We’ve been interviewing some of the companies that have attended our Scaleup Summits.
Today, we’re interviewing Robert Maguire, Head of Strategy for Mathesia. We met through our Open Innovation for Midsize companies program that we run with the support of the European Commission.
The goal of this program is to expose traditional mid-sized companies to Open Innovation and help them to engage effectively with startups to drive innovation in their organizations.
We’ve provided a select group of mid-size companies with dedicated assessment and scouting, and then facilitated 1:1 meetings with innovative startups, in which Mathesia was included.
In this interview, Robert from Mathesia shares with us his experience from the startup perspective. (slightly edited for brevity)
Can you start by introducing Mathesia?
Mathesia is the world’s leading crowdsourcing platform dedicated to Data Science and Mathematics. We are a community of 3,000 experts creating innovation and providing solutions to business intelligence requirements. Our unique model of crowdsourcing allows organisations to connect with the right expert to develop innovative solutions to their business needs.
What’s the vision for Mathesia’s future and how will you get there?
Our vision for Mathesia’s future is already in full swing. We have just opened our US headquarters in NYC and we are very excited to bring our unique platform to more innovators and experts than ever before.
My vision for Mathesia is that we can develop the platform into a truly global experience with challenges and experts making contributions from over 100 countries throughout the world. We’re on our way to achieving our targets but it’s a long road ahead and there are many aspects in our roadmap to develop the brand of Mathesia.
One such case in point is to promote the message of crowdsourcing as an innovative method of working, especially in Europe. We have invested heavily in this education and I am very interested to spread the message of the new gig economy and how that crowdsourcing is the best way of working today.
With this in mind, we have designed our ‘Champion of Change’ marketing campaign to reflect the fact that crowdsourcing and digital innovation begins with a mindset shift. This can begin with one innovator who is responsible for integrating the benefits of crowdsourcing into their organization. Using these benefits they can inspire their colleagues to adapt and adopt to this new way of working.
What are your objectives in working with larger companies?
Our objectives with large companies and enterprises are to form strategic partnerships for creating innovation.
We are establishing a center of excellence at Mathesia and the goal is to integrate the power of over 3,000 pre-qualified experts into an organization without ever having to hire, interview or find a single person.
Only through crowdsourcing and Mathesia can this be achieved.
We have established a strong client base of large organisations in many business applications and we are proud to count the largest companies in Italy amongst our fans (Eni, Generali, Pirelli, etc).
Of course, we want to expand our message across all applications and industries.
That’s the beauty of Mathesia, it works on every level.
Is working with large corporations and mid-caps different?
In terms of business development, not really.
We have an excellent project process that is supported by all aspects of the Mathesia value.
From client engagement to ideation, from project implementation to marketing support every client receives the same Mathesia service.
The same applies to project implementation.
Another value of Mathesia though is that we are adaptable.
We fit the project and process around the organisation and project.
For instance, many innovators like to launch confidential challenges where they may be working on a sensitive R&D challenge for example.
In this case, they can approach the network of experts directly and obtain many solutions without ever making their project public.
At Mathesia we are more than happy to facilitate all kinds of requirements that our clients may have.
What have been the challenges in working with larger companies?
The challenge in working with larger companies is one I’ve spoken about earlier: Mindset shift.
So often it’s easy for all of us to rely on long-established processes and ignore the actual innovation in front of us.
The challenge for me is to find that ‘Champion of Change’, that one person who believes that by embracing innovation and a new way of working they can revolutionize their workplace and introduce new processes and best practices.
This allows them to extract all of the benefits of crowdsourcing.
On average they can increase the number of projects they can facilitate, reduce the project time and save huge amounts of their budget in the process.
Another challenge is extracting a challenge or project from an idea that someone may have. We’re pretty good at this though and sometimes it just takes an idea from someone who wants to innovate and Mathesia can help them form a tangible, implementable and sustainable project within a matter of days.
Any success stories you want to share with us?
We are proud to have collaborated with some of the world’s largest organizations on some very exciting innovation.
We are applying mathematics and data science techniques to innovation in safety, healthcare and improving society.
It’s always very rewarding when you know that you have been a part of something that’s making some difference.
Most recently, we have helped Eni to develop a safety framework that will enable them to reduce risk and increase safety in their plants across the world. I’m also proud to say that Mathesia has been nominated for a European Data Science Award this coming September.
Regarding your participation in Milan’s Scaleup Summit – what were your expectations and experience?
I expected to find innovators who are focused on what they need to further innovation in their respective organisations.
I’m happy to say that this was the case and I found the Milan Scale-Up Summit to be very interesting and well run.
The mixture of workshops and meetings was very beneficial in discovering the needs of organisations and being able to act in the moment.
Should we keep working together?
As discussed, I see lots of potentials for Mathesia and MTB to work together. Continuing with the Scale Up summits, I think it would be very beneficial and also working on some new perspectives for MTB the make the best use of the talent that’s contained in the Mathesia platform.
To wrap up the interview, do you have any last words for our viewers?
Advice to entrepreneurs
Be clear about your value proposition and try to achieve results in the moment.
Advice to corporations when working with startups
Embrace everything you hear and don’t be afraid to adapt! Innovation requires fearlessness.
That’s it for this interview, thank you Robert!
If you’d like to know more about Mind the Bridge’s matchmaking activities, check out our Scaleup Summits or our reports on Open Innovation.
By Maroane Abdallaoui
Head of Spain & Open Innovation Sr. Manager – Mind the Bridge