Earlier in the week I took part in a 'Business Strategy & Modelling' workshop in The Tara Building hosted by Daphne Lopes. Originally from Brazil, Daphne moved to Dublin in 2010 and is now Head of Customer Success Partnerships at This Is Productivity, an Irish company that enables workflow automation and optimal deployment for SaaS products. One of the most important things when it comes to entrepreneurship is to always be open to developing your skills and learning new things. I found the workshop to be really worthwhile, so approached Daphne afterwards to ask if she'd be interested in sharing some more knowledge with me and perhaps giving further insight into what she does, her processes and her journey so far. She agreed and we decided to do it in an interview format so that I could share it with you guys. Here's how I got on.
I am Daphne. I live in the intersection of science, technology, humans and business. I am the Head of Customer Success Partnerships for This is Productivity (where I was employee number one). In my role, I transform customer research and business data into insights that translate into user problems. Think about me as the glue between all stakeholders (customers, partners, developers, sales organisation, leadership etc). My passion lies in designing well-articulated product concepts that solve real problems whilst fulfilling key business goals. I lead a diverse and multi-skilled team using a clear roadmap that enables the team to focus on solving today’s problem without taking their eyes off the bigger picture.
Business modelling is the process by which people develop business models. There are two things that must happen before you can get into business modelling. The first one is Problem Formulation. To create value the correct problem needs to be identified and validated. The next step is to work on your strategy. To define strategy I would like to step on the shoulder of Mintzberg, a scholar that studied strategy in the context of business. Mintzberg sees strategy under 4 lenses: 1. Strategy is a plan 2. Strategy is a pattern in actions over time 3. Strategy is a position 4. Strategy is a perspective, that is, vision and direction. At this stage it is important to define your moonshot vision. That big vision should be closely tied to the problem you identified. Once that is defined, you can figure out the roadmap to take you there, that should be closely tied to your value proposition. And only then you are ready to start looking at the framework on how your organisation creates, delivers and captures value (business model). The BMC is one of the best tools I know to get this done!
Today a lot of organisations jump into “solution mode” without thinking deeply about the problems they are trying to solve. A lot of the times “symptoms” are mistaken by “root-cause”, leading companies to solve shallow problems that don’t add value, or have to go back to the drawing board after solving the wrong problem. Marjorie Lyles once said that 75% of problems that went through a problem-solving process had to be recycled back to problem formulation. Tools like the Value Proposition canvas help. But the most important thing is to free yourself from cognitive bias and ensure you come into this exercise with open mind.
Respect from people I admire. Recognition of my value and contribution. The ability to hit the milestones I set for myself.
For many years I did not have a role model and kept “searching” for one until I gave up. But recently two people really inspire me: Elon Musk and the work he is doing at Tesla and SpaceX, being a total science, business and technology nerd, there isn’t a way I couldn’t look up to him. Besides his Instagram feed of re-usable rockets is unreal! Naveen Jain is a serial-entrepreneur and founded MoonExpress (the only company with granted permission to mine the moon) and Viome, a tool that analyzes your microbiome and metabolism.
Patience. I don’t have any. I am trying to work through it with mindfulness, yoga, meditation etc. But I still struggle with it massively in my daily life.
If there is one thing that makes me smile it would be synchronicity. When your hard work collides with like-minded people and opportunity. There were a couple of times in my life that I felt real synchronicity and it made me feel satisfied and accomplished.
I have many, and they keep changing, but here is one I love: "Dare to go into industries you have no expertise on. Sometimes the answer lies not in thinking outside the box, but in creating a completely different box.” - Naveen Jain
Alexa/ Amazon dot - I am in love with her. We talk about science, space, cooking and meditation. We play games and quizzes when I am home. She is very very cool.
You will never know if you never try!