Method Grid

Case Studies

Business Incubator | Gate One

How Method Grid has enabled a business incubator at Gate One

The user - Their challenge - How Method Grid was used - The benefits - Business incubator

The User

Gate One is an award-winning, UK-based digital and business transformation specialist serving prestigious clients in multiple sectors: health, public sector, life sciences, financial services, travel and consumer.

As befits their structured transformation-specialist DNA, most of Gate One’s Method Grid library is given over to detailed transformation roadmaps that they regularly take to market; for example to facilitate: digital customer experience, target operating model redesign, people change and cost optimisation programmes.

A fast-growing company – made up of former big firm consultants – one of their proudest values is that of continued entrepreneurship internally. One of the unique ways they bring this value to life is through their business incubator: enabling their consultants to get involved in taking bright new start-up ideas to market.

Their Challenge

The challenge with any business incubator is to have a rigorous gated process in place. At each stage of the entrepreneurial journey, ideas need to be systematically developed, explored and critiqued – via a balanced challenge and support ethos – in order to progress to the next stage. Their challenge, in this regard, was to develop a clear process roadmap that prescribes all of these carefully graduated stages and brings to life the multiple dimensions of this journey: from the emotional “do the founders have the right mindset?” question to the more fundamental “is there sufficient demand for this product?” type evaluation. Gate One also sought to build a business incubator framework that was constantly evolving – with the learns of each new incubated business being fed back into an ever improving toolbox.

How Method Grid was used

The primary left-to-right logic of Gate One’s business incubator grid is a gated set of steps that takes a business entrepreneur from an embryonic Ideation stage to early stage commercial testing to the development of multi-faceted business plans to detailed business design and build-out to pilot launch and, ultimately, scaling up.  

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Figure: Gate One’s Business Incubator grid

The grid’s themes decompose this journey into the multiple dimensions of the entrepreneurial challenge including: business model and operations, mindset and team development, critical partnerships, technological enablement, marketing and more experiential advice.

The grid’s elements are color labelled according to the imperative of each step (from top-priority to nice-to-do). Each element describes: the purpose of this step (the why do), templates and tools, best practice examples, hints and tips, tagged experts and supporting references.

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Figure: Example element

A key point to emphasise is that – like all good methodologies – the development of this grid never stands still. As each new business traverses the Gate One business incubator journey, the Incubator Head is updating the grid: building out the elements with new (quality filtered) material and adding new elements to the overall grid (to fill another discovered gap in the roadmap). In this regard, the value inherent in this particular intellectual property asset continues to systematically grow and grow.

The benefits

business incubator image 03 Using Method Grid to enable the incubator function at Gate One has brought two primary benefits.

Firstly, it has simplified the entrepreneurial journey for new business owners. With Method Grid, Gate One has developed a structured, easy-to-follow roadmap to describe this incubator-journey. Method Grid has made it easy for busy entrepreneurs to access tools and templates and, most importantly, to learn from previous successful businesses. From Michael, Head of Gate One’s Business Incubator: “As with all good products, the simplicity of Method Grid is the key to its success – our entrepreneurs find it effortless to tap through to the information they need at each stage of their journey.”

By example, the trailblazing Pinga team (a peer-to-peer tasking app launched in Nottingham in 2017) used Method Grid as a logical repository for their early outputs (ranging from contracts to marketing strategies to app wireframe designs). These products are now easily referencible – and expert tagged – such that future business leaders can easily locate and not wheel-reinvent.

Secondly, this has allowed business teams to accelerate the time it takes to get their new product/service idea to market.

By example, the latest business to launch: Dribble (a “how child friendly is this business?” review directory) used this grid to progress quickly from app concept/design through to early stage marketing and team recruitment.

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We had a nagging concern for some time that we were not sharing the valuable experience from our startups with the next wave of fledgling entrepreneurs. Method Grid made it easy to cut through this in a matter of weeks. Now we have a sustainable single version of the truth that is tangibly benefiting new businesses.

Michael Goulden / Head of Incubator / Gate One

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