Because sometimes you have to step completely out of your comfort zone.


Just a selection of the technologies that were there to present

Over the past few weeks I have been chatting to a lot of customers and I felt my ideas weren’t as “outside of the box” as they usually are, this could be for a number of reasons, because I’ve been working with similar industries, because the people I work with know each other and have wanted to discover similar avenues, because of collaborations or perhaps because we are coming to that time of the year that can be restricting!

Whatever the reason I needed to give myself a kick up the jacksie.

Now, I network a LOT, so being in a room of strangers doesn’t bother me, neither does being with professionals from other industries, in fact, I rather prefer a mixed bag these days.

So, I had to go further….

I had to put myself in a room with people I didn’t know, who discussed something I knew NOTHING about.

So, I went along to the bi-annual Edinburgh Cancer Immunology Seminar to see if I could find collaboration ideas or business development avenues for clients

Challenge accepted

About three minutes into the opening presentation, the words “we all have masters or PhDs” were mentioned and I immediately regretted sitting in the second row of the auditorium. (I never went to Uni and I think I only went to fresher’s fairs when I worked in promo).

I felt dumb.

BUT the first section was on collaborations and while everyone in the room could understand the science, I was more interested in the routes to market, the processes that they took (spoiler alert, much lengthier and drawn out processes than were necessary), the costings and how they accessed the help they needed.

Unfortunately, what they discovered was the same as what many small businesses discover; that there is an awful lot more to business than your own passion for your subject.

Over the course of the day I learnt about collaborations that were going on, research and its intricacies, the challenges to be the first to develop technologies, the accessibility and barriers to collaborative efforts and the lengthy projects on which academics can sometimes base their entire careers.

As someone who moves around as much as me, that’s completely alien!

I had some incredibly interesting conversations, mostly with me asking dumb questions and them being delighted to tell me all about what they were working on! It really got the old noggin ticking!

The conversations were broken down for me so that I could understand the science and when I told them about my work, I broke it down as well, so it really made clear how to communicate things in their most simplistic ways without being patronising or assuming.

Which I think we are all guilty of to some degree.

So yes! I thoroughly recommend taking yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something completely new, be it a hobby or a seminar on something you know nothing about! It will really get you thinking and could generate some fantastic inspiration!