Tell us about yourself?
Ross Thornley is an exponential leader, futurist, and adaptability pioneer. Living in the UK with his wife Karen, their two dogs, bee hive and rescue chickens, he balances the rapid technological world with a peaceful life in the New Forest, where they grow dozens of fruit and vegetables for their simple vegan lifestyle.
“Coach, Mentor, Entrepreneur and ‘AQ’ Pioneer. Author of Moonshot Innovation & AQ Decoded. Ross’s work is opening up new frontiers in workplace education. Leveraging conversational AI and predictive analytics his company’s platform enables people, teams and organizations to successfully navigate accelerating change.
His ability to contextualize diverse and complex subjects, inspire and engage audiences makes him a highly sought after international speaker.” WALL STREET JOURNAL. At AQai, he is co-founder, CEO and master trainer, in flow when building the army of highly engaged and committed pioneers.
Training over 170 coaches in the science and power of human adaptability in the first year of the program. A passionate and prolific creator and educator. Amassing over 10,000 hours of workshop design, facilitation and keynotes over two decades.
A serial-entrepreneur launching and growing multiple businesses across; innovation, branding, training and technology. AQai (2018) transforming the way people and organisations adapt to change.
Launching the first AQ (Adaptability Quotient) assessment and personalised digital coaching platform leveraging AI. An eternal optimist, champion of abundance, and international speaker, he is the founder of 6 companies, including RT Brand Communications (2000, exit 2017), a globally trusted strategic branding agency that has worked with UN Volunteers, Thomson Reuters, Sony and numerous other blue chip clients; Mug For Life® (2009) a UK designed and manufactured reusable coffee cup, helping companies like HSBC, Amex, NHS, Science Museum and dozens of universities to achieve more sustainable waste policies by reduce single use disposable coffee cups and planting trees through their UK program; Leaps® Innovation (2017), a rapid, proven approach to moonshot innovation, idea generation and business challenges that empowers organisations to validate effective strategies, campaigns, new proposition development and solutions within days.
He’s been a Strategic Coach® FreeZone Frontiers™ and 10X Member, Abundance A360 Member, and Singularity University Executive Program Graduate.
Always excited by ambition, collaboration, and new models of thinking. Looking to connect ambitious people and solutions with communities, through creativity, intelligence and innovation. His MTP is to unite, inspire and accelerate the best of all humanity.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
The value of perspective, taking a breath and to be grateful. The rejenerative power of serving others.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Join Strategic Coach as soon as you can. Hire slow. I mean really check out the people who want to work with you before you let them in. And don’t skimp on legal advice when you come to sell your business.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
Start by planning personal free days first for the year. Putting the personal stuff in my diary helps give visability and commitment to the valuable time with family.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
A few key influences: 1. Dan Sullivan and Strategic Coach – without whom AQai would not exist 2. Peter Diamandis, Singularity University, Mike Raven and Salim Ismail – The mindset of abundance, exponential acceleration and thinking big. 3.
The United Nations 2030 Global Goals – Giving thought to the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Our co-elevation and collaborative mindset. The commitment to drive value and put humanity at the center.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Hustle get’s you started. Strategic partnerships are your route to accelerated growth, larger sales and impact. Most of your revenue will come from a small number of partners and clients – look after them well.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
The speed at which new team members provide value. Finding people who are able to truly deliver what is needed in their area of accountability.
We are still working on this, and I believe it will be a continual expansion of improvement.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
Doing business a lot of business globally – we are active in over 26 countries – our timezone gives us the ability to easily work with USA and the Far East.
And the ‘brand’ of UK and London based businesses is strong, when raising funds and securing partnerships.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
We are fully remote team and there are few issues we have faced opperationally. However some US investment funds have declide as we do not have a US base of operation. Something we are considering for the future.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
We hire from around the world. With team members from the USA, Europe and the far East. This means the local cost of living impact is reduced.
Our UK team members who were in London moved to cheaper places to live. Including one moving to Spain.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
Either Lisbon. Or Somewhere on the East coast of the USA. For a combination of personal reasons and access to specific funding.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
It has made it a little more difficult for some of our team to travel and live in Europe from the UK.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
Over the next 5 years – AQai will have assessed the adaptability of over 500,000 people. We will have tens of thousands of subscribers who engage and benefit from our AI coaching platform, and we will have benchmarked and ranked the AQ of 250 organisations globally.
We will have over 3000 highly informed and motivated partner consultants, coaches, and mentors around the globe, integrating both the assessments and coaching into their work activities as licenced, certified AQ practitioners.
We’re also working with select experiential pilot partners to test adaptability in new industries like education, sports, and entertainment. Well on our way to transforming the mental health and wellbeing of over 100 million people by 2030
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
1. Check out our website! http://www.aqai.io 2. Watch our mini documentary film on the future of work by 22X Emmy award winning director – https://youtu.be/K_Mku_lciF0 3. Send me a linkedin request! https://www.linkedin.com/in/rossthornley/