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Iain McKechnie

At the Advanced Services Group, within Aston Business School, Iain leads on activities that bring new business models, manufacturers and academics together. Iain works with small & global businesses alike – those that are seeking to develop ‘X-as-a-Service’ where opportunities are identified that reduce effort, resources or cost  and increase availability of the product/service and customer satisfaction.

 Iain’s career began at the National Engineering Laboratory in Scotland as a professional engineer for twenty years, which included five years working with the UK Government on R&D funding strategies for manufacturing firms in the UK. Since joining the Advanced Services Group in 2012, he has worked with over 300 firms to help them change their business model to take advantage of the benefits that servitization brings. Iain is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, holds post-graduate qualifications in management and, in 2016, was awarded ‘Freeman Citizen of Glasgow’ status for his work in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to find out about:


  • The potential of Servitization and Advanced Services in the Circular Economy and the positive environmental impact and waste reduction achieved by transitioning from ownership to usership.
  • The process of identifying core competencies and necessary equipment to deliver circular services, referencing Business Model Blueprint, which assists businesses in mapping customer value propositions and creating additional value.
  • The role of technology in facilitating the implementation of Servitization and how digital platforms and data analytics can enable businesses to deliver personalised and value-added services to customers.
  • The potential societal benefits of Servitization beyond environmental impact, such as increased access to affordable and high-quality products and services for consumers, leading to improved well-being and resource efficiency.
  • Challenges associated with embracing Servitization including mindset barriers and concerns about profitability but also the availability of support, grants, and advisory services to assist companies throughout the Servitization journey.
  • Iain’s upcoming projects and an upcoming book that will document a decade of Servitization research, providing frameworks and models for firms interested in successfully implementing Servitization.
  • And much more!


S7E12 Audiogram image

Emily Swaddle  00:10

Hello, and welcome back to HappyPorch Radio. This is season seven. And today Barry and I had the pleasure of speaking with Iain McKechnie. Iain is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Advanced Services Group hosted within Aston Business School. Iain leads on activities that bring new business models, manufacturers and academics together to develop ‘X-as-a-Service’ opportunities. We had a really, really sort of engaging conversation today, Barry, Iain gave us a load of interesting examples about what all this means and the potential for it. Yeah, I feel like when we talk about this, because we have talked about things 'as a service,' in previous episodes of this podcast. And I always feel like it takes on new shapes every time we talk about it, that there's examples that I would never have thought we can apply this sort of thinking to. And yet again, we had these sort of surprise examples today.

Barry O'Kane  01:07

Yeah, I'm really excited about this conversation with this topic. And it's just amazing for somebody with Iain's wealth of experience. He's been an engineer for a long time. He's worked on this specific conversation around Servitization, and Advance Service for a long time. And so the wealth of knowledge and experience and passion that he brings, as you said, kind of shows the potential and the breadth, and the opportunities and the different places that this concept fits in. Everything from, I'll let the listeners explore that when he's talked about the 'Weapons-As-a Service', or 'Weapon-Returns-As-A-Service'. And we've talked before about 'Cooling and Heating as a Service'. And there's just so much there. But what was even more exciting about that is the work that the Advanced Services Group and the academic experience and talent behind that, who are looking at how to actually turn that into reality, if you see what I mean. So there's just so many good resources and advice and support for what is just I think it's just so exciting. And from a circularity point of view, I think it's just really key.

Emily Swaddle  02:08

Yeah, I agree. And it's exciting to sort of hear Iain's passion about all this. And also hear about our, as you say, the work that they're doing to share this knowledge and make it accessible to as many small businesses, medium sized businesses, large businesses as possible. I think it's really, sort of, spreading that far and wide. So that was also really exciting that, like I say, I'm always surprised by what we could potentially do with this. But then the dream is that down the road, no one will be surprised by it, because it's all just happening, and everyone just knows about it. And surprises aren't a thing anymore.

