An innovative company has had support from Innovate UK EDGE to commercialise a potentially disruptive customer and stakeholder feedback platform that helps organisations transform their performance by measuring expectations rather than satisfaction.
Promising Outcomes Services Ltd, a strategic relationship consultancy has seen revenues increase by more than £200,000 since the first involvement with Innovate UK EDGE specialist Christopher Buckland in October 2019.
The firm has since added two new clients and has its healthiest sales pipeline for some years, worth around £600,000. That has prompted the company to create two new permanent posts and to recruit two freelancers.
Promising Outcomes’ novel approach measures and improves performance against expectations rather than indicators of satisfaction as determined by the organisation asking for feedback.
Chairman and co-founder Rowan Jackson quotes research that satisfaction is not a reliable predictor of employee or customer behaviour and loyalty. This has been known since the 1990s and despite this most companies still use satisfaction as a measure.
The AI performs highly sophisticated analysis and interpretation of narrative submissions from stakeholders. Once this data is used in a quantitative research feedback survey, it identifies where the biggest gaps arise between expectations and performance.
It provides clients with an agenda and clear priorities for action in, say, improving customer service or arresting damagingly high staff turnover.
Design thinking coaching to maximise the business' disruptive potential
Rowan said: “Christopher’s contribution has been huge. It started with funded business support that we were offered in October 2019, including the Design Thinking workshop which he introduced us to.”
Promising Outcomes had initially sought advice from Innovate UK EDGE on strategies for rapid growth and on grants available to commercialise a fully automated SaaS (software-as-a-service) product.
The strategic support covered Design Thinking coaching on getting buy-in from prospective clients and how to use social media to develop new sales as well as improving their understanding of public funding opportunities.
“He basically held our hands. We needed a guide on what was available to us, such as the IP Audit worth £2,500. And I don’t think we would have succeeded in our Innovate UK grant application without his help.”
Rowan continued: “We had discovered that AI can do stuff it couldn’t do before and found a partner to deliver it. The Innovate UK funding opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Christopher had helped Promising Outcomes to apply successfully for an Innovate UK Sustainable Innovation Fund grant totalling £338,000 to develop the AI-based feedback platform as a superior and more cost-effective alternative to the expensive manual qualitative research used currently.
Rowan continued: “He also picked up on our need to market ourselves more effectively.”
Strategic sounding board and ecosystem introductions
Investor readiness and business valuation coaching was also considered but results from the Design Thinking session suggested organic growth was a better strategy than seeking external investment.
Later, as well as making introductions to the Digital Catapult and the Department for International Trade, Christopher acted as a sounding board on matters of business strategy and growth through to February 2020, just before the pandemic struck.
Promising Outcomes was awarded a £25k Bounce Back Loan in July 2020.
Christopher said: “Promising Outcomes has been a real success story and a classic Innovate UK EDGE client. It was clear from the outset that it had extremely novel proprietary IP and had plans to commercialise it in a way never done before.”