How often do we read articles citing the amazing business achievements of entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurial academics, effortlessly bringing new technologies to market? It can often feel like they must have mystical abilities, both technologically and strategically piloting their new products or services to commercial success; we could be excused for thinking it would be so easy if we were just like them! In reality, we all understand that the journey to this kind of success is far from a straight line and quickly requires so much more than a single individual can muster. It’s all about the team behind the scenes!
My own experience, having worked with many technology start-ups and scale-ups, as well as academics starting out on the road to commercialising research, points more to their ability to inspire others, to develop and share their vision and thus ultimately attract a highly motivated team with the experience and skills they will all need to succeed. To me Simon Sinek’s model of the Golden Circle has great resonance in building a team. The people, mindsets and skills we need to reach these heights are rarely attracted simply by what your company does, but their alignment with why you’re on this journey is such a powerful magnet!
One founder example that comes to mind from the academic research commercialisation or tech transfer sector is Professor Tony Moore. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tony over the course of several years, ultimately culminating in the formation of AlternOx Scientific Ltd, a recent spin-out from the University of Sussex. While I acknowledge the extensive commercialisation support and expertise of the University – and our own involvement at Sussex Innovation – in this result, it’s my belief that Tony’s ability to draw others into sharing his passion, his why for AlternOx, is what has ultimately assembled a great team that will be united and well prepared for their quest.
Of course, I have a sneaky wish that from afar this will appear to have been straightforward, perhaps driven by an individual’s intuition and mystical abilities, but I’m sure Tony will rigorously disagree!