By Naomi Pyburn for Ogunte
In a talk at the Saïd Business School on how to fail at venturing, Charlie Curtis referred to the ‘duct tape and nastiness’ principle. This is the idea that product development only truly starts after the launch, and that everything before that point is just a hypothesis. The initial stages of planning and strategising are important, yes, but this principle stresses the need to assemble something to test the demand and then workshop how to improve the service or product after it is already in use.
Throw together an inelegant first draft and get it out there as quickly as possible. Duct tape and nastiness.
This really stuck with me, if you’ll pardon the pun. We can fall into the trap of believing our venture has to be polished and perfect before we let anyone else see it: we want the best design we can make, the most future-proof code, the most impressive high-tech solution.
But there is value
in hacking something that is not your best work and getting it out into the
real world. You can test the market, spot usability kinks early on, and (this
is key) see if people actually want it. Does it improve lives?
One example Charlie cited of ignoring this principle was the now-infamous PlayPumps that were rolled out in their thousands across ten sub-Saharan countries. Millions and millions of dollars were raised; presidential and celebrity endorsements flooded in to support the charity that wanted to harness the energy of playing children to pump water, using brightly-coloured roundabouts/merry-go-rounds.
However, they failed to test the idea and had already installed thousands before they realised some fundamental flaws. Their calculations were a little off. To meet the goal of bringing ‘clean drinking water for up to 10 million people’ with the planned 4,000 pumps, children would have to play non-stop on the pumps for 27 hours a day.
Setting that aside, the pumps didn’t work practically. They were hard to push, so children tired quickly and largely abandoned them in favour of more fun activities. Elderly women ended up having to suffer the indignity of pushing these gaudy pumps around. The repairs were a nightmare and unreliable, and the whole thing pretty much collapsed.
The moral of the story is: trial the viability of your idea in a low-cost way. Preferably sooner rather than later to minimize efforts wasted.
Impact Women in our network spoke of the need to take a leap of initial action, and refine the concept from there.
Karen Mattison co-founded Timewise to open up the flexible job market. Here’s what she and co-founder Emma did to gauge the level of interest for their idea:
‘My business partner Emma Stewart and I started our first venture, Women Like Us, in the days before digital. We built a database of thousands of parents by putting leaflets in book bags with a simple message: Are you struggling to find a part time or flexible job?
We were sure we
knew what the problem was, but we tested it in a low-cost way: the response we
got back gave us the confidence and customer base we needed to launch the business.’
‘My aunt told me to
get out there and sell to everyone you meet, both women and men. After two days
of planning, I went out and managed to sell half of my products - I couldn’t
Hearing women’s experiences with sanitary pads over their lives, I saw the chance to bring change.
Today, I still rely heavily on feedback from customers, and learn what the demand is like from them. This guides and fuels my great inspiration to dream big.’
Essma ben Hamida knew she wanted to help empower women economically, but wasn’t sure exactly how. She opened a community centre with a tiny budget in the poorest neighbourhood in Tunis, and put on events, skills workshops, and parties for the unemployed women and youth in the community.
This allowed her to spend time talking to the women and finding out what their barriers to employment were:
‘We asked them why they weren’t working. Most said it was because they had no money, some said they didn’t know what to do, they had no skills.
At that moment, I remembered Grameen Bank and thought: Why don’t we try microcredit?
We said to the
women: ‘If we give you a loan, will you do something?’ They said: ‘Of course we
will!’ So we started, and gave them the first loans, and then by the second
loan, they started believing in us and began to do business.’
The solution came to Essma when she connected the dots from a place of relationship with the women and the community. Their feedback prompted Essma to pursue microfinance and build enda, a hugely successful NGO.
After a flash of inspiration on how to tackle a problem, they each took to their own kitchens to try out their ideas and test the viability of their products.
Megan founded Bitty Foods, which makes cricket flour products. She put her idea out there at a very early stage, and shaped her business around the response:
‘Honestly, what happened was so crazy. Early on, when we were still conceptualising the business and planning our products, I pitched a talk to TEDx Manhattan about edible insects as a food source and as a potential food system stabilizer. After I was accepted, I was picked up by all this media. I went from just having a crazy idea to being in Vogue magazine and The New York Times! Suddenly, I didn’t feel so crazy.
