Our operations in Amsterdam are charging ahead, and the daily grind tends to revolve around securing growth in one form or another. Growing the company’s network, acquiring new business and successfully running clients’ projects all play into reaching our financial goals. However, a completely different barometer is the growth of the crew. The ability to attract great talent on board asserts that the company is on the right track.
I’m delighted to announce that Adrian Klee joins Ross Republic as a partner. He is an expert in building digital business in the financial services sector. Adrian’s background is in Fintech and Consulting and he specialises in market research, digital service development and lean venture building. In Ross Republic, Adrian’s focus will be on supporting our B2B clients to create new digital business and on co-creating the next generation of banking with financial services providers.
Interviewing Adrian Klee
Great to have you on board Adrian! Could you fill the audience in on your background?
Sure. I originally studied Industrial Design and Management in Switzerland, which gave me the basic toolkit to translate market opportunities and user insights into viable propositions. During that time I interned at start-ups and worked as a consultant at Germany’s leading brand strategy consultancy in Berlin. I wanted to use my skills to help companies accelerate their digital transformation, hence after my studies I first joined a mid-sized digital business consultancy and thereafter worked as independent strategy consultant for a few tech start-ups and agencies. After the initial project work for the Finnish fintech Holvi, which I conducted together with Tintti, I joined the company to help building the start-up in the German speaking markets.
Most recently, you’ve been working at the fintech Holvi, which belongs to Spanish banking group BBVA. What have you been up to there?
I think BBVA does a great job in avoiding the innovators dilemma by keeping acquired companies at a productive distance. Influence and governance are executed through the New Digital Business unit, which adds a lot of expertise and valuable advice. I joined as strategy and business development manager and was responsible for generating growth in the German speaking markets, covering strategy work, commercial partnerships and product development projects. One of my highlights was the development of a new product line for founders, which turned out to be really successful – Germany is super bureaucratic, hence a Nordic fintech that digitalises some of the processes of founding a company was well received in the market.
Why did you decide to join Ross Republic?
There are on the one hand quite a lot of traditional organisations that are pressured to innovate and to find new ways to grow their business in the digital age. On the other hand, I have seen how disastrous it can be when they get trapped in an “innovation theatre” – a lot of hype, without creating results. Many industries are experiencing tremendous change, the financial sector is e.g. one of them. This requires a new type of consultancy: one that understands how business works and is able to deliver tangible results quickly, but at the same time utilises the possibilities of new technology, customer-centricity and new ways of working. At Ross Republic we have extraordinary talent coupled with very experienced senior advisors, the right mix of corporate and start-up expertise, and the unique opportunity to create a new breed of consultancy that focuses on delivering hands-on, rigorous and yet very creative results. I think that’s what I missed most so far when working with consultancies, since they’re either business-driven or creativity-driven. However, a growth consultancy needs to understand both, business realities and how to come up with creative solutions.
What will you be focusing on at Ross Republic?
My main focus areas are market research, new digital business and lean venture development. The first projects we’ve had so far, have all the common denominator that businesses need to understand how to utilise their capabilities and assets in new ways, enabled by new technologies. Thus, I support in uncovering emerging market opportunities, developing growth and commercialisation strategies and co-creating new value propositions.
What’s one underrated skill that you find important in business and why?
I’m a big believer in compounding and the philosophy that it takes 10k hours to really master a skill. The success of a new business concept ultimately depends on if it solves a real user need faster, cheaper, or exorbitantly better than the available alternatives. To really get the pains and gains of users takes time. Translating observations into patterns and insights, which in turn inform the development of new concepts, value propositions or features is a capability that has an enormous positive impact for any organisation, if it does it well. Of course, analysing and utilising data to improve this process is table-stakes now. However, even though you can dig out a lot from product or online data sources, concluding the right decisions still depends on pattern recognition and accumulated experience. This is definitely something you can’t just learn at an average design thinking bootcamp, but if you invest the right resources into it, it can give you a 10x return.
You can reach out to me directly on LinkedIn.