Cornish businesses were taken on an inspiring journey to look at the way technology is changing the production line at Unlocking Potential’s latest Future Focus Event with the CEO of Brompton Bicycles.

Fifty business leaders attended ‘Engineering the Future’ to hear from engaging keynote speaker Will Butler-Adams OBE, CEO of Brompton Bicycles.

Delegates heard how Will has taken the folding bike company on an incredible path, from £2m turnover with 27 staff to £35m turnover with over 280 staff. As well as hearing about his own business journey, Will offered tips about how businesses in Cornwall can innovate to stay ahead of the curve.

Companies have to keep changing and evolving. In business we have to be obsessed about being successful. You must not be put off when everyone else tells you you’re nuts. Today, so often we are doing things that others are not. We do what we feel is right. If it feels right it probably is right. The fact that everyone else isn’t doing it means we are innovating. – Will Butler-Adams OBE, CEO of Brompton Bicycles

Will encouraged Cornish business leaders to embrace advances in technology and see it as an opportunity for their business rather than a threat. Switching to automated processes, he said, does not have to compromise your integrity.

He added: “Customers want integrity, honesty and proper relationships. If you get that right, your customers will come and it will give you the confidence to take your business outside of Cornwall, outside of the UK and start reaching out globally.”

There was an opportunity for business leaders to question Will, and even have a ride on his very own Brompton bike.

Simon Heap, Founder & Design Director of Rugged Interactive, said: “I went to the Future Focus Event to learn more about innovation and what drives Brompton bikes from Will Butler-Adams. A few things he said really resonated with us, like the importance of transparency with your employees. To grow the business we need to keep everybody on target and as enthusiastic as we are. When you’re running a company it’s really easy to think it’s more important to stay at your desk in front of your computer, but actually the key thing is to get yourself out, clear your head, introduce yourself to new people and hear some new concepts. These events are fantastic for doing that.”

The keynote speaker was followed by a presentation from Jaime Tinker of the Future Focus Team at Exeter University. He helped to demystify some of the terms associated with automation and highlighted some businesses from around the South West who are using new technologies to get ahead.

Jaime said: “It’s important to keep an open mind about change. I would encourage everyone to seek the expertise that can help your business to innovate and grow- that is what our Future Focus programme is all about.”

Delegates worked in groups to identify their opportunities, challenges and priorities in their own businesses.

If you are a business leader in the manufacturing industry and are looking to grow your business, get involved in our Scaling Up for Manufacturers Lab.
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