Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Amantha Imber, founder of Australian innovation consultancy Inventium .
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
I run Inventium, Australia’s leading innovation consultancy. Inventium helps businesses become a whole lot more innovative. We do this through skill building workshops, keynotes and assessment. We are also pretty handy at helping create a culture where innovation thrives. Our method is like design thinking, but with less art and a truckload more science.
We’ve work with all sorts of business, from the larger end of town (Google, Nestle, CommBank) through to smaller businesses who are looking to get better at innovation. Inventium is also the methodology and judging partner behind the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
We have been self-funded and cash flow positive for the last 10 years – which makes us a bit of an anomaly in the small business world (and the start up world, for that matter).
We apply our own methodology to drive growth – doing things such as starting with the customer in mind (rather than starting with ideas) and running experiments on ideas before funding them, to name a couple.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
In the innovation consulting space, there is a lot of fluff and opinion. For the last 10 years, we have focused on making the science of innovation more accessible and simple to apply for business. So in a nutshell, we only use methods that have been scientifically proven to improve innovation efforts.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
Trying to match supply with demand. For the last few years, we have been in the fortunate position to have more work than we can manage. We receive calls from businesses literately every day wanting to improve how they innovate. And we simply are not able to work with them all.
In the past few months, we have focused on solving this challenge through taking some of our most popular skill building workshops online – which allows us to reach literally thousands of people all over the world, without having to train up new Inventiologist to run more face-to-face workshops.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Pocket. I come across articles all the time that I want to read, but will take me away from whatever it is I am doing. Pocket allows me to save articles to a central place that I can access later on, via desktop, tablet or mobile.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not personal.
Last year, I had a really great staff member resign. I felt incredibly upset about this and took it as a personal rejection of Inventium (and by extension, myself). I was given feedback by some people that I shouldn’t take it so personally – it’s just business. And of course, looking at it now, it wasn’t about me or Inventium, it was about this individual being offered a great career opportunity and taking it.
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