Barry O'Kane  02:41

Yeah, that broader context of moving from ownership to usership, and how important this conversation is for that transition, and how important that transition is for circularity, and therefore, for tackling some of the reasons that we're excited about circularity, so energy and material use, and all of the trickle down, and impacts that come from that, there's so much there. We've talked before about Circular Economy or circularity being a lens at which you suddenly see things differently. And Iain talked about the lightbulb moment of getting, I guess, seeing the opportunity and moving from purely product to 'product and service' and 'advanced services'. And even more exciting than that it's not just theoretical or descriptive. But there's these practical literal guides, and resources and support for how to do that.

Emily Swaddle  03:36

And then also, he can do that work, subsidised by grants. So the small businesses aren't the ones that are footing the bill to sort of kickstart this transition that's so, I feel like we've given too much away already. Just feels like a really important part of the process, that it's not on the weight of the shoulders of these small businesses.

Barry O'Kane  03:54

The opportunities are definitely there. As you can tell, we're really excited about this. So let us stop talking and let's, without  any further ado, meet Iain..

Iain McKechnie  04:03

Iain McKechnie, I'm the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Advanced Services Group at Aston Business School in Birmingham in the UK. For personal background. I was a professional engineer for 20 years at the National Engineering Laboratory of East Kilbride.  And then I've known my fourth University looking at ways of transfering  research out into industry to create impact. So the Advanced Services Group, I've been at Aston with Professor Tim Baines for almost 11 years now. We specialise in transfering academic research,  leading research or into industry to create impact, make people wealthier, healthier, and more prosperous all round.

Barry O'Kane  04:48

Brilliant. Thank you so much, and welcome to HappyPorch Radio. 

Iain McKechnie  04:52

Thank you.

Barry O'Kane  04:52

So one of the things that I'm really excited about exploring within our conversations about the Circular Economy is the sort of the more systemic, broader changes so Servitization and Advanced Services, which is what I'm really excited to explore a little bit in this conversation with you. But we always like to preface the conversation with a little bit of background about yourself and what led you to this kind of work and, and I guess what you see as the , not too grandiose question, what the goal is, what the purpose is, what the big mission is with the work that you do?

Iain McKechnie  05:21

Okay. So there's a lot in there Barry. Well, having an engineering background helped. And I spent five years on secondment to government in London, helping with manufacturing strategy. And when I then moved into the universities, my role has always been an external facing role. So I've always looked out rather than in and I worked at Cranfield University, I met Professor Tim Baines. So Tim, is the number one cited academic in the world for this term, Servitization and Advanced Services. And Tim and I kept in touch when I left Cranfield and or some eight years or so later, he came up with an opportunity to move to Aston Business School to further his research, but to make it more business and industry focused, hence moving to the business school environment. And Tim was successful in securing some money to get some activity moving at the business school, I was the first person to join them. And we now have a group, a core group of about 20 and an extended group of other 10 or passionate about this term Servitization. That is perhaps an unusual term for many of your listeners. But maybe if I give you a poor description of it that might help. And then I can also position that within the context of advanced services. Servitization is really a transformation process. It's where you start looking to change your business model to compete through products and services, rather than just the product alone. So it's not about selling lots of products. It's about seeing other ways that we can use, unless it's a manufacturing or technology and debating firm, is it a way that we can harness the knowledge and value we have within our business to make our customers more successful. So the Servitization context is really about the transformation journey that you go through. And we have all the research transformation maps that help firms do that. The difference between advanced services is very simple. When you look at services in general, you see three levels, you see best services, intermediate services, and advanced services. So base might be going to be just providing spares consumables.  So belts, fans, oils, filters, just making sure that the product is available to use. When you move into the intermediate services, it tends to focus more on the condition of the asset or the equipment. So you're looking at maintenance schedules or maintenance tools to understand the asset condition and its use to make sure it's optimised for the customer. When you move up into advanced services, things tend to switch a little bit, you tend to find that the manufacturers or the technology innovating firms retain ownership of the asset. And they just provide the customer with the capability. So we're moving away from ownership of things to the usership of things. And so a key messages. So the advanced services element really can be described as where you're looking at outcome based activity. So you're providing offerings to help customers make them become more successful. And it's really the service focus is about delivering outcomes from the product, rather than the product selling itself.

