room44 innovates

Most Mondays we try to publish a short list of thought-provoking facts that bear some relevance to the time of year and current events.

It’s not a science project, rather a list of things that catch our eye during the week from reading, viewing and absorbing by osmosis.

Usually we publish on LinkedIn. From now on, we’ll publish here and will share widely.

If anything grabs your attention, please get in touch. It’ll be a pleasure to talk;

Monday thoughts

47% of Gen Z prefer to shop in stores versus online

Traffic can increase by more than 50%, from a new store’s surrounding area, to a retailer’s web site within six weeks of opening a new store

  • British Land

37% of shoppers research online and buy in-store

  • Uberall 2021

The majority of Apple’s customers are reported to research in-store and buy online

How can you shift your paradigm without designing the paradigm to shift to?

  • Thomas Kuhn

No one is ever going to accuse me of being prudent

I’ve never saved enough or made enough AVC payments and doubt that my pension will amount to a comfortable retirement.

I’m the complacent child of the lucky generation who have had comfortable retirements from final salary, index-linked pensions and who, to my mind have largely spent too much time, managing cash they didn’t actually earn.

If you aren’t over 45 or studied economics, this might not make much sense and I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of it.

What I can claim is a certain caution in sensing when things aren’t quite right.

We built room44 on this tendency and created a business that looks at converging and emerging trends to see where opportunities and threats lie.

Grab an emerging trend

You may have done very well out of COVID. Some companies did. In honesty, room44 didn’t. A consultancy, that works in a notional future, found it hard to gain client confidence when no-one knew if Boris was blowing hot or cold on any given day.

Happily, a couple of years beforehand we’d taken trend insight into our own hands and created a plan that resulted in us opening an electric bike business too. When one thing fell off a cliff, the other one climbed it and things balanced out.

What we did was the effect of seeing a change in a market, taking definite action and trusting our own skill and judgement.

Today, both businesses work which is why this is timely.

There’s another pinch point right around the corner

Already we know business costs are going to get a lot higher this year and into next. You may be carrying bounce-back loans as an extra debt and that nice Mr. Sunak has already told us that he’s increasing corporation tax by 6% in April 2023 – your corporation tax.

It won’t hurt immediately but it’s on the books.

Inflation is nudging 10% and we can cite any number of price increase stories – from wood to micro-chips – that far exceed 10%.

The good news is that there is more than enough time to get creative and look at new ideas to generate diverse revenues.

Your choices are to sell more, sell for more or get creative and trust your own skill and judgement.

If you want a bit of help to see where the opportunities lie, let’s talk. Book some time with me here.

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

The way a business evolves from start-up to demise is trackable through a cycle that has strong parallels in nature. Stepping back and seeing the similarities is a useful exercise and shows a set of practices that can help you avoid some repeated pit falls.

Mega trends

This is one example. The planet is seeing a noticeable increase in wildfires. Not so long ago, such fires were a problem but not always devastating for humans. That’s changed. But wildfires are a necessary part of the ecosystem: they clear away detritus and let new plants see the sky with room to grow.

Caught in the fire zone

OR – how planning restrictions, self-interest and a poor understanding of environment have conspired to push nature into a corner, and how she is fighting back.

Towns go through a cycle of early growth to reach a high density of population. People need places to live, so an increase in building creates homes for lots of people. As prosperity rises, people prefer not to live on top of each other, so they begin to push out of the town boundaries and into open space. We know these areas as the suburbs.

Parts of the world have drier areas around towns than others. In the UK, our forests are pretty damp, so fire doesn’t often occur, but in other parts of the world, such as California, it’s much drier.

At the time of writing, the USA has 63 wildfires burning, affecting over 38 million acres of land That’s a lot of fires, affecting a lot of people, and science tells us that the conditions are linked to climate change led by man-made pollution.

Creating the right conditions

As housing development pushes out from town centres, rules are created to protect the environment for its residents; often these restrict property height. This limits the number of families living on a single plot and so urban sprawl continues.

Human development means nature must also be managed. Firebreaks are built into city design, and trees and other flora are cultivated: this is the point of Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) – where nature meets housing. Historically this area was undeveloped but, as homes are needed, it has been adopted and built on.

Nature, however, doesn’t stop doing what nature does and so, seasonally trees shed leaves and old wood, which forms layers of detritus circling towns and cities. This keeps building until temperature conditions create the perfect opportunity for fires to thrive – and the store of combustible materials is ripe for burning. And it does.

