Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Honesty is the best policy

Last week, I forgot that I hadn't bought a ticket that included Travelcard and had only bought a return to and from London. Somehow, I managed to get through the Underground ticket barriers at Kings Cross St Pancras. However, as I arrived at Covent Garden, I looked at my ticket and realised to my horror I didn't have the right ticket which meant I was eligible for a £40 fine.

I went up to the person responsible for the ticket barriers and explained my situation apologetically, he smiled and ushered me through the gates with not penalty!

It just shows, if you're in a bind, honesty is the best policy!

What's your best example of when you were in an awkward situation and honesty won the day?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Are you a Pioneer or a Developer?

I went to a fantastic conference over the weekend and attended a seminar called "Pioneers and Developers working together; leading forwards without blowing up". I've pasted a table from the seminar sheet. It got me thinking, how many people involved in social entrepreneurship are Pioneers and how many are Developers? Often, people are also a combination of the two. Getting the right type of people into an organisation is one of our 8Ps of Powerful Social Innovation.

As a Pioneer, I can relate to many of the characteristics in the first column but also I know that I need many of the qualities in the second column. I know that I need to run quickly and spot opportunities; however, if I don't have someone working with me who can spot the weaknesses and produce quality; staff and our clients are going to either burn out or blow up. Put simply, the impact that we want to have in transforming society won't happen. Pioneers can have a tendency to:
  • be impatient;
  • get bored and be inconsistent; and
  • leave a body count behind them!
Developers also need Pioneers though because they can have a tendency to:
  • want to stay in their comfort zone;
  • can be risk averse; and
  • can have a need to protect people (including themselves) too much.
Do we have a mix of Pioneers and Developers in our organisations? Do we have people who can take ground, but also people who can keep the ground we take? If we don't, our organisations probably won't grow sustainably and we won't have the impact we want; even worse, our organisations might blow up.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Want to start a social enterprise? Here are my 5Is of Starting Social Ventures

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about how people set up social ventures; what system do they  follow, what lessons have they learnt etc. I have also thought about how I have helped set up social enterprises such as FranchisingWorks and NurseFirst; and how I've supported philanthropists in starting their new ventures. I have encapsulated this in what I have called the 5Is of Starting Social Ventures. I'd love your comments, and hope it helps you as much as it has helped me!

Idea: Any social venture starts with an idea that can transform society. Have you got an idea? This could be for example, to help young people get better GCSE results, to improve participation in sport or to help people get jobs.

Innovation: For this idea to turn into a reality, it needs to be honed and developed, fusing it with a mixture of sector experience, leading research, and unconventional thinking. For more about what makes a powerful social innovation, read my 8Ps of Powerful Social Innovation.

Incubation: Now the innovation is at a stage where a team needs to be put in place to help turn it into into a fully designed and developed organisation ready to pilot the idea. This process includes business modelling and planning that not only enables the pilot to happen but also enables the new organisation to scale, enabling its impact to be much more significant.

Initiation: Having identified locations to trial and initiate what is by now a new social venture, it's time to set up the organisation itself, press go and pilot! Finding the right location(s) is crucial; ensuring a good mix of stakeholders is key.

Impact: Successful piloting provides the benchmark for social venture expanding and having significant impact, potentially nationally or internationally. At this point, it's time to learn lessons from the pilot(s) and think roll out, perhaps through direct growth, social franchising or replicating through a different means.

If you want support turning your idea into a reality; I'd love to help. See here.