Barry O'Kane  08:52

That's the really powerful part. And obviously really ties into Circular Economy concepts, as you say, moving from ownership to usership. Moving the focus from Let's just say lots of things to Let's look at the outcome and the results. And from my point of view, a very exciting thing, in sort of assumption or impact of that is this potential alignment of incentives from the business incentives and things like waste and environmental and energy use and some of the other real goals of true circularity, but to try and bring that to life, can you give us an example to try and make that more real for the listener?

Iain McKechnie  09:26

Okay, there's one business from a Circular Economy perspective in particular. There's a firm called Bike Club, and they offer bikes, children's bikes as-a-service, so you know, cycling as-a-service. And what they realised was that the amount of kilogrammes of CO2 that was involved in the production of the bike was quite significant. But they also recognise that a child would go through eight bikes by the time they were 12 years old, because of the great growing growth etc. To make sure that they had a consistent Circular Economy model what they did was they designed bikes to be offered for a monthly fee, so you can cycle as a service you pay for on a monthly basis. So there was no upfront Capex cost, you will have, in a business context, doing that as an Opex operation. And we're charging a very low monthly fee. But replacing the bike, every time the child got to a certain growth point. The amount of colour, I think it was, using that model, you save something around about 336 kilogrammes of CO2 by providing the bike as a service. So some really good other ones. There's a company called Mud jeans that offer jeans by the month, I think my last data point on them was about 2021. Well, they had saved something in around of the region of 62,000 pairs of jeans from going to landfill, in a six year period, you know, so they were they were taking the jeans,  washing them, preparing them from a customer that was taking care of all the operations. But they were taking the jeans back to clean them and put them through the cycle again, to maximise the amount of usage, power, original raw material and asset. So there's some really good examples out there, we've got, if I can give you perhaps maybe a bit of a gory one for your listeners, we worked very closely with a company called Alpha Drive in Birmingham. And they traditionally made recycling, or they refurbish recycling machinery for the recycling sector. But we helped them look at actually the core skills that they had and where business opportunities might lie. And they ended up creating something called a weapons surrender management service. That sounds very strange. And you think well, what could that mean? Here's basically a blue metal box, maybe, you know, a metre and a half square metre high, and they design them, they fabricate the well, they build the den, and they instal them at sites where they have higher levels of crime or violence. So hotspots picked up by you know, social services type activity. And what they've done over a six month period in the West Midlands, with 20 bins, they've taken just over 1300 weapons off the streets. And when I say weapons, we mean knives, machetes, guns. But from a Circular Economy perspective, what they do is they they take these bins, the empty them, the photograph them, they log them, they provide the report to the police, they then recycle these weapons, and put it back out into raw material again, because they can, because that's the core expertise.And they are growing, you see in the press, these weapons surrender bins, blue bins, you'll see them you know, as you go across the country, and the rolling them out to different police forces, because that’s a significant service, the police don't have to worry about installing them. They don't have to worry about emptying them. They don't have to worry about the cataloging of the weapons, the Alpha Drive, as an engineering company, do all of that for the police. On the new cycle, the material, you can get more circular than that. So think the lives are saved the economic cost for someone, you know, harmed or injured through a weapon, let alone the cost of somebody being killed through the use of a weapon. So you know, there's a really good economic, social, Circular Economy example. But this is a small manufacturing company in the West Midlands, just thinking about what they do and how they do it.

Emily Swaddle  13:45

I love that example. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for breaking the first rule of fight club and talking about Bike cCub. Something that really caught me as you were talking about that example there with the weapons is that process of figuring out what are the skills and equipment and attributes that we have here? And how can we deliver a circular service? Using those skills? Can you talk a bit about that process of sort of finding those core skills and then delivering them through service?

