End of a residency, onto the next

14th May 2017

Christina Chun, 1Scope CEO

And it’s over.

A monumental part of 1Scope’s journey has ended with the completion of our 3 month residency at Publicis Sapient. It’s been a busy period, and we would like to extend our thanks to Publicis Sapient for a productive residency. In that time, 1Scope has evolved and almost doubled its size from a 5 person team to 9 members. We’ve seen our user count double, the completion of 8 workshops and the re-skin of our web app. While we can’t thank all the amazing talent at Publicis Sapient who’ve assisted us, we’ve learned a lot from Jake Hird (plan for user acquisition over the next 3 months), Nick Stevens (communication and processes for our product team), Simon Pelletier (long term strategy and roadmap), Paul Taylor (leadership and personal development), Ben Mooney (partnerships), Sibbs Singh (data monetisation) and Shelby Robinson (culture and HR). Thank you!

In many ways, Publicis Sapient has been where 1Scope is now and we’ve had the benefit of their mentorship in this ‘big brother’ role. In particular, they’ve generously worked with us to forecast and plan for our next expansion horizon. As you will know from our earlier post, 1Scope underwent a key pivot in its direction in early 2017 (see here). Critical items to achieving this such as revising systems architecture, data strategy, UX, user research and testing, and recruitment, were all challenges that needed to be surmounted. Like climbing any mountain, careful planning was required and we’ve had the benefit of experienced guides at Publicis Sapient who have already reached the summit. Change management is always difficult but their team provided an invaluable sense check, and we were able to actually enhance team cohesion and morale through what could otherwise have been an uncertain period. The end result is that 1Scope has set its North Star to for the next year.

A lot of start up spaces contain other start ups, which is great for creating a vigorous atmosphere and collaboration, but I would say that having more experienced persons around who are generous with sharing their knowledge made a greater impact on how we’ve learned and perceived ourselves. There have been times when we’ve had to de-volve some of Publicis Sapient's frameworks because they’ve been too resource-heavy, but the underlying frameworks are still useful and we’ve often applied a more simplified and streamlined model based on our needs and capabilities. But it isn’t just formal meetings; we’ve equally benefited from casual chats over Friday beers which has given rise to their own ‘eureka’ moments, and helped shape 1Scope’s growing confidence as a company and as a brand.

It’s also been interesting observing first-hand the life cycle of a start up such as 1Scope as we’ve evolved considerably over the last 3 months. Examples of this have been increased specialisation in team members’ roles, clearer command lines, greater accountability, enhanced meeting protocols and communication points. We’ve absorbed by osmosis a lot from Publicis Sapient in this regard. The reality seems to be that certain features of traditional organisations become more compelling as an organisation grows, its stakeholder group increases and it becomes more internally complex. It’s a challenge though because there are so many aspects of start-up culture that are compelling: freedom, flexibility, speed and execution. The tightrope to walk is that some of these benefits seem to be mutually exclusive with a larger organisation. I would hate to see 2 week lead times become a fixture of 1Scope, and we’ll be curious on touching base in the future with Publicis Sapient to see how it manages these competing internal priorities. Fortunately, the residency doesn’t end abruptly, and it has been made clear there's willingness to keep doors open as part of its commitment to community re-investment (I believe there an alumni network is the plan!).

Finally, I would like to do a big thanks to Paul Taylor, Executive Creative Director at Publicis Sapient, for his time in our monthly mentoring sessions on leadership. Leadership has been the subject of much literature, but in my view it’s ultimately a practical skill, and having these face to face sessions have been invaluable in terms of motivating a team, discovering a leadership style that works for me and knowing when and how to invest in staff.

Personally, I believe this has summed up the Publicis Sapient's Alphabet Common residency and the value it’s brought to myself and 1Scope: practical experience from willing and encouraging mentors around the clock. Each start up walks a different path, and each has its own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. But there’s much to be gained from the framework and guidance of those who have navigated the path before, and I encourage others to reach out to tech educators / incubators like Publicis Sapient.

Next stop, Haymarket HQ.