For those of you who know me or have been part of a Life Size workshop, you know that we consider innovation a banned word. Why? Because one of our most engaging workshop exercises involves asking participants to describe their company in one word to help identify a company’s brand attributes, and inevitably one of the first words people come up with is innovative. In fact, I have never held a workshop without this happening, so we’ve forbidden the use of innovation as a word.
Why then, have I chosen to include it in the title for this article? In our workshops, we start by discovering what is unique about a client’s technology, which they usually find easy to put into words. But then we ask what makes their company unique and they nearly always struggle. The fact is, for many cleantech companies, innovation is almost entirely focused on their product or service.
When I talk about deeper innovation, I’m not talking about technological innovation.
For me, deeper innovation is about how we take the concept of doing things differently and apply it to our companies, our customer relationships, how we sell and how we build and work with our teams. Deeper innovation is commercial, cultural, organisational and interpersonal.
In my experience of the cleantech sector, that kind of innovation has always taken a back seat. We think of it as a nice option to have. But right now, we are in a unique and deeply challenging moment in history. That is why I believe that deeper innovation is essential.
For me, this way of thinking has come out of a year that, like many of you I’m sure, has been as challenging as it has been transformative. Maternity leave has allowed me to rethink my relationship to work, the kind of business I want to build and how I want to operate it.
So, what does the deeper innovation mean for Life Size?
If you follow our news, earlier this year we launched Cleantech Heroes in collaboration with Hyperion Executive Search and Inven Capital. So far, we have been able to help over 20 cleantech companies through the initiative.
Earlier this month, we took things a step further by launching the Life Size Membership. Why? Because the traditional agency retainer model does not work for early-stage start-ups. Over the years, we have had to turn down countless early-stage cleantech companies, which has been so frustrating because they knew they needed strategic communications to grow but could not afford to work with us. Because our mission is to use strategic communications to grow cleantech businesses into market leaders, we knew we had to solve this dilemma.
Enter the Life Size membership. Just like Netflix, you get access to it by paying a low monthly fee. If you do not want it anymore, you simply stop paying. Our membership focuses on expertise over execution. Start-ups still need to put in the work, but we will give them the guidance they need to maximise that effort.
Our membership grants access to individual consultations with our team of experts, live masterclasses in critical subjects across the communications spectrum and to the cleantech community that we’re building.
But deeper innovation is also more than agile working and flexible business models. In fact, those things are simply the bare minimum. Deeper innovation is also about exploring new ways of human connection, building a digital company culture and, most importantly, advancing racial justice, diversity and inclusion.
My company and I have not done nearly enough on diversity up until now. The entire cleantech sector needs to question whether we can change the world with the same faces leading our companies.
How will you answer the call to deeper innovation?
If our approach resonates with you, then please do get in touch. Whether you need an initial free consultation or want to subscribe to our membership, we’d love to hear from you!