Iain McKechnie  14:20

Yeah, of course, Emily, thank you. Would be worthwhile to mention to individuals when I do so. One of them was a guy called Jimmy Butterworth from circularity capital in Edinburgh. And Jim and I have been talking to each other for probably the last five or six years. Because Jamie was very passionate and is very passionate about Circular Economy. How can we invest in manufacturing firms or businesses that demonstrate the circular practices? He was Ellen MacArthur CEO for five years. So he had and he brought credibility and track record with him. But he's moved into a space where he's really passionate about supporting films that demonstrate circularity. But the other personal dimension is an an ex colleague of mine, Dr Parikshit Naik. And Parikshit has created a business model blueprint. And it's now available as a free app. You know, we encourage people to use it. But what that does is it helps anyone thinking about circularity. And their own and customers environment. It helps them map out the four parts of a business model. So it helps think about actually, what is the customer value proposition, you know, what is the value that the customer is actually buying from you. And that deals with pain points. So, you know, what are the pains of the customers may have? So they might turn around and say, well, actually, moving forward with carbon reporting, Scope two, and Scope three are going to be a horrendous problem for us. How can we work with you to reduce the impact or to track the impact and mitigate against some of that impact? So as you build that value proposition that helps you think about the things that you're actually creating of additional value, or greater value for your customer? How can you make your customer more successful? And then once all of that's in place, there are some caveats. You know, it's about what are the contract conditions, you might do that under other certain circumstances or parameters that we have to control. But once you've got that understood, you can then move to think about your actual own internal delivery system. So how do we transfer that value we've created to the customer, though, a lot of the time, that could include looking at logistics. So we've got one company Nicklin Packaging Transit in the West Midlands. They're very clear about the radius that they will travel when they're delivering pallets, because it becomes a point after which it becomes not viable for the business, or it becomes too carbon intensive, there's no value being created. So it's things like that. So that delivery system allows you to be very innovative, and allows you to say, well, actually, these are the six areas we need to think about in terms of transferring value. Can we be innovative in any or all of these six. And once you've got that, then do you start packaging up and look about how those are going to be paid for. But these first two steps are really the most critical ones, particularly the value proposition one. And that's where you can think of, well, if we did this, it would add this other value to the customer. Or it would help with productivity, that we could probably achieve something and a shorter time, or we use fuel raw materials. So there's all these things that can fix into that value proposition box. And then you'll look at your own internal things that you can control. One of the,  probably worth picking out as well that one of the drivers of Servitization research in Scandinavia.  There is a term called dematerialisation. And it's all about how can we provide the same product or service or product and service using fewer raw materials? I used the example of Microsoft Word. We all have it, we all use it, we probably use 4% of the utility. If that. So why do we have to have 100% of it? Now you think of that, and then think about your own asset or product that you're providing to your customer? Does it have to be that big? Does it have to be that complex? Does it have to be the sexiest product in the market? Does it have to be the shiniest? No, it doesn't. When you start looking at through the eyes of actually making the customer successful. The rule is really after the capability. And particularly when you move up into large, high value assets, or what your customers don't actually want to pay for that asset. Because they're lumbered with it for life, they have to take care of his maintenance, or warranty, they have to take care of his decommissioning, and recycling and perhaps repurposing or reuse. But all the liability and risk sits down with the owner of the asset. Why not transfer it back to the actual owner of the asset that was created ,the best place to look after? And Barry, you know, I know we've kind of touched upon Servitization services, but there is a big digital dimension to this. So we see a lot of software firms providing software-as-a-service, you know, put it through a cloud based activity, and you pay for it either as you use it, or you consume it, or based upon the outcome that you achieve. You know, it's all about how can we be smarter about the way we deliver things. And I mentioned earlier the transformation roadmap that we have, it's very clear about the four phases that firms go through. But underpinning all of these four phases is Internet of Things, Industrial internet of things, digital data, all of these components, from a digital perspective, are real enablers to helping firms accelerate their Servitization far more quickly, because you can use the data, you can analyse the data. You can even get your provider, your supplier to analyse that data for you do some post processing the data, just allow me to make my customer more successful. 

