Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University

3 Technologies Transforming Businesses that are not AI

We have all been hearing a lot about how artificial intelligence is going to change not only how businesses operate but also how we go about our day to day lives, but what other technologies are businesses using to offer more to their customers? Here are our top 3.

Internet of things: Most of us will have heard of the idea of a ‘smart home’ or even ‘smart cities’, but the concept of the ‘Internet of things’ is more than that. The Internet of things refers to a network of connected physical items which have different sensors or software which allows them to connect with one another over the internet. This can be everyday household items and systems such as lighting or heating, but it is also a form of technology that can be used in a more industrial context. Examples of businesses that use the internet of things in their processes and products are John Deere, Siemans and Maersk Line.

Augmented and mixed reality: Augmented reality is something that has been around for a while now. This is the process of overlaying photos, videos or other data onto the real world to change a person’s real time perspective of their environment. Mixed reality is a step further and allows for real and virtual objects to ‘interact’- for instance allowing customers to see what an object would look like in their home. Businesses have been utilising both in training staff, sales and marketing, and in apps for their customers. Examples of businesses that use this technology include Ikea, L’Oreal, Ford and Zara.

Robotics: Robotics is the programmable machines and is something a number of businesses across different industries use to automate repetitive tasks, enhance precision, and improve operational efficiency. Robotics can help businesses with logistics, manufacturing, fulfilment and operations- everything from grocery fulfilment to car manufacturing to Surgical processes. Examples of businesses that use robotics include: Ocado, Amazon and Tesla.

New technologies are always emerging and existing technology is constantly improving! What  are you using in your business?

We explore Digital Adoption in our Module 2 of Help to Grow Management (Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University (

Leading with Purpose and Authenticity

Mastering your capacity to be the best business leader comes along with finding your purpose, being your authentic self, and most importantly, not worrying about what others think.

But living in a world where performance and competition are rewarded from a very tender age, it becomes increasingly challenging not to get affected by the opinions of others. So, when your concept of self is inherently built on the preoccupation of what others think of you, often individuals, who are leading a workforce of hundreds and thousands, get on an inauthentic, mediocre, and joyless road; a path that only takes one to ineffective leadership.

So, how do high-performance coaches help their clients achieve what otherwise seems incessantly difficult and how do Fortune 500 companies still thrive in high-stakes environments? Mindset-training.

In his book, Finding Mastery, Michael Gervais talks broadly about why training our minds is the most important step in designing, building and strengthening a self-concept that we think truly matters to us. Not to others, but to us.

He explains, that our mind is our constant companion, accompanying us wherever we go – to the pitching deck or the boardroom. It serves as the unifying thread, weaving together our feelings, thoughts, and ability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Whether grappling with emotions due to losing clients or tackling an internal company conflict, our mind is the ever-present tool that guides us through. Here is how you can also train your mind to master any area of your life or your business. The three things it comes down to are,

Identifying the principles that matter most to you in your life. Be radically committed to it. Once you know what those are, hydrate them and keep them alive in your action.

Mental Training: The greatest trick you could play on your mind is to tell it what you want it to hear. Imagine it for it to manifest.

Deep focusing is what many neuroscientists and Yoga practitioners recommend, but it is another way of refocusing. Keep coming back to what your purpose is and bring the focus back to it. Every time you get side-tracked by life’s or business challenges, deep focus and realign your mindset and actions with core principles.

In the end, mastering leadership comes to tune into your signals and strategically refusing to entertain noise by others.

We explore more about leadership and Innovation in Help to Grow Management:

Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University (

Leveraging Early Adopters for New Product or Service

As a small business owner, launching a new business product or service, you’ll face plenty of challenges – especially when you’re introducing something entirely novel without existing competition. It takes considerable time and resources to build a superior offering from the ground up. But one critical piece that can help fuel your initial growth is securing those first few customers.

While acquiring any customers is difficult at first, those pioneers provide value far beyond just revenue. Here are three key reasons why cultivating strong relationships with your early adopters is so vital:

Word-of-Mouth Multiplier

Your first customers may not have other options, which makes them more likely to try your new solution. But even better, if they have a positive experience, they’ll naturally discuss it with their friends, colleagues and networks. This is how hugely successful startups like Etsy and Uber gained traction – through organic sharing from satisfied early users. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals during your bootstrapped days.

Insightful User Feedback

There’s a reason these initial users were drawn to an unproven product – they likely weren’t fully satisfied with existing alternatives. Rather than just taking their money, work closely with these early adopters to understand their pain points, goals and perspectives. Support them, listen to their needs, and help them get maximum value from your offering. Why? They’ll reciprocate by providing invaluable feedback on what’s working well, areas for improvement, and ideas for new features. This kind of user research would normally require paying for focus groups and consultants.

Free Product Support & Training

Some SMEs creatively employ their first customers for tasks you’d traditionally hire staff for, like product support and training.  Your earliest fans are usually enthusiastic evangelists who happily wear multiple hats to contribute to your success.

The investment to nurture your first customers is well worth the effort. Not only do they provide critical early revenue, but their word-of-mouth reach, user insights, and hands-on assistance can push your start-up forward faster with limited resources. If you play your cards right, it’s like getting free marketing, R&D, and customer service all rolled into one. Embrace the power of your pioneering patrons.

To learn more about how to grow your business with our Help to Grow Management Programme:

Start-up to Scale-up – Business world

You may have successfully established a start-up but now awaits for you an entirely different ballgame which you wouldn’t be able to win if you don’t know how to retain the main ingredients that initially helped your business started in the first place.

Let’s explore.

Ranjay Gulati, a Harvard Business School Professor calls it ‘a soul’. His recent research explored what mature companies would require to retain as they continue to grow intro larger and long-lasting organisations.

He says that all successful organisations have one thing in common: a soul. Their businesses have an essence which distinguishes them from others and oozes an energy with which a business attracts long-term growth and success. He warns that three components that compose a soul of any business, if not retained, can jolt the foundations of a company.

Those three elements are, business intent, customer connection and employee experience. By strategic business intent, he means to say, it is something intangible in start-ups whose presence company founders sense it. This ‘something essential’ translates into their offerings; service or products, which is eventually felt by employees, customers, and stakeholders they work closely with. This energetic enthusiasm which is felt at the beginning helps companies continue to inspire others. If the spirit is there, organisations can leverage engagement, remain agile and innovative. In the absence of a soul, everyone feels the loss.

Ranjay Gulati extensive research on more than dozen fast-growth venture and over 200 interviews with their founders and executives pointed out towards the second element of the soul, ‘Customer Connection’. He observed all successful companies shared a close bond with their customers. One of the company’s founders were so passionate about their brand, they even got a tattoo on their feet or legs. The idea behind customer connection is to intimately understand the needs of the people company’s offerings are targeted for and create a sense of belonging – what they feel and need, then offer them solutions to make their lives easier, better, recognisable.

The third element of a business’ soul is employee experience. This goes far and wide. Companies that create a space for autonomy and creativity fosters greater engagement and faster growth. First establishing the business intent, companies then create a space for employees to innovate within frameworks and guidelines.

To learn more about the Strategic innovation and organisational design: