Newsletter, September 2017

A brief update on some of our recent work in leadership development, community engagement and innovation – and how we’ve been combining these three agendas to create powerful projects and programmes with business impact and social impact.

Innovating through social insight

We are full steam ahead with our innovation proposition, which sees businesses learn from charities about issues that affect customers, with a view to creating new products and services. The team at Royal London responsible for life and critical illness products was keen to understand more about the changing landscape of cancer by learning from people affected. We ran an innovation process in partnership with inspirational cancer support charity Maggie’s in Manchester, revealing powerful insight about people’s experiences of cancer and resulting in several new concepts for products and services. There’s a short case study here.

Leading – from self to society

We’ve been working with Network Rail’s future leaders on a major development programme aimed to gear them up for the most senior positions in the organisation. As well as running a three-day module on personal leadership, we’ve given them strategy projects with charities to work on for six months, as an undercurrent to the programme. The charities tackle themes that are in one way or another relevant to the rail industry, from sustainable transport (Sustrans) and community development (Groundwork) to mental health (Samaritans) and disability (WheelPower) – giving future leaders in-depth experience of the societal issues that matter to their business.

Understanding autism through volunteering

“Vulnerable customers” is a big topic for many businesses these days, but how many of them have stopped to consider the fact that the things that make customers vulnerable can also affect employees? That’s what Lloyds Banking Group had in mind when they asked us to design and run a short volunteering event for David Oldfield, Group Director of Commercial Banking, to help him and his direct reports learn about autism and dyslexia – with a view to better understanding the needs of employees facing these difficulties. The project showed how much can be achieved in just half a day – here’s a case study.

Tackling loneliness amongst young people

Q: What do you get if you combine millennials’ concern for social and environmental issues with the potential to make the world a better place through technology? A: The TCS Spark Challenge, a national competition for university students challenging them to make one-minute videos on how they would use technology to tackle the growing epidemic of loneliness amongst young people. We convened the project for Tata Consultancy Services in partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, whose research had identified that loneliness is not confined to older people. You can read about the winning ideas in a blog by Yogesh Chauhan, TCS’s Director of Corporate Sustainability.

Developing graduates in the real world

Our work on Nationwide’s graduate programme has continued with ‘real world’ social impact projects for grads finishing their two year development experience. They work in small teams to support local charities with tough strategic issues, so while the partner organisations receive valuable resource, the graduates get to implement – and thereby embed – the learning from the development programme in an environment where they can make a big difference. There is more about our approach in the case study.

So that provides a feel for what we’ve been getting up to. Do get in touch if you’d like to explore some ideas.

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