Guest post: How to think like a start-up
This post was originally written by our advisor David Ress. David is a Principal Consultant with over 20 years’ experience in technical, commercial, sales and marketing roles. He has been helping us to articulate, promote and sell the value proposition of nous™ to businesses and investors.
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Our thoughts literally define us. What we think and how we communicate are the basis of being human. Our success as a species has come largely from our penchant for language. It has allowed us to team up and work together for the greater good.
We have survived because evolution has hard-wired our happiness to this. We feel good when we communicate with others. We feel pride when we see our thoughts put into action.
Business success relies on great thinking and communication
Businesses are no different. The way we think and the way we put that thought into action ultimately leads to our success – or our failure.
For that reason, many companies openly state that their people are their greatest asset. Those that foster strong communication win by getting the most out of their team.
Thought-Wired is a Kiwi start-up who are passionate about helping people communicate. They want to help thousands of New Zealanders and over 6 million people world-wide, who are unable to communicate because of severe physical disabilities.
They are creating an innovative solution, called nous™. nous™ is software that interprets brain activity from an affordable, lightweight headband – allowing the user to communicate with people and computers.
How Thought-Wired thinks about innovation
What start-ups do is take advantage of the ever increasing technology change predicted by Gordon Moore back in 1965. They do this by using what I call the 5 Principles of Exponential Innovation.
- Perspective: Thought-Wired see a world where our physical restrictions don’t have to define us. Technology will break down the barriers that stop some of us from being able to communicate and control our own lives. They are unique in New Zealand as a start-up with this focus.
- Platforms: Cloud platforms are the lifeblood of start-up businesses. Precious capital is saved by consuming technology services like Google Apps, Slack and Dropbox on a subscription basis. They can also instantly scale up or down when the team changes size and focus.
- Products: In business, you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) do it all. nous™ works with existing products such as lightweight headsets to read brain activity - and the computers and smartphones that people already have. It can also connect to Smart Home technology, so people will be able to control things like their lights, TVs and music.
- Partners: No business is an island – and in particular start-ups can’t afford to try to do everything themselves. Innovation is easiest when collaborating with others. In Thought-Wired’s case, they have received great support from the likes of the Ākina Foundation, Velocity at the University of Auckland and Callaghan Innovation.
- Projects: Rapid innovation comes from adopting agile approaches – like co-creation. Thought-Wired involved their prospective customers from the get-go, which fundamentally shaped what they built. Without that early feedback (and a desire to learn from it) they would have risked building something that wouldn’t work in the real world.
A business is the sum of its thoughts
I think many businesses would do well to learn from Thought-Wired’s example. Having a clear view of a better world and working cleverly to make it reality.
As Stephen Hawking has shown, anyone can use technology to communicate. Without it, we would have lost one of the worlds’ greatest ever minds. But not everyone has the resources he has, to overcome the communication barrier.
How many businesses – which could have changed the world – have been lost because they weren’t able to communicate, to turn their ideas into reality?
Thought-Wired are seeking investors through a PledgeMe equity campaign in August 2016. If you would like to know more, click here.