Key takeaways from Jonathan Levav’s Liverpool City Region roundtable event

Last month, Liverpool City Region played host to a special guest – Stanford School of Business professor of marketing Jonathan Levav – who shared his insights from the California tech scene.

Prior to an afternoon session at Liverpool’s Hope Street Hotel, which unpicked the patterns of creativity used by Silicon Valley’s best, Levav spent the morning with a range of professionals, tech companies, policy makers and academic organisations for an exclusive roundtable.

The event was organised by sponsors Brabners, Growth Platform, The Lead Agency and RSM. Here are their key takeaways from an inspiring discussion.

Mark Basnett, managing director at Growth Platform reflects on the discussion: “Collaboration between the universities, public sector and private organisations is critical to success – bringing together the right mix of support to nurture good ideas and successfully take them to market. This theme also extends into building a tech community that supports each other to grow as this enables entrepreneurs to take a risk as they have the support of a wider network.”

Anton Hanley, Group CEO at The Lead Agency, said: “It was interesting to hear about the difference in risk appetite between the UK and the US. Failing is a rite of passage that all entrepreneurs go through; but in the US there is a transparency around this, and a belief that through persistence it leads to better outcomes. In the UK, there is more fear around failure and a tendency to move on quickly from setbacks. As Jonathan highlighted, changing this mindset can help us encourage more innovation.”

Graham Bond, Liverpool and Chester office managing partner at RSM agrees but warned that a track record of failure doesn’t help when getting finance: “The development process can be detrimental to that next step of growth; but ‘smart money’ shouldn’t fear failure, it should expect it and help put a framework of support and advice around each investment to maximise the chances of success.

“This could be where the government and policyholders need to step in to provide incentives, whether its tax breaks; business rates relief; or a match funding system that allows entrepreneurs to test an idea, and probably fail a few times; before they land on the winning product or service.”

Nik White, managing partner at Brabners, said: “It was clear from the organisations around the table and key initiatives launching across the city that Liverpool City Region is heading in the right direction; but we need to create some hype about the amazing academic research, start-ups and established businesses that is going on under the radar. This hype will not only showcase the innovation in the city, but catch the eye of talent, investors and other tech businesses, which is needed to create an effective ecosystem.”

Following on from Jonathan visit, Growth Platform and partners are now looking to establish an Innovation Ecosystem working group to take forward the discussion and the issues raised.