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Social Shifters of the World Rise Up

[4 minute read]

 

I’m fresh out of the Social Enterprise World Forum, SEWF2018. This annual, three-day-event brings Social Entrepreneurs from all over the globe together in one place to share ideas that are changing the world for good. You’ll struggle to find a more inspiring event…

 

What is a social enterprise?

A Social Enterprise is an organisation, or a person, changing the world for the better. Like most businesses they aim to make a profit, but the key is that they reinvest the majority of their profit to create positive social change. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people’s life chances, support communities and help the environment.

Government statistics identify around 100,000 social enterprises of all sizes in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing nearly two million people.*

Here’s a quick illustration of the range of organisations active in this movement:

  • Cordant Group, the UK’s 2nd largest recruitment and services business with revenues of £840 million and 125,000 employees, reinvests the majority of its profits into social programmes across education, employment, and healthcare, pledging to touch and improve thousands of lives, one community at a time. To demonstrate its intent, Cordant has capped all annual shareholder dividends and all executive salaries, and agreed to be independently audited, using recognised Social Impact measurements.
  • Social Bite is a chain of sandwich shops with a difference – they’re on a mission to end homelessness in Scotland. They created the world’s largest annual sleep out Sleep in the Park which last year alone raised £4million.
  • Students of Broughton High School in Edinburgh have created BROEnterprise which tackles social isolation and loneliness in the community by bringing people together each Friday afternoon in the school to enjoy tea and cake, and to have fun together through craft and reading activities. Everyone is welcome from early years to golden-agers and, as you can imagine, the social enterprise has been a really positive movement in the school.

 

How can we make a difference?

Imagine a world where Social Enterprise is part of the curriculum in every primary school. It’s a main subject choice in every secondary school, and it’s a culture that’s embedded in every workplace. We all know that the best ideas come from people working together, free from prejudice, financial constraints and fear of failure.

With our Society offer at StudioLR we walk the talk about improving people’s everyday – that’s our purpose and the reason we come to work each day. We collaborate on ideas that make a difference to people from all walks of life. We listen and improve until we get it right for the people that need it – they’re the experts. We make sure it’s sustainable and for good. And when it’s embedded we measure the impact.

I urge you to think about what you care about and use that as a starting point to make a difference. There are huge challenges for people all over the world that need our creativity, motivation and determination to solve. Do you care about loneliness, obesity, inequality, or the ageing population?

And if you need inspiration, this is a good place to start.

Lucy Richards

Founder of StudioLR

 

* Social Enterprise UK, State of Social Enterprise Survey 2017

GOING, GOING, GONG?

Our launch of Volvo CE’s flagship rigid hauler (featuring a disappearing hundred tonne hauler) is nominated for a Scottish Design Award.

The launch introduced the world to the R100E – celebrating the expertise and hard work that went into making it. And building relationships to help sell it around the world.

The new hauler has no unexpected features… because Volvo has been listening to customers and developing products based on what they want. The R100E was loaded with the customers’ experience as much as Volvo’s.

We developed the theme ‘Made by you. Built by Volvo’ and all creative for the event – including the unveil of the new hauler and a tour guiding delegates around a factory filled with 2D and 3D graphics, interactive displays and videos.

What Volvo had to say:

“The launch event, which was recognised across the Volvo CE Group, was a major success. As well as launching the new rigid hauler to the world, it helped celebrate and inspire the whole team.

The team at StudioLR presented an exciting concept, something different and brave. We hoped the event would help us make trucks disappear but we didn’t expect to do that literally! ‘Made by You. Built by Volvo’ resonated with our ethos and all the expertise that went into creating Volvo’s first rigid hauler.

Even months on, our company, dealers and customers are still talking about the event. Together we created a unique experience – one our customers and colleagues will never forget.”

Jacqueline Reid

Interim Director – External Communications, Volvo CE

A wee thanks to a few those who helped us make it happen:


To find out more about the award-winning work we do at StudioLR, please get in touch.

a far-off land for people with illness

Nominated in the Publication category of the Scottish Design Awards,  ‘a far-off land’ by Alec Finlay for Macmillan Cancer Support explores the memory of landscapes as a fond illness-companion.

A far-off land is a book of photography by Hannah Devereux poems by Alec Finlay exploring place-names and their meanings – commissioned for the new Macmillan Cancer Support Day Unit in Arbroath.

The photography remembers childhood illness, where bedding becomes an imaginative landscape – with scenes suggestive of the glens of Angus.

