“The Really Good Idea Test” (trademarked & book being published by Pearson) NEW Online Workshop for FTSE 100 team

Due to our current world situation, I turned a planned physical workshop in to an online version. Still very much face to face, there was plenty of group discussion, team working and an online workbook of templates to help chaparone. Happily, participant ratings were just as high as the physical version. Here is what the participants said:

“…It was a very clear, simple structure and methodology…highly practical, useful and engaging… step by step format worked well and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work in groups…really helpful to have something to take away and use…I like there was time to practice techniques with guidance and tools… It was especially good to hear examples and tips from Julia’s own experiences … so pleased to have a structure I can now work with for new ideas that the rest of the team can also adopt…”

National Physics Laboratory (NPL) 2 day workshop, Dec 2019

Workshop objective was for PhDs to practice a commercial way of thinking and see how ideas arising from science can be turned into viable business propositions. Working with real case studies, delegates wrote hypotheses, identified their riskiest assumptions, wrote questions they needed answers to, thought through how to find customers to ask, set measures for their responses, practised conducting interviews and worked through how to analyse research output.

Participants said the event was: “very informative and practical…interactive with useful tools…very clear, concise delivery of all the business elements…and a very useful introduction to business… ” All scored the workshop very highly and half gave it full marks at 10/10. 


Experian Consumer Services Product Summit, Nov 2019  

“…Julia was an external speaker at our half yearly Product Summit and ran a session with our product and design teams. Julia has an engaging and open style and some great experience to draw upon. The session was interactive with some good real world examples from her past work. Examples used covered a broad range, from innovating and breathing new life into physical retail space/communities to core tech product development. In each case the approach, considerations, methods and learning was provided enabling the group to generate ideas to take back to the office. There were plenty of questions from participants and Julia provided considered answers and always made it relevant. The session received great feedback from the group and made for a successful day…”

Dave Sarson, Senior Product Manager & summit organiser

Workshop for Science PhDs from Cambridge, Durham & Sussex Universities, July 2019  

“…I really enjoyed it and I feel like I’ve learned a lot… It was really interesting to see how building a business can be thought through in a scientific way… Very methodical that clearly laid out the steps you should take and the things you should consider… Julia’s real life business stories throughout were really good to hear and well used within the teaching… The workshop was fun and also very interactive… Was pitched very well for someone who has little or no business experience… Helps you understand the time and resources you need…Very good insider information on the real processes to actualise a new product idea… “

Classroom-Based Research, April 2019  

This is an established Product Doctor research format. It generates client research insights from target teens for ideas / products at any stage of the product lifecycle, whilst creating “PSHE” work related and enterprise learning for the students. The magic in this format is that the client does not need to pay for recruitment or incentives and 30 respondents can be included in 1 hour. The school gets to meet the relevant PHSE objectives and does not need to pay for external support (in this case, Product Doctor, as an experienced business practitioner). In addition, where the idea/product in question is about classroom-based learning, it shows the customer (the school) that the client (education provider) is adopting best practice user-centred engagement in new product thinking.

Testimonial from Casterton College

The year 10 workshops that Julia had put together were well-planned and her team were well-prepared. The activities were diverse and inclusive and the students unanimously found the experience to be engaging and thought-provoking. All participants were encouraged to consider their learning from a new perspective, resulting in them being able to take a lot away from the workshops.

Reducing Risk & Uncertainty Workshop & Drop in Surgeries, Sport Tech Hub, Oct 2018

Pre-workshop preparation activity, bespoked workbook and workshop followed by Drop in Surgeries for a cohort of early stage businesses who won places to a 24 week incubation programme – empowering and scaling early stage tech start-ups to encourage more people to live a physically active lifestyle.

“…changed, clarified and refined the way I think about my risky assumptions, hypothesis and running the next round of customer feedback …very engaging, productive and useful… of immediate value whilst rooted in good practice and known tools and techniques…helped break down important steps in a clear and structured way…”

Value Proposition & #diyResearch Workshop, Sept 2018 for a group of UK Publishing Agencies

Bespoked workshop for content publishers who are developing their skill set into value proposition testing.