Managed Retreat

People who are newly switched on to the risks of fire destroying their homes and businesses are entering into a period of managed retreat: a process of moving away from danger zones. Funding for such retreats falls to the home owner and, clearly, not everyone has the means to facilitate this. So houses are being abandoned, or simply left deserted after they’ve burned to the ground, and their owners must start again, the value of their investment in bricks and mortar lost.

The above process describes a set of uncontrollable changes that have a direct effect on homeowners: climate change and long-standing development practices building up a body of accumulated waste that eventually brings the house down.

Your fire line

After a successful period of selling a product or service, inevitably customer preferences move on, a business is left trying to sell its old offering and the conditions in which it operates all move beyond its control. This is when it gets burned.

The average lifecycle of a business today is around 15 years, so you may have survived more than one cycle already, either through good luck or great foresight. But even your previously accurate foresight may need to change to adapt to the new world order.

Design thinking

Our tool of choice is design thinking. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but can be harder to execute. As we’ve said in the past, design thinking is like climbing a 50-foot rope and ringing a bell: simple to understand, much harder to do.

So, call in some expert rope climbers

This is what room44 does. We see your problem from a different perspective – and we walk you through the design thinking process so that you can develop customer-facing strategies that will provide the things they are looking to buy today.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do. Get in touch here:

Times are tough and nothing is as it was, so it’s understandable that brands are taking a long, hard look at what they do next. We get that.

But when you write to us, or occasionally call, to say, ‘We’re planning an ideation session/hackathon/creative competition and are inviting proposals to explain how room44 would run such a process and what outcomes we can expect’ – we know you’re struggling, want ideas for nothing – and more importantly – may not actually know what you want. There it is.

Let’s get down to what’s going on here.

We don’t really mind that you ask for ideas and we know that you’ll get a response from some companies. But, be honest; if you wrote to us because you found us through a keyword match in LinkedIn, we’ll probably never talk regardless of how much time we invest in your problem.

Practically, we can’t begin to write your proposal until we know what your problem is, so why not just call (Zoom/Teams/Facetime/Skype/WhatsApp) first. Let’s get the first conversation done, so you’ve had a chance to explain who you want to work with, what is needed and why we’re being asked to pitch.

Make it meaningful.

To write a meaningful proposal takes time. If all you get back from your generic ‘we want’ email is a templated process chart with your company name dropped in, then be aware – that agency knows as much about you as you do about them.

Because a proposal takes time to create and will be followed by at least two more conversations and one more iteration of the detail, we’re going to ask you to pay us for that time.

What? How dare we?! Who does that?

Anybody with any self-respect is who.

Do you honestly think we’re going to lay out our process and study your issues to make our project plan meaningful for nothing? Sorry, but no.

This is what happens too often.

  • Client tells us broadly the questions they want answers to.
  • We pitch.
  • Client takes our process and try to run it themselves.
  • It doesn’t work.
  • Client Management questions the value of an agency.
  • Nothing changes.

See the problem? To apply a creative process that we have learnt over years, is our job.

To match the process to a unique treatment that we have developed and to lead your team through a work plan that will result in creative options for you to pursue is the most important part of the work we do.

This is our speciality and we don’t expect it to be yours. Nor should your boss.

When room44 sends out a proposal, it is tailored to your need and includes examples of innovation from business segments that you could transpose straight in. We show our working out and we demonstrate how the project will run, who you need to commit to it, what the time investment will be and why the outcomes demand more than just a PO to move you to the position you want to get to.

So, again:

  • Will we send you a templated process chart? No.
  • Will we pitch without talking? No.
  • Will we spend time making your proposal very precise? Yes.
  • Will we do it for nothing? Well, maybe, but if we pitch at all we’ll have had that conversation first too.

I’m not being unreasonable here. I’m happy to send a case study that describes previous successes. We’ve got loads of those and you can ring the clients for references if you want to. But we won’t commit time to you until you’ve offered some commitment to us.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, it means we don’t know each other well enough and that comes down to talking. So please, let’s talk. That part is free.

Here’s my number. Any time works. +44 208 123 9018.

The next few months are impossible to predict and therefore difficult to plan, so think different. Blend specialism with generalism.

When I got my first job, the first thing my bank did was send me a credit card: instant debt. So I started to run my finances like many FDs run those of their company: manage borrowings by cutting the cost line and growing the top line.

It took me a long time to realise that I didn’t have to chase after every sales incentive I could see. All I had to do was stop using the card. In other words, see the blindingly obvious – work out a budget and follow it through.