So, I gave the talk, and brought some cookies that I’d made with me. They were not for sale, but people really liked them, and the press picked up on these ‘cricket cookies’. There was a rush of inbound interest from people who wanted to buy the cookies – we thought ‘Oh my God, they don’t exist yet!’ We had to throw together everything really fast, from our health department certifications to our baking staff, so we could start actually producing and shipping these cookies! So, we sort of stumbled into cookies as our first product just because of the demand for them after that event.’
Megan and Leslie
had to react quickly to pull everything (logistics and funds) together, but the cookies were a proof
of concept that injected energy and urgency into the process.
Jenny founded Rubies in the Rubble to rescue produce that is rejected and thrown away due to aesthetic imperfections, and give them new life as chutneys and relishes. She had an idea, and immediately set about testing it out:
‘I started reading
about the problem of food waste after seeing the amount of discarded produce at
fruit and veg markets across London. Beautiful mangoes, cranberries and
tomatoes all headed for landfill, often because they simply didn’t look right.
Armed with some family recipes and a car boot full of rescued fruit & veg from the New Covent Garden market, the experimentation in the kitchen began!’
Jenny tested the
concept for herself in an inexpensive way to prove these rescued ingredients
were worth building a business around.
The first draft is just a first draft. Expect to have to workshop and adapt initial concepts, even discard ideas that don’t pass the viability test.
Perfectionism is not useful at first – focus on getting a ‘duct tape’ version of your idea out of your head and into the world, and take it from there!
If you want to think through a design sprint to avoid costly mistakes, contact the Ogunte team here and mention “Design Sprint Info”.Read more
by Servane Mouazan
If you want to learn about culture, listen to the stories
If you want to change the culture change the stories.
As I was invited to speak at the recent TechInclusion event in London on the Inclusive Investment Panel,
I looked at what the
ecosystem of investors, accelerators and entrepreneurs needed to rethink and
apply, to develop diverse and inclusive portfolios and investment models.
The background was technology but I think the reflection around what needs to be done applies to the majority of companies, public services and communities.
It requires a total mindset overhaul, yet it’s very simple:
As I read on a poignant Facebook post written by Antonio Dejada, a grieving father: “Inclusion is not a whim, inclusion is dignity”.
The TechInclusion event
has prompted me to reflect on various conversations and interactions in my networks and
draw out 12 insights, and great behaviours that exemplify inclusion in practice.
If you’re serious about changing people’s worlds for the better through your
work ask yourself, “how many of these traits can my organization demonstrate?” .
Having equal access to a community or a resource doesn’t mean that you can subsequently use this community or this resource the same way others do, or with the same freedom, or the same consequences.
This holds true for a service, for a product, and for recruitment. As people behave differently and have different expectations, they also have diverse historical and cultural “DNAs”. So when we recruit new team members or campaigners, when we form groups of practice for leisure or learning, we need to filter out unconscious bias and integrate the fact that each person will have a different experience and “reading” of the world:
FRIDA, the young feminist fund, does it very well. FRIDA stands for Flexibility, Resource, Inclusivity, Diversity, Action. They believe that “when young feminist activists are trusted as experts of their own reality and provided with resources, opportunities, and networks, they are a powerful force for change.”
pushing legislators to end child marriage in Pakistan to increasing visibility
of trans*people in Guyana, from publishing safe sex manuals for queer women in
South Africa to creating safe spaces for girls in Ukraine, learn how young feminist
organizers are creating change.
We can teach all the girls in the world some extra coding skills. However if we still call girls bossy when they are just assertive, or if their so called “soft skills” (for instance, their capacity to connect, to catalyse people and resources, to listen, to problem solve, to coach, to elevate), are labelled as “fluffy” and not recognised on their CV,, then we are just losing out and the coding is a misleading investment.
I have an issue with compartmentalisation of virtues, skills and talents in boxes that are either feminine or masculine. We are using the wrong words. We are generating limited beliefs. Well nature doesn’t work like this.
