming you’d have had the chance to rationalise it and come to terms with it.

This is a simple example of what happens when people are asked to do something without a reason. Consultants refer to this kind of thing as the company acting with a ‘purpose’ or creating a ‘change culture’. We think it’s more to do with basic recognition that everyone in the organisation has the capacity to contribute toward the decision – if they’re included in the process.

Problem: how to get your resource to focus on the job to be done and not on their own issues?

Please don’t bolt a ‘Suggestions’ box to the wall and think it’s enough. It’s been tried and the boxes hang, desolate, in offices and factories all over the land.

Answer: elevate the conversation.

If you ask Mary in Accounts how to improve her experience at work she’ll tell you and it won’t be helpful.

Ask her what she thinks your product might need to become to survive past its current twelve month forecast and she’ll have far more helpful ideas.

It might sound trite to say this but purpose and culture start from somewhere. We believe that these intangible concepts all stem from a good place and, in room44 innovation-focused projects we start with your customer and what they want.

Mary is a consumer. She buys all kinds of things every week; pants, toothpaste, food, cars, a house, furniture, flowers, medicine, vacuum bags, insurance…

Rajeshree sits next to Mary. She buys things too. So does Dave in Goods In and Felix in HR. You’re surrounded by people who have consumer-centric opinions and who talk to people who buy your thing.

If you really want to create a culture that is inclusive and where your staff feels valued, try not telling them how to be. Try asking them what their evaluation of your market need is. Try teasing out what they’d do. Ask them what your product needs to become. Try working out a strategy as a team.

If you need some help with this, that’s OK too. Try a workshop that shows them how to do it for themselves. In fact, try this: innovation workshop dates in November.

If these dates don’t work for you we can bring it to you when it’s convenient. Just let me know when you’d like to see us.

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

Spoiler alert: this blog carries a message about innovation workshops.

Listening is important. The simple act of shutting up and hearing what people say is always revealing. It’s a shame that the current trend is to write and talk rather than listen and read – unless you’re a search engine or a spider. If you are – OVER HERE!!

Listening to a large accountancy practice today was enlightening. It wasn’t a surprise to hear them describe strategy very differently to us. In their world, delivering a successful project means applying Lean principles and improving material flow and machine utilisation in a plastics factory. Now the benefit’s been worked into the factory’s financials, the owners can sit back and count the savings made by not letting product become scrap on the floor.

But will that be enough for the factory to survive? The new strategy isn’t even a strategy. Where’s the view of customer need? Where’s the statement that confidently predicts the market will need plastics into the future? Or the data that suggests it might not? Where’s the plan that launches a new idea before the competition? In fact, where’s the plan?

What we’ve got here is a new working practice that improves efficiency. It’s necessary and well done. We might ask why a consultancy was able to make the changes when the management team wasn’t, but I think we all know the answer to that one.

Reading the Sunday papers last week, a similar thing struck me. The Sunday Telegraph Business section, for example, talked about the issues currently challenging Premier Foods; an interrogation of President Trump’s ‘trade war’; various opinions about whether Brexit is an opportunity or a disaster; news that the John Lewis Partnership is planning to future-proof itself by doing more of what it thinks it already does; and so on.

I didn’t find a single mention of innovation at the core of any strategy. In fact, it was only elsewhere in the paper that innovation was raised as the latest last ditch attempt to save the NHS. Ironic, if nothing else.

To put innovation at the core of planning a strategy demands that you look to a future market need. That’s why it’s not popular. To be popular, you have to agree with the consensus around your board table and choose one of the tried and tested options presented for your future direction. I’ll almost guarantee that these will include most of the things you do already, but to a greater/ lesser/ cheaper degree. It’s estimated that most companies commit 90% of resources to doing the same things they did in the previous financial year. And no-one reading this will be surprised.

To innovate, you need to stop doing this.

To innovate, you need to look to a market need at a future point in time and work back to plot your route there.

The very act of informing this vision needs you to be interested in it and to be the agent of change.

We know that identifying trends that are meaningful to you, and devising a strategy that you can present with confidence, will meet resistance from your peers. Because we know this, we’ve designed some training to prepare you for the challenge. You could even bring your team along to reduce internal resistance and begin to shift your culture before you start the conversation.