Emily Swaddle  20:28

I liked as well, something you said, when you're talking about having that the core use the core delivery of your product or asset also feels like an argument for modular production, you know, because you will have customers who want more than the core use, and you will want customers who want different kinds of uses. It feels like a really sort of creative process to think about all these things and all the different ways in which you can approach getting the customer what they want. And it sounds like sometimes it can just be a tweak that there's actually like a small changes that can happen. And other times it says like big transformation of our business model or what we're actually delivering to the customer.

Iain McKechnie  21:13

If you allow  me, Emily, I will give you a fantastic or I think a fantastic example of that. We saw Tim and the research team create a lot of materials.  But they're only contextualised when you start to use them with industry. So we produce what we call mini guides. So these are available on our. you know, we have them on our website, but they're available to help firms do it themselves. So we have one on Value Proposition, we have one on Servitization. You know, we have different ones. One of the best ones, I think ,more recently was storytelling. So one of our team, Dr. Dan Andrews created a storytelling wheel. So there is a simple wheel with 12 sections on it. And we use that when a company has created their business model quadrant. And you know, we help them through that process. But once they've done that, we use a storytelling wheel to get them to think about how do they convey this message very simply and easily to the executive board to get further investment of resource, or to the customer to say yes to taking this service, or yes to agreeing to a pilot. And we worked with the MD of a company, again, by member because we've worked with lots of companies. And in the West Midlands, a company called CHH Conex. And the MD of the company, Tim Hughes went through the business model process with us. And I run the storytelling session in his boardroom with his directors and senior managers. And the storyteller wheel is down two parts, one asks you to respond to questions in a particular sequence, and then asks you to read the answers in a particular sequence. And that blew him away. Because what he realised was he had this real powerful story to tell his customers about how he was there to make them successful. And his quote to us was, we helped him to stop thinking like an SME, like a small company. And he grew the company, he doubled the turnover in about a five year period, including through COVID, because he was focused on the customer. And he stopped thinking like a small company. So he was very visionary in terms of how he applied it. You've restructured the business, but he was doing so to make sure that they provided everything that the customer could possibly want from them. So it's that mindset changes, that lightbulb moment. And I tell companies when I first meet them that my job is about turning heads 180 degrees, stop thinking about the product, and start thinking about the customer and it becomes simple after that.

Barry O'Kane  23:55

That's a really brilliant, powerful story. And I really like the idea of that tool that storytelling tool, as you said, one of the things that I think is very common in software and in my world, as you said is understanding what software-as-a-service, because it's such an established, well known, you know, we pay monthly as posting, or, and so on. But it's even more powerful to be able to just take the same or a similar mindset to the physical world. And that's pretty exciting. The examples you've given, we also in a couple of seasons ago, we spoke to Kaer Air Conditioning based in Singapore, who moved from selling big, massive air conditioning units to selling a temperature in a building. And as a story  that is just wonderful. And it just opens up so many doors and in the way that you approach it exactly what you're describing. He talked then about their business changing and then actually looking to employ software developers and really trying to understand in a building, what do people you know, what do they need, you know, the temperatures across the day or in different parts of the world. It just suddenly become a much deeper, more nuance, more fun. And as you said more valuable conversation to the customer.

