Creating value for clients

Global Head of Markets

Since I joined PA, I’ve been continually inspired by the deep knowledge and expertise of our people, their passion for making a positive impact in the world, and how they help our clients do the same. Our world is being transformed by global shifts — and these are opening up exciting new opportunities for us.

Empowered consumers have more choice and access to information than ever before. Healthier humans are living longer, and an emphasis on wellness is driving demand for new personal and at home health technologies. Future organisations must be innovative, responsive, agile, and forward- thinking while balancing market and shareholder demands for operating more leanly and efficiently.

Business for better requires authentic purpose-driven approaches that go beyond a company’s mission statement. Creating safer societies — be they physical or virtual — will remain a constant.

And of course, there’s the need — more urgent than ever — for us all to tackle the challenges we are placing on our planet’s climate to individually and collectively contribute towards a more sustainable world.

Our capacity to combine our deep technical expertise, with our ability to look forward and understand how these shifts will impact societies and consumers in the future, makes us the partner of choice to deliver the momentum for today and the confidence to build a better tomorrow.”

Empowered consumers

The customer has always been at the centre of commercial success — from the Silk Road to Silicon Valley. What has changed is the power that connected, informed, choice-conscious customers now wield.

Consumer-centric design is vital to creating products that integrate seamlessly with users’ lives. This was central to video game controller manufacturer Backbone’s vision to create the ultimate mobile gaming device in a fast-growth market. Our expertise in new product design, consumer lifestyle, and hardware design, helped Backbone achieve industry-defining product status inside of a year.

When it comes to empowered customers, innovation is crucial to establishing and maintaining a competitive edge. Gjensidige, Norway’s leading insurance provider, needed to meet the demand for digital, customer-centric services. Our team entirely transformed its operating model to speed the organisation’s ability to deliver better services. It's organisations like Gjensidige that we identified in our research report The Breakthrough Brigade — these are organisations who have mastered the approach to breakthrough innovation, and offered practical steps for how brands can better lean into innovation agendas.

Healthier humans

Health underpins our personal and collective experience — for us, our families, and across society. The way we receive care, and the way outcomes are delivered, is evolving at speed, with convergence between humans and technology offering exciting new possibilities.

New public and private collaborations are delivering vital outcomes. For instance, we teamed up with the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce to deliver a range of projects that enabled the launch of one of the first and fastest vaccine rollouts in the world.

And then there’s the move from a business-to-business, to a business-to-consumer model for many monitoring treatments and medicines — where the patient and their family is the consumer. This reflects the shift, accelerated by the pandemic, towards more personalised care and medicines, and greater autonomy for patients.

Take, for example, our work designing a revolutionary way for people suffering arrhythmia to monitor their heartbeat with Viscero. The benefits of personalised care and treatment include improved quality of care and an overall better patient experience.

Yet the success of these new care approaches hinges in part on collaboration across industry and with the public sector.

Our research on the healthcare changes brought about by the pandemic, revealed the extent to which the public sector is able to respond to major shocks like COVID-19, and the opportunities for public-private collaboration.

Future organisations

Imagine a world where aware, alert, inclusive teams can respond to customer needs and competitor moves at pace. This is a world of organisational agility and of resilience that enables growth. Digital transformation, including data analytics and AI, is at the crux of today’s future-focused agendas. From modernisation through to radical change, digitalisation is now essential to deliver agility, productivity, and commercial growth.

In partnership with Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, we unlocked new income streams in a tough economic climate. With our expertise in bespoke digital products, the team at Schiphol could fast-track strategies for its most commercial-ready solutions.

In a disrupted market, Pret A Manger wanted to accelerate plans to take its business online. With our expertise in data, customer loyalty, and innovation, the brand rapidly deployed offers and experiences that melded physical and digital environments, scaled these through technology, and generated data that helped it to better understand its customers.

The future resilience of the transport sector was the focus of our Transport — Together research, which amid the combined challenges of changing customer habits, economic uncertainty, and longer term sustainability and net-zero goals, defined four specific areas of focus for transport leaders.

Business for better

In a world where what organisations stand for matters as much as what they do, the power of a purpose that drives their ‘why’ as well as their ‘what’ is increasingly important. Today’s most successful and inspiring leaders look beyond performance metrics, and are as focused on their people and their role in society as they are on conventional business outcomes.

Business for better calls for authenticity — not just saying your organisation is purpose- driven — but acting in a way that builds trust, channels optimism, and leads with hope and humility. In the case of the Danish Diabetes Association, which campaigns for more than one-quarter million people in Denmark affected by diabetes, they wanted to ensure they were maximising the impact of their work. By creating a strategy that kept those living with diabetes at the centre of every decision, the association remained laser-focused on its purpose, delivering to the population it was tasked to serve.

Business for better also embodies purpose-focused leadership, which the team at The Warehouse Group (TWG) displayed. We partnered with TWG’s leadership to reimagine the company’s role in setting a new vision to make sustainable living easy and affordable for all.

The role of the leader in driving business for better was reinforced by our research report, A New Way to Lead: Positively Different Leadership. Here we identified four key behaviours that will be critical for leaders over the next five years, including the need to lead with authentic purpose. Our research also revealed that the most forward-thinking leaders pursue business for good, inspire their teams, and find creative solutions at unprecedented pace.

Safer societies

Be it our homes and families, the technologies we use, or wider geo-political uncertainty, security is the foundation of our individual and collective success. Facing the future with confidence calls for an adaptable response to fast-evolving threats across the security ecosystem.

For organisations to gain an operational edge, they need to be every bit as adaptable and innovative as the threats they face. Our team worked with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, a specialist division of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), to apply quantum technologies to the process of human decision-making, enabling quicker, more informed decisions in a complex military environment.

Balancing human-led and automated work is key to improving decision-making and enhancing safety. At Sellafield, Europe’s largest nuclear site, a deep knowledge of data science, and regulation enabled us to create AI-based models that cut the time for engineers to act on critical issues by 90 percent.

In times of uncertainty, the role of regulators as a stabilising influence on businesses and markets is paramount. This was the focus of our latest Rethinking Regulators research, which revealed that as geopolitical, environmental, and economic risks come to the fore, consumers feel less protected. Our report outlines three steps to help regulators ‘reset’ to better protect consumers and businesses, and to encourage economic growth.

Sustainable world

As 2030 — a major milestone in the journey towards a net zero world — approaches, the need for organisations to cut their carbon emissions and contribute to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, is increasingly acute. From tackling worldwide plastics use to capitalising on renewable energy classes, the necessitated response from us all creates opportunities for organisations to both better themselves, as well as help deliver better outcomes.

Securing a prominent project to bring clean energy to US shores was a long-held ambition for offshore wind development company, US Wind. In seamlessly pooling expertise in analytics, regulation, and energy policy, we enabled US Wind to punch above its weight and prepare a winning bid to deliver offshore wind for the state of Maryland against tough competition.

In an effort to reduce single-use plastics, we’ve partnered with Swedish company PulPac. Together, we’re seeking to transform the packaging industry with an innovation production method that turns generic pulp from cellulose into packaging, with multiple use cases including replacing plastics in medicine packaging and drinking bottles.

In the retail market, energy supply can be a contentious issue, where pressures including affordability, evolving regulation, and ensuring a competitive market, collide to produce a market in a state of flux. We partnered with Utility Week to identify what immediate action can be taken to enable the energy retail market to deliver for customers while meeting net zero goals.