The book is based on the thought that the memory of the landscape remains fond and healing, even when it cannot easily be accessed, whether through illness or people coming to the end of life.


To find out more about the award-winning work we do at StudioLR, please get in touch.

TEDx Glasgow 2018

[2 minute read]

At the Nods Awards, we’d just won the Grand Prix when Dave’s name popped on screen. The lucky blighter had also won the raffle: two tickets to TEDx. A day of inspiring talks and demo labs in Glasgow.

So last Friday we set off together on a sun-filled early train, full of anticipation.

At the door of the Armadillo we were met with huge smiles and welcoming waves; handed our ‘Ideas Worth Doing’ notepads; and entertained by a jazz trio playing Stevie Wonder. This was a good start. Not like any other conference (or even ‘unconference’) we’d been to before.

We jostled amongst the 2,000 attendees for a free seat in the main auditorium, ears and eyes open and ready for 9 hours of stimulation.

First up on stage was Van Ives – not a speaker, a band. Two guys playing an engrossing fusion of electronica, R&B and folk. It felt like we were in the TED trance, under the spell already at 9am.

The rest of the day developed into an intensive blur (is that possible?) of inspiration, agitation, thought provocation, humour and arrest. From astrophysics to gluten free baking, robotics to tax avoidance, the perils of fame to the power of hope.

Standout (stand ups) for us were Darren McGarvey, Karen Dunbar, Adam Kashmiry, and Shona McCarthy. Here are three wee thoughts that have stuck with us over the week…

1. Expertise is nothing without the input of non-experts.
Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, recalled sharing the good news with the world that the UK’s economy was growing again. The people hadn’t noticed. It turned out the only upturn in the entire UK was in London and the South East. If the economy is to benefit the public, a percentage on a spreadsheet isn’t a good enough measure of success. He was talking about ‘harnessing people’s lived experiences’ and we couldn’t help noticing he was sounding more like a good designer than an economist. A great approach!

2. Base change on truth. Brutal, honest truth.
Jean MacAskill Kerr, Leadership and Team Intelligence Consultant at Cisco, talked about how often we change the wrong things because we haven’t dug deep enough and had the awkward, honest conversations. It’s hard to open up and be brutally honest (especially at work) but if you base change on truth you can’t go wrong.

3. Heartstorming not brainstorming. Lifelines not deadlines.
Miha Pogacnik, violinist, leadership speaker and huge ball of energy, put a great spin on the idea of ‘business supporting the arts’. He argued that the arts are now supporting business more. Businesses are getting into the emotion of communication, the purpose that drives their passion – the arts have been doing that for centuries. You can’t give less than 100% when you’re playing Beethoven.

It was a fantastic day, topped off with the news that Edinburgh has secured next year’s TEDGlobal event. See you there.

Let’s talk about bad language

[2 minute read]

Something’s been bothering me for some time. I call it Bad Language and I see it a lot. Especially in public places and services.

I voiced my frustration last November at the OneTeamGov Scotland un-conference https://www.oneteamgov.uk/scotland. I realise the irony of doing this at an ‘un-conference’, but I hoped we might start something together to make things better.

A revolution to make complex communication simple, and human.

My provocation: let’s debunk and reinvent the confusing language used in public services

Bewildering examples are everywhere, you don’t need to look too hard…

On trains we’re told to ‘alight here’ for Falkirk or Croy.

In hospitals we see signs directing us to ‘Ambulatory Care’.

Children in the care of the state are described as ‘service users’, and the services responsible for meeting their needs are called their ‘corporate parents’.

Out there, in the everyday world, we don’t need to use language that de-humanises and trips people up. Let’s not set the train alight… let’s just get off at the right stop!

Please share your examples #letstalkbadlanguage

Sleep in the Park: our thoughts after thawing out

[5 minute read]

Last Saturday, four of our bravest team members joined in Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park event to raise money to help end homelessness. Taking to the park, armed with our many many (many) layers of clothes & a sleeping bag, we were as ready as we could be be to face sleeping in Princes Street Gardens on a chilly winter’s night.

Some slept, some didn’t. But despite temperatures dropping to -6 degrees they made it through the night – warmed by a sense of purpose and solidarity.

So far, the team has raised a fantastic £1,280! We’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to our clients, colleagues, friends and family for sponsoring the team. If you didn’t get a chance before the event, there is still time to donate:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/studiolr

Here are the takeaways from our thawed-out team:

Dave (the shiverer) says…

“The whole event was pretty inspiring. So many people in the same place for the same cause. It warmed my heart right through the layer of frost on my sleeping bag.

