We’re three years old this month and it struck me as timely to reflect on how a new business builds and learns. There have been many satisfying and various frustrating moments. The good things have far outweighed the bad.

Most satisfying has been building teams. When starting, it seemed very much around how I would engage and deliver to clients as a founder and sole practitioner in the business. However it has been a great experience building teams and this has helped both my learning and delivering insightful work to clients. I have found one of the great benefits of lean operations is that you can build A-grade teams without exception, combining skills and adapting to opportunities without the overburden of larger corporate systems.

Spiegare is ‘to explain’ in Italian and the company branding is ‘elucidating the how’. When I was developing the company name and raison d’etre, I started with the hypothesis that how people and organisations did technology transfer was a limiting factor in bringing technology to market in a meaningful way. We’ve discovered that this is in fact largely true and we have stayed close to our passion around technology transfer and commercialisation.

What we have found through our activities and engagements, is that it’s a combination of capability, capacity and culture that drives success. I believe that in the work we have done, we have delivered varying mixes of these ‘3Cs’, as circumstances have required, to ensure that technologies have every opportunity to succeed. Equally, the work we have done has underpinned better decisions by organisations around their investment decisions. Arguably one of the greatest levers in resourcing innovation and its commercialization is the ability to respectfully say ‘no’ to projects.

Core to all that we have done, and will continue to do, are relationships. These aren’t always ideal or idyllic, but they are always principled. Technology transfer and commercialization partnerships, be they with clients or associates, can only succeed on the basis of strong relationships as the commercial arrangements entered into, more often than not, are expected to last years, if not decades.

Finally, an aspect I am really proud of is that our work and advice is appreciated by our clients. Feedback from them has made our work more insightful and rewarding. Similarly the feedback from our associates and from my mentors has allowed me to lead the organisation from small beginnings to a virtual organisation  of which I am delighted to be managing director.