[quote style=”boxed”]Big ideas can be intimidating, so I tackle them one bite at a time. I think “Okay, what’s the next actionable task that I can complete now to get this thing moving?” — and I do it. Do this consistently and your ideas come to life soon enough![/quote]
Adrian Griffith, director of productivity and collaboration at Oval Business Solutions, studied psychology at university before joining a “Big Five” global consulting firm. He co-founded Oval in 2003. Like many of his colleagues, Adrian is passionate about the use of technology to help individuals, teams and organizations accomplish more and become better connected in the digital age. He believes that going home on time having accomplished something measurable is more worthy of accolades than staying late with dubious results.
What are you working on right now?
I’m getting ready for the U.K. launch of FieldLover.com. We’re helping land owners and field seekers get their details uploaded, so the site’s not empty when it goes live!
Where did the idea for FieldLover come from?
Initially, I had a niche requirement to find locations where it’s possible to do land-based kite boarding safely. When I got talking to friends and colleagues, it seemed everyone had a reason why they might want to rent land on an ad hoc basis. For equestrian use, parties, festivals, weddings, allotments —there seemed to be so many use cases.
What does your typical day look like?
I run Oval Business Solutions full time, so a typical day is pretty busy, but not hectic. It always starts with a great coffee and a group huddle with my kids before I get going.
Our premises are in a beautiful rural location, so I don’t normally have to participate in the rat race. At work, we’re moving toward using a proper collaboration system for everything we do. As a result, I’m dealing with email less and less each day – this is the biggest improvement in productivity since I came to grips with mind mapping. I use collaboration tools to handle pretty much everything that has to do with Oval and FieldLover.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Big ideas can be intimidating, so I tackle them one bite at a time. I think “Okay, what’s the next actionable task that I can complete now to get this thing moving?” — and I do it. Do this consistently and your ideas come to life soon enough!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
That’s easy: social collaboration inside the enterprise. There has been so much talk about the importance of businesses using social sites like Facebook to engage with customers, but the more immediate priority is to get your team communicating effectively with each other — inside the firewall. A cohesive team will then do a much better job representing the business in the outside media.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I was a student, I did a brief stint working in an abattoir. I only worked there for a few days, but I learned almost instantly that I didn’t want to go back ever again. The imagery and aromas from that place stayed with me for a long time!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
1. Take more risks and trust my gut instinct.
2. Only ever recruit passionate and positive people. Skill-set alone is not enough.
3. Accept that “done” is better than “perfect.”
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Write stuff down!
Mind map – the brain doesn’t think from left to right and top to bottom; it’s crazier than that!
Learn new things every day.
Always refer back to the stuff I’ve written down.
What is one problem you’ve encountered as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
The feeling of not having any real “proof” that an idea was viable. I went ahead anyway. (See “take more risks” above).
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My wife and I have joked about building a website for couples to post details of an argument they’ve had. People can then vote or comment on who’s right and who’s wrong. Public decision is final! Could get nasty though.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
The standard of education in the world. Beyond good health, education is the key to everything.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Podio: I go here to get almost everything done. I love that it’s a platform that lets you build your own work tools rather than something that prescribes how you should work. It’s also the quickest way to build and deploy a mobile work app.
FidgitBox.com: FidgitBox is one of the most beautiful sites on the internet. It’s a collection of video-led stories, featuring tenacious entrepreneurs. The quality is amazing, the stories are inspiring and the people are invariably humble and focused.
BreathingEarth.net: This is one of my favourite infographics…. How nerdy does that sound? It’s all at once mesmerizing and disturbing.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ll give you a choice of two.
Start with Why by Simon Sinek: This is not just another book about marketing. It’s a book about understanding the importance of having a sense of purpose and being true to that purpose in everything you do.
Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown: It really makes you acknowledge how powerful your brain can be if you use it in the right way.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Time cannot be replaced, trapped or stored, so I’m a major “productivity bore.” I follow @GetItDoneGuy, @Lifehacker and @TMNinja to keep on top of how to get stuff done and have more time to play!
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This morning. My wife and I sometimes practice trying to laugh with a straight face. Seeing someone do that makes you really laugh out loud. Try it.
Who is your hero?
Tough question. Sometimes I feel like my friends and family are my heroes, but when you look at the classic idea of a hero it’s hard to single anyone out. I’d say we all owe some gratitude to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and, in a weird way, Tim Berners-Lee, even though he’s not someone with a very high profile.
What’s next after FieldLover?
I’m stockpiling some really cool ideas to plug what I call ‘gaps’ in the World Wide Web. There’s still plenty of room for people to create exciting, meaningful startups that add genuine value and help people communicate, connect and get things done.
What do you fear most in life?
Becoming set in my ways.
What do you value most in life?
Food, family, and friends: in that order.
Adrian Griffith on Twitter: @AdrianOval
LinkedIn: Adrian Griffith
Oval Business Solution’s Web (Adrian blogs):