Archive for the ‘the sound horizon’ Category

The Sound Horizon and Newsquare Team up for Groundbreaking Diabetes Innovation Programme

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

We say: “Effective solutions to global health challenges such as Diabetes need cross-industry collaboration and innovation. We’re aiming to play a part in driving that forward.”

Diabetes is a growing and undeniable threat to the world’s health.
Some 422 million adults across the world have diabetes. In the UK alone, the cost to the NHGlucofocus 7-7-16S is £10 billion per year, accounting for 10% of the total NHS budget.

Consensus is building that this growing threat can only be addressed through sustained and integrated treatment and prevention programmes. Efforts to address the crisis have been ambitious, but remain sporadic, fragmented, localised and disconnected.

That’s why we’re partnering with innovation agency Newsquare and their partners Food Tech Week London and Dotforge to deliver GlucoFocus, a multi-strand innovation programme which will bring together payers, clinicians, patients, entrepreneurs, corporations and academics to address the challenge.

DP_2009-12-19-4 copy 3really really lowDominic Pride, CEO and Client Partner of The Sound Horizon says “through our consulting work for life sciences clients, we’ve seen a wide range of initiatives from plucky startups, health authorities, pharmaceutical giants and stakeholders in food, retail and wellness. While each of these initiatives can make an impact, we believe there is more to be gained by collaborating and sharing viewpoints, insights and ideas around this complex health challenge.”

Tobias Stone, CEO of Newsquare says: “we’ve partnered with The Sound Horizon because of their deep understanding of healthcare innovation and the associated business models emerging around Toby Stonechronic conditions. Their work at both ends of the scale – from pharma giants to seed funded startups – gives them an unrivalled viewpoint from which to deliver the kind of programme which is needed to innovate around diabetes.”

Newsquare has already initiated and delivered EyeFocus, a successful innovation programme around eye care, bringing in a wide range of stakeholders such as Bayer, Zeiss and Bosch to address complex challenges within eye disease and blindness. Newsquare will bring learnings and methodology such as Idea Hacks, early and late stage accelerators from this successful programme to GlucoFocus, while The Sound Horizon will bring knowledge of digital services and business model innovation to the programme.

GlucoFocus is recruiting foundation partners by September 1 2016 for a nine-month programme which will begin during early 2017. To find out more, please get in touch.

When Being Digital Is Not Enough

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Associate Director at The Sound Horizon Jessica Sandin shares her perspective on re-setting our expectations of what digital technology can deliver.

The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report “Digital Dividends” Phone Imagetakes a close look at the reality of digital impact across the world. It concludes that there have been significant positive outcomes, but that in aggregate, benefits have fallen short and are not evenly distributed.

A key pillar of the argument is that digital in itself is not enough. The context – what the authors call “analogue complements” – has to be right to enable digital to thrive. While digital solutions have brought development and opportunity to some areas, there is currently a risk that digital may widen rather than reduce the gap between the world’s haves and have-nots.

It’s a timely call to action. Beyond the obvious need for affordable internet access for all, the report stresses the need for regulation, competition and skills to support digital deployments. Looking more broadly at “analogue complements”, however, the message can be taken far beyond development, which is the main thrust of the report.

It’s not unusual to find a rather blinkered faith in the ability of a digital solution or idea to transform an industry or the world in and of itself, because it ‘would work better’ or ‘is smarter’. That’s typically not enough.  It is essential to understand the context you’re launching something into, so you can address any obstacles rather than stumble into them too late. That’s just as true for digital disruptors as for anybody else.

Without an understanding of the context, you’re far less likely to get anywhere. You are, for example, unlikely to successfully launch a digital solution that could ‘save the NHS’ without knowing how that structure works, where budget- and purchase decisions are made, and what obstacles and opportunities you face in getting staff and patients to use your solution. This remains true if you’re launching into a rather less complex environment.

On the other hand, you’ll be a good step ahead if you gain that knowledge and have the humility to adapt your solution so that it works, both for the organisation and for the people who are your intended users.

That’s not to say that those behind new digital solutions shouldn’t challenge the status quo. The challenge is just much more likely to be successful if it’s backed by solid insight and knowledge.

This guest post is from JesJessica Sandinsica Sandin, Associate Director of The Sound Horizon and principal of SAND, a strategy and innovation consultancy. Jessica is the co-founder of Thrive With Digital – an initiative dedicated to helping us enhance our relationship with digital devices.