Iain McKechnie  25:00

Well, can I expand upon that then, Barry, because there's other stories connected to Kaer.  So I was first introduced to Dave Mackerness from Kaer through  Dimitris Karamitsos from the BASE group in Switzerland. So Base is, the BASE is the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy.  And they have spent the last 10, 15 years or so, particularly in South Africa and South America, providing cooling-as-a-service. So they've been doing it long before people recognise the term cooling as a service. And Dimitri introduced me to Dave. Dave then introduced me to the fantastic world key of living. And one of the big things that I think  they recognise when COVID hit, they were traditional business providing cooling into office blocks, and apartment blocks. But were they really scored well was when COVID hit we then all move to home working data centers needed cooling. And of course, they were able to take the air conditioning systems and instal them in the data warehouses. So again, having this agility to be able to go to a different or adjacent market. But it was all about making sure that it was either comfort as a service, which is really what they were after, or it was their ability to keep something within a particular temperature threshold, though, we then went on to what with backseat heating in the UK. So we were successful with our 1.6 million Innovate UK grant to develop a Servitization experience room. So in Baxi's headquarters in Warwick, that is our 45 square metres room where we bring companies in, and we help them develop their own business model for "X-as-a-service" Baxi focus on heating as a service. But really what you're looking for is warmth as a service. So the heating and cooling are just different ends of that comfort spectrum. But you know of course, Baxi they're very ambitious and you won't be able to put up a gas fired boiler into a new built home from 2025. So legislation is changing the way that their products will be available to the market. So you've got air source heat pumps, ou have your hydrogen that they're investigating and operating, ultimately will come down to the business model, how can you get the business model that allows you to provide what your customer needs, using the minimum amount of material and time and the most cost effective and productive way. So there's a lot at the moment, Tim, and the academic team are leading on a ESRC Research UK Research Council project, looking at the impact of Servitization on net zero, and on productivity. So working with some of the academics of Warwick University, the economists, they're looking at different models that may be applicable to why Servitization can have a positive contribution towards net zero and increasing contribution towards productivity. So it's in it's first year of that kind of three, three years research project. But very important, and we're lucky again, to have Jamie Butterworth from Circularity sits on the advisory board.

Barry O'Kane  28:20

That is pretty amazing. I wanted to just approach the conversation then, from the other angle as well. What are the challenges or the drawbacks or maybe the objections that you hear when businesses are starting to work out how to go through that Servitization transformation?

Iain McKechnie  28:35

Obviously, they're using presentations, which is a big elephant in the room sitting on a bed. But as basically, once you get past the comprehension of the word Servitization and Advanced Services, it's really about Will I make money from it? Where do I start and how to go about it? And that's one of the reasons why our group exists. You know, we've supported and worked with more than 450 firms over the last 10 years. We work with global firms, we've got a group of 12 global firms, between them, they employ over 200,000 staff, and annual revenues of 47 billion. So the big companies understanding get it and they're able to put resources into, it's harder for the smaller firms where you might be talking to seven employees or 125 employees, how do they go up over this thing called Servitization? And it really comes down to I think, in part being in a sector that suits something as a service. You know, do you have that ability to go to a business to business environment is perhaps much harder in a business to consumer environment, although we are seeing examples coming through and moving in that direction. But we do see challenges in businesses ,a lot of it is about our board, or executive team would go for this because we sell products. And that's fine. You know, if you are good at making products, and you've got a healthy market, continue pushing and selling products, there's nothing wrong with that. What we're saying is that in certain circumstances, when you start to explore, there are ways that you can add services to that, to take you from that base service level to intermediate. And, in a lot of cases, you start then saying, well, actually, we could provide advanced services, if we connected a sensor to that, and we understood the data coming back, or we put this in place, or etc. And it's all about exploring the art of the possible with these companies. If I'm honest, there's only two firms that this has never worked with, to some extent. And that's not bad after more than 10 years.

Barry O'Kane  30:48

Yeah, that's interesting. It's interesting that a lot of the sort of strongest objection there is almost as you said, it's almost a mindset thing. It's a well, we do this so we can't, or we're not ready, or we're not in a position to explore these other opportunities. And I guess one of the things that could potentially change that more and more is when we're able to tie it back to as you said, the net zero conversation or waste and then maybe there's some policy introduction, that kind of, the consumer, or the zeitgeist in the world around trying to caring about some of those things. Because it feels to me that the companies are able to explore those things, work with people like yourself and explore those things are opening opportunities, and maybe looking more to the future than those who are a little bit more nervous of the change.