When approached by students working on women in leadership and entrepreneurship, I often challenge their approach to clustering agentic and communal attributes (that get amplified to a massive extent by social constructs*) as inherently masculine or feminine. I push them to break the mould, rewrite their questions, dig deeper, and to never settle on that cluster without offering a challenging perspective.
Think about it: If I am driven, determined, task focused, independent, why does that have to make me a good man or a bad woman?
* (Patterson et al., 2012; Eagly & Carli, 2007).
“Making space”, this is easy to say but for some, hard to perform. It is in fact a genuine act of leadership.
It manifests itself in various forms:
- Sharing the space with people otherwise invisible in your mainstream space
- Quoting people who are usually not given an equal voice
- Recruiting in contexts where you never recruit
- Networking at events where you never show up
- Designing and testing products and services with the people you always forget to design and test with
- Designing as if ALL people mattered.
- Designing as if OTHER people knew best
- Making space is also holding out your hand to a peer or a staff member and reminding them that they did not start this in order to quit, and they need to keep going.
- Finally and most importantly, making space is bowing out yourself and leaving your spot in the limelight for someone who could actually do a much more authentic and powerful job.
Last year, I interviewed Hera Hussain, founder of Chayn.co, a global platform that empowers women against violence and
oppression. Chayn means “Solace” and “Peace” in Urdu. Chayn is also an
award-winning, open-source project that leverages technology to empower women
against violence and oppression so they can live happier and healthier lives.
Running solely on the passion of more than 300 skilled volunteers from 13
countries, Chayn leverages technology to address the problems women face today
in a dozen countries. Their resources are openly licensed so charities around
the world can use, remix and distribute their work!
Their design principle is: “Design with, not for”. Which means people who use the
resources also co-design them and provide the necessary guidance and leadership
that enables Chayn to deploy accurate responses to difficult issues.
If we want services
that serve the 99%, we need to open our eyes and scan our world.
For some, the world is a moving bubble, somewhere on a spectrum between stigma and privilege. To grow empathy we need to work on the bubble.
The most successful approaches to growing empathy are the ones that make the bubble porous:
- Take away one-off formal top-down training by external trainers (it aleniates people) and look at creating co-mentoring, co-coaching and peer alliances, one conversation at a time, in your community of practice, at work, at home, and pass on your message, the same way a virus disseminates.
- If you’re in a position of power, privilege, or if you have a voice, start “recruiting”: sponsor people that are skilled yet generally invisible, or disproportionately negatively impacted upon. Nudge them to keep going, to never quit. Never quit your supportive role either! Offer them and hold a space to grow, and to be more visible -if this is what they want.
- As a mentor, if you have charisma, wisdom and resources, use them to invite people to join experiences that are going to change their views of the world. Sponsor life-changing and sustainable pathways. And here I am referring to people who have by default a “privileged” view of and access to the world. It doesn’t hurt to change.
- Finally if you hold purse strings, create a different space/infrastructure. If a platform doesn’t provide life-changing avenues, create alliances, hack into other platforms, make them your own, and invite people to take off from them. See for instance how crowdfunding has been a life saviour for a great number of women who couldn’t make themselves heard by traditional loan providers and used crowdfunding platforms as launch pads.
I love the efforts deployed by Talent
Sonar founded by technologist Laura Mather in 2014. Talent Sonar helps recruiters find
the person who best fits each job from a broader, more qualified pool of
candidates. Their core
“Don’t try to change people with complex training on how to hire right. Just give them an easy-to-use tool that changes the hiring process to naturally optimize results.”
So what can we do to develop more underrepresented investors, decision-makers and advocates?
During one-to-one or
group support sessions, people can break down issues they consider as
obstacles. Only their peers can help rationalise the steps they need to present
themselves to these potential investment committees
The Women in Social Finance peer-to-peer group created in 2011 by catalyst, angel and investment director Suzanne Biegel, has put together a system of co-mentoring, resource sharing, training in public speaking, as well as support for senior women in social finance to access investment committees. Pathways to Investment committees are not always straight forward. While most women in the group have the necessary skills, there are some obstacles that need overcoming, limiting beliefs that need smashing, or networks that need expanding.
