Manoj Chawla MA ACMA FRSA
Innovator, Entrepreneur, Coach, Father in no particular order
BACKGROUND One of the world’s largest telecommunication companies with a turnover in excess of £22 billion, BT operates out of the UK. Setting itself the ambit…
I had the pleasure of working with Manoj early in my career at BT in the late 1990s; during that time I had the opportunity of working on the most exciting ground breaking tech projects. We were thought leaders and visionaries and worked on projects such the the development and rollout of the intranet in BT and developing IP apps, prototypes. I worked with Manoj to develop the “first youtube app before youtube”, wireless networking. Speech recognition and many more things that are now common place. Working with Manoj helped me understand how to develop a vision, how technology can make our lives better “it technology doesn’t make your life better or simpler, why will people use it” and to build and motivate teams. It was the best fun I had apart from building my own businessesJacob Thundil
If you are reading this, you are probably curious about me?
As I say in my blog, we buy experiences and how we make people feel. So it would probably help you to know a bit about me.
My approach to design and innovation is multi disciplinary, So I use the whole gamut of tools from Service Design, Design Thinking, Patterns, Triz, Debono, BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits, Jacob Neilsen on UX etc. To me the trick is to use the right tools at the right moment. This allows one to use both process and intuition.
However the most important thing is that as an experience it is immersive, fun and you and your team, customers are in the flow.
I hope if there is such a thing as the Zen or Tao of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design, then this is it.
Chances are if you enjoyed making it happen, people will enjoy using your product, service or engaging with your business.
We all make a narrative and a story about who we think we are.
I could say the usual things like I am a graduate in economics and engineering from Trinity College, or an accountant by training, but that would not really give you a real sense about me or tell you what it would be like to work with me.
I’d like to think that I am innovative, creative and I make a difference.
I enjoy learning new things and I am curious about many things.
I’d like to think that this broad range of interests helps me gain a broad perspective and come up with novel solutions.
I get a buzz from using my mind and solving problems and live for that “aha” or eureka moment. The bigger the challenge, the more I enjoy it. More often the challenges are not just technical but in bringing people with you and getting them to align with your vision. Often the harder part of a problem is the buy-in.
I enjoy engaging with customers and teams and in working with them to generate new “things” be it products or businesses.
I’d like to think that the people I work with also enjoy and get a buzz from the project and the whole creative process.
I see all this as part of the journey and part of my on-going growth.
For me “Change is the essential process of all existence” though at times it can be personally difficult and fearful.
a little bit of my background…
I’d like to think that I have learnt a lot and gained a lot of experience in the last three decades and been fortunate to learn from the best and I would like to share this with others. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and been lucky enough to have made an impact on the projects and people I’ve worked with.
As James Joyce says “Mistakes are the portals of discovery” Along the way I’ve made many good friends and had fun and tears in my journey to date. For favourite story about mistakes relates to Colombus.
After all Christoper Colombus may have found America and it may have been from his insight about the fact that the world was round but his success was based on three major flaws….
I have learned the importance of drive and enthusiasm, building good teams, a strong network and support systems.
We all need to know how to deal with adversity and develop resilience. As the saying goes fall down seven times, get up eight.
Experience comes from working in as many different projects, companies and situations, we learn both how to do things, how not to do things and most of all about ourselves. Growth comes from challenge. You can’t build muscle or strength without resistance.
I have been lucky enough to have worked across a variety of roles, in a diverse range of world class companies such as ICI, Diageo, Price Waterhouse Management Consultants, BT, Accenture, and worked for Blue Chip clients such as GE, British Gas, Marks & Spencer etc.
I worked in a wide range of functions from Change Management, Consultancy, Strategy, Finance, IT, Sales and held a variety of roles such as General Manager Business Transformation & Innovation, Business Development Director Partnerships & Technology Foresight, Chief Information Architect, VP Service Development, VP Service Evolution, Manager for Systems & Processes, Business Analysis Manager, Senior Financial Analyst, Management Accountant and these wide variety of roles have allowed me to gain a rich business and management perspective.
Having worked in industries such as internet start-ups, retailing, manufacturing, pharma, FMCG, telecoms, utilities, IT, solar power, real estate on 4 continents and been fortunate to work with some very talented people in a diverse multi-cultural environment has given me a unique perspective.
Working at the leading edge of technology, internet, voice, IT and developed new ways of managing innovation, complex projects, and managing change has been a wonderful experience.
Work has been fun and I’ve been lucky & fortunate enough to meet and be coached by some of the leading thought leaders, exceptional managers and brilliant entrepreneurs.
Building partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, HP has taught me a lot from how they do things and been challenging and rewarding.
I have worked on projects such as Privatisations, ERP implementation, major change programmes and in numerous start-ups, and helped, coached and mentored numerous start-up & management teams, budding entrepreneurs, talented managers and leaders.