Nobody’s perfect and what I love about Social Bite is that they know that. They’re full of positivity – absolutely no finger pointing or blaming and no disconnect between strategy and hands-on action. They’re here to make things better for people, whatever it takes. Their positive attitude makes it easy for everyone to take part and help – from the top of the government to the average joe.

Although the event was primarily a fundraiser, there’s been a lot said about the level of empathy you can really feel by sleeping outside for one night only. I actually think that impact has been huge too. Everyone you speak to now asks how cold it was and follows it up with a thought about people who have to do that regularly. Making people think about others is a pretty great side-effect of raising £4m.”

Kim (the toss’n’turner) says…

“It was pretty cold on Saturday night, everything was covered in frost. I didn’t sleep a wink but how often do you get to be part of something that is helping to eradicate homelessness in Scotland while you stare up at Edinburgh castle and the stars on a winters night.

The sleep out raised a lot of money, and I am in awe of people’s charity so close to Christmas. I’d like to thank everyone that donated.”

Nic (the slider) says…

By the time we arrived at the event we were all passionate about the cause. We had watched the numbers rise on the sleepout website: money raised, jobs pledged, accommodation found… it was awe-inspiring to watch. 

When speaking to the sleepout crowd on the night, Josh Littlejohn reiterated the outstanding fundraising efforts but more importantly, something I hadn’t realised, the awareness raised around this event has knocked down a wall between Edinburgh and it’s homeless community. We can’t turn a blind eye to this anymore, we can’t go back to where we were a few months ago, this really is the beginning of the end for homelessness in Scotland.”

Raini (the snorer) says…

“A movement. That’s what Josh Littlejohn and other speakers spoke of. This wasn’t a one time novelty event – this was another significant strategic step in creating a community of people who can no longer ignore homelessness.

The experience of sleeping outside itself, having only the smallest of tastes of what life for rough sleepers is like, chilled me to the bones but all of our friends and family rallied behind us (and the cause) with their support!

This was the true power of the night – making everyone feel like they have the ability and responsibility to make a difference. Where any blame was deliberately pushed out and all that’s left is the opportunity to shine as one of the good guys who took action. Count me in.

Mental health: is your mind full?

[2 minute read]

Most people I know, including myself (who I know vaguely), have minds overflowing with stuff and things. We live in a world where there’s so much to take in, and at such speed, it’s a minor miracle we’re able to function at all. To help us, and our brains, mental health needs to be discussed often and freely, so we can create healthy working environments.

At the recent Marketing Society St Andrew’s Day Dinner, Ruby Wax highlighted the importance of mental health in a way only she can – with humour and discomforting honesty.

The analogy I remember most vividly was that the modern stresses applied to the brain are equivalent to filling your computer with files and wondering why it’s slowly grinding to a halt. It reminded me of a quote I’d read recently for a new project…

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things.” Sherlock Holmes.

All of this got me looking into my ‘attic’ and realising how similar it was to my actual attic. Full of crap. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of my colleague’s book. He’s been abstaining from all news for the last six months. He’s noticeably more relaxed and is blissfully unaware of how angry he should be about all the things he has no ability to control.

I will now attempt to dump enough information so that I can remember my kids’ birthdays…

– Mark Wheeler


End mental health discrimination: https://www.seemescotland.org/

Mental health in the workplace: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-support-mental-health-work

 

Tourism: An industry that’s going places

[2 min read]

My top takeaways* from the 2017 Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) conference.

With ASVA members reporting visitor numbers up c.9% (the numbers have risen year on year since 2012) tourism in Scotland is an industry we can be proud of.  We all play our part in contributing to its success – from strategic, national decisions-makers right through to giving a friend in the pub a recommendation for a weekend activity, we’re all proud champions of what our fine country has to offer.

My Takeaways

N500
Scotland’s very own Route 66 is giving thousands of people a compelling reason to visit the North East. It’s already 5th in Now Travel Magazine‘s “Top 5 Coastal Routes in the World”. The genius part about this project is that the roads were already there and it just took some clever thinking to outline and market a route (or rather two) as a destination.

