Entrepreneur and business strategist Josh started designing and manufacturing at 13, was a consultant at 15, and still in his early 20s heads an innovation and manufacturing strategy business. With a global network in over 100 countries, Josh seeks to disrupt established business models and challenges received wisdom on innovation strategy, out-sourcing and supply chain as well as how to become a more agile, creative business. He also looks at the future of R&D and technology.
Josh Valman is the founder and CEO of RPD International. RPD helps companies quickly develop new products, test them in their market, and scale for the first 12 to 24 months, reducing the cost and risk of innovation and exploring new ideas. The company, based in London, has offices in the Netherlands, China and Singapore.
Taking an unconventional route to business, Josh’s career started when at 10, he designed his first robot for the BBC2 show Robot Wars. He taught himself engineering using Google and was soon designing complex components and systems, and then had to seek out companies to make them. By 15 he was a consultant helping businesses cut costs with Chinese production and running supply chains across Europe, the US and Asia from his bedroom. No-one, he says, asked his age, until he was 17 and he had to formalise his business, which forced him to strike out alone.
Josh’s passion for engineering and solving problems has seen RPD go on to power over 100 R&D departments around the world, including the likes of Vodafone, Air New Zealand and Unilever. RPD operate a global network, making use of the best design minds from heavy and precision engineering to sculptors and artists. This ‘distributed creativity’ model pools all sorts of talent and experience. Josh’s vision is to solve problems from idea to implementation in the best, most innovative, efficient way. RPD can produce anything; from a unique prototype to a run of a million units; from a bracket to an engine. This has allowed companies to run projects that would usually take them over a decade in just a couple of years.
RPD’s work has stretched from enabling telecoms businesses to prepare for the connected world to allowing consumer electronics companies to test products in new global markets. Through agility and original thinking, they take on a project, plan, implement and produce a solution in months rather than years. In doing so companies see directly what would be possible if they fostered innovation, communicated internally, removed bureaucratic barriers, and reacted quickly.
Josh specialises in making innovation happen, not just talked about. He delivers practical steps for those seeking to change how they operate. Covering everything from problem-solving to market disruption, supply chain to R&D, he also looks beyond manufacturing to services and how they too can become more creative, flexible, responsive and open up huge potential for growth. He also speaks about his unique entrepreneurial journey and the lessons in determination, commerce and success.
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JLA Speakers Breakfast
Josh Valman on starting out