Napkin’s vision is to support the deployment of offshore wind on a global scale, but I didn’t set out to found a company developing new products for offshore wind.
Actually, I wanted to work for NASA. I even wrote to them and when the reply was a resounding ‘no’, well that was that. (Although they did send some cool photos to soften the blow). So, I decided to do something else instead and Napkin Innovation is where I landed. But with hindsight, it makes perfect sense.
When driven by curiosity (or nosiness, depending on your perspective), a desire to grow something bigger than yourself (apparently kids don’t count nor does worm farming) and the urge to be ‘doing something’ rather than just sitting – things tend to happen. Those things involve people and opportunity. You meet people who, when their mindsets and skillsets are combined, can deliver more than they could on their own and opportunity turns into action.
If you want the good stuff from innovation – economic growth from increased productivity, a better quality of life from improvements in healthcare, communication and transport and a more sustainable future – it won’t happen on its own. It takes the right combination of mindset, skillset and action. And luck.
Napkin Innovation is the embodiment of mindset, skillset and action. And yes, luck. We are a one-of-a-kind assemblage of individuals (AI wrote that bit) doing something that’s really, really hard – and we’re doing it very, very well.
It takes a degree of naive optimism to bring a new product to market. It takes a “I can see my pointing out all the difficulties you’re going to face hasn’t dampened your enthusiasm, in the slightest” kind of attitude to keep on going (difficulty only ups the ante). And it takes the highest level of technical expertise and authority to make sure you’re designing it right. And we do it all without any drama. (Occasional frustrations, yes; drama, no).
The Napkin team works in collaboration with larger partners. Our external partners have been with us since 2019 and while we like to believe that’s down to our charismatic personalities, it’s hopefully more to do with diversity, respect and trust. Our one-of-a-kind assemblage balances a methodical approach with a need for speed, a “why can we not just” attitude with an unparallel level of technical expertise and an overall relentlessness, whether in attention to detail or simply putting one foot in front of the other. Not to mention the chance to solve interesting problems where the eventual solutions will have a meaningful and measurable impact. When new folks join our team, they tend to stay around.
Bringing new technology to market is hard; it takes enthusiasm, commitment and resilience. It takes the right mindset, skillset and action. If you want to be part of our journey; if you think you’re the right fit for our joint industry project, let me know.
So the worm farming. Yes. I did all the learning. I did all the getting up and doing, but when it came to the worms and sticking my hands up to my wrists into a heaving mass of red-brown wriggly-ness, I just couldn’t do it. So that was also that.