What Paul does – Mobile and Digital Strategy

 Paul is a great guy and I’ve learnt a lot from working with him on various incubator projects. Not only has he an amazing level of up-to-date technical knowledge, but he also possesses the business accumen to truly innovate and create shareholder value


Stephen Pilkington – Head of Finance, Network, IT and Operations, Telefonica O2 UK


Proven “Big Thinker” Strategist and Builder

Paul is a “big thinker” and helps companies to be as innovative and disruptive as possible with their product strategies and company direction through the best use of technological insight and design.

Paul is one of the rare few individuals who can both architect a vision for a multi-national organisation and roll up his sleeves to get hands-on with actual design and implementation. Paul can walk the walk. He is also co-founder of AlphaPunk, a boutique design agency that specialises in digital service design, including mobile.

Paul has invented numerous radical products. He started with the world’s first hardware-accelerator for GSM signal processing, built by Motorola. That product enabled a leap-frog in cost and power reduction that led the revolution towards a base station on every street corner, which was a radical idea back when the GSM association had said that it didn’t expect the number of mobiles to exceed 100 million. He also co-developed several signal processing devices, including a parallel processing (SIMD) architecture optimized for mobile signal processing.

Paul’s PhD research (funded by Motorola Research) was in the area of mobile augmented reality in the early 90s. He went on to research and describe the concept of “Visual Immediacy” whereby a user could wear glasses to see contextual data in real-time, a topic he wrote about in 2005 and is now familiar to us all as Google Glasses.

He started Europe’s first mobile start-up in 1996 and then built the world’s first fully wireless synchronised device for Microsoft Exchange whilst RIM still required Blackberry users to cradle their devices to sync contacts and calendars.

He designed and built Zingo for Lucent Technologies, a wireless portal that was demonstrated at the GSM Congress in Cannes in 1998. He designed his own wireless mark-up language and was the first product to demonstrate digital maps based on location-sensing, before Google Maps or any other mapping product was available. Paul developed a number of “radical” product initiatives for Lucent Technologies and NTT DoCoMo under a joint-labs initiative. He also worked with Netscape to adopt the Zingo platform.

In 2000, he was CTO for MetroWalker, the world’s first location-based start-up in Hong Kong, which included a feature to see friends on a map and check-in to locations.

In 2004, he founded ThumbCrowd, which was a service to enable users to follow each other’s text messages, way before Twitter. The same year he wrote the first mobile applications book on the market called “Next Generation Wireless Applications” and documented a combination of technologies and product design approaches.

In 2006, Paul was hired by Motorola (again) to lead their labs initiatives for new mobile service use cases. Using radical innovation techniques to find new meanings in services, Paul developed a large number of use cases around the concept of “voice mash-ups,” which was a topic he returned to in 2010 when he developed a “Connected Services” platform for O2, called connFu. He later wrote the book “Connected Services” to document how the various modern Web paradigms and patterns could be utilized by Telcos as opposed to competing with them.

In 2010/11 Paul was hired to be “Chief Disruption Officer” within O2 and Telefonica to propose radical new product and technology approaches. He pioneered the use of a modified “Lean start-up” method within a large and mature organisation, culminating in the launch of the pioneering #Blue service that stored users’ text messages in the cloud and exposed them in real-time via APIs to encourage radical innovation using open platform approaches. Paul also led the adoption of “Big Data” solutions at O2.

In 2o11, Paul also led the definition and architecture of a radical new product for McLaren Applied Technologies, the technology arm of McLaren Racing. The platform was designed to enable massively parallel processing of real-time data streams from sensors. Paul devised a new architecture called “Stream Processing,” which was adopted by McLaren.

In 2012, Paul moved to Silicon Valley and led the technology vision for Art.com. Again, using his “radical research” methods, Paul looked beyond the obvious product and service meanings to discover entirely new ways to think about product innovation. Paul is currently Chief Scientist of Director of Labs where he is leading radical product innovation and “technology-led transform.”

Strategy and Talent Where it Matters

Every two years since 2004, IBM conducts face to face interviews with CEOs and senior public sector leaders from 18 industries from around the globe. IBM just completed its most recent Global CEO Study, among more than 1,700 leaders from companies of all sizes from 64 countries. Among the results:

• The sudden convergence of digital, social, and mobile spheres is putting pressure on companies to adapt, while creating opportunities to innovate. Paul has proven track record in helping companies not only to adapt, but to lead in their use of digital technology, using a “mobile first” approach. He has led mobile strategy for some of the world’s best companies.

• Technology now tops the list of external factors impacting organizations and expected to drive organizational change. Paul has driven real organisation change in industry giants, like O2, Acision and McLaren Applied Technologies, through the use of transformational technology and mobile strategy, including emergent categories like Internet of Things.

• To attract top talent, CEOs are looking for individuals who can collaborate and are creating more open, collaborative cultures. Paul has pioneered the use of open innovation in large organisations in order to co-create with the best talent available, whether or not it resides within the organisation.

• Companies are investing to build analytical muscle. Paul has many times conducted deep analytical studies on behalf of the industry-leading boutique analysts VisionMobile. Paul’s background is in engineering and mathematics. At the same time, Paul writes scripts for films and engages in various creative “right brain” activities. Paul preaches the value of whole-brain thinking.

• Extensive partnering is being used to drive innovation. Paul has an extensive network of contacts throughout the world, which he leverages for his clients to bring them the best innovation partnerships possible.

For more about Paul’s individual areas of talent, please click on the skill sets below.

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