Our innovation workshops are entirely adaptable to your situation and easy to access if you just want to try them out for yourself:

  • Design Thinking, Part 1 – Trends and signals: see things differently
  • Design Thinking, Part 2 – Focus on transformation
  • Design Thinking, Part 3 – Making it stick: a culture of change

You can take the course in three half-days or in one go. Have a look at the detail here.

Invest 20% of one week and change the way you plan for your future forever.

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

Some ideas go full circle, and some need to meet their moment. The music industry is niche marketing at its best: a market retrenching and going back to what it knows to survive.

Did Steve Jobs have a vision of Apple becoming the global music distributor that spawned competition like Spotify? I don’t know, but I tend to think not. iPod was born to deliver a new consumer experience, it turned into the iPhone and the rest is history… or is it?

Despite what Apple did with the iPod, artists have continued to sell their product packaged, in the format of single tracks and albums. It’s the way we listen to music that’s changed. Now we buy a license to access it, or we download it illegally (not so different to recording a mix cassette tape in the old days really).

Consequently, artists find themselves needing to perform live to make any money (it’s estimated that artists receive around £75 for 150,000 Spotify streams) and to sell merchandise to turn an extra buck. Despite technology driving consumption of the commodity, the experience of seeing live music, and aligning ourselves to a band by wearing their stuff, has gone full circle in 50 years.

The question for the industry has been, how to add intrinsic value back into music?

When a product is ubiquitous, its novelty is lost. Being a medium that craved mass consumption has led to popular music being under-appreciated. The fact that bands are now touring more often reveals two things: the audience is there to service, and the bands need to tour to make a profit.

It’s a supply and demand equation, where punters are asking for added value to justify their loyalty.

In other words – market scarcity is driving value.

To draw a comparison with the world of consultancy, you can buy McKinsey time, and the only barrier to their input is the time it takes them to process your enquiry though their sausage machine. In our world it’s a bit different – we have finite resource and a capacity for quality that we can’t exceed. We consider each project on its individual merit and if we can make a difference to your prognosis, we’ll work with you. We’re busy, and so are McKinsey, but the client experience is different, and you choose which to go for depending on your taste.

The music industry is moving in the same direction. Small venues are coming back to life; private appearances are more common than they used to be (I heard about Glen Tilbrook doing a birthday party, solo, on the back of a chance meeting); intimate performances in private houses are squeezed into tours by emerging bands; and the opportunities to engage with your favourite artists go on. Your favourite stadium band may not be able to play in your bedroom, but you can probably get the lead singer and guitarist, for the right price.

The idea that music’s consumption model is changing was further illustrated this week. Sheryl Crow, talking on the radio (one technology that seems to be surviving), just released an album that was two years in the making. She said it’ll probably be her last. Because we now buy music in convenience-sized impulse units (by the track) and we rarely buy full-length collections, Crow questions the value in releasing anything longer than an EP.

This is a supplier response to consumer behaviour shift. Look down any album listing on iTunes, and see how the lead single is bought versus the less promoted tracks. Sheryl’s right.

For her, playing live allows her to test her product in a room and release the tracks she knows will get best uptake. If it doesn’t work, leave it out, and maybe release it to a geography where the reaction was different. A great example of fail fast, fail cheap consumer-centricity.

This all reveals a developing marketing model, distributing exactly what that regional market demands, tested by an artist who can charge a premium for showing up to do what she always wanted to do anyway. Maybe we’ll begin to hear about music exclusively available at gigs. That’ll push the competition for tickets up to capitalise on the scarcity of the product.

It’s true that ideas go full circle. It’s also true that ideas need to meet their moment. The way the music industry is evolving illustrates a market retrenching, going back to what it knows to survive, and of niche marketing at its best.

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

There’s a theory that teams are only good for about four years. Examples? Any band that formed, got signed early but couldn’t produce a second album. Almost every NFL team you want to mention. Premier League managers who get it right for a while but lose the training room. Boxers. Start-ups. After about four years, familiarity develops and causes assumptions to overtake the challenge. Creativity and effectiveness slide.

But companies who get really good, really quickly, can save themselves by introducing new people to the team. There’s a shift in the dynamic and they move on to differently better things.

In business, the timeline can be different. An owner-operator who starts a business is passionate about the mission. There’s no-one to tell them they’re wrong in anything they do, so they get on with it. Mistakes are forgotten and sometimes the business succeeds. Enough do, anyway, to make start-ups want to start up.

With good management, the company grows and investors have their say. The owner-operator loses some of that initial spark of brilliance and gets used to the dividends – and the product range begins to stagnate. From here, it’s a race to the bottom as competition introduces similar services at lower prices.

