38. Inken Thomas, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder at Manageable

Name: Inken Thomas

Position: Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder

Company: Manageable

Website: https://www.manageable.works/





About Inken Thomas and Manageable


I took the leap into entrepreneurship back in 2016, after eight years as Worldwide Client Services Director at the global advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi. The former global deputy chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, Richard Hytner, and I then co-founded a distinctive creative management consultancy called Beta Baboon. We wanted to challenge our clients to ignite creativity across their organisations, and we took inspiration from baboons, who definitely love a challenge. The more complex the challenge, the more curious they become!

The first thing you have to overcome after life in a large corporation, is the difference between representing a big brand compared to one nobody had heard of. I must say, we may have made it harder having ‘baboon’ in our name! Despite developing an amazing global client base, I distinctly remember some client senior executives tying themselves in knots to avoid saying our company name!

After four years, I embarked on my second startup adventure, this time co-founding Manageable with my husband, Farley Thomas. You might think that would be an even bigger challenge but actually who better to start a business with during lockdown than someone you live with and completely trust. We’re also very different, with highly complementary skills.

Manageable is a cutting-edge skills development programme designed to equip new and existing managers with the capabilities they need to be great leaders. We have witnessed the greatest workplace disruption in generations as technological advancements and demographic shifts have become the new normal. Managers have faced the sharp end of this shift and many lack the soft skills required to guide teams through such change.

For example, you wouldn’t let a pilot fly a plane full of passengers if they hadn’t done thousands of simulations beforehand. So why do we let managers loose on teams without training? Rather than being led by a manager who is competent and skilled, teams everywhere lose out by getting an ‘accidental manager’ more often than not – someone who’s fallen into the cockpit with no training.

Since we launched in 2020, I’m proud to say that Manageable has already positively impacted 1000s of employees at 40+ organisations globally, including household names. Our ultimate goal is to become the equivalent of ‘Minecraft for managers.’ By that I mean creating a highly engaging and bitsize learning experience (like a flight sim) that fits into the flow of work and really puts managers through their paces. This would allow them to stress-test their leadership skills in ever more challenging settings, from giving tough feedback to motivating individuals.

Our growth plans focus on expanding our international client base, but our mission is to provide a localised offering prioritising the US, Canada, France, Germany and Japan. These markets, along with the UK, represent over 80% of the global coaching market and therefore offer the most potential for growth. To successfully expand abroad, we will be localising our training programmes to reflect the needs, language and culture of those using our technology so they are tailored and effective.





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