Nicholas Coutts

For Nicholas, innovation is a means to reduce economic inequality, increase social trust and improve the effectiveness of the welfare state. These three aspects of innovation depend on how well the services provided by the city have been designed. He is a tutor for the masters in service design at the Royal College of Art and Design in London, for the masters in Global Innovation Design in partnership with Imperial College London and for the masters in business innovation at the University of Barcelona Business School. He is a member of the Innovation Advisory Board of UNLEASH which helps young people create solutions for the UN SDGs. His understanding of how a good process can help achieve effective outcomes is based on his time at IBM, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of the process that IBM uses for getting new products and services to market.

As innovation is mostly created in cities and most of the resources for innovation are in the city, the competence of city managers in service design and the management of innovation is critical to having an impact on employment, trust and health.

An expert in the design, development and marketing of services, he has developed tools, process and services that help companies go to market more effectively and efficiently.

He is particularly interested in the funding of very early-stage projects and the commercialisation of research and innovation and has developed an innovation toolkit. The toolkit is designed to reduce time to market and risk, with vectors that show the rate at which value is being created. These vectors allow liquidity of investment as they provide a consistent basis for pricing the venture at any stage.

He has collaborated in raising of investment for early stage, medium and large companies and the development of a novel type of investment fund based on the use of the vectors to allocate funds across a large portfolio based on the rate at which value is being generated.

At IBM, Nicholas was Vice President, Global Distribution Channel Strategy, having been Director of Channels and Business Partner Management, EMEA, with a revenue of >$3bn of sales via business partners. This responsibility included the development and application of the methods and processes used by the brands, known as Routes to Market, to reach and support customers via the global network of 48,000 business partners. His team grew sales via distribution channels to over $4bn.

He has undertaken assignments in strategy development, performance management, segmentation, impact estimation, customer experience design, optimisation modelling and prioritisation of objectives.

Since 2003, Nicholas has been a partner of Business Finland (formerly Finpro), facilitating workshops on channel strategy and development and routes to market. His experience in channels include working as a value added reseller, a systems integrator, a distributor and a vendor (IBM and HP).

He works with ETICoop in France which has created 200 startups since 2013 and as a member of the Innovation Advisory Board of UNLEASH - a global innovation lab which gathers top talents to collaborate on solutions that help meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Nicholas is a Visiting Lecturer; past and current collaborations include: Imperial College (Management and Business for Computing Engineering; Design-led New Venture Creation); Imperial College Business School (executive education; IE&D MBA: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design) and the Royal College of Art (service design; IDE: innovation design engineering; GID: global innovation design; design enterprise) the Ecole Supérieure of Advanced Industrial Technologies (ESTIA) (masters in systemics), aalto University (executive education) and the University of Tampere (executive education: service design); University of Barcelona Business School (Masters in Business Innovation).

He has a Masters in economics, from King’s College, Cambridge and has interests in several early stage companies developing innovative products and services, including BlindMate, Claned, PlasmaTrack, Plumis, Repindex, Smartology and Waratek.