New Ventures: The Innovation Process
We generally start by meeting with a person, team or family that has an initial idea, or a commercial or social problem to solve. Quite often there are other initial ingredients available too such as, a property, prototype, people or access to investment.
We will explore the initial landscape of ideas, people and other project ingredients to deeply understand the opportunities and challenges ahead. We firmly believe that any project or business should profoundly serve its primary stakeholders and be something that makes a positive and tangible impact in the world. Initial work, therefore, focuses on thoroughly exploring new ideas and the context in which they are proposed.
After establishing solid foundations, we work with the project team to form the strategy for the design and delivery of a really innovative project. We are then available to support that process from initial ideation right through to project delivery and launch. This looks really different for each client and can vary from deep involvement where Mantes directly manage all aspects of design and delivery, through to a much lighter touch of mentoring and guiding.
We have the expertise in house to deliver a great many aspects of new venture creation and where we don’t, we have a network of preferred professionals to call upon.
We’re especially good at interpreting partner's desires and aspirations; digging beneath initial ideas to connect with the heart behind the venture. We watch social, cultural and technological trends to understand how communities, people and different personalities adjust their behaviours and consumer decisions.
We love to create projects that connect with the human spirit in a fresh way. Mantes means “seer”.
New businesses and projects are often very complex, with multiple stakeholders projecting varied expectations. We have a particular ability in articulating a new vision and proposal; positioning it towards the key drivers and interests of stakeholders to gain the support of influencers at crucial stages of a project.
Capabilities: The Technical Skills we Bring
There are lots of things involved in launching a new project; here is an overview of just some of the practical and technical ways in which we can help. Nearly all new ventures (and reviews of existing projects) require an iterative approach to design and realisation; the subjects below should be understood as an interconnected web of considerations, rather than a linear checklist.
Deep market and legislative analysis, demographic, competitor and consumer trend mapping
Assessment of resources and cultural fit of the aspiring group or organisation
Determine and balance the competing design models including financial (trading & capex), risk (and risk appetite), physical or online space, market position and user experience. This includes multiple iterations of modelling to find the most harmonious balance between project components
Bespoke commercial and user behaviour modelling to directly inform the business plan profit & loss and cash flow modelling
Roadmap for project delivery in consultation with key stakeholders, understanding project linkages, achieving the necessary permissions and hurdles along the way
Long term plan, funding models, investment and exit strategy
Detailed financial modelling showing clear assumptions and variables
Funding applications are written to the highest legislative requirements including HM Treasury Green Book and European Union ESIF and ERDF (and associated audit requirements)
Deliver the project plan and manage that through the most appropriate routes of governance, reporting and accountability; either by leading teams directly or recruiting others
Construct a project team including job descriptions, personality profiling, team training and growth planning
Writing detailed design briefs for design professionals such as architects, landscape designers, product designers, interior designers, furniture makers, marketing, branding and website designers etc
Development of new products, services and novel intellectual property
Designing and/or procuring bespoke IT systems for the online experience, EPOS and producing reliable monthly management accounts
Operational models and staffing structures to plan for normal operation as well as unexpected trading success and trading challenges
Scenario modelling to understand the impact of significantly underestimating or overestimating sales volumes
On the ground project management of consultants, suppliers and contractors
Team Training, Culture & Communication
Establishing a strong culture and good habits of authentic communication is essential to the success of any new project or venture. So often the excitement of a new idea or opportunity can propel a team into action, or even into formally structured joint ventures without considering alignments and synergies between culture, personalities, behaviours and communication styles.
Ultimately, projects and entrepreneurial ventures are run by people just like you and me; when personal hopes, dreams, finance and risk are involved in a huge range of emotions and behaviours come to the fore. This is even truer in established businesses which might have additional challenges arising from trading history, previous leaders or organisational inertia.
Establishing the right team dynamics, culture and communication habits in a new project, team or workforce can be really tricky on your own; especially when primary attention is often paid to the technical and professional skills needed to get a venture off the ground. Mantes use a range of tools and resources to provide transformational training experiences that enable people and teams to flourish; especially in high-pressure creative and commercial environments.
We do this on multiple levels:
We are passionate about supporting individuals to connect with their most authentic inner voice and to lead generously. We love the kind of leadership that is rooted in sound professional and technical expertise but is delivered with social and emotional intelligence, with a balance of personal conviction and vulnerability; leadership that is highly attentive to the needs and ideas of others. We support individuals to deeply connect with their truest voice and vocation; to really understand themselves. We train people with practical skills in relating to others with bold authenticity.
Teams thrive when there is an intentional mix of professional expertise and personality types and where every member is committed to positive behaviours and communication habits. Teams flourish when each person is positioned according to their personal strengths and everyone deeply understands the worldview and natural preferences of each of the different personalities in the team. Mantes have over 15 years of experience and wealth of tools and techniques to deepen understanding of team dynamics.
There is nothing more formidable than an entire workforce, positioned to their personal strengths, connected to their voice and embodying the values and culture of an organisation; like a harmonious choir with a shared mission. It is impossible to impose this upon people, it can only be achieved through exciting experiences that invite the participation of everyone; we design and deliver these and have seen some amazing results.
Conflict Transformation; Corporate Flourishing
The relationships between business founders, investors, wider shareholders, senior teams and extended family members can often be extremely complex with many layers, expectations and contracts; some are explicit, others are often assumed. When tensions, conflicts or relationship breakdown occurs, the organisation’s strategy or purpose can often become unclear, morale can become unpredictable and the organisation can suffer enormously.
There can also often be an imbalance in power between those involved; the power dynamics might not align with the needs of the organisation or the natural strengths of the immediate and wider teams and personnel.
We recognise that organisations are run by real people that have real needs and desires both for themselves personally and the organisation that they are emotionally and/or financially invested in. If unsupported by external specialists, conflicts can quickly become personal, defences can rise, communication can become fractured or even tactical and there are very real risks to the success of the relationships and the organisation.
Mantes specialises in conflict transformation; we use gentle but very effective techniques that help all participants to deeply understand the dynamics at play and make space for the co-creation of a sustainable solution that supports the needs and desires of all stakeholders. We’re especially good at getting to the root of some of the most human dynamics and behaviours and sensitively steering those affected; we’re extremely committed to doing this with social and emotional intelligence and not undermining the explicit power structures in place.
Ultimately, we believe that when each member of an organisation’s senior team is positioned to their strengths and adopts chosen behaviours and communication habits, where power dynamics and contracts are explicit, the organisation has space to truly flourish. Mantes brings a rare combination of expertise in business/entrepreneurship and conflict resolution to bring a perspective that seeks the success of both the senior team and the commercial operation.