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Richard Noble


Price Range

Type of Entertainment
Speaker - Motivational

Great For...
Corporate Events, Conferences, Award Ceremonies, Launch Events

Richard Noble is the former Land Speed Record holder, challenger and entrepreneur.

Against a background of today’s low risk culture, Richard specialises in developing high risk ventures. Obviously not all of them can be successful but the Thrust2 project which brought the World Land Speed record back to Britain in 1983 and the ThrustSSC’s first ever supersonic Land Speed Record in 1997 are the best known.

Other projects have included the ARV Super2 light aircraft, the Atlantic Sprinter Blue Riband contender, Programme Funding, an experimental television programme funding company and the Farnborough Aircraft, which is currently in the process of creating the first point to point commercial high speed taxi aircraft.

These projects have all started on a very small scale and being original in concept attract only very limited resource. So it is imperative that they obeyed the rules of small company survival.

1. Keep it very simple / 2. Build a highly motivated, small team / 3. Move decisively and quickly / 4. Make up for the financial deficiencies with a very high level of team motivational and productivity.

Working in this high risk environment can never be seen as secure or comfortable for the financial horizon is often just days away and the company essentially depends on it’s wits to survive. The upside is that we try to use flat corporate structures wherever possible, delegating both responsibility and authority, a process that can result in a team which drives the project both fast and on a wide front, activities which would be seriously expensive for traditional micro-managed companies.

As an example the ThrustSSC team found itself head to head with both well funded American and Formula One teams. McLaren were building the Maverick supersonic car and had budgeted £25m. The Spirit of America team were reputed to have a $14m budget. The ThrustSSC team carried out the entire programme on a cash spend of £2.85m: 14% of the McLaren budget.

The projects have always tended to be innovative and that puts them against the odds and against the system which will always favour the conventional. Whilst support in terms of people and resources tends to be forthcoming, the financial support has always been the most difficult to achieve, whether through sponsorship or investment, and frequently due to the financial community’s real doubts about the team’s ability to achieve. Oddly, it does seem that whilst the British centralised funding machinery always seems to disappoint, the greater the project’s perceived risk, the greater the chances of the team achieving!

As a conference and after dinner speaker for the last 20 years, Richard focuses on the huge problems of trying to innovate in Britain and how these problems can be overcome with outstanding and highly motivated teamwork. The presentations are illustrated with spectacular video and the inevitable humour from the incredible situations which occur.

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