Five (and a half) Things We Learned About Starting Up – From Wahanda’s CEO

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Failure, money, people and self-disruption are just part of the daily diet of a startup CEO. That was the message from the founder of Wahanda, the European startup which has established and dominated the market for online booking of hair and beauty appointments, now rebranded as Treatwell as of this week.

Lopo Champalimaud, Wahanda’s founder and CEO spoke to an audience of startup founders at an event organised by investor and accelerator Forward Partners, and touched on his success and failure in his diverse career. It’s one which includes doing online market research back in the dial-up of days of the mid-90s and crystallising the hair and beauty opportunity while working at Chances are you weren’t at the talk in London’s Old Street, so here are 5 just 1/2 things for startups which we think are worth writing home about.

1. It’s about people, people, people

The old retail maxim is that it’s all about location, location location. For start-ups, replace “location” with “people” and you’re pretty much on the money. “90% of an entrepreneurs job is to get better people around you. And keep them there” says Lopo.

2. Money is more than just money

When you’re bootstrapping an idea, it’s tempting to think that any money is good money. However the value of investors and the knowledge and contacts they bring is probably more important than the Dollars or Yen they bring to the table. “Money is not all the same colour” he said, explaining the majority sale to Japan’s Recruit Holdings last year.

3. Investors can be blind. Like really, really blind

WahandaOpportunity2 Once the market had been built, it was easy to see why Wahanda was an opportunity waiting to be capitalised on. Underused inventory in suppliers, strong and regular customer purchase patterns and a marked absence of digital tech facilitating transactions were key drivers for a market waiting to be disrupted. Investors, with biases towards what they knew, had a hard time getting it. “This was a 100bn Euro market but investors couldn’t see it. In music, billions have gone into it but the market is shrinking.

4. You can disrupt yourself while you’re disrupting others

Wahanda underwent three pivots in four years. The biggest change came in 2012 when the daily deals market, which had powered the company to growth since 2009 was in danger of running out with both suppliers and customers being promiscuous among different deal brands. Lopo convince the board that they needed to exit deals and move to a booking engine based product which he had been developing quietly in the background.

“We were killing 80% of our business” he says. “We did not have a booking business at that time. “ After a wholesale revamp of the management and operations, the revenue returned to where it was after eight months or so.

5. Market place businesses are difficult to build

While everyone chases “the next Uber or Airbnb” across beauty, health sport leisure and fitness, they need to understand the complexities and challenges of building a marketplace” business which he says is “almost always driven by supply.” Customer acquisition, merchant acquisition, tech and brand and among the key challenges these businesses face at the same time.

5 (1/2) People Again – A No “A**holes policy”

And lastly back to where we started, It’s about people but also how you treat them. Paraphrasing Jack Welch, “the worst people in (mainstream) businesses are the people who make the numbers but have the wrong attitude. They never get fired.” He has a strong no assholes hiring policy and empowers his hires. “if you hire people as adults you have to treat them like adults.”

Struggling With Your Resolutions?  Some Behaviour Change Tips to Get You Started

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

New year, new you. That’s a healthier, more ambitious and more productive you, right ?

Waiting until the start of the year to introduce a new set of behaviours can be useful. Reseting the calendar to 1/1 and the prospect of an unblemished year ahead can have a powerful effect in recalibrating the mind. Dreamstime s 44863331

As Chief Instigator of The Sound Horizon, my role involves getting things started. I always recommend that the best time to begin with a new behaviour or activity is whenever you’ve committed to do it. It’s rarely at the time when the calendar says so, your workload permits or the planetary alignment is ideal.

Right now is usually a great time, whether the calendar says January 1 or November 17.

Whenever you choose to try, here are some tips which we have found to work, and which are abstracted from behavioural economics, psychology and understanding of the innate human factors which drive us all. We’ve also linked to some resources for further reading and listening should you want to understand the thought and rationale behind them.

1. Create a default behaviour.

Right now, let’s make the assumption that you’re not actively doing what you want to. So your default behaviour is set not to do that thing. Set a diary date so that default expectation is that you will do it. This will provide you with a visible nudge and a reminder. For more about the power of defaults, choice architecture and nudges, read what Thaler and Sunstein have to say in the book Nudge. “Setting default options, and other similar seemingly trivial… strategies, can have huge effects on outcomes, from increasing savings to improving health care to providing organs for lifesaving transplant operations.”

The cleverest of marketers and sales people use this on you, so why not try it on yourself?

