Blog

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

A conversation with Ffion Rolph, Rapid Innovation Group Project Director

RIG’s summer intern, Nadya Kelly, sat down for lunch with Ffion Rolph, RIG’s project director. Over some pizza and coffee, they discussed Ffion’s time at RIG, technology interests, and gender issues. NK: How did you end up working for RIG? FR: Honestly, I came out of university, and like most people, didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had a couple of ideas. I’ve always been into politics - I studied it at university and had been working at the Welsh Assembly for a while before I came across RIG. A friend knew someone who worked here. I…

The draw of a silly assumption

On paper it might make sense: hire a commercially minded executive who has ridden the tiger at a fabulously successful growth company, who has been there and done that, and low and behold the same result will transpire. Unfortunately, this will rarely happen in practice (at least not in the formative stages - see below) yet it is an assumption that in the sweaty heat of entrepreneurial aspiration is alluring.  It follows a predictable path in how we seem to process success and failure. If a project or indeed a company is hugely successful it is all down to us;…

First impressions of life at RIG

It’s the end of week two working here for me at RIG (well, it was at the time of writing) and it’s time for me to give a little bit of detail to what I’ve been up to, what I’ve learnt, and first impressions of the company. It’s started as a little bit of acronym bombardment, full of TAMs, IPPs, OEMs and IPOs and a healthy dosage of blockchain chat from David. Slowly, I feel like I’m getting accustomed to how things work in the office, small company culture and RIG’s careful line between scrupulous professionalism and the informality fostered…

Thoughts on Crypto Assets, Initial Coin Offerings, and the Utility Value of Blockchain Technology

Thoughts on Crypto assets, Initial Coin Offerings, and the Utility Value of Blockchain Technology New to Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies? Read this primer A new asset class I am a believer, or maybe I just want to believe. Is this Amsterdam in the 17th century? My view is: no; a new asset class is emerging, and we are about 45 seconds into the evolution of the species. I have read yet another sceptical article on Seekingalpha this morning, specifically focussed on the Bitcoin (BTC)/Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split.  The author’s supposition is that there is evidence of a bubble in Bitcoin…

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…