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Get back to growth! | The Melting Pot Newsletter | Issue #105


Finding new business has always been tough. Throw in a global pandemic and the worst recession in living memory, and it seems impossible.  Even well run sales teams are finding it difficult to maintain momentum because they’re all working remotely. 

Because of COVID, there hasn’t been the usual training.  And pent up holiday demand has added to the difficulty. Many of my clients have told me that August was a write-off with so many staff and customers away.  It’s hard enough in normal times to keep sales going through summer. This year so many people have delayed their holiday that businesses have been running on skeleton staff.   

Now it’s September, the kids are back at school and you may even be back in the office.  Perhaps not if you’re in the UK but in Italy, Spain and France you probably are.  It’s time to get your growth back on track but how, when it’s so hard to win new clients?  Well, I’ve been there.  It was during the recessions of 2001 and 2009 that I scaled two business to £30 million turnovers from zero. Here’s what worked for me.

How To Use Open Innovation In The Corporate World with Jonty Slater

What would you do if you’d sold your company for enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life? Sail the Caribbean? Or start over? Today’s guest, Jonty Slater, Manager Director at Blue Globe Innovation is in the latter camp. Jonty decided to create a business and to give back at the same time. Blue Globe Innovation is like no other company. It’s an organisation that solves amazingly complex technical challenges for companies, governments and NGOs. 

Blue Globe Innovation runs open innovation challenges around the world and in this incredibly insightful episode, Jonty shares with listeners a few of the challenges he’s recently been involved in. These include the UK government’s ventilator challenge and the Rwanda Lake Kivu challenge. 

While these are exciting, you might be wondering how they’re applicable to your organisation. Well, here’s the thing – CEOs are often great at linear innovation, really good at running business as usual. But a lot of the time they’re struggling to have incremental innovation. And that’s precisely where Jonty’s team can help. 

Open innovation isn’t just for finding solutions to big pandemic problems, like COVID. It’s a process that can be applied to solve your current business problem.

Recommended Podcasts


Professor Dan Cable and comedian Akin Omobitan unearth social science’s hidden gems by “funpacking” peer-reviewed articles and sharing their choice findings!

Recommended Articles


No CEO doubts the importance of measuring their company’s performance properly. Yet the executive teams I’ve assisted over more than 25 years generally struggle to engage with the challenge. As one CEO put it to me, “when we get to corporate KPIs their eyes glaze over.” Or, as another said “they [the managers] start looking for the exits.”


The Dunning-Kruger effect is one of those psychological findings that has a life far outside the confines of academia. It’s the idea that people who are stupid, or incompetent at some skill, usually think they’re cleverer or more competent than they are, because they’re too stupid or incompetent to know how stupid or incompetent they are.


As executives adjust to the realities of business during COVID-19, they often default to talking about the “new normal.” Although this phrase acknowledges that there will be differences — some of which customers have already experienced — it’s a blithe nod to the notion of coming back to something that begins to feel familiar. Sure, we now have curbside pickup, more video calls, and less actual contact between customers and those who serve them. But normal, new or otherwise, implies a degree of familiarity and stability that is impossible now and might be so for years. It gives an unrealistic expectation of comfort, and, as an unintended consequence, encourages people to close their eyes to new possibilities.

Recommended Reads


In this groundbreaking book, Bill Price and David Jaffe offer a new, game-changing approach, showing how managers are taking the wrong path and are using the wrong metrics to measure customer service. Customer service, they assert, is only needed when a company does something wrong—eliminating the need for service is the best way to satisfy customers. To be successful, companies need to treat service as a data point of dysfunction and figure what they need to do to eliminate the demand. The Best Service Is No Service outlines seven principles to deliver the best service that ultimately leads to “no service”.


What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? Why do traffic jams appear out of nowhere on highways? What can we learn about innovation from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.



This is my biggest rant at the moment.  All these articles telling us that productivity has gone up as a result of lock-down and subsequent remote working.  I just don’t believe it! People may tell you they think they’re more productive but are they really?  There’s a difference between working longer hours and being more productive.  If the data is self-reported, it’s not accurate or representative. If you haven’t already, start measuring productivity using daily KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Then you’ll be basing any assumption on real, accurate data.

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Quote of the week

‘We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better.’ 

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

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