Meet the MD: Paul Bowman of Market Gravity

Meet the MD: Paul Bowman of Market Gravity

After working for various companies from Scotland to China, Paul Bowman became the MD of Market Gravity. He talked to BQ about his career so far, his plans for the future, and his hunt for local talent.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

My role is to help Scotland’s iconic brands find rapid ways to grow by launching new innovative products and services.  To do that, I need to attract and retain some of the top talent from Scotland and the world to the company. I oversee all Scottish clients and manage a fantastic team of people who give them the inspiration, confidence and momentum to launch new disruptive propositions, such as B, the new challenger banking app from Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank. 


What is it the company does?

We help big companies launch new innovative products and services with impact.  We focus on delivering proposition sprints that enable companies to go from an idea to a launch that’s live in the customers’ hands in less than 40 days.  To enable this to happen in larger companies we create a ‘mission based culture’ that empowers people and embraces diversity.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started my career at Iceland Frozen Foods.  This was such an amazing experience and humble grounding for me.  I always remember HR telling me I was going to be part of the future leadership team before I joined.  Then on day one I met the founder, Malcolm Walker, who handed me a pair of gloves and led me to a massive frozen warehouse and told me I had to learn my trade for six months before he was going to let me anywhere near head office. After that, I’ve worked for various companies such as RBS, Ovo Energy and Santander, helping them develop new propositions such as 1,2,3.  Before joining Market Gravity I spent time in China helping UK companies import and export goods. 


What do you believe makes a great leader?

I wouldn’t presume to know the answer to this and I’m constantly looking for the answer myself.  Things that I value from leaders include integrity, humility and passion.  The reality is that leaders don’t make change happen, it’s the people and teams that work with them that make things happen.



What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Finding local talent in Scotland.  Scotland produces lots of great talent, but too many of them leave and go south of the border to apply their skills in London.  I found half of my team in London and brought them back to their home country.  I feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed if Scotland is to continue to flourish.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Every night before I go to bed I dream about the future that I’m striving for with Market Gravity and my family, so my head is full of positive emotions and not stress.  Then when I get up I think about all the things that need to be done that day, write them down and then get on with them… works for me!


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I came from quite a humble background, so in truth a lot of dreams were limited to the quite basics things that were constrained by the environment I was surrounded by. But the biggest goal my mum gave me was encouraging me to go to university.  University was my platform and my way out to a better life and belief that I could make something of myself.


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

Negativity – we try to avoid it as much as possible in the office and always look for the positive or the learning from a negative situation or emotion. 


Where do you see the company in five years time?

We have really big ambitions to grow the company beyond Edinburgh, London and New York.  But in this modern ever-changing world, long-term strategies just represent hope, which you can’t bank, sell or learn from.  So we will continue to focus on growing our Edinburgh team, serving our clients well, securing new, innovative projects, and keeping our people happy.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Surround yourself with people who are better than you and then get them to believe in themselves.