This week was the first of three busy weeks for me, Equitus and TiE UK North.

Highlights of this week include the Board (on which I represent TiE) meeting of the Manchester India Partnership, which was graced by Dr. Venkatachalam Murugan, the Consul General of India in Birmingham. It was pleasure and privilege to talk to Dr.Murugan, particularly in Tamil, and spend a few inspiring minutes with him.

The stunning Emirates Old Trafford was the venue, where the board led by Simon Arora and Jo Ahmed, with representation from MIDAS (Joe Manning), Lancashire County Cricket Club (Dan Whitehead), Marketing Manchester (Victoria Braddock), Manchester Airport (Lucie Hinton), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Nicole Strickland) and the Universities. A lot of important points including direct flight connectivity between Manchester and India, Indian Men's Cricket Team's tour of England in summer 2025 with a test scheduled at Emirates Old Trafford, TiE UK North and TiE Global Summit. It was also an amazing catch up with good friends Ravi Kumar, Ani Kaprekar and the perennially inspiring Gulnaz Brennan (checkout SheInspires).

This was followed by hosting Ravi Narayan from TiE Bangalore, who took valuable time out of his busy schedule to travel up to Manchester. We discussed a lot of things including a few important events next week (about which you will hear this time next Sunday). We also spoke about the TiE Global Summit 2024, being held in Bangalore, the city in which I have born, and I call home (with Manchester, of course). We then went to Masood Entrepreneurship Centre's Accelerate Me Demo Day, where we got to hear from some exciting inventors and entrepreneurs such as Josiah Edebiri, Olivia Burns, Dylan Simpson and others. This year's Accelerate Me program has been superbly delivered by Alex Radulescu, Alexia Elena Catutoiu, and their team. It was a pleasant surprise to bump into Lee Pugalis, Sam Royle and to meet James Summerton for the very first time.

I am incredibly pleased with the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem we have and are building in Manchester. This means a special mention for the Turing Innovation Cluster, where I am a business mentor, and Jasmin Kailath, Elizabeth Scott MBE, James Akrigg,  and Naomi Timperley.

I am cognizant of the role TiE UK North and TiE Global have in developing and showcasing this city region to the world!

The very first stage of the innovation journey is the evaluation of the ideas. It is essential to evaluate the idea against market, the enterprise and the ecosystem. Today we focus on the market, and talk about Desirability.

Desirability is purely market focused. Typical questions we aim to answer here include ‘whom are we selling to?’, ‘what problem are we solving?’, ‘where are we selling?’ Look at the finished product/solution through the eyes of our target audience should be your focus.

Focus on the problem that needs solving or the issue that’s bothering your customer, rather than the product you plan to develop for them or your technical capability. If you are lucky, there won’t be any variance in their description of the problem and the actual problem. However, more often than not, there will be a significant variance. The main reason for this is that they are likely to be describing a downstream consequence that’s bothering them. What do I mean  by this?

Imagine a customer calling their Internet Service Provider saying they can’t get online. Whilst that is the problem they’re facing, that’s not the real problem. It’s a downstream consequence. At this point, the technical support person will go through a series of probing questions such as whether the router is on, whether the Wi-Fi light and the Internet light etc are on. What the tech support is doing here is getting to the root cause, the real issue that’s preventing the customer from getting online. Only once the real issue has been identified can an effective solution be provided.

Now, apply this same logic to your innovation process and to the problem you’re trying to solve for your customer. Before I let you go, here’s a little anecdote. A famous multinational company once designed a manufacturing line that could make both table sauces and shower gels. They did it because they had the technical ability to do it. But when it came to selling this, both sets of customers rejected it because it was a manufacturing unit that was not specialist enough for their needs.

Today we continue on efficiency from where we left off last week.

Optimizing Resource Allocation:

Efficient resource allocation is crucial for prioritizing investments and allocating resources where they can have the greatest impact. By leveraging data-driven insights and performance metrics, organizations can identify areas of inefficiency and reallocate resources to high-priority initiatives that drive innovation and growth.

Improving Customer Experience:

Efficiency extends beyond internal processes to customer-facing interactions, where it plays a crucial role in delivering a seamless and satisfying experience. By streamlining processes, reducing wait times, and eliminating friction points, companies can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, driving repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

It's important to recognize that efficiency is not just about cutting corners or sacrificing quality for the sake of speed. Rather, it's about optimizing processes and workflows to achieve the desired outcomes in the most effective and economical manner possible. This requires a holistic approach that considers the entire innovation ecosystem, from ideation and development to implementation and iteration.

 

Moreover, efficiency encompasses a wide range of factors beyond traditional metrics like time and cost. It includes factors such as employee engagement and morale, stakeholder satisfaction, and environmental sustainability. By taking a comprehensive view of efficiency and aligning it with organizational goals and values, companies can create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation excellence.