Co-mentoring is key.
Boards source a majority of their candidates from other boards, or retired senior executives. At Ogunte one way we advise women in social enterprises to climb up the board ladder is to start their participation very early on, and be involved with their friends’ charity boards, social business start-ups or tech-for-good ventures’ advisory committees. They are also encouraged to turn their potential stigma if they live through one, into an asset, a knowledge resource, because it is what business intelligence is about.
came out with a study highlighting the lack of diversity on
boards. Deloitte pushed for mixtocracy and highlighted mechanisms to stop stale, homogenous and
ultimately underperforming boards. Understanding the issues allows you to
design bold methods to hold boards to account, as clients or broadcasters of
someone’s work. Together with your peer-to-peer network, you can make progress.
In a recent article for ImpactAlpha, Suzanne Biegel says there are actually a substantial amount of firms investing with a gender lens but, she says, “they do not talk about it”. When you are much clearer - and louder - about your choices, about where you want to direct your money and to which causes, and about the impact it has, you will inevitably attract people who understand that language, at board level, and at entrepreneur level.
Armed with evidence, you can also squash limiting beliefs such as “Women are risk averse women are not commercial, black people are not engaged politically, disabled people are not interested in joining the board”. It is our duty to rectify this, create better infrastructures to welcome everyone and broadcast the truth.
Some entrepreneurs do reverse due diligence with their investors and if the latter do not fit, the entrepreneurs won’t pick them. (Ideally…)
Suki Fuller, Competitive & Strategic Intelligence Advisor, founder of Miribure and Salaam ventures, advocates that pushing only diversity of thoughts is not satisfactory. Do reverse due diligence on your potential supporters/investors and see how they behave.
We need to normalise the fact that binary and siloed styles of management are out of date and not fit for purpose.
Don’t recruit the bad guys.
Megan Miller, founder of Bitty Foods – who produces eco-friendly, high-protein sources of nutrition using insect flour- shared in her interview on Ogunte.com what her mentors advised her:
advised me to reframe it positively in my mind. They say: ‘What you’re doing is
giving people an opportunity. You have to frame it so that you’re inviting them
to be a part of something that’s really important and special: this is an
opportunity for them, not you asking them for something that you need.” “It’s
something you have to keep learning, I think,” Miller says.
In social enterprises, the financial return for investors might not be as high as in straight commercial deals. The teams are on average very small, there is a lot more work needed to bring in business skills. It costs time, people’s input and money. Loan rates are high, and the returns are slow.
So, people the types of people who found social enterprises, might also get less funding or funding at a higher price than the types of people who found mainstream businesses.
Noguera, @pipelineangels Founder & CEO – whom we had the pleasure to host as guest mentor on one of our
earliest Make a Wave Incubation programmes – says:
In a recent study by INSEAD, “Blurring the Boundaries: The Interplay of Gender and Local Communities in the Commercialization of Social Ventures” it seems some social norms don’t just affect how we evaluate entrepreneurs, they affect the behaviours of entrepreneurs themselves.
We have to break the
mould at all costs.
The first thing to do is educate investors on the issues themselves, include entrepreneurs, and all stakeholders around the design thinking / service design table. Funds should be designed the same way products or services should be designed: with the users in mind. What is the minimum valuable financial service that can be offered? Does it fit everyone around the table? Is it worth starting a new fund at all, or would it be better to be more humble and match / top-up a fund that has a better designed/ pre-existing eco-system and evidence of positive impact to date?
Secondly, entrepreneurs need to acquire coaching support to help them reflect back on their behaviour, beliefs and attitude and challenge the mould that is building up, or just never crumbling.
As David Floyd points out in his blog Beanbags and bullshit: “Financing needs to be modelled around the problem and not investment returns”.
When I am attending investors’ informal meet ups, I hear so much about products when I really want to hear more about their leaders and makers.