What had made things difficult for me were the unexpected expenses, not least of which was a 15% mortgage rate. But this is what passes for financial control in more businesses than perhaps we all realise.

Q4 2020 – Q1 2021

The next few months are impossible to predict. We’re told that the world is falling apart and yet we’re still expected to keep businesses alive and kicking. Some sectors will inevitably find this easier than others; many are already feeling the squeeze.

So, are the unexpected things that could throw your plan off-course really unexpected?

Let’s have a look at that.

COVID-19 is expected to flare up again as the weather gets cooler. This will have consequences: international travel will dry up again, domestic travel will be harder as public transport has reduced capacity, online shopping will continue to grow – high street visits can’t recover when we can’t go out.

Don’t forget the flu either. The NHS always sees a winter spike in demand. This year could be exceptional.

These are real and present dangers facing most business sectors. Although we might assume that service industries such as accountancy and law might escape, no-one is immune. If contracts aren’t being signed or deals done, accountants don’t win clients. If courts aren’t open, solicitors can’t act for clients. And a similar story will play out elsewhere.

The massive shift to homeworking has shown us that commuting isn’t essential. As a result, people working at home have begun to move away from cities and into towns and villages. Rental values in cities are already dropping in commercial and residential sectors, while rental values and house prices in less populated areas are doing OK. These sorts of connections can be made across many industries.

How about some other big factors?

In November the US goes to the polls. In December the UK leaves the EU. Both of these events have direct impact on the UK’s trading future. Brexit is a turning point in the UK’s economic history that few are prepared to look upon as a good idea and, whatever the eventual outcome, this winter looks like supply chains are going to be stretched. Don’t forget, the Chinese New Year happens in February. Another bump in the road.

Then there’s the weather. More floods are forecast this winter than we saw at the beginning of 2020. Rising water levels have been a known phenomenon for years, but many flood defences still aren’t adequate and planners haven’t stopped granting development permission on flood plains.

The blindingly obvious is a bit uncomfortable to consider, and I know this is a list of possible doom and gloom, but the fact is that many of us choose to keep doing what we’ve become used to doing despite what common sense tells us.

What to do

Think different. Blend specialism with generalism.

Your specialism is what you do. Ours is what we do. What we do is everything you don’t.

If you want to explore why house rents and the numbers of commuters might affect you, as just one example, please pick up the phone or email to book an initial conversation.

It’ll cost you nothing and it may lead to a great partnership and a new strategic view.

Working together, you’ll benefit from ideas and insight that we will deliver in a way that helps your team plan a radical response to disruption.  

The plan that will follow our process will not only make the radical completely reasonable, it will give you options to switch to if the unexpected events written into your strategy actually come to pass.

It’s a big promise and it’s a big job. Are you prepared to take it on? We are. Book a call now.

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

As I write this in August 2020, Russia is promising a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in October, while Western hopes are pinned on a number of vaccines currently under trial, including one developed by Oxford University in the UK.

The media has latched on to vaccination as a game-changer against the infection caused by coronavirus, medical press is less certain. What if there is no cure? And, even if an effective vaccination is approved, what if not enough people are vaccinated for it to be successful?

Questions abound

While we ride out the current phase of uncertainty, countries are once again shutting down whole states and cities, because the only way to ringfence infection at this stage is to isolate people until they no longer have the capacity to pass on the disease.

In this context, let’s consider what else may have changed forever, as far as it may relate to your business.

Handshakes and cheek kisses

In a world where face masks in enclosed spaces, sanitising hands and surfaces, and wearing protective gloves are becoming accepted behaviour, it’s hard to see how our social norms can return.

Across a society where we use physical metrics to decide who is attractive, and where we feel our way into relationships through touch, how will physical distancing affect our ability to make new connections?

By the time the second wave of COVID has been experienced, it’s probable that we may all behave with a more active sense of self-preservation.

How will facial beauty treatments be carried out? Will piercings once again be a do-it-yourself activity? How can facial recognition technology work in a crowd wearing masks? Will any of us go to concerts or theatre performances?

Despite cultural events pitching new dates for 2021, there’s a good chance the hospitality sector will never regain its market size or dynamism.

Is this bad news? As always: yes and no. There will be winners and losers, and there will be people who see a different way forward. Perhaps smaller, more selective, higher-margin events will become popular, where mass catering and mass everything else isn’t necessary, and where a concierged experience will reflect the true value of the event. This model already works well in certain price bands and we can see the sub-segment growing.