Just like some people enjoy climbing mountains, I love working on challenging projects with interesting people.
During my career, I have been lucky to be coached, mentored, guided and helped by too many people to mention. and I am forever in their debt.
Hopefully we will meet on a project or at one of my workshops or seminars.
I first came across Manoj when he was a senior manager at BT in the mid 90’s. He was leading what was at that time a large change project but was also in technology terms one of the first and largest corporate IP applications and the one of the largest data warehouse applications and in the process he and his team rolled out many new technologies and ways of working.
He is good at boundary breaking across corporate functional stove pipes and in building alliances and partnerships. He is able to roll out projects extremely quickly and a master at understanding customer requirements and market/stakeholder needs.
During his corporate career, Manoj has been very much an Intrapreneur; developing new products and services and winning partnerships, be it with other large corporates or small start-ups. VCs and entrepreneurs would approach Manoj to validate ideas or to run alpha trials of new products and services.
Everyone who knows him agrees that he is a “One man think-tank” constantly developing and rolling out new ideas and concepts anticipating market needs and trends, yet has a simple way to communicate them.
His coaching style of leadership helps wins hearts and minds.
Over the years that I have known him, his skills and experience have continued to grow and it is fair to say that he is like a polymath in the world of business and entrepreneurship.Howard Longstaff
I first met Manoj when we both worked at BT and he is truly a remarkable individual. He is able to take large and complex situations (technical and non-technical), make sense of the vast amount of information, pull together a strategy that is coherent and finally explain it in bite-size chunks that are easily understood. Also one who keeps the final solution and benefits in mind as he works through and implements the agreed plan. Great professional to turn to when you need some clarity and get things doneAzzy Aslam
Why are they the best…
Naturally each company out there will try to convince you that they are the best thing since sliced bread.
Rather than taking their word for it, I felt that you should hear from me.
As one of their clients, I wanted to share with you what I think of them and what makes carry on with this mutually beneficial and reciprocal working relationship.
- They are small enough to provide a personalised and bespoke service however big enough to cover any IT crisis with the utmost urgency.
- Knowledgeable, approachable and very experienced.
- Budget certainty – I knew what the cost of the work was from the start. There were no hidden fees and no extra charges.
- Everything I would instinctively expect to be included was covered in a very transparent way.
- Bespoke team dedicated to my project including a Strategic Project Manager and a skilled developer.
- They have the capacity and experience to understand my vision for the future development and functionality of my current business model. I always leave the meetings with Manoj & John enthused and filled with optimism, comforted in the knowledge that I am in partnership with the company that can over deliver on the promise and overachieve on my expectations.
I have known Manoj for many years as a Colleague and his Mentor and Friend for many years, including BT plc.
In that time I have recognised that of the many Businesses, Processes, Products and Applications that he has evolved and developed, there is one area, in which, he excels. That is in his analysis and articulation of customer requirements. His business experience and knowledge, combined with his breath, depth, entrepreneurial skill and technical experience enable him to develop products and solutions which build on the best available elements; which can be rapidly implemented and evolved to large scale implementations when required.
Examination of Manoj’s recommendation often surprises, as they frequently exceed the initial perception, with additional options and opportunities identified through his intuitive understanding of the Sector and its evolving customer needs. As a result, his solutions tend to be ‘ahead of the game’, in a world where change is one of the few certainties
Manoj was employed by me to assist in the design and build of a start up JV company. He brought a real insight into the leading edge of technical and business model innovation that was vital in us designing a company that could stand out in its market. He worked as a mentor, educator and change leader in our technical and marketing teams, and was able to both challenge and support developments. I would highly recommend him to any company needing to get or stay ahead in its marketSteve Gandy
Manoj worked as a business consultant for me over a period of 4 years. He was invaluable in assisting us in bringing our 7 Time Emmy Award winning global Children’s Television Series “Jakers!” to the world market. Manoj is a first class business consultant and is able to provide “outside the box solutions” to the difficult problems that business owners encounter. I have no hesitation in recommending him as some one who adds value and is consistently dependable and trustworthyFrancis Fitzpatrick
I’ve found Manoj’s style of mentorship helpful in allowing me refine my business model further.. Every startup has it’s own challenges. I’ve always felt that being a ‘non-technical founder’ a potential hindrance. Manoj showed me that with the right connections and constant relationship building – ‘the team’ required to pursue the goal will always find each other. I would strongly recommend connecting with Manoj and allowing him give some guidance as to your present obstacles. Nothing beats a reasoned opinion, especially by someone with such broad business knowledgeMichael Newham
Manoj Chawla is a coach and mentor with a huge range of knowledge and expertise. He has provided honest and valuable support to Pink Lobster Dating. I feel as though I can ask him for support and that he will be there to give genuine and helpful feedback. His passion for connecting people and enabling businesses to support one another has also been a great help to me. I look forward to continuing to work with him now and in the future.Juliette Pais
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