Voices Of Fahrenheit: Felicity Emmett

Fahrenheit 212’s people are the best and brightest innovators in the world. We hail from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and industries, but are connected by a shared passion to make things better and to make better things. Voices of Fahrenheit is a series that shares perspectives from the individuals behind the innovations at Fahrenheit 212 to give you a glimpse into their days and what makes them tick.

This week, we interview Felicity Emmett, Innovation Associate on the Strategy team at Fahrenheit 212.

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What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?

I work as an Associate on the Commercial Strategy team in London. In practice this means making sure that the ‘Money’ side of any project is well-represented; ensuring that everything we deliver to clients is woven throughout with thorough commercial thinking. An especially vital part of this job is to get under the hood of our clients’ companies and understand not only their existing businesses, but what they should and shouldn’t be in the future.

Where do you feel most creative?

To my mind there are two separate creative veins — the mental and the physical.

My mental creativity is sparked by a period of quiet reflection (ideally on a remote hilltop, but a Farringdon desk does the job) followed by a volley of debate with others — I thrive off this oscillation between solo and group thinking, it allows you to come up with expansive ideas then challenge, change and define them.

For more manual creativity I need a languid afternoon, no distraction and all the tools I could possibly need to hand! Whether it’s in the kitchen, in front of a sewing machine or any other crafty space, I need to be free to lose all sense of time and responsibility.

Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?

Although the underlying innovation process remains the same, every project is so different that it’s hard to get stuck in rituals. The one thing that seems to happen every time is a sense of being quite overwhelmed during the early phases and feeling that The Answer is unreachable, which can only be conquered by trusting in the process, and repeating “If you build it, they will come”. You’ve got to go along the journey to create something truly new and exciting.

Where do you call home?

London. The whole city is home — from the quirky little side streets in the City to the wide and winding riverbanks — there really is no place like it in the world. I grew up in the wooly wilds of Wales, so I revel in being able to see, do, and eat new things every day. My spreadsheet (I’m on the Commercial team for a reason…) of ‘To-Do’s is always growing, and seems to be populated with increasingly exciting options.

What do you never leave home without?

An umbrella, a pair of gloves and sunscreen — beloved London often has all seasons in one day, one can never be too prepared!

What is the first thing you do every morning? The last thing at the end of every day?

A woman, who has proven to be wise in many things, once pressed a strange implement into my hand, looked me fiercely in the eye and said “the first thing, the very first thing you must do every day is to scrape your tongue”. I laughed nervously at the time, but have since done so daily and can highly recommend it.

A cup of herbal tea ends the day, helping to unwind and relax before sleep.

When did you first get into the field of innovation?

I joined Fahrenheit in February 2017, with this being my first foray into the innovation space. I previously worked in Financial Services.

However, if you were to consider the wider entrepreneurial, new business space, then early childhood. My sister and I ran a Sea Monkey distribution business while I was in prep school, amongst various other money-making schemes. More recently, I started a tights company in 2015, after several years of frustration with the existing market.

What is your favorite innovation from the last decade?

The Kindle app for iPhone, which means I have any book on hand at any time! I love being able to download books at all hours of the day anywhere in the world, and get stuck into reading immediately. It’s also put an end to the inevitable destruction of paperbacks in my handbag.

What product, service, or industry do you think is most ripe for innovation?

It’s hard to say. The exciting thing about innovation is that there’s always room for more. From staid, mature industries to the newest and fastest moving, everywhere there is opportunity to transform and innovate.

To pick an example, though, a recent holiday experience reminded me that the car hire industry is opaque, clunky and dissatisfying. A trauma at both the start and end of a vacation, when it should be a smooth facilitator of a good trip. I think, and hope, we will see some disruption here in the near future.

What are some of your interests outside of innovation?

As hinted already, I love to get crafty — most of my working life has been spent at a computer, so I relish time spent making things with my hands. It uses a very different part of the brain, which I find brings me a sense of balance. I love food with a passion — eating out, cooking, gathering exciting recipes, making spreadsheets of places to eat worldwide… The resulting requirement to travel and exercise is a very pleasant by-product!

What is your go-to reading source?

I like to read around a subject, following the rabbit hole as deep as it goes, so I’ll start with an email newsletter, google search, or blog post and just follow all the footnotes, links and related articles I can find. Everything gets opened in a new tab, with no tab closed until I’ve read the contents.

During the day I take micro-breaks to refresh, these are mostly spent catching up on the news — I read most major sites throughout the day to get as balanced a view as possible.

What is your greatest life hack?

It’s an oldie, but a goodie: really try to walk in someone else’s shoes when you are interacting with them, whether it be a colleague, a friend or anyone you deal with in passing. It prevents frustrations, miscommunications and makes sure you really get the best out of any situation. Make this little bit of effort, and your life will be so much easier!

What is your must-read book?

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy has for many years been my favourite thing to read. I’ve read it countless times, and it has become so familiar that it’s like a blanket in a book. Big themes of life, death, love and religion wrapped up with adventure and set partly in Oxford (no small influence on my university choice…), what’s not to like?

What is your favorite app?

Spotify — the only app I use practically all day every day. It’s made so easy the tasks of finding, organising and enjoying music.

What is your favorite quotation?

“If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it.” –Sun Tzu