Marketing and ..isms

The issues around race, gender and age bias may seem relatively straightforward, but major changes are a long time coming, and the fight for equity and equality goes on.

One thing that lockdown has done is to give people time and space to listen to a growing volume of content and active campaigning that continues to argue for a level playing field for everyone. Battles may not yet be won, but awareness of the micro-aggressions of daily life is growing, and rightly so.

While division and bias live on, if you’re a business that values young white men over older black women as customers, you should be asking yourself how you explain this.

The mega-changes that have taken place through the first wave of COVID are another sign that things are unlikely to return to the way they were. And yet we constantly hear that the companies are waiting for a ‘return to business as usual’ or to understand what the ‘new normal’ will be. Such passivity is understandable, but cannot move your business forward.

And away from COVID-centric issues, other things are going on.

Macro matters too

Poland is to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, the piece of legislation that offers legal protection for women against violence towards them.

Hungary’s nationalist government is continuing to restrict the activities of the press amid a takeover of its media by far-right interests – read the latest from by starting here.

The US plans to ban TikTok, claiming a threat to national security, and following an unfortunately low turnout from younger people at recent presidential rallies.

Antarctica is seeing methane leaks from the ocean floors, potentially marking an escalation of the climate warming already causing rising sea levels. At the same time as countries and corporations are pledging to be carbon neutral, nations like Brazil continue to destroy their natural rainforests and fail to contain the illegal export of wild animals.

If you’ve never considered any of this as important to you, or even considered it at all, it may be time for a rethink.

Your new normal

When companies sit down to ideate and decide on their futures, there’s no obligation for them to consider any of these matters. But, without a perspective that encompasses how your business sits in a new world order, how can you determine where or who you’ll trade with? How can you feel confident about treatment of workers if you buy from low-cost manufacturing in, say, Poland? Where did that animal-based ingredient you use actually come from? How will you reduce the negative contribution of your plastic packaging to the environment?

Your new normal is for you to define. There will be no magic wand, and the way you present your company and your brand must change as we move into a more enlightened but infinitely more challenging era. Your brand story can resonate only if you understand who you are selling to and what their specific need is – as well as what it will be.

These are the challenges room44 thrives on and that we’re equipped to work through with you. To explore the opportunity, book an exploratory chat here.

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

New normal

Inevitably, the events of the last three months have disrupted business and personal planning. Unprecedented circumstances have that effect.

Just before the world went into COVID-19-enforced lockdown, the UK was fixated on Brexit and guess what? It hasn’t gone away.

Other major global challenges (climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, air pollution (it’s returning)) are still out there too, but let’s, just for the sake of planning our short-term futures, have another look at Brexit.

Debt, grants and furlough

Since March, the UK has generated vast amounts of debt. Businesses are drawing on government support in the form of grants, loans and/or furlough funding, and also delaying paying rent and VAT. Hold that thought.


In June, the UK enters a critical period of negotiation over its future relationship with the EU.

If, by the end of June, we don’t reach an accord over matters such as fishing and an agreement over trade borders with Ireland, there may not be an agricultural policy deal, or any deal. Despite the UK government talking up its prospects of success, EU member states aren’t likely to agree a set of terms for the UK that are better than they can get themselves. This is part of the problem.

With no outline deal in place, we are heading for a no-deal exit that will come into effect on 1st January 2021: about the time when personal tax bills will be imminent; three months before business rents could be a full year overdue; and a couple of months before delayed VAT payments must be settled. That’s a lot of cash due to flow from businesses into the Government’s coffers within the space of a few weeks.

Future thinking

To an innovation agency that tells business to plan for the long-term, it’s clear that planning for even the next nine months, without the benefit of a certain trading relationship with our closest overseas markets and supply chains, will be problematic.

The signs are that 2021 also has the potential for new lockdowns, if COVID mutates into COVID-21. Restricted access to the workplace through enforced social distancing, app-led movement controls, face-recognition surveillance and zero return from banked cash will all still feature large.

We’re anticipating at least another year of disruption, uncertainty and risk of infection, and so, at room44, we’ll maintain a pragmatic approach of seeking new opportunities through the application of consumer-facing innovative practices.

Normal has moved on

If your business had a problem maintaining its supply chain when COVID first hit, or if you had to shut down your branch of a national chain, you probably understand the trust that previously brought customers to your door has now been diluted. Those small operators you didn’t worry much about before have been working away to fill the vacuum while you were away, and they’ve made gains in market share. It may only be local in your eyes, but it’s enough to keep them going.