“…well structured with a focus on practical rather than theoretical … material and format was extremely user-friendly … Julia is an informative and engaging speaker…”

Pearson Education, Learning Services, 9 month project in 2018. Workshops & Creation of a Personalised Handbook

Highly bespoked workshop starting with risky assumptions and moving through the stages of gathering evidence to reduce them. Participants were surveyed beforehand to identify where they wanted to concentrate their learning and what real examples they would work on. Material included examples of good practice gathered from both from Product Doctor experience and from within their own teams. A personalised handbook was also created which contained the wealth of real examples the 45 participants had worked on during the series of 5 workshops.

“…Trainer very experienced, wealth of guidance and lots of examples… very clearly-structured brought to life with very good examples (and a variety of stimulus) and lots of practical work. Helped me to get into the mindset of thinking more iteratively…”

Helping Physics PhDs think about commercialisation: Sussex University & South East Physics Network universities throughout 2017

“…We have been working with Julia to coach PhD students, Post-Doctoral Research Fellows and Senior Academics in business start-up skills. She has designed and delivered bespoke workshops for groups of 6 to 15 people based around key tools such as the business canvas. Her great value is that she understands fundamentally, and teaches through active learning, that business is about people. That communication is fundamental is not always obvious and particularly to researchers and academics. She has helped us progress research ideas and people in quantum technologies, cosmology, photonics and semiconductors into new impactful projects heading towards spin-outs, licensing deals and industry partnerships. Her enthusiasm and intelligence are infectious and appreciated by us at the University of Sussex Physics department and SEPnet…”

Colin Hayhurst, Innovations Partnership Fellow & Entrepreneur, University of Sussex

3 Month Coaching Assignment through to a Qualitative Research Project for Programme Director at Pearson UK, Q4 2017

Related image“…Julia started working with me as a coach, to help with the development of our new product. As she probed our ambitions and plans, it became obvious that some risky assumptions around our customer (schools), the actual end-user (students) and the key decision-makers (parents), needed validating. Julia designed a cost-effective research plan, ran the focus groups and delivered the final report. Her ability to draw out thoughts and insightful suggestions from participants was of significant value to our product development process. I would not hesitate to recommend Julia as coach or to lead a piece of research. As the need arises, I would request her services again…” 

Lean Best Practice throughout the Product Lifecycle with Pearson Learning Services UK – GCSEs and A Levels team, November 2017

“…Pre-workshop preparation getting case studies from our area was really helpful to bring the lean tools to life, along with having us design research to gather evidence for our risky assumptions…. Working out where our product was in the Product Lifecycle helped us to really focus on the right questions and activities we should be addressing…. Great presentation style – engaging, interactive and a lot of positive energy…” 

Business Modelling with South East Physics Network – physics students from Universities of Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary (London), Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex & The Open University, October 2017

SEPnet“…Loved it! Very lively and engaging. It was great to be introduced to the business world – made me want to start up after my PhD…Enjoyed getting the business perspective – costs, customers and motivations…Very friendly, encouraging, supportive. Lots of good examples…Very hands on. Liked meeting new people and working in groups…liked case studies of successful ideas from Sepnet universities…Interactive, Fun, Insightful, Inspiring – challenged the ideas we had, made us think about real world application…”

Value Proposition and Customer Development Workshops with PhDs, Staff & “Hatchery” Entrepreneurs at UCL (University College London), March 2017

“…Really enjoyed the course, thank you. Was pitched at a great level for someone with lots of interest and enthusiasm but no real experience. The practical nature / brainstorming etc was really relaxed and useful. I would definitely recommend!… I liked the fast pace learning environment… I learnt that I need to ask the right questions to really understand my market, I need to test hypothesis and measure the outcome… “

Product Coaching at FTSE 100 client

Julia is a very inspirational and motivating coach working in the areas of product / portfolio management and business change. As a coachee I have found her supportive but also challenging in a positive way. She is equally at home running formal training / workshops with large groups, or on a one to one basis. Her ability to raise the profile of issues she is championing is awe inspiring!

