Innovate [Innovatus]

Some people suffer from a very real temptation to innovate in isolation and then wait for the world to respond to their brilliant insight or invention. Perhaps this is a function of the desire to protect IP or to really focus on the work required to address a gap in the market.

We all know that there are plenty of gaps in the market but of course there is not always a market in the gaps. Many apparent opportunities are there because nobody wants to buy a product that would fill the gap in the first place.

If innovators don’t ask the right questions and then listen to prospective clients or customers, how will they know that the features of the innovation line up with the established needs of the potential end users?

Of course, this should not just be a one off exercise. As the process of innovation progresses it is critically important to keep talking to the potential end market and ensure that the attributes of the innovation address a challenge that has been identified as important by prospective customers.

This may sound like a statement of the completely obvious but you would be amazed how many times we see management teams that get a long way down the development pathway without giving the market a good listening to!

It is not enough to have the best technology if you can’t sell it or at the very least articulate your value proposition, identify your target customers or explain your routes to market.

This will be made very clear the moment that a company wants to raise some money to support the innovation. The easiest way for investors (who are not necessarily technology experts) to evaluate different investment opportunities is to listen to the market and see what customers think of the solutions. Investors will be asking themselves:

‘So, how much are your customers spending right now on this product and how much they will likely be spending in the future?’. They will probably also want to know ‘who else will you be able to sell this to?’

As part of their due diligence or evaluation of your investment opportunity, investors will want to speak to past and prospective customers in order to:

  • Confirm the value of your solutions in solving their problems
  • Benchmark your technology against others that are being or which have been evaluated
  • Quantify how your business might scale with other potential customers.

If you haven’t done this yourself beforehand, the risk is that you will get a very nasty surprise at exactly the wrong moment. Building in the right conversations throughout the process of innovation, genuinely listening to the opinions of people you hope will become your clients and then reflecting those perspectives in your innovation is critical but often overlooked.

What our clients say

Project Rome worked with us to develop a purpose-driven strategy for Yorkshire Building Society, aligning our commercial ambitions with our societal and environmental responsibilities. The team were an absolute pleasure to work with, and their knowledge and experience were invaluable. We couldn’t have delivered the work without them.

Tanya Jackson, former Head of Corporate Affairs, Yorkshire Building Society

Project Rome has helped shape, challenge and then support the further development of original thinking, critical to the successful transformation of our sustainable business and asset strategy. They are also hugely well connected regionally and nationally. Their work has led to enhanced customer value and environmental performance for Yorkshire Water – an important outcome at a pivotal time.

Jon Brigg, Manager of Innovation, Yorkshire Water

The team at Project Rome are great to work with; consistently delivering results and adding valuable contributions but also easy and enjoyable to collaborate with. They are impressive in their ability to build rapport with different audiences and quickly apply a strategic mindset and technical expertise to bring structure, clarity and direction.

Gordon Rogers, Head of Sustainability, Yorkshire Water

It has been my pleasure to work with Project Rome over a number of years.  Simon has always brought clear strategic thinking and analysis at corporate level and worked with me as a member of the executive team in WYG plc over an extended period as we grew the business.  I have greatly appreciated his wisdom and help in setting direction for growth and implementing strategy.

Douglas McCormick, Executive Chairman, Gleeds UK and former CEO of WYG

I would sum up Project Rome in three words: diligence, expertise and accuracy. But what’s more, they are a true pleasure to work with. If we have a complex project, Project Rome is our first port of call.

Jeremy Biggs, CEO, NCL Technology Ventures Ltd

Project Rome worked on a one-to-one basis to quickly build relationships and gain the trust of key stakeholders, from clinicians and support teams to Executive Directors. The result was a significant leap forward in our ability to effectively collaborate at all levels. They were also an absolute delight to work with, bringing humour and a sense of fun to the team. We loved every minute of working with them!

Rebecca Malin, former Programme Director, Acute Provider Collaboration, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Project Rome team has an open, approachable style that worked well with our entire team, from Executive Directors to junior admin colleagues. They were politically and culturally sensitive to the need of the population and the multiple stakeholders, and creative and thoughtful about ways to get the optimum outcome from their work.

Stacey Hunter, Executive Director Acute Provider Collaboration Airedale FT and Bradford FT NHS Trusts, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber

Project Rome provide FirstGroup with excellent regional intelligence and wise political counsel. They help us engage with our key stakeholders in a meaningful and focussed way.

Mike Katz, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, FirstGroup plc

Project Rome

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