Iain McKechnie  31:33

Yeah, I think there's lots of help out there, believe it or not, I mean, we have, we have a global partnership. We deal with advisory with firms. So we have firms that we provide, perhaps not consultancy, to, but the advice they support to make sure they're going on the right journey. We have small programmes where if we're able to secure government grants, we make sure that we provide all of our support fully subsidised to the small companies. We're not asking them to pay for it, we're saying, look, we've got a grant here, we know that you're sceptical about this, and perhaps not sure whether you'll make money from it, or good work, will come and talk to us. And we'll subsidise all of that support. So we do whatever we can. And we've, I think we've spent 4.8 million in the West Midlands, doing that over the last 10 years. And we've used that money to make it fully subsidised for about 400 of these SMEs, to make sure that they get access to that information. But there's others I mean, I mentioned the base group in Basel and David McCandless in Singapore, the three of us set on something called the set Alliance, which is the Servitization energy transition Alliance. Because we know the energy is very central to a lot of the policies that we're trying to deal with at the moment, particularly when we're trying to achieve net zero by certain timeframes and certain target dates. So the energy transition is looking at, we're bringing experts together. So we have experts, industrial experts from South Africa, we have Oxford University are involved, and we have others and part of that process. So I accept and I from the Advanced Services Group. Since then, there I represent Aston business school. So we all have this passion about how can we create and generate new knowledge, but then share that knowledge with industry to allow them to create impact? I'm talking about positive impact here. It's about saying, How can we do more to use less? You know, it's very simple. But the experts are there.

Barry O'Kane  33:37

Yeah, that's really exciting. As you said, there is the support is there, the knowledge is there, the work that you're doing to transition or to help transform the research and the academic knowledge, wealth of knowledge into things like the actionable the mini guides that you have available. And by the way, we'll make sure we link to all of those for anybody who wants to check it out on the Show Notes on HappyPorch Radio. So I'm looking at the time thinking we've got a few minutes left, and what I'd love to explore as we finish off is what's next for the work that you're doing. Is it more of the same? Is there big grand ambitions?What's the ambitions?

Iain McKechnie  34:13

Very important time for the Advanced Services group. Tim wrote a book in 2013 that was published called Made to Serve and that book highlighted five UK based manufacturing firms that were generating in excess of 50% of their revenues through services. So people like Alstom, people like Rolls Royce, people like MAN truck and bus, people like Xerox. So these case studies were there. Are they stimulated actually, Goodyear tires from Ikea Ohio coming over, like in 2014. To say, Tim, I've read your book. It's a wonder place. How can you help us? So over that last 10 years, Tim and Dr. Ali Bigdeli and Dr. Kawal Kapoor have a new book coming out, and it's likely to come out towards the end of this year, which will chart the last 10 years of Servitization research. And the frameworks and models that have evolved right up until the current point in time. So that will be there. There's that reference book for any firm looking to think about Servitization of how the what what does it mean, this is going to go into the book so it's eagerly awaited. But there's 10 years of research conversations, experiences and impact, we score very highly with impact with industry. And the Business School is scored on something called the Research Excellence Framework, amongst other scoring metrics, and we scored very highly, because of the ability to evidence the impact, with five labs, case studies, and five small company case studies. Because what we do applies to companies of all sizes, when they're looking to provide an asset or a component to a customer that ultimately will create value from someone else. But it's all about being part of that value chain. So is thinking about, I think the ones I would share with you would be look for things are outcome based, you will see it more and more. I think in your software as a service environment, I would say, start looking out for models where you're actually sharing in the value created, rather than paying a monthly recurring fee to access software, which you may or may not use, you know, you can have an output based model, or you can have a usage based model. But actually, why not share an outcome based model where your customers are getting real value, and you're sharing and part of that success So outcomes, value, advanced services, Servitization, business model blueprint. All of these things will be key.

