Tell us about Freestyle
Freestyle is a product studio, specialising in technology and working with complex organisations to deliver stand out experiences for their brand.
The origins of our principles are in sport – specifically swimming, hence the name Freestyle. It is the fastest, most efficient of the four swimming strokes and has the fewest rules so you can adapt and innovate to maximise your chance of winning. And even though you might think swimming is an individual sport, it is actually all about the team and how you build skills, strength and resilience to make sure you can deliver top level performances.
My inspiration is in building the team at Freestyle to be the best individual experts who come together and combine their skills and experience to produce outstanding results for our clients. That sounds a bit bland and corporate – but at the heart of it is the belief that we can create amazing work when every Freestyler is able to be the best version of themselves. My job is to make sure that they have the environment, the training and the freedom to do just that.
Every entrepreneur wants to be different to their competition but what do you think makes Freestyle stand out?
Our people. Our world is crowded and commoditised, and the only way we can differentiate is by doing the same for our business as we do for our clients – giving them a stand out experience of working with us. I believe that’s about having fully engaged people working together, at their optimum, focused on great work.
Looking at your website, you focus on ‘memorable customer experiences’. Can you share some top tips for businesses about how to achieve these?
We as humans have a pretty poor memory system. We only remember the most intense point, and end point of a particular experience we have. Therefore if brands can identify the point at which their product or service is most helpful or valuable, and introduce unexpected value and moments of delight, they will stick in our memory more than a ‘good experience end to end’. And we will go on to buy from those brands when we need their products or services because those intense moments stand out in our minds.
To create those memorable customer experiences you should:
- Understand the emotional context and behavioural biases of your customers so you can deliver a suitable solution
- Connect with your customers on a human level by delivering delightful emotional peaks
- Solution first, technology second
- Stay true to your brand and don’t just stand for something, stand up for it – act on what you say is important
- Iterate and test your solutions – what do customers recall about the experience and how did it make them feel?
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What’s been the proudest moment in your career?
As competitive sports people we’re always striving for the next best result, and are typically pretty hard on ourselves. There’s no single Olympic Gold in a career, but the response of the team when we went through some difficult times, and the way we all pulled together to create the successful business we now enjoy has to be up there. It’s a true testament that I’ve achieved my goal of creating a close-knit team who are able to support each other and work together towards the goals of the business.
What made you choose to work in technology and do you think there is a lack of females in the tech sector?
I can’t say I chose to work in technology from the outset – I mostly fell into it. But now I am here, I love it. There are constantly increasing opportunities within tech businesses where we can really contribute to the way the world is changing. Technology is always evolving and we have to be on top of our game to keep up to date, so that we can give the best solutions to our clients – and I really like that challenge.
There is definitely a lack of women and diversity in general in the tech sector. When you consider what a massive effect technology has on our day to day lives it really should be influenced, designed and delivered with all the different perspectives involved, women included. We really need to encourage and promote more equality of opportunity for diversity within the tech sector.
What are your future aspirations?
I want to stay true to our goals of developing our team and the way we work together, whilst giving more people the opportunity of working this way – whether that’s at Freestyle or by sharing our practices so other businesses can adopt similar ways of working.
We like to give people the opportunity to experience life in a product studio through work experience and internships, hoping that we can inspire the next generation – but I think we can do more. With the likely level of unemployment and lack of good jobs for the 19-24 age group caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, it would be great to be able to offer more opportunities to build future careers.
We are also working towards becoming a B Corp which is all about doing business better – with a focus on our people and the planet as well as remaining profitable.