2. Reward yourself for starting.

Getting started with a challenging or unpalatable thing – such as going to the gym vs. sleeping in – deserves a reward in its own right. Instead of (or as well as) rewarding yourself for completing it, give yourself an immediate reward for having started. Whether it’s a few raisins or five minutes of your favourite song, your reward circuits will fire when you start, wiring the pleasure and activity into your brain. Don’t delay the reward. “What fires together wires together, says Roger Thompson, Associate professor, Stony Brook University – he talks about how simultaneous experiences wires associations into kids brains in this article but the approach can work just as well for your adult cortex.

3. Make the activity enjoyable.

“It’s a simple truth: you are less likely to continue doing something that you do not enjoy. “ says Max Ogles writing on Nir Eyal’s inspirational blog Nir and Far. Ogles talks about the “Minimum Enjoyable Activity” and about injecting some joy and attractiveness into unpalatable activities. If opening that document or staring the project is just not something you can stomach on its own, combine it with a pleasurable activity. Open it while drinking the last pumpkin spice latte of the year if that’s what floats your boat. Check out the useful Habit Success Matrix on the page while you’re there.

4. Combine willpower with capability.

Yes, top sportspeople and athletes use proven psychological techniques to deliver the incremental performance they need to break those world records or score that amazing try or goal. But they are doing it from a position of regular training and physical excellence. Sure, you might run a marathon or a 10K from a standing start with no training but you’re more likely to win with “mind over matter” if that matter is already solid.Run “The last thing you want is ability getting in the way when you’re already battling with your willpower.” to quote the Exist blog which talks about habit tracking. Reforming smokers battling with highly addictive nicotine fare better when they have the capability through hypnosis or patches. Check out this great Freakonomics Podcast on “When WillPower Isn’t Enough”

5. Don’t beat yourself up.

If you set realistic goals and you’re pragmatic about the amount of time, energy and willpower you have, you should be able to achieve what you’ve diarised. This may seem counterintuitive after reading point 1 above but see the date with yourself as a reminder, not an obligation. If you miss it through understandable pressures, reschedule rather than admit immediate defeat. Successful behaviour change programs, not least alcoholics Alcoholics Anonymous, include a focus on taking each day as it comes.

While January 1 is a convenient starting point, don’t be surprised if those resolutions are unravelling around about now. Conflicting pressures on your time, the return of paradigmatic behaviours such as the school run and office hours, and lethargy emerging after the Christmas break can make new year a challenging time to adhere to resolutions. In fact, if you live in the northern hemisphere, low levels of Serotonin from the shortest days of the make this one of the most challenging times to muster will power to bring about change.

In short, getting started and staying started requires ambition to be matched with capability. Will power is great, but will ultimately be in limited supply and will eventually give out. Our default behaviours and paradigms provide a surprisingly powerful counterforce to personal (and organisational) change, but they can be defeated if you create and adhere to new paradigms. And if January 1 didn’t bring about that new productive you, there’s always January 8. Or March 22, or November 17.

Whatever, whenever you want, get started.

Author’s note and disclaimer. These are just a few techniques which may or may not work for you. However two of these combined succeeded in getting me running after an 18-year hiatus in 2015 – and have also led to this blog seeing the light of day.

Selling time or selling outcomes?

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

We say: “The agency model of maximising billings is fundamentally misaligned with client objectives and over time will fail. Defining outcomes and incentivising teams to make them real is the only way forward.”

In the traditional agency model, the agency hires talent and bills it out to the client. Crudely, they buy time from their workers and sell it on at a margin. The more brilliant the talent, the bigger the price tag. The more time they sell, the more they gross.

Put simply the business model goes like this:
REVENUE (Bodies billed x day rates x days)
-[MINUS] (Cost of bodies x day rates x days)
-[MINUS] (Cost of overheads)

So the fundamental raison d’etre of an agency is to sell more time. Its doesn’t take a genius to see how this leads to direct conflict with the client’s aim.

Any client with half a brain wants the problem solved in the shortest possible time at the lowest possible cost. The agency wants to sell as much time as possible.

We believe there is another model.

In this age, consultants, advisors and agencies must be 100% aligned with client’s needs. So here’s our approach.

1. Uncover Problems. Find out what the real needs are – chances are they are rarely those we are called in to deal with.

2. Define Outcomes. Working together to help clients express their desired outcome is the next step. It’s this, not the number of bodies or man hours, which delivers value.

3. Incentivise Success. We agree to be incentivised on the successful achievement of those outcomes. Crucially, this might be achieving a specific goal within a specific time. If you win, we win.

Moving from deliverables to outcomes requires belief, faith, and the will to face down procurement teams. But ultimately, we believe this “skin in the game” approach is the most effective way to of delivering lasting, tangible value.