Reflection now we are halfway through…
The highlight for KnowNow on week 6 at Cognicity had to be the superb PR & marketing workshop. Yet again the high standard of workshops delivered by Cognicity is maintained. The other news was on the interoperability front, with an agreement in principle between KnowNow & Buzz Streets to collaborate on a use case for the demo day; as well as a very productive discussion with Milos Milisavljevic the CEO of Strawberry Energy. More reflection on those developments later.
As per the heading, as KnowNow is halfway through the challenge perhaps now is also a good opportunity to reflect too. What were KnowNow’s expectations and how does this compare to what has happened? Plus what lies ahead in the next 6 weeks.
Back to that workshop….
It was led by Will Moore (@Clevercode) from Faber Ventures. Will promised he would give us a brief presentation. An hour later, with the audience still enthralled and engaged we then started asking some questions. What I liked about Will’s pitch is that I now know what to ask a marketing professional. The secret of the workshops is to give you insight into an area that as an entrepreneur in a start-up you probably do not have as a core skill, but need to do and therefore need to know about. Will’s tips on how we should be thinking how we take our product to market were very pertinent. Good to have reinforcement on some points too. For instance, I remember David asking me about the budget for kn-i last year and how were we going to sell it. I only had the engineering and operational costs. I had not bothered with marketing and sales budgets. All too common for engineers apparently. Will made the point that marketing is just as important as the end product, and gave us a structure to frame that marketing too. Superb! Thank you.
Reflections on the journey to date….
Firstly, we were reeling still at being picked for Cognicity, as we could not believe that the concept sitting in our lab was going to be tried out in a real place a lot sooner than we ever would envisage. Cognicity was the most amazing opportunity for KnowNow. It had to be grasped in both hands. Then the speed we went from being picked to actually starting the challenge, with the Level 24 paint still fresh. It was a start-up (Cognicity) running a challenge for start-ups! I will admit that until the context of Cognicity was relayed the true scale of the opportunity was hidden.
So have KnowNow’s expectations been met? Busted would be my answer. For a host of reasons…
- Canary Wharf as a live test bed – With the Wood Wharf build underway the products on the challenge will have a client ready to invest in their success. The KnowNow goal is to earn that commission for an ongoing involvement in Canary Wharfs future.
- The workshops! Brilliant. Well-positioned in the schedule. We are growing our knowledge, broadening our thinking and either subtly adjusting our actions or booking a to do for a later date.
- The mentors. Superb! Great advice, usually taken.
- The exposure and the next opportunity. In some respects, KnowNow has already won by being on Cognicity. The increase in social media, the doors it opened with other client discussions. Linked to our ongoing engagement with the EU Commission. Cognicity proved to be the perfect catalyst.
- Happy. Without the Cognicity challenge, the kn-i app would have stayed where it was born. Our lab. Thank you Cognicity for giving KnowNow the opportunity to release our baby!
As mentioned at the start two really productive discussions on interoperability within the challenge. BuzzStreets and KnowNow have agreed in principle to work on a use case for the demo day. This would see the kn-i app pass on the kn-i user to the Buzz Streets app when they clicked ‘GO’.
The second was with Strawberry Energy a member of the 2nd cohort on the Cognicity Challenge. Their Strawberry Tree would be very complimentary to kn-i. A really close concept to our own kn-i ‘pod’. This will not be developed in time for the demo day but would be part of the narrative to be an ongoing participant in the Canary Wharf smart city story. An example as well of the kn-i Marketplace we will develop from version 2.0 onwards.
What to look forward to in the next 6 weeks.
Well, the news is all about integration. Taking that lab-based kn-i and turning into kn-i version 0.5 – Our first live deployment in Canary Wharf. We completed the build schedule this week. So have now got a clear view as to where data is and who is going to do what. David & I now focus on how we sell, market and validate the business benefits of kn-i. The build team will crack on with bringing kn-i to Canary Wharf.
Thanks for reading… Chris