Hi, I'm Jon - owner of Step Zero® skunkworks. I also run Sssssshhhh, which I unfortunately know absolutely nothing about ✊. I've been PwC's British Entrepreneur of the Year, a serial startup founder & the "secret weapon" (apparently 🤷♂️) deploying data science to power ideas in The ZOO, Google's skunkworks innovation team. My day job is to study dysfunctional market dynamics through listening and invent ways to either break the market, go around it or blow it up. I like TNT.
Sharing: If you need a speaker, my EA (Beatrice) is taking
three two one more engagement(s) in Q3 2021 (she's the real boss). Otherwise, I design+run an immersive "leading smart innovation" retreat in Virtual Reality for the board leaders of some of the world's largest companies. Ask for Alina at The Leadership Network if you want to join - she's dangerously smart and you should meet her regardless of availability:
Next VR retreat: 27 Sep - 1st Oct 2021 (afternoons)
Pricing: £5,495 + VAT per participant
Join the waitlist (sold out,
extra availability pending)
Just announced: 29 November - 3 December (afternoons)
Pricing: £5,495 + VAT per participant
Reserve (40 seats released)
Doing: My team at Step Zero® are a group of listeners who advise senior leadership on how to obliterate markets, to do better for consumers and the web. To date we have spent time 1:1 with leaders from organisations that include: The UN, Nike, J&J, Tesco, Unilever, AB Inbev, Pfizer & Adidas - we bring decades of experience in data, branding, innovation & product bootstrapping, and usually bring friends. Let's grab a virtual coffee if you want free ideas.
Being: If you're curious why brands call, it's because solving problems - the "how" - is table stakes. Finding problems so inspiring that they occupy your team's sleep - the "where" - is the hardest problem on earth. Because finding treasure isn't about how you dig 🐶, it's always about where. So, yes - we give away ideas to the world's most profitable companies for free: just fix a time with Preeti. If we have evidence that you're solving the wrong problem, pay us to define & solve the right one: it's hard. You won't find that at McKinsey... but they're cheaper, so they have that going for them.
Upgrading: Finding the "where" is one thing, but by enduring 2 years of night school 🌙 I explicitly targeted the technical data skills needed to automate & scale treasure maps. With this skillset, Google offered me a blank cheque of time to design and train a team who truly listened to people 👂... and then listened to data... to find the perfect spots to dig: the skunkworks Data for Innovation Team. By consistently driving creative people's biggest successes, you can create an innovation culture that scales, and in so doing lead a decentralised, democratised army of creativity. Being the founder of Google's single largest internal mailing list, "Data Den 🦁", shared & followed by over 14,000 staff was just a fraction of that execution.
Winning: This is how we can get to solving truly big problems, but even the biggest treasure hauls should still feel paltry. Advertisers often struggle to deliver on truly big, but we still had fun creating the silly-but-nice public project work that I can talk about; these remain the focus of my public conversations. My team's real impact consistently came from product development inside Google and from our work with governments - teams in a hurry, who have enough oxygen to breathe for years, not quarters.
Building: If you need one lens to change how you see the world, whether you're a CEO driving your mission or a student finding your path, try this: what would happen if you stopped focusing on what you want to do, and started focusing on what to fix? What if everyone felt compelled to grab a spanner 🔧 rather than watching the mechanics? What if we all looked for "where" instead of worrying about "how"? The more you listen, the more you'll hear how much is broken; here's some inspiration to get you started.
Connecting: If you see the value in approaching serious things playfully and playful things seriously, or need to meet a creative, technical & commercially trained leader then email, call or DM me on whatever the kids are using nowadays. Otherwise you can hear more about the public-facing side of my work on this October 2020 podcast by the fabulous team at TheMeetingRoom: