A portion of this post comes from an interview with Dan Salmons, CEO of Coadjute. I conducted the interview as part of the research for my newly published book, Unblocking Blockchain. You'll understand one crucial point as you listen to my conversation with Dan. It was one of the first things that early blockchain adopters consistently mentioned as part of their success formula.
"Then I was invited to become the chief executive. And in many ways, my job was to take this live and turn it from a project into a real live endeavor," Dan told me.
I did not understand what we were talking about. Coadjute aims to digitally connect the UK property market. A wide range of players are served by their solution, such as estate agents, conveyancers, mortgage brokers, lenders, and buyers and sellers. It was difficult for me to envision this operation as a project at one point, considering its scope.
Dan became involved in the project while working as the director of innovation at NatWest. He was looking for ways to reduce the length of time it takes to move a customer's property. Having looked at several options, he came across this intriguing project. Natwest's first involvement was almost like a research and development project. Blockchain technology sounded interesting - could it be helpful?
"At first, when I became involved, I did not see it as a solution," confirmed Dan. It was more an intent to learn from the experience. In addition to learning something about blockchain, which Natwest was interested in, they also wanted to learn about the property market and its problems and potential solutions.
Initially, Coadjute operated more like a consortium. More of a project, and it used to be called Instant Property Network. This was essentially a project that brought together players in the property industry. This was intended to demonstrate, probe, and perhaps explore the possibility that blockchain could resolve the snail pace of home sales that leave the customer unhappy.
It turned out to be a very impressive and successful pilot. A global pilot that was initially proposed was, in some ways, unrealistic. It had different players from all over the world as if they were all involved in ONE transaction. It demonstrated a generic solution that could work anywhere in the world. In addition to a Swedish land registry, they had an Australian lawyer and a British estate agent. All involved contributed some money, but it was more of an R&D project for all of them. Each of them was trying to learn from it. In the next stage, as part of the UK pilot, they wanted to get an example from real UK estate agents, attorneys, etc. It only brought together one or two players in each category.
Dan wasn't sure how this mix would work, but it did. It caught his attention. And he signed up to help accelerate, launch and scale this innovative property network - Coadjute
Dan's explanation highlighted one simple thing that has an invisible impact now but a massive impact in the long-term: Spend time LEARNING about the new technology. Running a POC is one-way companies invest in learning more about blockchain, as shown by this success formula that emerged in my research (shown below). Additionally, the POC has an added advantage that, besides enabling you to learn, it can also facilitate the process of validating your use case for piloting.
Media hype can confuse blockchain enthusiasts. The confusion comes with a lack of clarity on how to move forward with your blockchain goals. To dispel any hype, you should learn as much as you can about the technology. Unfortunately, the importance of having an organizational learning strategy is often overlooked. Still, it is crucial to your success in the blockchain journey.
The first step is learning - see one, do one, teach one.
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