We caught up with Futurice’s managing partner Mette Andersen to find out what the business is all about.

Three reasons you should be watching them…

Futurice works with household names in automotive,  retail, media, tech and finance including Tesco, Samsung, Moneycorp as well as with smaller cutting-edge companies, to help them to develop a strategic, human-led approach to tackling business challenges and to become more innovative and future capable.  This includes encouraging experimentation, developing a great workplace culture or using emerging technologies, according to the needs of the business.

Futurice boasts a progressive people strategy designed to create an empowering and democratic workplace which is vital to attracting and retaining new talent. Benefits include everyone being trusted with a credit card, holiday being booked without sign-off and paying people to work on pro bono projects in their spare time.

Futurice has stunning offices near Old Street with views over Shoreditch where it hosts lots of events and meetups amongst the tech and design communities. It’s important to Futurice to share its space so the company invites local organisations to use the fifth floor for free in the evenings or at weekends.

VITAL STATISTICS

Company: Futurice

What it does, in a sentence:

Futurice partners with global companies to help them build capability for the future through digital innovation, co-creating digital products and services and changing organisational culture.

Founded: 2000
Founders: Tuomas Syrjänen (CEO), Mikko Viikari (senior consultant and board member), Hanno Nevanlinna (director of culture & service innovation coach) and Markku Taulamo (executive partner).
Size of team: 20 in the UK, over 400 across Europe
Your name and role: Mette Andersen, managing partner, Futurice, London.

THE NEED-TO-KNOW

What problem are you trying to solve?

Futurice is a fast-growing digital innovation consultancy: we advise big companies on how to embrace digital disruption and to become future capable. We understand that businesses find this process daunting which is why we are on a mission to give them the necessary approach and tools to make the most of the opportunities presented by the digital economy.

How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?

The digital consultancy market is crowded with everyone from big management consulting firms to small boutique start-ups looking to gain a foothold. We are less interested in share of market than in working with like-minded clients who can see the value of our human-centred approach and who want to co-create an appropriate solution that will benefit them commercially and work for their teams as well.

How do you make money?

We charge for our consultants’ time advising the C-suites of big companies on how to redesign and enhance their processes and culture for the digital age.  Our multi-disciplinary teams work with clients on a project basis but also on an ongoing retainer basis.

Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?

Here in London we have a fantastic 20 strong-team of passionate developers, designers and project leaders including some new senior appointments. At a European level, Futurice is 400 strong and there is a great culture of people pitching in to help their peers in other markets. So, if we need someone with a particular skill or with specific sector experience, we have a lot of talent to choose from.

Who’s bankrolling you?

The wider Futurice group is our backer however each of our six regional offices operates as its own profit centre.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

Regardless of who you approach for finance, you need to construct a sound business case for why moving into a new market makes sense and how soon your backers can expect a return.  As a new business, you need to quickly get to a stage where you don’t need outside investment. Leverage existing contacts and secure enough contracts to keep you going for the first year. By then you should know whether the business is viable for the longer term.

What do you believe the key to growing this business is?

It comes down to three things: The first is having a real point of difference with competitors: ours is being smart about how we understand our market and getting the right people to deliver our future capable proposition for each project. The second is to do an excellent job for clients so that not only will they keep coming back, they will refer us to new clients. However ultimately it comes down to hiring and keeping the best talent – in my experience great people are the key to growing any business.

What metrics do you look at every day?

I look at both financial and emotional metrics as it’s important to get that balance right. We are on a major growth drive and have ambitious targets to meet so I check the new business pipeline every day.  I’m incredibly invested in people’s happiness and engagement levels and we have a variety of strategic initiatives around this.  On a lighter note, we have a weekly emoji session where everyone shares how their week has been and captures their mood by drawing emojis on a post-it and sticking it on the whiteboard. We do this to encourage a sense of belonging and to strengthen social bonds.

What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?

We need to get to grips with the opportunities that emerging tech and data present by experimenting, taking risks and encouraging our clients to do the same. In this spirit together with Finnair, we designed a prototype for the world’s first face recognition check-in system trialled at Helsinki Airport in May. The system allowed one thousand Finnair frequent flyers to upload their photo via a dedicated test app before arriving at the airport.  Our ethos is to explore how new technologies can work as a natural extension of what people do. In this experiment, face recognition not only speeded up the check-in process but also meant check-in staff could greet passengers by name, which a warmer process all round.

Which London startups are you watching, and why?

London is known for its financial markets so I am really interested in lessons that can be learnt from the Fintech start-ups such as Monzo and Atom Bank. On a personal level, I’m passionate about how wearables can help us to take control of our health. Thriva aims to do this with an easy to use finger prick blood test. Similarly, the Elvie personal trainer is a wearable which helps women who have given birth to strengthen their pelvic floor.

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