Inside KisanHub | Q&A Lisa Beattie, VP of Product and Engineering
Welcome to Inside KisanHub, a selection of interviews with the talented people behind the KisanHub software. In March we celebrated International Women’s Day, so as a Women in Tech, we caught up with Lisa Beattie, Head of Product based in our Cambridge office.
Hello Lisa! To kick things off, please can you tell us a little bit about yourself and explain your role at KisanHub?
I am a Kiwi, moved here in 2019 and was lucky enough to land a role with KisanHub where, despite what my job description says, my role boils down to being a cheerleader and a juggler. I work with our amazing product team and engineering team to create solutions or evolve our product in line with what our customers need.
What are you working on right now and what technology does it involve?
We’re working on paperless load passports to replace the carbon copy duplicate books or printed paperwork used today. Our solution will work on the mobile app or desktop and a copy of each load can be emailed to all parties related to the trade. As with a lot of our solutions, the real heart of this is how we’re providing a single point of truth for all parties in the fresh produce supply chain, from Growers to Retailers.
What three words would you use to describe KisanHub?
Dedicated, Passionate, Agitators; contrary to what you think of when you hear “agitator”, in the innovation space the agitator brings forth the issues of individuals and groups which then allows for the innovators to set about solving the problems. As the old saying goes “the first part of solving a problem is knowing that you have one” so we as the agitators, get the ball rolling.
You’ve previously worked in the car industry, what motivated you to move to a tech startup?
I think it was inevitable. As you say, my career started with Toyota where TQM & Lean is ‘normal’ and as Agile + Design Thinking emerged, it was only a small evolution for me. I feel that technology is an ever-growing part of life and I am happy to be part of the journey.
You have studied Models & Model Thinking, how does this help your projects?
When you step back you see that Models are proof that seemingly random events can be predictable. I have worked with Six Sigma (statistical analysis of business processes) and studied various behavioural theories. With all of these, the initial hypothesis that a model could even exist amongst the apparent randomness, is a mindset that transfers into my work imagining and shaping products and experiences.
What has been the best piece of advice given to you?
Creativity is not the same as artistic. I am analytical by nature and I felt this left me at a disadvantage when compared to “creative” people. Well, that’s a lie. Creative problem solving requires a good blend of analytics, open-mindedness, and artistic skills.
What advice would you give to people keen to move into the software/tech space?
Firstly, stop thinking of it as “Tech”. We all use technology to help us, delight us, or connect us. If you want to be part of that, then you’ll find a way.
Secondly, I think it is important to be clear about what you know and what you don’t know. I don’t know about engineering and sometimes I feel embarrassed, but then I get over it. That’s what our awesome engineering team is for!
What sources do you look for inspiration?
I read a lot, observe a lot, and I try to draw patterns from what I am reading/learning rather than having a single source.
Last month we marked International Women’s Day, do you have a female role model in this space? And if so, why is she a role model?
My role model is an old boss of mine. Although she’d never call herself a boss, she’d say “we worked together”. She has confidence without arrogance, she is a constant learner and an executive leader, and she is both caring and driven. She is a role model for how to get things done.
Do you have a work mantra that you go by?
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life.” Another one would be, “You get 1 point for the idea and 9 points for the execution.”
Finally, as a tech startup working in fresh produce, do you have a favourite fruit or vegetable?
Rather than one favourite vegetable, I like balance and good prep. Some weird rules I live by: (1) The broccoli cannot be more than 50% cooked, (2) courgette must be served with lemon, and (3) I need a minimum of 3 vegetables on my plate at dinnertime.