Barry O'Kane  37:02

Outstanding. Thank you so much. And that's really exciting, particularly, as you said, there, that it's the opportunities for businesses of all sizes and types, and that the tools are there to explore at low risk. And the other thing I liked when you're talking about doing pilots and sort of incremental change, if necessary, that maybe leads to broader change that allows people to take and the software world to use agile terminology to you know, take small fast steps to get there. That's pretty exciting as well. 

Iain McKechnie  37:28

Well, perhaps, Barry, for me, what we'll do is I will send you a couple of PDFs to go to the link that will help people think about how they may position themselves on some of these transformation roadmaps. And you know what we have available to you, and I'll send some of the links too.

Barry O'Kane  37:45

Awesome, thank you, we'll definitely do that. Make sure that's available on for the listener.

Emily Swaddle  37:50

Just before we finish, I'd like to ask a final question, please. Throughout this conversation, Iain, I've seen so much sort of passion and dedication, and you've obviously given a lot to this work and thought about this so much and you know, live in this space. On a personal level, what is it that really excites you about what you do? 

Iain McKechnie  38:12

I think it's the fact that we were able to stimulate businesses, thinking differently that affects so many people. And it comes back to this challenge of energy, transition, energy security, the challenges of net zero and the way that policies and practices will have to change that we see Servitization because it can support and enhance Circular Economy, sustainability. Net Zero, adopts digital, or uses digital to accelerate the transformation. And we see customers starting to ask for these things. So very quickly, I spent, along with Tim and the team, about eight years telling the world about what we do. And we'll spend the last two answering the four within answering emails, because people are coming to us no, but we're seeing other things happen in that space that are actually very complimentary. So sustainability and Circular Economy are bedfellows to Servitization. They work hand in hand because they support each other.  So I think, Emily, to answer the question directly is to continue having that passion and pass that passion on to the way the group so the Advanced Services Group now has 10 full time employees as a spin out from the business school.  And that is a vehicle to capture and create and build and harvest the intellectual property that we then share globally. So you know, we have customers and clients over in Australia at the moment, you know, there's no barriers to where we can support companies. Because it is a global phenomenon that is going to happen. We're all going to move into the As-a Service-Environment.

Emily Swaddle  40:02

Thank you.

Barry O'Kane  40:04

Yes. Thank you so much. And yeah, I would love to keep the conversation going. This is such an important topic, as you said, and it's so closely aligns with Circular Economy, which is where we are focused on in this podcast. So really appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us today. It's a shame we could only manage to sort of scratch the surface of some of it. 

Iain McKechnie  40:21

My pleasure, Barry Thank you. And thank you, Emily.

Barry O'Kane  40:24

And just a reminder for the listener that everything's there on You can also find the but we'll put the links and those PDFs that Iain has offered to share on the podcast episode page. Thanks again.

Emily Swaddle  40:39

Thank you for listening to this episode of HappyPorch Radio. You can find past episodes, transcripts and show notes at You can also get in touch with us there and let us know what you think or if you have any ideas or comments. Please rate the podcast, share and subscribe so that more people can find the show.


Barry O'Kane  40:57

Thanks for listening. My name is Barry O'Kane. I founded HappyPorch who fund and support this podcast. At HappyPorch we do technology and software development for purpose led businesses and we're particularly excited about the role of digital as an enabler for the Circular Economy. If you're working on solutions to the big problems we face today, problems like climate change, biodiversity loss and global inequality then let's connect,visit and get in touch.

Emily Swaddle  41:22

And I'm Emily Swaddle, podcaster coach, facilitator and storyteller. You can find me on my other podcast, the Carbon Removal Show, and you can find out more about that project and everything else I do at where you can also subscribe to my Newsletter All about Rest. If you're interested in anything I do, feel free to connect. You can email me on [email protected]