Newsletter, January 2021

It’s been a few months since our last update – a few months in which we’ve seen how a meaningful purpose can help keep you on track in tough times. Our purpose of creating business value and social value hand in hand has guided us along the way and seems more important than ever.

Here are some highlights of recent work across our three strands of Leadership & Talent, Citizenship and Insight & Innovation.

On the Citizenship front, we’re proud to have supported Royal London to create a new flagship social impact programme around the theme of helping people prevent a life shock becoming a crisis, including a major partnership with national poverty charity Turn2us. A key part of the process was engaging senior stakeholders at Royal London with the realities of life for financially vulnerable people, providing inspiration for the programme theme and choice of partner. Here’s a case study.

Whilst some skills-based volunteering is understandably on hold until it can be done IRW (in the real world), virtual volunteering is not only possible but of real value to some charities. We’ve worked with British Land to develop an innovative new virtual volunteering offer, not just for their own people but for employees from their business tenants too. The collaborative model brought volunteers together with older people from the local community (many of whom were stuck in their homes and had never used Zoom before) for creative music, writing and drama workshops.

In our leadership and talent work – where we help people develop leadership behaviours and awareness of key societal issues – the move to remote working is fully complete. We’re excited to be supporting programmes at Network RailBalfour BeattyWilliam Hill and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills that see their future leaders engage with charities and social enterprises, taking on projects in unfamiliar environments and learning from these ‘heat’ experiences.

On top of this we’ve developed our own Purposeful Leader Programme to equip leaders to bring purpose to life in their organisations. Revolving around the three pillars of self, business and society, it focuses on adopting the skills needed to lead in the complex, ambiguous and increasingly purposeful world of today and tomorrow. We’re starting a mixed business programme in late March for four businesses. Here’s a one-sider on the programme and an article I’ve written on purposeful leadership skills.

In the world of social insight and innovation, speakers from Experian, Toynbee Hall and Betknowmore joined us for an online discussion on tapping into lived experience to better serve customers and communities. An ex-gambling addict and someone with first-hand experience of poverty demonstrated the value that ‘lived experts’ can bring to businesses that care about issues like these. There’s a short report and recording of the session here.

Finally, we’re very pleased to be launching the Outside In Project, a brand new way for people in businesses to reach beyond their corporate walls in order to understand and act upon the most important issues for their colleagues, customers and communities. It consists of in-depth sessions over the course of the year on topics such as diversity & inclusion, the ageing population and financial vulnerability. All of the 2021 places are now taken with 12 businesses having joined up, but do get in touch if issues like these interest you, as there are other ways we can help you and your business learn about them.

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