Winner of the Business Elite 2018 Award for Most Innovative Change Management Consultancy, Issoria is rapidly on its way to disrupting the change management consulting industry. The startup’s unique approach has already seen it beat the established elite in its market to secure an impressive list of Fortune 500 customers.
Interview snippet with founding team member, Ibi Thomson:
Why was the company set up and how did you expand your company and its offerings over the last 2 years?
When we set out to help businesses become more change capable, we quickly realized that internal change management offices (CMOs) were at the forefront of this mission. We’d taken a lot of notes from working with the world’s most influential companies and found that these internal practices faced many of the same challenges. So, we launched Issoria and made it our mission to support them. We believe that adaptive organizations of the future are enabled by high impact change management offices now.
Over the last 2 years, we have focused on understanding the needs of our customers and taken a Lean Start-Up approach to product and service development. We’ve been really lucky that some of our customers have been happy to co-develop services with us which has helped.
A small company is defined by its core values. What are your company’s core values and how do they help you to succeed?
Our core values are very internally focused. We believe that by living these values, our culture will drive the growth of a sustainable and market leading company. I think our values currently help us most by being a key decision-making criterion, not just for the major decisions, but also the everyday choices that we have to make.
Core values are grouped into three categories; Wholeness, Self-management, and Evolution.
How successful was your first project? Share the experience.
Our first projects were small and fairly easy to be successful on. But, the experience of our first large project was rewarding and a big learning for us as a new company. This project saw us initially compete with renowned industry leaders to win a long-term service contract for a $120b revenue Fortune 100 client. We made it to the last four of the bid process and ended up winning the contract for two of their global regions (EMEA & APAC) but not the whole world.
The whole process was a brilliant learning experience. Issoria was only a year old and with such a short track record, we had difficulty in proving that our model worked. We also felt that we got our final pitch wrong. We talked too much about the “what and the how” and not enough about the “idea and the why”. This experience helped us tell the story better on our next opportunities and gave us a real view of what was needed to beat the giant incumbents in our industry. We have now won high-profile, multi-billion revenue customers such as Cargill Inc, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Jaguar Land Rover, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Genpact, G4S PLC and many more.
Any company, big or small, must have a sense of authenticity and originality to succeed, is your company a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower.’
Top of our Core Values is - Be different, don’t follow! Even without the basic need for us to disrupt an established market and innovate, just to be successful, I think we would be bored stiff if we didn’t. Creating new things is much more interesting. The process of how to do that well is an exciting challenge. Seeing things through from idea to profit is really what gets us out of bed in the morning. I personally have to ensure that I balance strategy with execution. I am a bit of a magpie, always attracted to the next shiny thing. Developing new value propositions, and then building successful business models around them, is the real test though. We want to change the game, both internally for employees and externally for our customers and partners. You can’t change the game if you are a “follower”.
How do you and your company contribute to the global technology industry at large?
Many of our clients are undergoing huge transformations that are enabled by technology change. If these technology implementations do not realize substantial benefits for our clients, they are large expensive failures, and this does have a negative impact on the tech brands themselves.
We help organizational change leaders ensure that their internal functions deliver the right level of service to their business, have a seat at a high table, are valued and seen as a trusted source of advice, and ensure that their business achieves the benefits of major technology-enabled transformation.
The Future Roadmap
In addition to launching three dedicated change management office services, Issoria is currently piloting a rewards program. The program, which forms part of Issoria’s ELEVATE and DELEGATE services, will support change management offices to develop their practice, build awareness and sponsorship, and increase their organization’s change management maturity.
Looking into the future, Issoria strongly believes that sustainability extends beyond its own ability to grow and adapt. The company contributes funding, time, and expertise to local charities meaning Issoria's growth provides the virtuous circle of community benefit.
“For Issoria, our big-hairy-audacious-goal is to have served half of the world’s largest companies by 2030,” says Mr. Thomson.“2 years from now we hope to have quadrupled customer numbers from our current level.”
The Team Behind The Picture
Ibi Thomson, Helena Maurer, Izzy Thomson, and Matthew Chalk: An award-winning team! Having worked together previously for 10 years, the team knew they could be successful when launching Issoria.
“The most compelling aspect of their work was the ability to take a technology change and use it to shape organization design and metrics definition for the new company models.”- CIO, Ingram Micro