A good message is like a good business idea – it needs to spark.
A business idea may have answers to serious questions about the way we live. It may have the potential to solve big problems. But how do these new ideas take root and grow?
I work with in-house teams to agree simple messaging and more complex content for innovative businesses. Often it is only when a new solution – and all the thinking around it – has been written out, that a new narrative can be born.
The Project – Northern Community Rail Report
The Client – Northern Rail
The Brief – Write a detailed update on Northern programme of support for Community Rail Partnerships and associated activity, highlighting community rail achievements on the ground.
The Execution – Research/edit/write up sample case studies from the new Seed Corn Fund, supporting innovation in community rail, and from the new Station Adoption Fund. Edit and prepare the reports from 20 Community Rail Partnerships in the North – from the Settle-Carlisle Railway DevCo, a social enterprise running a locally sourced, on-train trolley service – to Community Rail Lancashire, inspiring a whole new generation of rail users through their education programme. Prepare the report for submission to DfT. Prepare a second version of the report with layout and illustrations for publishing online.
The Result – The Northern project provides substantial funding and resources for community rail; strengthening and developing community rail networks and cross sector partnerships; creating a foundation for meeting customer expectations more effectively.
The report show cases inspiring partnerships and exciting new initiatives. It examines the specialist teams in post providing support, advice and guidance to regional projects. It charts the emergence of what may prove to be a blue print for a railway that is more sustainable, attractive, user-friendly and connected to community.
Date Created – March – May 2017
The Project – Exploring the Multi-Stakeholder Business Model
The Clients – Chartered Quality Institute’s “Quality World”. Riversimple Movement.
The Brief – The Riversimple model of governance is constructed to represent and be more relevant to society today, just as a “product” must represent and be relevant to that society. Six custodians act as a legislative body for the Riversimple board of directors. Each custodian represents a different perspective of the business – the Environment, the Users (customers), the Community (neighbours), the Staff, the Investors and the Commercial Partners. The brief was to interview each custodian for a series of thought-pieces exploring new business models for “Quality World ” magazine.
The Execution – This work required a focus on bigger picture thinking. The first interviews, with founder Hugo Spowers and Estelle Clarke, who is steward for the custodians, gave an overview of how the team have shaped the business at Riversimple – in particular how this model has given the environment “a voice” and how the custodians consult and bring the results back to the head table where decisions are made.
The Result – The investors are normally the focus of a business and their needs are considered paramount. This has led to bad behavior at the top of some companies – Sports Direct, BHS.
Peter Davies, custodian for community, talked about how people feel disconnected from big business today. Many people don’t feel in control of what is happening to them or the environment. Many younger people don’t feel there is a future for them. The Riversimple model represents an opportunity to shape business in a way that re-connects with community, and factors in the environment, creating new opportunities, engaging young people in particular – and enthusing them. There is growing opinion that a well structured and well tested multi stakeholder model could be the solution for getting business back on the front foot.
Date Created – June to September 2016