CEO, Enigma Alliance
What sparked the vision to launch Enigma Alliance?
Enigma was formed with the idea that we can deliver products and services in different regions and sectors that are hugely diverse from each other, but which have synergy, both horizontally and vertically, enabling them to mesh together and create new ideas.
We took an entrepreneurial approach, and looked at business through a new lens, enabling us to become an incubator for great ideas. Then we challenged ourselves by testing these ideas in the field, taking us outside our comfort zone.
Once we deliver a product or service we never sit still because we see this as a beginning to a constantly evolving solution.
What attributes and culture characteristics attract you to a potential partnership with another company?
Honesty, drive to make an impact and being prepared to evolve a product or a service. We also believe that we must take a philanthropic approach to sustaining global communities: a balance between business and our role as global citizens.
We are happy to honestly share our strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities in order to understand where we can value add to each party. Conversations never hurt; they just explore possibilities.
New business partnerships are always risky. What sort of criteria do you use to evaluate potential risk?
We always look at all the influencing factors and to the landscape in which the business has been placed. It is important to fully understand the complete picture in order to undertake a strategic approach to risk.
Additionally, the ability to be flexible and adapt a product quickly if it doesn’t quite fit is crucial. Nothing is perfect, but in order to move forward, you must be capable of recognising new factors and change, and polish and modify accordingly. We also look at what the market will bear, its longevity and at what point one needs to re-invent.
What do you feel is Enigma Alliance’s unique differentiator?
Our greatest potential is that we are diverse and adaptable; we are proving this in the field with quality delivery. We have worked hard in seeding ideas, planting them and developing a nurturing approach. We are now seeing things start to return to a more stable growth in many areas around the world, spawning other, unexpected ideas, to which we have been open.
The next five years will be spent consolidating ourselves as a market inventor and leader, one that utilises cutting-edge technology and is seen as having an impact in both quality and price. We aim to have touch points across all continents, including the philanthropic side of our business. The Enigma Alliance ethos is that everything that we do has to have an aspect of giving back to the community or region.
One of the key areas of business for us is the introduction and adaption of AI into business practices and communities.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing both the security and tech industries today? Is there a vision to circumvent these potential risks?
Security is one of the fastest evolving industries; we are all still trying to catch up with it and understand its change. Human factors are rapidly being replaced with technology solutions and it can be difficult to meld traditional security with technology. We have to find a way to integrate this into a whole solution, which encompasses identity, surveillance, intruder detection, cyber and data security and IOT devices.
The first company that can become a whole integrated provider, understanding the complete picture, especially from the client’s point of view, and achieving reversed-engineering solutions, will lead this sector.
The Enigma Alliance Group has a strong corporate social investment arm, what criteria do you consider before making an organisation a beneficiary?
You have to start from a perspective that we are all human and we can all make a difference, no matter how small. The Enigma Alliance Group recognises that all parts of society and community need support, irrespective of where they are in the world. People’s passion and desire to do something is heart-warming. The world is full of unsung heroes who strive to find hope for people who are suffering, or who just need support when they are struggling to survive. The important thing is to give and ask for nothing in return.
There seems to be a heavy focus on security, infrastructure, tech and social investment – what attracted you to Sun Tzu’s the Art of War? Why is it an important addition to the Enigma Alliance portfolio?
To challenge your thinking you must have a pillar that is outside your comfort zone. Art of War is a creative idea that will switch thinking, enabling people to see another view point, rather than becoming stereotyped in one sector, one region or one product. It will also carry a message that can be used for good and learning how to handle life experiences.
I believe films and TV carry great messages about life like my favourite movies that represent real characters and their challenges: Mister Roberts, Magnificent Obsession, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Any Given Sunday, Roman Holiday, Midnight in Paris and The Longest Ride.
What is the most thrilling part of your role as the Enigma Alliance Group’s CEO?
The ability to be a true entrepreneur, not bound by traditions and able to develop frontier ideas that make a real difference. We employ people from all walks of life and give them access to something special, by working for others and delivering something unique. I am firm believer of a leap of faith and finding the “the misfits and outcasts and uncomfortable special souls” and bringing them into the team.
I am particularly proud that through local charities and through using sports as a means of providing education, we are delivering hope and team building (e.g. the Cheka-Sana Foundation). Clean water for communities around the world is a forward focus for us. I am delighted that for every water-purifying system we sell, we donate one to the local community because water means sustainable health and food from the community level that should be accessed by all.
What do you think will become the single most, valuable asset, common to all communities irrespective of socio-economic differentiation, in the next 10 years?
Access to learning and understanding in a global environment, by being connected. The sharing of information, ideas and experience is vital to the development and success of all communities. Communications technology and cyber security are key factors here.
How did the name for the company come about?
It’s based on my years in the intelligence service and the enigma de-coding machines from Bletchley Park that helped win the war.Everything in business is a puzzle; it’s about decrypting and working out the challenges and coming at things from a different angle.
How has your life experience provided the foundations for Enigma?
I think the military gave me an understanding of how to have personal relationships and responsibility. The intelligence service opened me up to the world of analytical, out-of-the-box thinking. When I was working at a senior level in the diplomatic corps, I learned how the world is put together. It’s one thing to say I’m going to open a company in China or Iraq, it’s another thing actually doing it.
What do you believe are the key strengths of the Enigma Alliance Group for both clients and the companies involved?
Our people – these companies are made up of great people, with vision and drive. We’re adaptable, innovative and always willing to take on and understand new business, sectors and products. And that’s really exciting. Never give up!
What personal qualities do you admire the most in other people?
Grounded honesty: the ability to provide honest feedback, encouragement and integrity. Additionally, it is very important that people demonstrate their humanity and are able to share their thoughts and vulnerabilities.
The most interesting moment of your career?
It may not be the conventional answer but I think as part of your career you have learning experiences all the time both personal and professionally.
Looking upon those experiences the most important part to recognise is your growth and development in those roles through achievement, adversity or failure and then use those learnings to re-invent yourself in your new role and into the future.
What makes you optimistic?
I believe that no matter what the challenges are you can always build something good in any place in the world. There’s no real impediment; if you want to, you can. I am by nature a romantic that makes me vulnerable but I love that because I get to see the world in the best light.
Your motto to live by?
Be yourself by willingly sharing your inner thoughts, as they are, good or bad, and treat the conversation with integrity, value and respect by always work at communicating those thoughts in a caring, exciting entrepreneurial meeting of the minds. Then be prepared to learn together on the journey through mistakes and experiences using forgiveness to finding a new path with openness and equality while exploring the horizon and its other possibilities. Last but not least, live and reinforce your life through Napoleon Hills 17 principles! It’s a positive self-development tool and guide to reflect upon. As the flight of time needs to be suspended at times, spend time with yourself and connect to nature.
Finally, remember that thoughts become words, words become actions and actions become destiny.