This week Michael took some time to chat with Aled about what it is like to work for Adaptavate and how and why he became a member of team Adaptavate.
How did you come to work at Adaptavate and what was it that attracted you to work here?
I met Tom and Alberto while studying at CAT. I heard that Tom had started Adaptavate, it sounded really good. I have a background in retailing eco-building product as well as working in start-ups so I was very keen to get involved, especially after discovering that they plan to make changes in the mainstream construction industry by taking on the bigger companies and products. Their values and their desire to be innovative and disruptive in a place that is usually very conservative are very much aligned with my own so I got in touch to see how I could get involved.
Since you’ve joined Adaptavate what projects have you been involved with and what have you really enjoyed about working for Adaptavate?
It’s been really good! I’ve been involved in lots of different business activities. I started with market research focusing on distribution as I have experience and industry contacts. The next big project I worked on was writing a bid for an Innovate UK grant – a government funded innovation competition. I headed up writing the bid, organizing inputs from the rest of the team.
One of the really great things about working for Adaptavate is that, because the company is in its early stages and the team is small, you have a real opportunity to get your teeth into a variety of projects and activities and have a lot of choice in what you want to do. The work I’ve done has had a clear effect on Adaptavate’s direction. Some of my work on the business model and the data I’ve collected has been used to communicate with customers, suppliers and investors. The input and the contribution you have makes a difference here, whereas if it was a big corporation you might do a load of work and not see its effect. And the team as well! They are a great group and everybody shares the same values and wants to make a positive change in the world so we get along very well.
Are you able to describe the culture and ethos at Adaptavate and can you think of any other companies which are similar in culture?
Adaptavate is hard working and also laid back, it’s a lot of fun when we get together – we generally work remotely but when we do get together we go for a couple of drinks and a laugh after. It’s a good company culture.
There are quite a lot of start-ups that are being disruptive and innovative like Adaptavate, but not many, if any, in this sector. With my experience and skills in this area it’s nice to find an innovative company where I can use them. It’s refreshing that everyone at Adaptavate has an understanding of sustainability and the circular economy; it’s a shared value that all members brought with them to Adaptavate so it is totally ingrained in the culture.
Where do you see the company in 5 years’ time?
Firstly I see them taking Breathaboard, developing the product and taking it to market, then adding complimentary products to their range. It is hard to say how far a company can get in 5 years but based on the way Adaptavate are going, the awards they have won, the support and mentoring they are receiving, the start-up schemes they are involved in and the culture and passion within the team I think they are going to do very well.
What advice would you offer someone wanting to find employment within the construction industry?
It’s a huge industry, and I think it depends on what you wantout of it. A good place to start is to read, study and figure out which parts you’re most interested in. Then get in touch with the types of companies you want to work for and see what they can offer you. With Adaptavate, I really liked having the flexibility to choose the work I was interested in, and the trust to work unsupervised with the support of the team always available when I needed it. If someone is into that sort of journey they could get in touch with a start-up like Adaptavate.
So would you describe your time at Adaptavate as a journey?
Yes I would, I think it’s a good way of describing it. I’ve seen the company evolve from something very small, in the 6 months that I’ve been here it has grown and I’ve seen some great changes and developments whilst being on my own journey. It’s been a lot of fun going out to Copenhagen and Spain for courses and business development – I’ve done a lot with Adaptavate that I wouldn’t have if I started as an intern at a big company.
What do you see are the major challenges to start-ups with a do good approach to the construction industry?
One big challenge is having credibility. Small companies can havea really great product but it can be hard to get respect in the construction industry. I think Adaptavate have done really well to achieve where they’ve got to so far and to communicate their values. I’ve asked for help from knowledgeable people in the industry who have looked at the website, seen our values and really wanted to help because they understand what we are about and they buy into it. Adaptavate are a small fish in a big pond doing things differently, people are drawn towards that.
If you could have any mentor from the business world who would it be?
That’s a good question, and I have no idea! But thinking aloud maybe Bob Moog. He started making electronic musical instruments, called synthesisers, around 60 years ago. This was before there was a market for them. Hardly anyone was making electronic music or knew what it was at the time, but Bob Moog started making synthesisers in the way that he wanted to because they were passionate about the technology and had a vision of how they could be used. Soon people started to understand the possibilities and the ideas took off. Without them electronic music wouldn’t be the same. The company values are good too, they keep all product runs very small to maintain a very high quality and have kept production in the USA.
Any other comments?