Investors are, often
unknowingly, hampered by a bunch of structural, societal issues, that need to
be addressed - and when they are, the nature of the investments that are made
For women, the issues I am talking about are racism, gender inequality, discrimination, poverty, physical and mental health factors plus the day to day realities of being a women at work, and the negative impact of being patted on the head, and harassed for hundreds of years
We need to better understand practitioners on the ground; who they are, who they serve, where they come from and what their lives are like. And we need to know if and how they survive in leadership positions.
We need to remind the purse holders and decision makers that these issues do exist and that they can make space for others without risking their own extinction.
What if purse holders and decision makers were forthcoming and honest about their mistakes or successes? A good level of transparency and a sense of learning are paramount for strong relationships. If you want a healthy place in which to discuss inclusiveness and diversity, you need to be open and ready to communicate and listen with care.
As Daniel Rostrup - Head
of Corporate Venture Philanthropy and UK Local Representative at the European
Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) points
out, we also need to resource affinity networks. Rostrup:
“They are hugely important in
helping provide the kind of networking, peer-to-peer learning, connections,
training, role models and opportunities that are needed to help get people from
so-called minorities into positions of power. “
“Too often these kinds of networks are under-resourced and often run on an ad hoc basis, with little to no staff and no clear “theory of change” in how they hope to affect impact with their work. These networks should be professionalised, better resourced and top priority, especially for big corporations (rather than a ‘nice to have’).”
At Ogunte, as we
are designing learning programmes for women in social enterprises, we keep
these statements pinned on the walls as a strong reminder and their essence needs to be included in the projects.
- “If tech
is to be so pervasive, then let’s have it for the 99.9%. Let it be good,
empathetic and socially impactful”, (my quote!)
- If there’s a law, apply it. Remind people about it. Implement it. Ask about it.
- “In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people”, Wilma Mankiller - first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation*
- Clever robots and advanced mobile phones could make life much easier for older women - if only someone would ask and stop treating them like “old idiots”, as top United Nations campaigner for the rights of the elderly Silvia Perel-Levin, said recently.
- “Middle age, formerly the highest-status phase of life around the world, has become a precarious crossing. The relatively new tech sector is generating enormous amounts of a very old product: ageism.” Article Why ageism never gets old.
- Learn to MAKE SPACE
- Get out of the office and get to know people
- Intersectionality and inclusion don’t kill
- Intersectionality and inclusion are intelligence
Keep learning and applying.
+Wilma Mankiller, the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, was born in 1945. She served for 10 years and in that time, reinvigorated the Cherokee Nation with community development projects and transformed the relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government. Mankiller was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
Servane Mouazan helps organisations understand people’s needs in a changing economy, working across industries in South America, Europe and MENA. She is the founder and director of Ogunte C.I.C, a certified Bcorp that trains and amplifies the work of women in social ventures, since 2001 and has supported ca. 7,000 changemakers to date. Servane also developed Make a Wave, the first incubator and investment readiness programme for women in social enterprises in the UK.Read more
Ogunte CIC, the organisation for Women in Social Enterprise organised a think-do session in collaboration with Digital Science with an audience of women activists, social and tech-for-good entrepreneurs, to explore the ways we could put humans back into tech and create services that people really want and love to use.
To do so, we learned from a fab social tech entrepreneur and used a few tasters from the Design Sprint methodology.
Discover 6 learning insights from the session:
Participants organised themselves in small groups of up to 5 people. They first introduced themselves briefly by introducing the impact they were making or intended to make. They also identified the key hurdle they were facing, moving away from “power introductions” and creating a space of trust and empathy. It can prove difficult at time to provide exquisite listening to our peers. We think we know the topics. We’ve heard it all before. We filter event the quickest introductions.
To mitigate this, we encouraged people to sit with people outside their industry or at the fringe of their network, and be ready to challenge their perception.
Our guest Zoe Peden is someone who has always thought of business as being designed around humans rather than around technology.
