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The Hoggett Bowers 2 Minute Interview: Tim Stedman

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What have been some of the key learnings for you since March last year and are now applying in your business?

Key learnings include:

  • That necessity truly is the mother of invention. 
  • The criticality of a clear, well understood, and compelling mission is magnified many times over when addressing disruption such as that we have lived through in the past year.
  • Greater than 75% of business travel was superfluous. 

As we move forward from the pandemic and look to the future, what business opportunity most excites you?

We are all about providing a solution to the global issue of waste plastic.  We have been incredibly busy working with partners throughout the pandemic, but we look forward to being able to accelerate this development going forward as customers become more focused on the future and capturing the opportunity that our solution provides.

Given the important part that technology has played in all sectors during the pandemic, how do you envisage technology developing in your organisation going forward?

In the past year we have been able to support ongoing project development across the globe thanks to technology.  We have successfully challenged pre-conceived notions of what can and cannot be done in this regard and see huge opportunities for efficiency going forward.  To this end we will continue to embrace technology to allow people to coordinate work across all parts of the world while only travelling where absolutely required. 

When are you planning some form of return to the office and how is this being structured?

We have already started this with certain functions in the US.  However, it will still be on a more flexible basis than before with core days being defined by Group to ensure that we strike the right balance between the benefits of collaboration and flexibility.

With sustainability and ESG being more prevalent on the Board agenda, what is your business doing to meet net zero carbon emission targets by 2050, if not earlier?

The entire focus of our technology offering is ESG oriented – enabling others to massively reduce their carbon footprint while addressing the issue of waste plastic.  It’s our DNA!

How has your business changed in its approach to employee wellbeing during the pandemic and what will it continue to do more of in the future?

We have learnt to embrace flexible working practices and have seen only benefits in terms of productivity.  We have no intention of going backwards!

Who or what has inspired you recently? (They don’t need to be famous)

A gentleman who I will only refer to by their first name, Ngoni.  I met Ngoni two years ago when he fled political persecution in his home country (he had received death threats).  Applying for refugee status here in Switzerland he like many others in many countries is now effectively stuck – made even worse by everything grinding to a halt through the pandemic.  He has not seen his young son for over 2 years; he cannot get work despite being very well qualified and having learnt the language etc.  However bad many of our pandemic experiences have been, I know that the trials and tribulations that I have had to deal with pale into insignificance when compared to what Ngoni and others like him have gone through.  Yet despite this Ngoni is always optimistic, always hopeful, and always willing to help others and always has a smile on his face.  A real inspiration for me when I think I have had a hard day, or I am facing a tough challenge at work. 

Lots of people took up new hobbies in 2020. Have you learnt a new skill or taken up a hobby during the pandemic and will you continue with it?

Being based in Switzerland, we were in the fortunate position of being able to access skiing even during the peak of the pandemic.  However, we took the opportunity to embrace a more Covid secure form of skiing – cross country or langlauf as they call it here.  Highly recommend it.

Have you booked your 2021 holiday(s) yet?

We have already been to Portugal for a week.  That is probably it for a while other than the odd long weekend in Switzerland.  We would like to visit family in the UK but that is not possible right now.  The irony is that I will travel to the US before I can “go home”.

Any words of wisdom?

The thing that I always strive for is to maintain perspective.  Not sure it’s wise but it certainly helps keep me sane!