Business Model Canvas Workshop with PhDs & Staff at UCL (University College London), March 2017

“…Friendly, dynamic, creative, inspiring, engaging atmosphere with lots of interactivity … BMC was explained really well and it was great to see where the risks are and how ideas are generated on the way … There was great value in having other people with different backgrounds looking at one problem…” 

Lean Practice Workshop with Pearson UK, March 2017

“…Really well balanced and informative. Easy to use aids. Very impressed with the presenter. Having begun the day with a knowledge level of around 2/10 this has increased to 7+ so I’m really pleased. Overall a great day, well done …”

Two Day Workshop with World First, October 2016


“…Working with real life risky assumptions from World First, we created hypotheses, practised our interview techniques and learned to validate them with real customers. The workshop was well thought through with free form thinking in an open forum and I really enjoyed it. It was practical, relevant and great way to learn..

 Series of Workshops with Sussex University PhDs / Inventors, 2016

Sussex Uni

“…These sessions have helped me understand how to achieve economic impact of the technology I have developed, by introducing me to a structured, practical way of thinking… Helped to focus thinking and create concrete actions…Helped me to analyse the product/client better with useful tools and interview techniques… With lots of  real world examples, overall it was brilliant!…”

Workshop with Pearson for Secondary Learning UK Product Managers, June 2016

Pearson“…It was very focused on our daily roles and challenges, providing practical tools. I appreciated the opportunity to do meaningful work / develop ideas that we can take back to the office. FUN and Julia has a great presentation style…Workshop very well presented – thank you. Simply and effectively put. Group felt at ease throughout so interaction was excellent…”

Bespoke Workshop for mixed group of Product Managers & Developers at Not On The High Street, May 2016


“Thank you for running such an engaging workshop – we all certainly learnt a lot about framing problems, coming up with and formulating (high-risk) assumptions, testable hypotheses and devising experiments. The feedback from the team has been great and everyone thought the workshop was extremely useful and informative”

Philippe Clairet | Senior UX Designer | notonthehighstreet.com

User Research Masterclass for Entrepreneurs CPD Certified, UCL (University College London), March 2016UCL Logo

Feedback from participants

UCL CPD Feedback

Qualitative User Research for Fitbug 2015

Anna Gudmonson 1.jpg“…We employed Julia at Product Doctor to test out our Kiqplan proposition and prototype Summer 2015. She had our product manager shadow her throughout and Julia coached her through the process, improving her ability to write effective research briefs, scripts and to carry out insightful interviews . Julia provided a well structured research report, with clear key insights and the added bonus of recommendations based on her years of experience. I was particularly impressed at her respect for efficiency – finding ways to reduce costs for us throughout the process…”

Workshop for General Assembly 2015

GA Square logo

Video clips from: An Entrepreneur in London & Another Entrepreneur in London! 



Workshop for Scrum Masters 2015

          Feedback to session from Scrum Master at Natwest

Product Workshop at Pearson 2014


“…Thanks so much running the workshop yesterday, it was brilliant! The feedback from conversations after the session were excellent. Some of the comments included: How impressed they were by the way the workshop was openly run and facilitated meaningful engagement; how impressed they were by your extensive depth of knowledge and experience ; how the practical advice you provided gave them with things they could take away and start doing in their jobs. They also loved the practical demonstrations…”

Craig Strong, Director Global Product Development Lifecycle at Pearson plc


Usability and Proposition Research for a major handset manufacturer 2013

Lauren“…Through our work with Product Doctor we were able to adjust for important differences in usage and attitudes between our US and UK users. Julia is a well rounded, highly skilled product and marketing professional. She is able to quickly translate her insights into effective changes to the product. I hope to have the opportunity to work with her again…”

Lauren Bigelow, Product Management Consultant / COO

User Research Training Session at FFWD, White Horse Capital’s Accelerator Program c/o Ian Merricks, 2012