She has won over 10 awards nationally and internationally for her work growing a speech and language product, MyChoicePad over the last 7 years. MyChoicePad uses Makaton symbols and signs to help people develop their communication skills, express themselves and make independent choices. Her current business, Iris Speaks, is in digital speech and language therapy, and is moving the delivery of certain areas of speech and language therapy towards utilising machine learning to make interventions more effective, shorter, but also cheaper to deliver, and therefore focusing on a bigger social impact.
When Zoe first launched her previous business MyChoicePad, she took a suitcase of iPads around schools in 2011. There were not many iPads around at the time! So she ended up selling the iPads and provided training to get people comfortable using touch screens. And they hadn’t even started using the product itself. Zoe says: “I had to become a service to sell my product.”
“When we’d go out to sell MyChoicePad, we were able to talk about the number of downloads and active users to demonstrate to our stakeholders we were doing well,” says Zoe, “but it felt empty - we were not demonstrating how much change we were creating. So we went back to the drawing board and our Chief Speech and Language Therapist designed a way initially manually that enabled us to measure, from a baseline, the increase in language development we could make over a period of time. After gathering enough data we then baked this into the technology in order to measure the impact we were having. This was really valuable when it came to selling the service as we could actually explain the difference we would make to people, and how our customers could tell if it was working. We were able to measure our social impact digitally.
“Early on with MyChoicePad I was filming at a special college for a case study and I saw one of the students taking ownership of the iPad and showing one of the teaching assistants how it worked. When we designed the app we generally thought it was going to be the other way around. But then I saw a student teaching a teaching assistant how to do certain signs using MyChoicePad. This was brilliant and so empowering to see but we had not designed the trigger for someone with dexterity issues. So after seeing such a great thing, we went back to the drawing board and changed the trigger so it would be easier for other students to teach people?
Back to their drawing board, participants delved into a quick “time machine” exercise around their “hurdles”, discussing how people in and outside organisations dealt with them, in the past, present and the future. The exercises forced them to look at systems bigger than they own, and move away from looking at just people and behaviours, but also keeping track of social, cultural, even religious trends, habits and beliefs, policies, environment, etc. The shift from silo to system was palpable.
Our final experiment focused on role playing and the teams got to interview one particular “user” on each table. We had moaners, risk-averse, politically abject and heavily stereotyped characters! The exercise challenged the participants to expect the unexpected and see their own projects in a totally new light. We never get enough of negative feedback in real life from kind-hearted users, do we?
Finally Zoe Peden gave us her top 3 tips related to creating a minimum valuable service.
Now, how do YOU create a minimum valuable service?
Discover more #ImpactWomen Interviews on our platform Ogunte.comRead more
During our latest Ogunte brainy breakfast with the fabulous Futureheads Recruitment team, our guest speaker Clare Munday, and a lively group of Women in Social Enterprises and Technology, we explored practical ways to “design for humans, and we went away with valuable commitments.
This session was hosted and animated by
Why is it best to talk to humans before you design that app, or start to include technology in your service/product?
Here’s what people said about their issues:
Clare gave us a practical overview of the things to think about:
As you continue to design further
It is not just about your service
Here are some useful additional resources:
Useit.com - Jacob Neilsen
UX archive - http://uxarchive.com/
Design pattern libraries - Global Visual languages
Universities and Business
Starting an e-commerce business
Validating UX & ROI
Lean researchRead more
Another year has passed and we still hear about the obstacles that we face, those we create, our fears, doubts, our unexpected successes…
And yes, sometimes, new pieces of work, successful tenders, collaborations, force us to let go of habits that made us comfortable…
Some of you also transition into new positions, new responsibilities.
Sometimes these transitions never really come or come unexpectedly.
And there are days, we find ourselves guilty of thinking we could drop it all, as the context seems to be more and more complex, difficult, and the news nasty.
At Ogunte, we encourage people to learn, practice and measure their efforts through 5 pillars:
Throughout a series of webinars with ImpactWomen, we are working through each of these pillars to co-design the triggers, ask ourselves the challenging questions, that enable us to make progress. Find the steps we followed below:
In today’s session, our goal was to experiment growing a sense of connectedness, help participants gain some certainty in one particular domain, encourage them to do a tiny step forward, and commit to it.
