The Birmingham change consultancy and Business of the Year has worked with some of the biggest brands – including the Nasa space agency – and is now expanding further into North America
We’ve focused on many brilliant businesses over the years in our Company To Watch feature and each and every one has illustrated what an exciting, thriving and diverse commercial hub Birmingham and the Midlands as a whole has become. Curium Solutions is the perfect example of how our young companies are changing the way business thinks and operates and how they are putting the city at the top of the UK and global maps.
The change consultancy, based in Innovation Court, Edmund Street, Birmingham, was set up 10 years ago by Andy Dawson and James and Adam Farrow. Each previously worked for corporate businesses. Their mission was to form a solutions company that would empower people and organisations to realise their personal and business potential.
Curium has grown to work with some of the biggest and most recognisable brands, including power giant Eon, leading supermarket Tesco, financial leaders Zurich and Home Retail Group, former owners of Homebase, Argos and Habitat. Curium has also worked with as raft of local government, reducing costs and growing revenue.
Last month the company announced plans to expand into Canada after secured a three-year government contract. Curium will partner with Toronto-based human resources tech firm WorkTango to deliver a cultural change programme with a strong emphasis on employee engagement.
Director and co-founder James Farrow said: “Having worked previously with WorkTango on projects in the US, we’re very excited to team up in Canada. We have been extremely pleased with the growth achieved during our first year in the US and look forward to building on our success throughout North America.”
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
The move comes after Curium was named Business of the Year at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce dinner and awards. Curium won the Excellence in People Development category for its commitment to helping people achieve their potential, before being selected from all category winners to take the top prize.
Andy Dawson said: “In the UK and North America customers are responding to our simple and practical approach to helping them with their change and performance challenges. We have started the year strongly with some excellent recruits, winning two awards, and now this move into Canada.”
Curium has also been shortlisted in two categories at the Business Masters awards (Innovation and Small Business) and is the current holder of the Business Desk’s Professional Services Business Masters award and features in Innovation 50 – an index of the 50 most forward-thinking companies in the Midlands.
THE BIG CRASH
When Andy, James and Adam founded Curium in 2008 they could have been forgiven for thinking luck would be against them. Andy remembers: “A week after we set up the business, Lehman Brothers went ‘boom’ and the whole financial global meltdown hit. An interesting time! But we looked at it as providing us with a fantastic opportunity. Because of all the uncertainty people were prepared to give us a chance where previously they would probably have gone with the established tried and tested route.”
Andy explained what makes Curium a different proposition from other management solution companies. “We had each worked for large businesses in Birmingham and we knew that companies would spend millions on instigating change. We also know that 70 per cent of projects don’t deliver what they set out to achieve because the goals aren’t properly explained to the people who work for those businesses. Millions can be spent on putting in new systems but often there is no involvement or explanation with the teams. We thought there was a gap for us in the market by instigating successful change by taking people along with you.”
Every member of the Curium team is certified in TetraMap, a behavioural framework that enables them to coach and develop clients. Curium has also developed the “1% Club”, a concept that challenges staff to find one per cent extra for clients and colleagues to unlock their potential.
WATCH THIS SPACE
“We always want to get to know the company, the people and the culture first when we work with a new client,” said Andy. “Every business has different drivers for change. We look for businesses who we can form a real partnership with.” One such ‘business’ was America’s Nasa space agency. Curium was hired to help the agency think about improving team dynamics. “To help them send more men to the moon,” said Andy, tongue-in-cheek.
Shooting for the stars is a philosophy that Curium can certainly identify with. “We have ambitious plans for the future, plans which we are going through as we speak,” said Andy. “We want to reinforce being as real name in the Midlands with so many exciting developments and projects going on. We also want to grow in the US and into Europe over the coming 10 to 15 years.”