Local is the new trusted brand equity

Lots of companies have pivoted into service models where their product can be delivered to consumers through new distribution methods. Even more, though, are waiting for the ‘new normal’ to float back into view, hoping that it looks a lot like the ‘old normal’.

As disrupted businesses cut back or close, there are people new to the jobs market and they too are trying to generate income by starting up a micro-business locally. Local is becoming the new trusted brand equity, further disrupting established business in a virtuous circle

Normal has moved on. Don’t wait for a return to business as it was – start working on a new plan. Tomorrow has always been different from today. Your tomorrow may be unrecognisable.

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

Back on the 6th of February we posted a blog called ‘The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Innovation in 2020’ and reminded you that 2020 was 10% done already.

Unfortunately, it’s also true that nothing we know in May was how we imagined it would be in January and the forecasts you had in the business plan weren’t accurate. Some lucky brands have been winners through the COVID-19 crisis but lots haven’t been.

Today, more than ever, a structured yet expansive approach to future-proofing is an essential part of the innovators toolkit. Now, at the start of May, 2020 is 30% done and everything has changed, including the way you do it.

The following is a reminder of what we asked you to consider in February. The same questions apply but the context has changed.

The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Innovation in 2020.

2020 is 30% done. How was it for you? The next obvious question is, what has been different so far this year?

For example, have you tried pulling an article out of Le Figaro or Welt and dropping it into Google Translate to see what the EU mainland thinks about Brexit?

Or, how about, reading some CES 2020 reviews?

Or have you looked for clues where you’ve always looked, or where you know your competitors look? With 30% of 2020 behind us, doing more of the same isn’t going to provide you with the business insulation that’s probably needed this year.

Adjacent opportunities can be found and grasped. Longer term scenarios must be mapped and reviewed. Constant and tenacious interrogation of your market dynamics and consumer behaviours is imperative.

The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

If you are taking care of business today with only an occasional look at immediate threats, the way you will react is occasional and immediate.

Regularly working on your future makes your opportunities appear regularly. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

There is a way to work in your future.

It’s a way to work in the 2020-2030 decade and know what you need to do next, and then next… Download it here. Take a look and start a working differently today.

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

Please get in touch for a chat. It might just help

For many businesses, Q4 may be the next best time to launch an innovation, internally or externally. But now is the best time to focus on what comes next.

For millions of people sent home from the workplace, the COVID-19 crisis might be providing their first experience of working in a physically isolated space. For others, it’s business as usual. While media threads suggest that working from home lifts some of the pressure and makes life easier, many of us are working flat out – not only coping with the uncertainty around business contracts and trying to ensure we deliver on promise, but also managing around those business enablers we took for granted – like the post office and stationery suppliers.


Despite all this, it’s more critical than ever, in this unusual time, that we don’t miss the opportunity to plan ahead. If now is all about keeping things going, Q4 may be the next best time to make a significant leap and to plan what comes next.

On current signals, it looks like mass gatherings may be part of the landscape again around October. It may have been speculative, but the London Marathon and several festivals have plumped for this revised timing.

We’re probably all looking at a long summer of working, and playing, from home. At room44, we’re continuing to watch how trends are developing, and where the land lies on the things that were important before everything changed. Here are a few random readings:

Bush fires et al

Remember the Australian bush fires? They’re still burning, despite COVID-19. Recent swings in weather patterns have slackened their spread, but they’re still blazing across the country. Environmentally, the reduction in travel has begun to benefit our environment but mega trends are still hurting. The Amazon is still being deforested and plastic waste hasn’t gone away. Popular media may have taken its eye off the environmental ball – you shouldn’t, as you plan ahead. The part your business plays in that context will come back to the top of the agenda.


Remember that? It’s still a job to get done and, according to the UK Prime Minister in one of his early COVID-19 press conferences, it will still be done by the end of the year. Will it be a ‘hard’ exit? Is anyone watching?

Consumer goods

Amid the crush of the national craving for toilet rolls, Britons did not cover themselves in glory by adopting an ‘everyone for themselves’ attitude, stripping shelves before key workers could even finish their shifts. Department stores are reported to have had a run on sales of fridge-freezers so, logically, many people should be able to feed themselves for weeks if restriction on movement freezes. But what does this lead to? Huge spikes in demand during periods of shortage result in the supply chain becoming bloated. Later, as demand levels out and over-capacity leads to a glut, will prices fall? If petrol and diesel are a measure of this the answer is, yes. If you haven’t filled your car for a week or so, the price of a litre may surprise you.