In conclusion, efficiency is a vital ingredient in the recipe for innovation success. By optimizing resource utilization, accelerating time-to-market, enhancing agility, and prioritizing customer experience, organizations can maximize the value derived from their innovative efforts. As companies navigate the ever-changing landscape of business and technology, efficiency will continue to be a guiding principle in driving sustainable growth and competitive advantage.

Hopefully the last six weeks have given you enough to get a basic understanding of effectiveness, consistency and efficiency. If you need further support from me, don’t hesitate to reach out.

In the last four weeks we touched on the three ingredients crucial to successful innovative endeavours. They are effectiveness, consistency, and efficiency, in that order. We then did a deep dive into what effectiveness and consistency are, and why they are critical for success. Today and next week, we look at efficiency.

In the dynamic landscape of innovation, where companies strive to stay ahead of the curve and deliver cutting-edge solutions, efficiency emerges as a cornerstone of success. While effectiveness ensures that the desired outcomes are achieved, and consistency fosters reliability and trust, efficiency amplifies these efforts by maximizing the value derived from the resources invested. Let's delve into why efficiency is indispensable in the innovation journey and why it extends far beyond simply saving time or cost.

Efficiency is about optimizing the utilization of resources, whether they are people, time, money, or other intangible assets like knowledge and expertise. By maximizing efficiency, organizations can achieve more with less, unlocking greater value and impact in their innovative endeavors. Here's why efficiency matters:

Maximizing Value Creation:

Efficiency ensures that every resource invested in innovation generates the maximum possible value. Whether it's investing in R&D efforts, allocating budgets, or deploying human capital, optimizing efficiency enables organizations to amplify their impact and drive meaningful outcomes that align with their strategic objectives.

Accelerating Time-to-Market:

In today's fast-paced business environment, speed is of the essence. Efficient processes and workflows enable organizations to accelerate their time-to-market, seizing opportunities and staying ahead of competitors. By streamlining operations and minimizing bottlenecks, companies can bring innovative solutions to market faster, capturing market share and generating revenue more quickly.

Enhancing Agility and Adaptability:

Efficiency fosters agility and adaptability, enabling organizations to respond swiftly to changing market dynamics and customer needs. By optimizing resource allocation and decision-making processes, companies can pivot direction, iterate on ideas, and seize emerging opportunities with ease, ensuring their innovative efforts remain relevant and competitive.

Last week I wrote about what consistency is and what it does in your innovative endeavours. Today I wrap up the importance of consistency.

Enhancing User Experience: In today's interconnected world, user experience is paramount. Consistency in design, functionality, and performance ensures that users can navigate a product or service seamlessly, without encountering unexpected roadblocks or inconsistencies. A consistent user experience fosters engagement, satisfaction, and positive word-of-mouth, driving adoption and retention.

Fostering Innovation Culture: Consistency isn't just about delivering a consistent product; it's also about maintaining consistency in the pursuit of innovation itself. By fostering a culture of consistency within an organization, teams can streamline processes, improve efficiency, and drive continuous improvement. Consistency in innovation ensures that ideas are evaluated, refined, and executed with discipline and rigor, maximizing the likelihood of success.

In the ever-changing landscape of innovation, consistency serves as a guiding principle, anchoring new ideas in a sea of uncertainty. It provides a sense of stability and reliability in an otherwise chaotic world, reassuring consumers and stakeholders alike. Whether it's through consistent product quality, brand messaging, or innovation processes, consistency is the glue that holds everything together, enabling new innovations to thrive and endure.

As we continue to push the boundaries of what's possible, let us not forget the importance of consistency – the silent force behind every successful innovation. By embracing consistency as a core value, we can build trust, foster loyalty, and pave the way for lasting impact in the world of innovation.

In the fast-paced world of innovation, where new ideas emerge and evolve at lightning speed, there's a quality that stands out as a beacon of reliability and trustworthiness – consistency. While creativity and ingenuity may grab headlines, it's consistency that forms the backbone of any successful new product or service. From disruptive technologies to groundbreaking solutions, consistency plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of innovation and fostering lasting relationships with consumers.

Consistency isn't just about delivering the same thing over and over again; it's about reliability, predictability, and dependability. It's about setting expectations and consistently meeting or exceeding them. Whether it's the user experience of a digital platform, the quality of a physical product, or the reliability of a service, consistency forms the bedrock upon which trust is built.

So why does consistency matter so much for new innovations?

Building Trust: Trust is the currency of modern commerce, and consistency is its backbone. When consumers encounter a product or service that delivers a consistent experience time after time, they develop a sense of trust and reliability. This trust forms the foundation of long-term relationships, fostering loyalty and repeat business.

Creating Brand Identity: Consistency is key to establishing a strong and memorable brand identity. From the design of a logo to the tone of voice in marketing communications, maintaining consistency across all touchpoints helps to reinforce brand recognition and build brand equity. Consistent branding signals professionalism, stability, and commitment to quality, resonating with consumers on a subconscious level.