Julia at Academy
“…We were lucky enough to attend one of Julia’s workshops where she taught us the art of the customer interview. We learnt the importance of setting the right expectations from the start, and how to make people feel valued and comfortable in sharing their opinions freely. Now on our second round of customer interviews we find ourselves repeatedly drawing on Julia’s teachings, and the results have been profound. We get much more value from each interview which has massively sped up our production iteration cycles. The few hours spent with Julia has really saved us months of time…”  

James Harwood, participant of the FFWD Program

Creation of a new learning model for innovators working in a fast moving technical environment – developed the offering from concept to successful ongoing delivery 2012 – 2015

TheMobileAcademy-Logo+Tagline“…Julia brings a wealth of experience to the programme and shares her knowledge with participants through highly engaging formats. She has engineered The Mobile Academy brand and brought together a strong team of tutors from industry to deliver it. She is great with people, always goes the extra mile and is a strong leader…”

Alastair Moore, Deputy Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, UCL Advances

Dragon’s Den Style User Open Panel Session where entrepreneurs pitch their propositions to customers live at conferences (also works well in-house), 2013

Panel awaiting the start

“…It was a thoroughly unusual but enjoyable session and it got me thinking about how many entrepreneurs really understand their target audience?…”

Dan Martin, Editor, BusinessZone.co.uk, at one of Mike Butcher’s Conferences

“…It should be a mandatory step for bringing new products to market …. this is far more gruelling than going up in front of investors – as they are really getting to the nitty and gritty… an entertaining and really useful format..” (Tweets from other members of the audience)

 Develop a proposition and brand identity for new consultancy, 2012

Azenby_logo_Updated“…Julia is very enterprising and her work is energetic, spirited and dynamic. Julia has an eye for an original angle. She created a site that is admired for its clarity of proposition, unique tone of voice and clean look and feel. It is a brand that can evolve. I think getting C level people involved was a master stroke. A bright spark and engaging nature, Julia is cool to work with…”

Bill Best, CEO, Azenby Ltd, Chairman of the Judges GSMA MWC & Mobile Industry Big Wig!

Series of customer interviews to identify target segments and product positioning, 2011

Telsis“…Very business aware and creative. We now have a strong customer-centric positioning for a range of new services that is being well received by our corporate client base. I would not hesitate to recommend Product Doctor…”

David Reavley, Business Development Director, Anite Telecoms Ltd

Workshop to develop thinking on a new proposition, 2011


“…Julia provided consultancy on an O2 project we were working on. She brought a really detailed knowledge of the sector and a superb understanding of community dynamics to the party. She facilitated an excellent workshop and was able to drag out some useful insights…”

James Easterbrook, Senior Manager at PwC

User Research for New Music App, 2011

Syncroarts“…Excellent, insightful, relevant and detailed feedback in a product test that highlighted some areas that needed change which we acted on. Julia also helped us establish the roadmap and test out our revenue model. She took on this project with enthusiasm and was a pleasure to work with..”

[The App went on to receive 80k+ downloads in a 3 month period from the Apple Store].

Jeff Bloom, CEO, Syncro Arts

Project Initiator and Director to bring Brixton Village Market back to life


“..Julia is a fantastic innovator and entrepreneur who brings with her a wonderful positive energy and an ability to turn great ideas and people into living and successful projects. Julia proved over the past 9 months to be a skilled facilitator (in often very challenging situations) and a powerful negotiator with multiple stakeholders and interest groups. She combines a spirit of collaboration with forward thinking, radical business ideas and transformative ideas.

Julia understands well how to use social media, the potential of emerging media platforms, and -service design methods. She has been a great source of inspiration, support and well-grounded advice on new-business models and service-innovation. As one of the first new micro-businesses in Brixton market to benefit form the Spacemakers initiative i can really say we couldn’t have done it without her input, and it wouldn’t have been half as fun! She is a great person to work with and radical thinker who has the skills, knowledge and drive which would be of enormous benefit to anything in the new product or service domain – from an iphone app to learning programes, to business model re-thinks…”

Anne Fairbrother, Founder of Cornercopia and Innovation Consultant

Feedback to Teen Panels at various conferences

“the teen panel was really cool” Mike Butcher, Techcrunch

“they were saying the sorts of things that venture capitalists do” Jemima Kiss, Guardian