Connectedness is not just networking or
When you work on your sense of connectedness, you are able to:
Explore the following steps and create specific, succinct and bold answers.
1. Who are you in one tweet/sentence?
can add your twitter handle and 1 sentence (140 characters max):
2. What does connectedness mean to you and how does it show up in your life? Give a couple of specific examples.
3. If you put yourself in 2030 (or a future date), and you turn back to the work you have accomplished these past years (between now and 2030), where and how have you been most suited to create change?
Tell a brief story of your accomplishment; add places, numbers, profiles, to paint a more specific “story”.
4. In an ideal world, - it might or might not be related to that particular vision - if you had 100% more of a sense of connectedness, what would be top 3 actions you feel you should set in motion?
For instance: If you are working on a movement of socially conscious retailers in a particular location, and you would like to develop your business supporting these people… Being connected would mean that you could:
a) organise meetups, working groups
b) understand / research how these retailers think
c) design a prototype service for these people, that they would test.
Now come up with 3 separate actions (not goals!)
PROCESS AND CONTENT
Sometimes, we are pretty clear on the long term end goal or vision, but the steps to take are quite fuzzy. What we found out is that fuzziness comes generally because we mix up content (what) and process (how).
Are your actions related to processes, or are they related to content?
Can your actions be broken down in separate processes and content?
What has been getting in the way recently? (It could be something that you keep NOT DOING.)
For instance: if you feel that you have tendencies to be perfectionist, it might mean that the work doesn’t get finished, or completed or delivered, or shipped. So in this context the issue that gets in the way is: the work doesn’t get shipped or delivered. You are preventing the work to get out to a place where it is out of your control!
Test your behaviour or your objective
using the grid:
This questioning process is about stretching your brain to explore all the reasons why you do or don’t complete the tasks; and what happens or not along the way.
You can also use the grid to test a small-size objective (don’t make it too big!) to capture ideas or feeling that would have been otherwise discarded…
Purpose: Doing so helps you connect your thinking with your actions.
Finally, now that you have articulated an objective, committed to a couple of actions, and tested your readiness to complete them, who would you like to hold you accountable for this?
One trick: it cannot be yourself!
One of our participants is a digital communications consultant who works specifically for ethical entrepreneurs, helping them to amplify their work.
What’s in the way?
not yet decided in which direction she wants to develop her business now that
she has more time to dedicate to it.
Her unique action forward
She thinks she could expand her connections with ethical entrepreneurs and better understand their digital communications needs, capacities and budgets.
This action can be broken down into 2 steps: process and content.
In the “process” section, our consultant will explore all the way to get in touch and start talking with ethical entrepreneurs.
In the “content” section, she will look into mapping then turning the information collected into an interesting offer.
Her follow up actions could be:
Designing ahead with the follow-up
actions in mind
When you have a specific objective, start jotting some actions, and connected steps, on a timeline.
Be clear about how each action leads to the following: action 4 leads to action 5 and action 5 leads to action 6, etc…
Play that timeline in reverse, like a film…
If you want xyz type of results in action 4, what needs to have happened in action 3?
For our digital communications consultant, whilst having the conversations about needs, budgets, she should figure out HOW she wants to collect the information and WHAT she will want to do with it.
A specific statement/question will help her design better steps. For instance:
“Assuming I can get valuable budget and needs and objectives of my prospective clients, how can I design the survey/conversation so that I can get people thinking about their purpose, but importantly about co-designing and testing a prototype with me, amplifying their work?”
Doing so will help our consultant SHAPE the conversation in a way that is useful to her, and connected to her objective.
BUT … all of the above is not going to
be helpful if she hasn’t first asked herself some questions about the kind of
business she wants and how she wants to help her participants!
She will need to test her original
vision and her own personal feeling about it, using the grid.
If she happens to have various ideas on how to amplify ethical entrepreneurs, the insights generated during the exercises will help her prioritize, merge or discard some of these ideas. It might be that she will get insights about the type of entrepreneurs she wants to help as well.
If she has some doubts on the nature of that business itself, it will emerge during the grid.
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