Categories
#coop #leadership

The A team

This doodle was drawn without looking up the interwebs following a comment at the recent get together of WeAreOpen members. I’m pretty sure I must have drawn it as a kid. I remember noticing that this type of van with its fat wheels and wide wheelbase wasn’t seen on the roads of Northern Ireland. Which makes me think – the B team must drive a white Ford Transit…

Categories
#innovation #learning #startup

Future kinds of work

How I work has changed massively over the past ten years. Okay, so now I draw pictures, whereas I used to write programs – or lead others to write programs. Probably the biggest change I’ve had is being exposed to Mozilla’s way of working. They corale creative communities using some very clever practices and technologies. And right at the centre of this deeper magic community alignment

This thinkery was created for this DML blog post.

Categories
#startup #wapisasa

Social Purpose

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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#leadership #TOLC

Work culture

A business starts with a culture of one. Every person that joins adds to that culture. Their values, their humour, their work ethic. Every decision, communication, action sets a precedent. Culture can take years to build, but days to damage.

A organisation is it’s people – so which part do you play?

(Inspired by “The Open Organization” by Jim Whitehurst)

Categories
#leadership #thinkery

The Big Arrow

This cloud is going to lift in 5 minutes.
I said it so often it became my punchline. A dad joke – only to be appreciated by other dads (and sometimes their wives).
We need to turn off the path somewhere near here to get to the top of the mountain.
Nothing says top of a mountain than a BIG FAT ARROW.
(from two families up a mountain near the summit of Black Combe, Lake District, UK)

Categories
#coop #leadership #open #startup

Transparent and Open

I’ve been thinking about Cooperative business models recently, thanks to Doug Belshaw and John Bevan. Engaging with different ideas means playing out scenarios, and like splitting light through a prism, you can’t quite imagine how it will be until you shine it through.

Categories
#learning #startup

Entrepreneurship

I remember being on an entrepreneurship course, not long after co-founding my first business. It was part of an excellent scheme that joined up experts, incubation space in Government buildings, and funding from the Scottish Government. It was just what we needed.

Each week a different expert spoke. Cash is King. David vs Goliath. Why you and your partners really really really need a shareholders agreement…

I remember the words the speaker spoke in relation to this drawing. “It’s the things you don’t know you don’t know that’ll kill you every time…”

I must continually gain exposure from other’s experiences. I wish I’d figured this out earlier…

Categories
#leadership #startup

The long burn

A cracker of an idea. A business idea. I should start a business with this idea right now. Figure it out in my spare time and then just set it up…

For me, startup never happens like this.

It starts with a hunch, a curiosity, almost an irritation. So much uncertainty. So many unknowns. It’s half-baked plan hinges on finding good people and figuring out how to keep them.

There’s a model that’s often peddled – multiple rounds of external funding with the hook of the big exit that’ll make everyone rich. And it makes sense – if you’re an investor. But I’m not comfortable with it, for every external investment is a big chain pulling you away from the “why” of your business. I don’t start businesses to make money. I start businesses to change the world or at least a few people’s world…

It’s a long burn.

Categories
#leadership #wapisasa

Catalyst of change

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…

Categories
#innovation #startup

What every business needs…

I was on a train with Doug Belshaw and John Webber recently, and someone mentioned an appointment described as “director of out-of-the-box”. I suddenly realised what I had seen play out in all the businesses I’ve been involved with – the tension between Quality and Innovation. Obviously, every business needs both…