Since announcing V2, I’ve been asked about the driving forces at the company’s core and how we plan to Version Up for our clients and people alike. I thought I would share the origin story and vision for V2.
I was fortunate enough to have had a significant break from the day to day of working life. It afforded me a fresh perspective on priorities and the time to recalibrate.
There was a lot of reflection after work life paused. The triumphs and the tribulations. Some amazing work environments. Where I thought I was effective and where I was not. Where I made mistakes and how I felt I could improve. Although it was at times challenging, I learned more about myself than I had in a long time. I also started learning a lot more about diversity, including cognitive diversity and neurodiversity.
Amongst this a deceivingly simple but as it turns out, quite hard question to answer kept popping up: my why. Like me, if you love what you do, you’re probably also highly engaged, driven to work on new challenges and welcome changes that create positive impact. The break really started to highlight what I am most passionate about.
A focus on growth
What became apparent was a passion for growth - for myself and for others who share the same value-based growth ideals. Achieving memorable things that excite and challenge you in the right way. Or in short ‘Cool things with cool people.’ Surely, life is too short to do anything else.
I have plenty of stories on where I got things wrong. However more times than not, out of the discomfort of my mistakes unique and exciting solutions arose. Developing and making an impact and the growth that comes with it is worth it for me. I will not get it right every day but if I can do my best on my worst day, I’ll be happy with that.
A ‘why’ of growth is a challenge in itself but perhaps more accessible at a personal level. However from a business perspective it needs to be fuelled by a viable market opportunity to execute, preferably one that is differentiated.
Market forces that change the transformative narrative
I looked at digital transformation where based on experience, great impact can continue to be made. There are still large challenges even as more technology and process capability becomes widely available. At times programs of work are overly difficult to execute or are not seen to deliver on expectations. Over time, 'transformation’ seems to have morphed into an industry buzzword, where perhaps areas of successful modernisation over transformation are a better description.
From experiences in the industry, I began to summarise some of the market forces especially those playing havoc with outcomes;
Cloud and Digital Native is a must as an enabler in this increasingly commoditised landscape, yet immense optimisation opportunities remain and require creative problem-solving to unlock its full potential.
Software development continues to accelerate initiatives around modernisation, security and risk. DevSecOps has surpassed DevOps and should be seen as the minimum level of entry.
Intelligent platforms with AI enable digital acceleration and are becoming more crucial - yet we are still in the early phases of implementations at scale.
Customer Experience (CX) continues to be the focus point for client facing businesses. This impacts organisations in multiple ways and can be difficult to quantify without modern methods and tooling.
Product centric creation and delivery is crucial in the world of ecommerce for high traffic businesses. It is critical to provide a flexible framework to continuously develop and enhance product offerings to enable clients to provide cutting edge experiences.
The continuous “war for talent” remains, with highly sought after capabilities, niche skill sets and desires to work on meaningful and challenging engagements.
Often, IT-directed operating models don’t cover the underlying mechanics of a business's need to unify true cross-functional teams.
The traditional change, procurement and integration components may sometimes need next-generation ways of working to hold all partners to account while working as a cohesive co-hort
The gap widens between those who ‘crack the code’ with “DDD” Design, Development and Data. Those who embed all three into the identity of organisations, will thrive and provide a solid offering to drive change and those who don’t, WON’T.
Bringing it together
Our ethos on growth became clear: if you bring together great humans in a unique environment, they can unleash their potential and make a meaningful impact.
Our solutions for digital transformation were formed: accelerate client outcomes, deliver superior customer experience, enable intelligent software native capabilities and ingrain data capabilities with modern working methods. A consultancy that brings the next digital iteration, something we call ‘Digital Next’.
Thus formed the foundation of V2, with our why; Version Up: To have fun whilst elevating our clients, ourselves and our communities.
