How technology gives you the freedom to explore new ideas
Sometimes all it takes is a shift of focus to make a company successful, thankfully mobile tech makes it possible
Samsung and The Supper Club
Michael Conway, Claudia Dreier-Poepperl, Simon Hill and Peter Rear are members of The Supper Club an elite network of business owners and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) founders who, in partnership with Samsung, are sharing their knowledge and insight, inspiring more small businesses to go out there and grab success. At a recent event, we spoke to them and other members to find out how they've taken on new ideas and used them to evolve their businesses.
How have you pivoted within your own business?
Peter Rear, founder and CEO, Filmatography: It's important to never stand still and to look at new and interesting ways of evolving and presenting your product. At Filmatography, we have given a totally new way for clients to enjoy their imagery in a luxury screening and editing facility in the Middle East, where the sharing of imagery online is typically restricted for cultural privacy concerns. The entrance into our Dubai Cinema Studio has 11 Samsung 55in screens, which surround you in a stunning panoramic display. Clients can enjoy their photography with friends, family and guests, then enjoy their films in our private cinema. The concept of luxury today is about the experience, not just the product, and we aim to deliver exactly that in a truly immersive way.
Michael Conway, managing director, Clothes2order.com: Our business has changed dramatically from being a garment importer in the early days to a manufacturing and ecommerce business today, from four people to a workforce of 150. Understanding and responding to changes in the industry was key to knowing when to pivot and ensure a successful transformation. You know it's the right time when you can no longer differentiate yourself from your competitors. We decided to reposition the business through ecommerce and personalisation. We haven't looked back since.
How can companies generate new ideas?
Simon Hill, founder, Wazoku: At Wazoku, we work with some of the world's biggest brands and companies to make ideas pervasive and innovation accessible to everyone. Our approach is to embrace the tools of crowdsourcing and innovation to bring an organisation's creativity and expertise to co-create solutions to the innovation challenges and objectives that the company is interested in exploring. We believe that ideas and innovation should come from within, meaning the best place to source new ideas is by tapping into your current network first and foremost your employees and customers.
Peter Rear: At Filmatography, we consider ourselves innovators who are working at the cutting edge of technology and we stay on the pulse of industry change. We're very tech-driven and we use new developments in interesting ways. Keeping up with your sector's evolution is vital and anticipating the next leap forward is very important. We are seeing a convergence of the film and photography world, where in the not-too-distant future you'll see the widespread use of super-high resolution film cameras, from which stills will be taken instead of having two independent operators.
How do you know if an idea is right for your business?
Peter Rear: It has to do with the values of your business and you need to make sure that each development you undertake is attuned to these core values. Every new development I undertake with Filmatography has to align with our core values and sit well within the wider luxury and cinematic sectors that we work in. If you don't have these core values already, perhaps that's the next step in your journey.
Simon Hill: Starting with a clearly defined problem statement focuses the creative inputs in line with the business strategy and goals. From there, having an approach that allows for rapid prototyping and testing of ideas allows for a fail-fast approach and for a higher success rate for ideas you do take forward.
How do you take your team with you when you're trying to evolve your business?
Michael Conway: It's about culture and values. I spend a significant amount of my time developing and communicating our core values, mission and purpose, and it's time well spent. Everyone needs to understand your values and culture, to know where the business is going and what we are trying to achieve. If people are aligned to the vision, they will be with you on the journey they'll be able to adapt to change and the team spirit will be strong.
Simon Hill: Involve them in the process from the beginning. Being open, transparent and encouraging collaboration during the process drives greater engagement and means your people are invested and engaged in the change process throughout.
Peter Rear: If you involve your team in the innovation and development process, it will ensure that the team will be synonymous with company progression.
What can you do to make your new idea a success with both existing customers and new ones?
Peter Rear: It's really important to test new ideas with small groups before deploying them to the masses. Getting feedback from this and developing the idea further will really help its greater success. Communication is vital for clients to be able to fully engage with the product or service as you would wish them to. This is best done in a visual, video-based way, which will provide the highest level of interest and engagement.
Simon Hill: Keep innovating and make change and agile working a part of the ongoing process.
Michael Conway, managing director, Clothes2order.com
Clothes2order.com is an award-winning part of the Quayside Group, one of the UK's fastest growing clothing distributors. Established in 1995, the Quayside Group has developed into one of the market's leading suppliers of clothing for workwear, promotions and events.
Simon Hill, founder, Wazoku
Founded in 2011, Wazoku's team of professionals share their knowledge to help their customers obtain the best results from innovation programmes, using a powerful idea management platform called Idea Spotlight.
Peter Rear, founder and CEO, Filmatography
Filmatography strives to achieve world-class commissioned cinema and photography, inspired by a collective desire to deliver the extraordinary. Established in 2003, this globally renowned production studio specialises in high-profile launches, fashion campaigns, lifestyle shoots, commercials and distinguished events.
Claudia Dreier-Poepperl, CEO and founder, Calldorado
Established by app developers for app developers, Calldorado solves two big problems: monetisation and re-engagement. The company, headquartered in Copenhagen but global in outlook, provides a freely available software development kit (SDK) that enables app owners to generate revenue and highlight app features at the same time.
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