I don’t want to generalise too widely (if it’s not already too late), but this is a real and observable trend. Seeing the trend (and recognising the risks) is one way to stop becoming another example of what went wrong. In the same way that putting new members into a team works, getting external help to keep you on track and in touch can be a very canny investment. By injecting an ‘ideas catalyst’ now and then, you get a different perspective, you see new options and you can, if you choose your help wisely, begin to see new ways of meeting customer expectation.

And we don’t need to be around forever, like an investor. When we’ve worked with you to develop your new vision, you can let us go. The worst that can happen is that we validate everything you had already planned to do. In itself, that brings huge value – particularly if you have investors to manage.

On the other hand, to keep investors stimulated, you can put more options on the table. Run an innovation process the right way, and you can put more ideas in front of them than they can reasonably refuse. This also has value. It means you’re still looking, still chasing and still planning growth, despite the pressure of meeting their targets.

For all these reasons, a continuously evolving and regularly updated innovation strategy makes sense. Unless you prefer the four year/second album scenario?

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

Companies, and the people in them, have a way of describing innovation that reflects their business need. It’s subconscious and revealing. The hidden messages are there, but we must listen to hear them, and the trick is to focus on the adverbs.

What words do you hear around your building most often? Somebody will say something like, ‘we’ve been selling that range for years and it’s done us well, but now we need to innovate…’ and then they utter the important word: quickly, creatively, efficiently, desperately, consistently, now…

How innovation is described is a signal to the real and underlying condition of a business. When staff talk to each other, there’s an element of bias to try and please their peers. Describing a condition in a palatable way doesn’t tell us what we need to know.

‘Innovation’ is talked about regularly without much attention paid to the meaning of the word. You get away with it, because it’s a general term applied to a general problem affecting an entire company. Meetings that discuss innovation, but haven’t first defined the issue to solve, may as well not take place.

To use innovation to solve a problem, you first need to understand it. Blindingly obvious perhaps, but it’s true. It’s why we take time to listen to the real story: the individual perspectives; the sum of the parts that make up more than the whole.

Let’s have a stab at a scenario – you’ve probably been in a similar situation:

Your product has been doing well for years. Recently, your customers have started to pressure you for price reductions, and your marketing team has tried to support the selling process with new communications that re-state the product’s features and benefits. You pick up signals of a new brand in the market, and the reaction from the sales team is to pick up the trade marketing effort.

The problem is seen as reduced revenues per unit and pressure on annual targets from a cash cow. In other words, falling sales. The standard response is to look at distribution gaps, latent customers and segments. Maybe you’ll try some export activity. It rarely works quickly.

Next comes the product/category management meeting and somebody says, ‘we need to innovate quickly/creatively/efficiently/desperately/now…let’s brainstorm/ideate/get the Post-Its out/have an away day…’

But the problem hasn’t been adequately identified, so the solution can’t be either.

This is where we listen hardest. Which adverb was most often used to describe the challenge people see? ‘Quickly’ implies that the core issue set in some time ago, but was ignored because the cash cow was doing OK. ‘Desperately’ suggests something similar, but to a greater degree. ‘Creatively’ says a lack of new ideas is an issue, or that management won’t discuss them. And so on.

If there’s a new competitor in the market that you didn’t see coming, your focus has been too much on you. Look at what your customers want – this is your starting point for designing a solution. Too many teams assume their offering has legs, when the truth is they’ve been getting left behind for a long time already. Be honest here. Lose any misplaced loyalty and move on.

Noticing your adverbs (for instance) helps show how an innovation strategy can anticipate and mitigate against effective competition. Every company has a different culture, and your solution and strategy need to acknowledge yours.

Essentially, there are only two reasons why companies seek help to devise an innovation strategy: to stop a slide or underpin growth. Which one are you?

room44 insists on being called an innovation agency. Our value is delivered not just from sorting out the short term – you’ve already got people to do that – but we’re not change managers or management consultants. Our mission is to go far, wide and deep, and to offer you options that don’t exist in your business today.

We will see your business differently, and we’ll prepare your team to innovate routinely, daily, weekly, monthly, continuously, properly…

We can mentor your people to do it for themselves; we can coach them away from the office or on-site. Whichever way you employ us, there are a few adverbs you’ll hear us use often – like differently, consistently, effectively and now.

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

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