Founder and Chief Executive Officer, RPD International
Josh Valman is the founder and CEO of RPD International, which 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. Covering everything from problem-solving to market disruption, supply chain to R&D, he 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. Taking an unconventional route to business, Josh’s career started when he was 10 after 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. His company operates 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 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.