Getting to know you: Richard Harris

What do you currently do?
I am involved in a number of businesses currently but the one occupying most of my time and attention is called Ensygnia.

I am the CEO of the company and one of its two founders with my CTO Matt Deacon. Ensygnia has a unique and patented approach to scanning a QR code to enable people to log-onto networks, register with web sites and – crucially – make payments safely and securely without needing to constantly enter their personal or financial information online.

We are working hard to establish some key UK, European and Global Partnerships to distribute our breakthrough technology and build our business.

What is your inspiration in Business?
I think in a word it is “change”. People are often frightened of change or reluctant to embrace it but it is at the heart of mankind’s success and evolution be that personally, socially, commercially or professionally. Business ideas and developments that can deliver “change” and disrupt – for the better – the way things are done now really fire my enthusiasm and get my wholehearted attention. Ensygnia is just such a development which is what excites me and encourages my belief that we are on the verge of a major breakthrough.

Who do you admire?
Anyone with the guts, determination and insight to instigate change; an obvious hero is Tim Berners-Lee who created the world wide web and revolutionised the world for all-time. I also like that battle to overcome the odds – the determination to see things through when others doubt either your ideas or your ability. In London this summer we were privileged to witness that time and time again during the Olympics and, even more so, during the Paralympics. But it is not just in the sporting world that we see that – we see it in business too; there are countless examples for instance of people being laughed off Dragon’s Den on the BBC but preserving and building a successful business.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
Got to where I am today quicker! I think I have always had an entrepeneur’s spirit but like most people spent some time working for others before breaking out to do my own thing. It is a tough call because you need the experience, but as soon as you make the move to develop your own businesses and make your own waves, you wish you had done it earlier.

I’m very happy with where I am, and with the businesses I am involved in or leading. These are exciting times and as the journey has taken me here, I don’t think I would change it for fear of altering the destination – where I am is a very good place.

What defines your way of doing business?
Inclusivity and ownership. I have always found that the best way to get the best results from the people around you is to include them fully in your thinking, take on board their opinions, and give them real ownership of the deliverables for their part of the project. Inclusion works much better than instruction, and ownership works better than delegation. If you feel part of the decision and in charge of the outcome, you deliver much better results than simply being given a job or task to complete.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Surround yourself with people who can give you good advice. Listen to that advice and make informed decisions not guesswork. Know your own role and that of those in the team, and be sure to articulate your vision for the business and for the team.

At Ensygnia we have assembled a talented and committed team who all know their areas of expertise far better than I do – my skill is to put them together, show them the vision, and harness their energy. They can see the drive I have to achieve success for all of us; not just for myself.