Latest thinking

Our Insights is where we share our latest thinking through blog posts, interviews with members of the entrepreneurial community, and external publications.

The economic challenge that must be incorporated into design

Recently I have been working in the renewable energy field and two pieces of insight highlighted two key mistakes that innovators, but particularly engineering and science based start-ups, are prone to making. Mistake 1: talking to the market after key design elements have already been locked down. Mistake 2: failing to consider the economic envelope in which their innovation needs to perform. Payback hurdle The first insight we received from several market participants, in multiple geographies, was that the product in question would need to payback in under 7 years. The reason for this was that each of them had…

Air pollution: a public health concern

Cycling home over Waterloo bridge a couple of weeks ago I was surprised by my breathlessness and coughing fit that ensued. At first I thought it was a testament to my fitness levels, but turning on the news that night my concern grew from its initial trivial and personal worry. The cause of all this, as I am sure you have all been reading about, was the unprecedented levels of air pollution which set upon the capital earlier this month. Some claimed it was a result of the weather: low wind and high air pressure. While weather contributes to high…

Water: it’s a precious resource, let’s start treating it as such!

I initially started writing this blog in the summer when it was so hot that I was struggling to sleep and was drinking water like it was on tap (but it is on tap Peter!). It was late June at the time and I had decided that it was time for my second annual water blog.  Last year, I wrote about the impact that drought was having on hydro-electricity production in Brazil and agriculture in California, and how increasing droughts could lead to a greater focus on wind, solar and waste to energy technologies, particularly if they could reduce water usage, or, in an…

How to develop a business and yourself

Developing a business and developing yourself have a lot in common. Fundamentally they both involve learning. As a business owner, one responsibility I feel towards those with whom I work is to ensure that they are learning and developing in a way that drives the business and their value to it. In a knowledge business this is an essential dimension if the organisation is to flourish and grow. Where an individual isn’t learning or shows little appetite for discovering new challenges (i.e. new learning opportunities), it is time for them to move on and find inspiration elsewhere. The recipe for…

Space and early-stage companies

No, I’m not talking about Elon Musk’s deep desire to travel to Mars (or Boeing’s apparently deep desire to beat him there), although I’m keenly watching to see whether we’re going to see a re-enactment of The Martian in my lifespan. My interest lies in the terrestrial use of space technology – a particular pertinent question to RIG, given one our clients is a cross-over from the space industry, transitioning from a particularly specialised application into a wide variety of terrestrial uses. When people talk about the cost of space research and how the money could be spent better solving…

Pick your champion

As an early stage technology company, the early deals done with big companies can set the course for the business for some time into the future. Getting them done is rarely simple, but the first step is to make sure you have the right champion. It is a common misconception that because you are engaged in discussion with someone at a company, that you’re engaged with the company as a whole. It is rare that a large multinational invests all of its expertise, budgets and problems in a single individual or team, and frequently teams are empowered to solve their…