Famous Women in Tech and What You Can Learn from Them
Women have been revolutionising the tech industry for as long as there has been a tech industry to revolutionise. They haven’t always been celebrated for it, but the press is at last acknowledging the Dorothy Vaughans and Kitty O’Briens of the world.
Forbes’ Top Women in Tech list reveals that UK women have performed a quiet coup in the sector, with six of Europe’s top 10 being British. There are several lessons that people in business can learn from them.
In the 19th century, Ada Lovelace helped Babbage to develop the concept of the Analytical Engine, the precursor to the modern computer. Ada’s first iteration never became a reality. A second iteration was ultimately reviewed and trademarked in 1984, long after Ada’s death, proving that sometimes concepts fail, not because they are deficient, but too advanced for the world.
Iterative development, or lean IT, gives tech companies the power to develop technologies in small chunks, learning with each iteration. The development model is only 20 years old, but Lovelace was already reaching its lessons in 1843. Lean methodology affects more than just IT. It allows businesses to put minimum viable products on the market and develop them using the lessons it has to teach.
This is a decidedly practical and pocket-friendly strategy, and it’s particularly relevant to startups. If you are starting up your own business, using this type of development can help to grow your business.
Chantelle Bell’s social impact startup, Syrona Woman, has developed a home cervical cancer screening test to overcome the late diagnoses behind the disease’s 56% five-year survival rate. Syrona Women’s healthcare platform currently lets users customise their test options, post off their samples, and receive their results from home. It also guides women through other sexual health issues, from polycystic ovarian syndrome to IVF.
Mobile healthcare apps have been reducing hospital admission rates for three years, but Syrona is a little more rebellious than traditional platforms. It’s developing a pregnancy-like pap smear to boost early detection.
Bell isn’t limiting her inventiveness to clinical technology, though. She’s also part of a greater business movement that’s changing the world: social entrepreneurship.
Syrona’s for-profit business model allows it to pump revenue into developing new technologies that make the world a better place. Change creation, it turns out, needs revenue, too, so the non-profit model is dying a slow death.
Social entrepreneurship has become an increasingly popular option for entrepreneurs. Customers are placing more emphasis on ethical consumerism as are business owners. Research and find ways that you can bring social entrepreneurship into your business.
Anne Boden’s mobile banking app, Starling, is being used by almost 300, 000 clients. She’s pushed her way into the fintech industry, written a book, and started a retail business with 650, 000 customers. She’s a living, breathing representation of the irrelevance of old business models.
Her multi-SME structure is fast becoming typical, and it’s particularly relevant in tech, which tends to risk all to diversify under a single banner when that risk can be absorbed by individual brands.
The fintech industry is becoming an SME-dominated field, and Boden is encouraging the start-ups within it to break free of large banks. She warns that big banks are sucking small finance companies dry of their ideas before dropping them by the side of the road. A false sense of security is no security at all, so there’s plenty of sense behind keeping your innovation in-house.
Boden is a veritable mother of invention. She’s currently exploring the value of artificial intelligence in SME lending and fraud protection. Machine learning has already infiltrated the investment sector, but it still has a bigger role to play in capital management in the fintech niche. Who says finance needs to be conservative? Certainly not Anne Boden, and hopefully, not you.
Within your business, can you find ways to diversify and decrease your risk? Growing your operations through a multi-SME structure could be a way for you to move your business forward.
By Jo Thornley, Head of Brand and Partnerships at BusinessesForSale.com