Just over a year ago, three friends—a product designer, a technologist, and a business strategist—joined forces to launch a different innovation consultancy.
For us, different meant independence in thought and structure so we could provide our clients with insight that was objective, transformative, and drove real innovation. One year later and what we’re building feels fresh, novel, and (we’re happy to report) profitable.
Achieving profitability in our first year was a pretty big “Holy S#@t!” moment for us because we know this is a huge milestone many first-year businesses don’t achieve. It was risky to bootstrap our company a year ago and decline external investment, and we were grateful that several clients took a chance with us. Good work earned us a reputation for exceeding delivery and outcome expectations and built trust in the Sigthglass brand.
A profitable first year reinforces why we decided to build an independent innovation consultancy firm. Our growth is tied to our client’s growth because, simply stated, when they do well, they hire us back.
While it’s not easy to compete against firms with investor-backed start-up funds, the fact that we don’t have external shareholders means we can take a different approach than traditional consulting practices. Success under that model is typically driven by the number of “butts in seats,” which usually means less experienced talent doing the work and the partners sticking to sales and oversight.
Our independence frees us to make client satisfaction and engagement outcomes our goals. We’re liberated to make recommendations based on our client’s best interest and not anybody else’s. It’s also allowed us to experiment with business models to suit client needs. While the traditional “time and materials” will always be an option, we’ve co-designed win-win models, including outcome-based and equity pricing.
In retrospect, we underestimated how much our commitment to impartiality would matter to clients. Not being tied to external investors means we can offer unbiased advice you can’t find at other firms.
For example, when we’re working with a client in a fractional CPO capacity, our independence lets us choose not to be pushed to recommend the portfolio vendor of a shareholder for our client’s development partner. We are one of the few boutique firms that provide this level of independent advice.
When we look back during our year in review, we’re proud of what we’re building. We have a year of client feedback that supports our hypothesis that modern businesses are eager for a different approach to innovation and transformation. In many ways, we see ourselves redefining what it means to be a consultant. We can provide strategic counsel to deliver more tangible outcomes while moving right into action.
But the real fun happens when we go right into executing that vision. Our success over the last year is real-world evidence that we can drive actual change in our client’s businesses through this unique combination of business, product and technology design experience. This “three-legged stool” provides our clients and us with the efficiency and stability critical as we approach an uncertain year ahead.