Whisky Distilleries
From casual visitors interested in learning how our national drink is made, to whisky pilgrims who will travel thousands of miles to visit their favourite distillery, to bag as many as possible. The numbers will only keep growing (c.1.7m people are visiting distilleries each year) which, in some cases, is creating its own challenges. A reminder that a quality of the visitor experience should be at the heart of every tourism plan.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
As well as attracting c.220,000 people to Edinburgh Castle in August (and around 100 million people on international TV each year), the Tattoo (under the leadership of Brigadier David Allfrey) has global ambitions. Last year they attracted c.250,000 people (outselling U2 and One Direction) to five of their shows in Melbourne. This is staggering as it’s only one city in one country… just the tip of the iceberg.

Accessible Tourism
My colleague Lorna spoke passionately about this at the conference. Accessible tourism is a growing, high-value market and Scotland is aiming to be recognised as a leading destination for people with particular access needs. Our Founder Lucy previously banged this drum on the same stage as Chris McCoy (VisitScotland) who is championing accessible tourism.

Film tourism
Movies like Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, James Bond and Avengers have inspired people to visit Scotland. What other movies can we attract to our unique and wonderful locations?


‘China ready’

The Chinese market is growing. The extent of this emerging trend is not fully known yet but we’re already gearing up to become ‘China Ready’. A typical itinerary for a Chinese visitor might be
London – Dublin – Loch Ness (to look for the monster of course).

More to do

All’s not perfect and we’re arguably behind the toughest competition, like Ireland. Investment is still much needed in many areas like broadband, a new film studio, roads etc, but there’s an army of people working hard to drive this to the top of the agenda. Brigadier David Allfrey also talked about ‘the bits in between’ in the tourist offer, such as clean streets and clear signage which are vital to the quality of the visitor experience. This is a useful reminder for us to consider, how are our ‘bits in-between’?

 

 Pie Bobs, Arbroath, 5-star rating on Trip Advisor

*My Top Takeaway
The best insight came from my local taxi driver. When I explained what the conference was about, he gave me a full rundown on his usual holiday town of Arbroath. The passion he spoke with about Arbroath left me in no doubt I must visit and try the ‘scrumptious steak and gravy pies’ from Pie Bobs Bakery, which has a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor. He even asked Siri on his phone to confirm that Pie Bobs has the best pies in Scotland, which she did.

No doubt in my mind that even the best marketing can’t beat the humble honest word of mouth (from the taxi driver, not Siri).

We’re a tiny country but have so much to offer, and I for one plan to play my small part wherever possible in creating unforgettable experiences.

– Andy

 

Let design into your boardroom and change your world…

[2 minute read]

I recently attended a workshop organised by our industry champion, the Design Business Association. Held in the spectacular Imagination office in London (where our co-Founder Lucy spent the early years of her career), the day was billed as a chance to ‘explore and debate how to embed design across every business function to harness its transformative power.’

Maybe a few too many big words but we managed to cut through the jargon…

We talked about how to get design onto the top table and how a Chief Design Officer (CDO) can champion design’s value across an organisation… from within the boardroom.

Design can’t be seen as a dark art that takes place in innovation labs and runs sprints and hackathons with co-created blueprints and other such wonders.

Design is fundamental to the success of an organisation, embedding innovation in its culture and DNA. From this position, design can drive businesses forward and make the world a better place to live.

My top takeaways from the day:

  • A CDO doesn’t need to be a designer but has to speak the language of business and understand the impact of design (beyond just the design of the product or service). Strategy, marketing, operations, systems, HR, finance… they can all benefit from design thinking
  • The CDO’s mission is to take design from the design studio into the company culture – encouraging creativity across the organisation to solve problems and drive growth
  • Quick wins are great to galvanise people but it takes time and commitment to change culture

Imagine how great our financial, utility, transport and healthcare institutions could be if they had a Jobs, Branson, Zuckerberg, or Dyson at the helm.

-Andy Gray, MD

We could help end homelessness in our sleep

But only with your help.

This year we’re taking part in Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park to help end homelessness in Scotland. For good.

On the 9th December four of us will be huddling together for warmth as we sleep out in Princes Street gardens. The world’s largest ever sleepout, the event aims to raise an incredible £4million. The money raised will fund employment programmes, housing solutions, rehab facilities and a national strategy to eradicate homelessness.

The good news is you don’t have to brave a baltic December night to help. Simply click a button and donate whatever you can. We believe no one should be out of a home in Scotland. Your kindness will change people’s lives. Thank you.

Help end homelessness by sponsoring us at:

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/studiolr

You can keep up to date with Social Bite’s progress and plans at: www.sleepinthepark.co.uk