Don’t be scared to innovate

By Pat Lewis, Source One Consulting
INNOVATE [ˈɪnəveɪt]: A verb meaning to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

Published in Norfolk and Suffolk Director Magazines Autumn/Winter 2020
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Synonyms: originate · create · design · devise · contrive · formulate · develop · conceive · think up · come up with · hit on · mastermind · pioneer · discover · find · coin · mint · dream up

Around 18 Years ago in October 2002 when I set up Source One Consulting, it seemed a natural progression in both my career and my life. As a very small and new office furniture dealer trying to find my way in a world of having my own business, it was a time when I had to be different. The internet was still fairly new, social media wasn’t popular and the way to promote your business was through Yellow Pages and offline media like newspapers and magazines etc. So, trying something new and wanting to innovate was probably even harder than it is now.

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Standing out from the crowd

Yet, being different and shouting about what we did, and more importantly ‘how’ we did it, gave me a chance to stand out from the competition. Then, as now, trying new things was always a balancing act, with a ‘will it or won’t it work’ little man sitting on my shoulder. Experience helped, but I discovered when starting my own business, that things change, so I also had to become a ‘marketeer’ as well as being good at the office furniture job!

My lesson now from back then was DON’T BE SCARED TO INNOVATE! I never got it right all the time, some things worked, some didn’t. But I didn’t beat myself up over what didn’t, I took it as a lesson learnt. However, I celebrated the things that did work and that they led to new enquiries, new business and new case studies from happy clients.

Moving on a few years and ‘innovation’ now meant looking ahead (I had now added being a clairvoyant to the list of my jobs). I saw that the office furniture market was changing as the internet was used more for office furniture products. This drove prices down as more products came from the Far East and eastern Europe. We had to innovate and change to become a niche service, differentiating us from the crowd, Hence we introduced our strapline ‘more than just office furniture’.

Innovation ensures longevity

Innovation ensured that Source One Consulting marked its 18th birthday this year. And we continue to innovate both professionally and personally by increasing our business services and product offering where we see it is needed.

Personal innovation has also taken place; I am certainly a different person than I was 18 years ago. As humans we need to change and that led me to start a new business at 54 years of age (was I mad? I hear you say). Innovating me led to an idea around the people I had met over the previous 2/3 years within the sport and entertainment Industry. I needed another challenge to innovate and change myself into something different. I’m still the same me but using my skills and passions in another Industry, and it all seems to be working…

So, don’t be scared to Innovate and enjoy the ride!

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Pat Lewis is Founder and Chairman at Source One Consulting and Source One Associates. E: pat@sourceoneconsulting.co.uk 
T: 08456 031 585 Visit: sourceoneconsulting.co.uk or sourceoneassociates.co.uk

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