Founding Team

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Founding Team

What's this for?

If you are an Imperial MBA student or RCA Design Fellow in the IE&D programme, you may have access to this tool before starting your project, so the content in this section may be useful for understanding and identifying the optimal team you would like to create or join to achieve a good project outcome.

Once you start your project with the team already in place, this exercise is important to understand how your team can work most effectively. It also helps you consider how the team may need to develop with additional people in the future when you identify other required skills or experience which current team members don't have.

Recommended easy reading for context: Chapter 10 of The Smart Entrepreneur.


To compose an effective Founding Team:

• Diverse and complementary in skills, experience and primary functional role

• Diverse in terms of personalities and thinking styles

• Whose members are equally committed

• That is “strategically aligned”

• With a credible leader

Suggested steps

1. Click the link to access the Learning Manual: IE&D Founding Team.

2. Discuss your skills and experience: check if you have 4 main functionality types on board - technical, business, finance, operations.

  • If certain team members cover more than one function at the beginning of the project, this is good for an early-stage team. 
  • Over time, the managing team will become more individually specialised as the company grows larger.

3. Test whether the founding team have diverse personalities and ways of approaching questions and problems:

  • Download and use the Thinking Styles Test for a quick and simple guide to this, or alternatively the results of your MBTI test on the MBA programme.

4. Discuss team members’ ‘strategic alignment’ and future goals.

5. Check whether team members are equally committed in terms of personal investment in the project.

6. Agree who will be the team leader on the project, and the primary roles played by other team members.

  • Although you will work and make decisions together, some individuals may be clearly suited to doing research, fact-finding, making proposals or facilitating discussions in certain subject areas (e.g. market understanding, technology, etc.).

7. Summarise your current team structure, members’ experience, thinking styles, goals and how the members complement each other (you may use the example of the table shown in the Founding Team slide deck, or use some other presentation method).

8. It is also VERY important to summarise any skills, abilities or experience that would be important for executing your business idea but that are currently missing from your team.

  • In other words, show that you are aware of gaps and would expect to search and recruit additional team members or advisors to make the idea work.

Note: Your assessment of your team’s strengths and gaps will also depend a good deal on the results of the other exercises you perform early on to get a clearer picture of your business idea and its requirements.

If you need to print a copy of the learning manual(s) for offline use, please follow these steps:
    - Click on the "Create PDF" button at the top right hand corner of the page.
    - Scroll to the "Attachment" section (at the end of the last page).
    - Clicl on the paperclip icon next to the manual.