Digital tech

Predicting demand patterns and behavioural trends has been an important skill as health experts model the spread of COVID-19. Traffic monitors and street cameras tell the authorities where and when people are moving. From China, there have been reports of facial recognition being used to identify persistent curfew breakers.

Combine this data with algorithm development and it becomes possible to predict where outbreaks will occur, supporting the call, from some quarters, to increase surveillance across countries.

Watch this trend. Some countries are using mobile phone tracking of its citizens to anticipate outbreaks of COVID-19 and enforce ‘stay at home’ Hefty fines (@$7,000) have been reported for non-compliance of social distancing rules and with second spikes and re-infection being discussed, these measures look set to stick around.

…and VR?

The use of digital technology to help communities stay in touch has become a part of normal life across all age groups. While gaming and eSports may take a step forward if we are isolated for long periods, the signs are that most people still see everyday personal contact as more important than virtual environments. That’s not to say that VR doesn’t have its place, but here’s an extract from Ray Bradbury’s 1957 novel Dandelion Wine that paints a picture.

And then, inside the Happiness Machine, Lena Hoffman began to weep.

The inventor’s smile faded…

There his wife sat, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Oh, it’s the saddest thing in the world”, she wailed. “I feel awful, terrible.”

She climbed out through the door.

“First it was Paris.”

“What’s wrong with Paris?”

“I never thought about being in Paris in my life. But now you got me thinking, Paris! So, suddenly I wanted to be in Paris and I know I’m not.”

“It’s almost as good, this machine.”

“…Leo, the mistake you made is you forgot that some hour, some day we all got to climb out of that thing and go back to dirty dishes and the beds not made.

While you’re in that thing, sure, a sunset lasts for ever, the air smells good, the temperature is fine. All the things you want to last, last.

But outside the children wait on lunch, the clothes need buttons and let’s be frank Leo, how long can you look at a sunset?”

After COVID-19, the new ‘normal’ we adjust to will likely be quite different from how things were before. All the more reason to start planning for what comes next, don’t you think? Now is the best time to focus on what comes next.

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

Plan for normality and keep a focus on the future, whenever and whatever that might be. The highly unusual situation we’re in isn’t forever.

It’d be foolish to underestimate the effect that COVID-19 is having and will continue to have on our day-to-day lives, but if we can keep some sense of perspective, we may hold onto the belief that it isn’t for ever. Panicking about what we cannot control is detrimental not only to our mental health, but also to our potential for recovery from this situation – be it physical, social or financial.

It’s hard to write this and not appear dismissive of what’s happening and what’s to come. I’m not. I don’t know anyone who is. The situation is frightening and changing so rapidly that news is old as soon as it’s out.

But we must believe that it isn’t for ever.

It’s for now and it’s for some time to come, but room44’s strategy is always to look forward, look up and look out to a different horizon. The journey may be bumpy but the destination is up to you.

If you’ve been in business for a while and have overhead and COE to think about, if you’ve just taken on a loan, or if you’re starting out and need money to subsist, you have the same bottom line.

Planning ahead.

However speculative, hospitality, events and entertainment organisers are rebooking dates for September and October. We all need to believe to survive and these guys are planning for a more definite medium term.

Even in ‘normal’ circumstances, businesses today can’t easily predict demand for their services. room44 has an order book but it never extends beyond six months, and our eBike business is still a fledgling enterprise. We feel your pain.

Focus on your future.

What we can all do, though, is plan for the day when our situation has stabilised again. By keeping a focus on what we would like to happen, we can press pause on thinking about what can’t be controlled. In itself, this offers stress relief and other psychological benefits. Here’s a blog that might strike a chord – When the long term is the hardest thing to focus on, that’s when it’s most important to retain that focus.

Focus on what you want.

Yesterday, Paul Freedman posted a video about the Stockdale Paradox, which says that in challenging times we all need to believe the situation is temporary, even while dealing with it. As Jack Reacher would put it, hope for the best and plan for the worst.

The last time I found myself in a position where things were going badly wrong, a close friend asked what my plan was. While I was looking around for someone to bail me out, the answer had to come from me. Work it out and execute the plan.

Be kind and stay healthy.

My plan has always included writing to promote my business. If you’ve read to this point, thank you and I hope it helps.

If a chat would help some more, let’s do that. Here’s my diary. Book some time, no charge. Be kind and stay healthy.

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

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