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Social Purpose

Social purpose

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With the genesis of the Wapisasa concept in my head, I was keen to use a different model. A people-first model. A social business. I wanted to pin the social purpose to our foreheads, so that profit never became our top priority.

I wanted to run Wapisasa as a business, but never wanted to lose sight of its social aim: to provide credential-poor young people access to fulfilling digital careers. After bouncing my ideas off a few key people, I set it up using the legal vehicle of a C.I.C. (Community Interest Company) — essentially a UK limited company, with asset locks written into it’s articles of association, and, of course, a social aim.

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The Hunch

the hunch

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The Hunch by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

How little we know of the opportunities life has ahead of us.

I often follow my hunch – that warm fuzzy feeling compelling me to go in a particular direction. I need to know some stuff – but not too much – otherwise I’d talk myself out of it.

Who knows where it might lead?

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Learning to Credential

Learning to credential

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It was my pleasure this week to give a talk at the Bett Show this week alongside Dr Doug Belshaw of Digital Literacies & Open Badges fame. One of Doug’s points was that in Education, we’d like to think that the starting point for learning is the learning itself. Not so. Due to the nature of the system, we start with the Credential and work backwards. Ah. This is further illustrated by this graphic, highlighting the massive difference between prescriptive and descriptive pathways.

This resonates with my wapisasa journey too. Having set out to chart our Rookies (young people) on a path to surefire digital greatness, we prescriptively created a bunch of badges. However, after 6 months we sat down with our first Rookies and reviewed what had been the most valuable learning – which became a very different set of descriptive badges…

Catalyst of change

Catalyst of Change

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I had a very enjoyable conversation with Giles Anderton before Christmas, and this thought appeared. I see myself as a catalyst for change. But if I’m being honest, I realise that in the past I’ve been as resistant to change as the next guy – and not even for reasons I can clearly articulate. I once heard a Franciscan monk talk about setting your default position to any person as “yes”, as opposed to “no”. Maybe a similar attitude to change is also required (from me)? To go on a journey, your starting position really matters…

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So… how’s it going? (growing a social business)

I wrote this visual poem about 6 months ago when my social business wapisasa and its vision were struggling – I had completely forgotten about it until I found it in an old sketchbook last week, and thought I might turn it into something to encourage others. If it resonates with you, let me know!

It’s all about people

Having sold a couple of businesses, I’m often asked about the ingredients of running a successful start-up. Well, this may be obvious, but it’s top of my list every time. People. But not just your immediate team (which is of course critical), but those who you sell to, those who support what you’re selling, those who act as advocates for you, and those who build whatever your products and deliver your services. Find good people, and figure out how to play them to their strengths.

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You have a gift…

you have a gift...

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Here’s another thought from Angela Maiers‘ “You Matter Manifesto”. In my experience of working with young people, I’ve been amazed at how warped a view of themselves they can often have. This view is where the seed of self-confidence is rooted – and seeing evidence of your own hands having made a difference in someone else’s life is what nourishes that seed. I’m convinced that each person has a gift that only they can give.

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