Moving to the how - Start a business that’s a beacon for top talent
Over the years, I have advised and been a part of many successful global consultancies that are market-leading because of their people-first approach, which is why our ideology is people at the core of V2 Digital.
Blatantly obvious, as we are a consultancy, our people are our business. Many organisations have a rhetoric of “people-first”, but do they genuinely live that value or continue to see people as a number? At V2, we have a clear vision we are already acting upon: invest in our people, empower them, remove blockers like hierarchy, treat them with respect and empathy, and live our values. That has been and will continue to be our tried and tested model.
The driving force is people who want to work on meaningful projects that make an impact and deliver value. As leaders, our role is to help create the right environment, enabling them to provide significant value to clients. By significant value, we mean that we want our clients to reduce their dependence on consultancies, including ours. That might sound counterintuitive, but it is not - we want to build their capability and help fuel sustainable innovation. From experience, we know this approach will also enable our people to grow and develop, as co-creation, IP sharing and up-skilling drive sustainability.
It’s essential to revisit our WHY regularly. By continuously asking ourselves; ‘Is this the type of business I would’ve wanted to work in as a designer, engineer, or any other role? Is this the culture that’s invigorating and motivating? Is this the type of transformation project that is right for our people? Are our people growing?’. We will maintain the core origin of V2 for the benefit of our people and clients.
One of the best people I’ve worked with said, “Craig, I want our people to be so good that the biggest challenge we have is keeping them.” I loved that way of thinking then, and it is a view I take forward into V2.
Engaged, motivated and highly skilled individuals are a strong foundation. Now the question moves to the other piece of the puzzle, what does this mean for our clients and the type of projects?
Prioritise meaningful work and delivering value
At V2, we have all worked on numerous transformational projects and initiatives within large enterprise organisations. We want to engage in activities that align with our values and beliefs, which bring a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
Setting clear outcomes with our clients' business priorities lowers the delivery risks and allows the group to perform better as a team. We look at delivery through a technology lens, but also with a human and outcomes perspective.
Taking this outcome-based approach involves a desire to truly partner for solving problems, and meeting end customer needs to the extent that it can be very innovative, valuable, and sustainable. It also means having a mantra to help remove client dependencies on us: actions, not just words and offerings. We look at outcomes through a technology lens and with a human perspective. Whether it involves contributing to new business models, designing systems, processes, ways-of-working, helping acquire talent and encouraging cultural foundations, the V2 Digital team all thrive for successful results.
Whether it involves contributing to new business models, designing systems, processes, ways-of-working, encouraging cultural foundations or even helping acquire talent, the V2 Digital team have a core principle to help remove client dependencies on us.
The meaning behind the name
For some, it can just be a name. But, for us - V2 has real significance. V2 or Version 2 describes a new and improved version of something or someone. Creating the next version of something is, at its core, about improvement, taking something you have and enhancing it with a new iteration. The thought process was, if you really value growth through iteration, why not put it in the name?
We want to inspire and create the next best version for our people and clients. Throughout our careers, every business we’ve worked for changed us as a person somehow, and by paying homage to all our past colleagues, environments and experiences, we aim to build our ideal consultancy with our people and for our clients.
This speaks to the tech world of software, product and technology and the human aspect that plays a vital role. Similar to the evolution of every product, service and platform, the only constant is change and the next version.
As well as Simon Sinek, I like Brene Brown’s work. A quote from the book Dare to Lead summarises our values well: “When you open yourself up to vulnerability, you open yourself up to courage and creativity. When you let go of perfectionist tendencies and a fear of failure, you find the bravery to improve yourself – and to have difficult, important conversations with colleagues. In other words, you need all of your emotions on board to become a daring leader.”
So that is V2 Digital’s origin story and what we really value. We are beginning our journey, where we want to redefine digital models, reinvent human experiences and build intelligent platforms underpinned by modernised ways of working. If this interests you, please reach out to me on LinkedIn or join our community of thought leaders, creatives, tech innovators and change agents by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.