It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
Most famously, the opening line from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
Less famously - but probably far more accurately - the opening line of any business plan written during a once-in-100-year global pandemic that sees almost all commercial activity grind to a halt.
That said, I’m pleased (I think) to announce the formal launch of Meltwater Consulting. Yes, it’s a shocking time to be thinking about trying to fend for yourself, commercially. But the reality is many of us are now carefully rethinking what our futures will look like, and how best to navigate a path forward. While Meltwater has been in existence for a while, I’m now focused on establishing the business; to more formally deliver consulting and advisory services that look apply behavioural science to build better businesses. By better businesses, I mean businesses that recognise the opportunity in sustainable and social innovation.
Up to this point, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredible and extremely high profile clients, on innovative and impacting projects, which gives me confidence that the capability is valued by clients.
But now marks the time to step-up and do more. Which takes me back to Charles Dickens’ opener. I'm confident this has to be the best of times to be focusing on providing services that support and deliver an evidence-led and science-informed approach to sustainable innovation; to corporate social innovation.
LinkedIn’s chock-full of advice and commentary on what successful business will need to look like post-pandemic. But the reality - I believe - is many of these changes were already underway; more inclusive business, more purposeful leadership, social value alongside economic value, a better understanding of the customer, stakeholders as much as shareholders… the list goes on. Larry Fink has been arguing for it; the US Business Roundtable had signed up for it; and increasingly markets are expecting it. Business journals have long made a compelling case for sustainable innovation (Michael Porter writes convincingly - and recently - here).
But with the current situation, there’s never been a better moment for business to demonstrate its worth; to move beyond words and find opportunities to reshape value. But I don't think it's all upside for business - the businesses that fail to deliver in these extraordinary times, will be the businesses that fail. Case studies will be written about them. But they’ll not be the sort of case studies they’d like to be remembered by.
Never has the late Clayton Christensen’s ‘Jobs to Be Done’ concept been more salient, not least because today we have to be so much more sophisticated in understanding what those jobs look like for our customers, and the market as a whole. Dilip Soman opens his book 'The Last Mile' with the line 'every business I know is in the business of changing someone's behaviour'. I think this is true, and even more true right now.
So, cautiously, I think it is the best of times to try to offer services in applied behavioural science for sustainable innovation and profit-led social impact.
Ideally, we're looking to partner on projects with leading players in the innovation and sustainable innovation - Accenture Interactive, ?WhatIf!, Lippincott, IDEO and others. And hopefully, we have something original and valuable to offer in return - a proven and award-winning ability in applied behavioural science, alongside extensive leadership and client management experience, across strategic marketing and communications, in both MNCs and start-ups, and with leading business schools and universities.
If this sounds at all interesting, I’d be delighted to hear from you. I’m happy to have as many conversations as I can during these coming weeks.