Last month, alongside 11 other high growth, impact-focused ventures, I had the privilege to represent BreezoMeter at Barclay’s inaugural Unreasonable Impact U.S. programme.
Unreasonable Impact is a 5-year partnership between Barclays, a global financial services firm, and the Unreasonable Group, an organization focused on mentoring growth-stage companies that have the potential to create thousands of new jobs while profitably solving major environmental and societal problems while doing so. BreezoMeter was one of the few to be selected for this 2 week accelerator, due to our focus on making air pollution visible across the world.
It was a transformative 2 weeks for all of the entrepreneurs involved, and it’s almost impossible to share all of the lessons I learned. However, as we start the new year and head into CES 2017 this week, I’d like to share with you the top 4 lessons that resonated the most with me, with a nod to the mentors who provided them:
1. Rapid experimentation
Tom Chi, the creator of the first Google Glass prototype and co-founder of Google X, the division responsible for Google’s self-driving car, provided us practical tools to unlock how teams should see and solve problems by systematic rapid experimentation, and a highly productive brainstorming process.
2. Increasing empathy with design thinking
George Kembel, co-founder and Global Director of Stanford d.school, taught us how the process of design thinking can make organizations more innovative. To me, the most impactful aspect of design thinking is the first phase: empathy. In this process, the team should spend time with the audience and users they are aiming to serve and build products for. This involves asking questions, observing their behavior, and identifying pain points. By focusing on empathy, we can uncover needs that users may not even be aware of, empowering people to better frame the problem they have set out to solve.
3. The art of GYSHIDO
Daniel Epstein, CEO and co-founder of the Unreasonable Group, taught us about GYSHIDO: the art of getting things done. It was fascinating to learn how this applies in the recruiting and training process of the Unreasonable Group, and to see how everyone within the organization shares this mindset and way of working. In the past two years, BreezoMeter has grown exponentially by investing in our core IP: our employees. As we continue to grow, we will surely share the art of GYSHIDO with our team.
4. Focus on your few true fans
Seth Godin, the author of 17 bestselling marketing and business books, taught us that you only need a few true fans – your “tribe” – to help you spread the word and reach millions of people. This is one of the reasons that we continue to exhibit at CES, where we’re returning to this weekend in Las Vegas: we love speaking directly to people who are concerned about the air they breathe, how we’re working to address this problem, and what role they can play in solving it.
Since day one, our focus at BreezoMeter has been to provide the most accurate air quality data available to as many people as possible. We have had the opportunity to help companies to engage more with their users, differentiate their brands and their products, and positively impact their users daily routines. Now, we’ll be introducing a number of new products at CES, and we’re excited to share them with you. If you’ll be at the expo, come see us at booth #43930, at Sands Hall in the Health & Wellness section. We’d love to chat!
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