When asked by my photographer friend, Mark Weeks, if I wanted to attend a networking event held by the Radius business Group at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in London last night, I thought, how could I refuse?
After all, with my background in food and retail innovation as it pertains to technique, style and products, this opportunity was one I’d have been crazy to miss.
The Radius Business Group believes that the best business networks provide a friendly environment in which to meet like-minded individuals, creating opportunities to make useful connections for the longer-term and for those attending their events to generate ideas and business opportunities.
This particular evening was hosted by the Clydesdale Bank and comprised of a panel discussion of expert speakers challenging not just the value of innovation in business but also considering ways to businesses can be brought together to create greater value in it too.Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nick MacPherson
While it’s not every night you get the opportunity to speak directly with Sir Nick Macpherson, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury who was on the evening’s panel, it was definitely Denise McQuaid who made the biggest impression on me.
Denise is currently Managing Director of the UP accelerator Group; working with corporates that wish to become more effective innovators.
One impassioned point that seemed to be a continual thread to her talk was that businesses needs to create a culture to which people feel a part of. Sounds so simple, yet it was theme also echoed by the infectious discussion given by Tamara Littleton, who founded Emoderation in 2002 which focusses on crisis communications online for large global brands.
While the two aforementioned women shared their stories of how intrinsically important culture is to a business, so too was this supported by the panel at large including: Paul Shephard from Clydesdale Bank and Rob Miller (founder of Comotion) – a growth group consultancy that helps companies build sustainable revenues by reinventing themselves as a customer-led business.
“Innovation is something you do or die as a business,” said Denise McQuaid. This theology does not just pertain to technology, but could also include mechanical, logistical as well as the cultural fabric sof a business.
In the business model of Emoderation for example, Tamara Littleton runs a company whose 300 employees all work remotely around the world.
Tamara herself runs her consulting business from her smart phone.
Because of this new way of working, Tamara is constantly creating a company fabric which makes her labour force feel connected to the business as a whole! A video conference is not productive unless it is around meal time. The idea of this is that Tamara has proven that her team’s solutions are much better, stronger and inclusive when people are sharing a meal… Needless to say, I’m a subscriber!
One thing is certain, business today is finding new ways to innovate. For survival, it has to.
The irony may be that while technology has become the driving force, sometimes the answer is not found in an app, but rather in a stew!