Intrapreneurs from Young Enterprise Scotland, social enterprise Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice.
Steve McCreadie, Chief Executive Creator and Founder of The Lens, talks to the Collective about why collective impact, and working in collaboration with others, is helping them and the many organisations they work with to grow, thrive and make a difference. He also shares insight into a collaboration with fellow Can Do Collective Partner Young Enterprise Scotland, plus Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice.
The Lens is a charity built on working in collaboration with others in Scotland – internally and externally – to generate wider reach and create a bigger impact. An approach very much aligned to the broader ambitions of the Can Do Collective.
“I am absolutely confident that within every organisation lies a huge amount of hidden talent and ideas that don’t get enough attention. At The Lens, we aim to find a way to work with organisations to release that talent, put it into action on a day-to-day basis to improve people’s lives, find the best ones, and scale them up.
“The principal of intrapreneurship is acting like an entrepreneur inside a large organisation. At The Lens, we have consistently found that the people closest to the problems faced by customers often have the best solutions – but that those ideas rarely make it into reality. Intrapreneurship unlocks that potential. By developing the mindset and skills of intrapreneurs, people, teams and colleagues can become a community of change-makers that inspire and influence others to see and think differently.”
As well as nurturing talent within organisations, The Lens share the Can Do Collective’s mission that connections and collaboration can generate greater results. Steve says,
“I think one of the beauties of Scotland is that it is a small country which can often mean people are well connected. When you work together, and in collaboration, and you work collectively you can have a much greater impact than if you were to work solely. It is also enormously inspiring to know that your efforts as a single organisation are actually aligned with others.”
It was the concepts of both collaborative working and ‘intrapreneurship’, that led to a close alliance between The Lens and fellow Can Do Collective Partner, Young Enterprise Scotland. Steve shares a recent example of the ways in which collaboration between peers within the Can Do Collective ecosystem can lead to real results.
“Geoff Leask from Young Enterprise Scotland approached us, and we partnered to help develop ‘intrapreneurial’ and entrepreneurial behaviours in Young Enterprise Scotland. Our work at The Lens aims to help organisations drive ideas from the ground up. Geoff and his team were inspired by this and we worked together on a tailored programme, which has led to direct impact and a genuine shift in the way that the organisation listens to and responds to its front-line employees. They have opened communication between the board and their teams on the ground and have an open forum to allow front line staff to bring forward their ideas for consideration by the board. There’s been a fundamental change in the way the business works, and it is driving results.”
“We enabled a collaboration between Young Enterprise Scotland, social enterprise Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice. The three organisations have worked together on our bespoke programme that allows front line staff to bring their ideas forward, develop and test them. It’s been a genuinely collaborative approach that, in Young Enterprise Scotland, led to an idea that has secured £7k investment for a prototype to develop pathways to digital careers for young women – a concept that was generated by a front-line worker. Columba 1400 and Highland Hospice also secured investment of £8k and £5k respectively, for ideas to develop Leadership and support bereaved families. A great example of both collaborative working and intrapreneurship at play.”
Young Enterprise Scotland have now embedded this approach into their culture and have shifted their idea generation to help them achieve their mission to improve the lives of young people.
Geoff Leask comments,
“Working with Steve and his team at the Lens a couple of years ago has helped us to recognise and develop the intrapreneurial talent that we have within our wonderful team at Young Enterprise Scotland. Two years down the line we now have our own internal version of the Lens as a part of our business development planning schedule called the ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ (BHAG’s) and are developing three initiatives from the front-line delivery team that will help us to achieve our strategic ambition of ‘Enterprise for All’.”
Though a charity, The Lens has grown by around 30% year on year and continues to collaborate with businesses across Scotland. Over the past five years, The Lens has helped more than 200 entrepreneurs, secure one and a half million pounds worth of investment in their ideas – ideas that were hidden and not being acted upon. And moving forward, they are set to help even more organisations, with the launch of a digital platform, to allow and enable entrepreneurial behaviour inside companies across Scotland.
Some of their key achievements have included helping organisations to increase innovation skills, increase engagement, increase motivation of staff, increase capacity across an organisation, and helping to find ideas that genuinely generate income and save money.
Some additional projects that The Lens have driven forward include;
- Working collectively with Children’s Hospice Across Scotland on a transformative project to create a new community network of paediatric palliative care pharmacists across Scotland that never existed before.
- Working with Renfrewshire Council to establish their ‘Interpretive Bank’ – an idea inspired by an employee there who remembered coming to Scotland and what it was like not being able to speak English when she was eight years old. The innovative idea brought together a team for whom English is not the first language, as interpreters. As a result, the council became more accessible to more people, provided employment opportunities and saved up to 60% of the council’s translation budget.
- Working with Beatson Cancer Care charity intrapreneurs Lisa Stanulis & Gail Richmond, Beatson Cancer Care Charity, worked with The Lens to help them to bring to life BeCalm – personal access to guided meditation and relaxation music that helps patients to cope better with stays in hospital and enables them to take home their own relaxation toolkit.
- Working with Alzheimer Scotland over three years, to help to deliver new ways of supporting people living with dementia.
Anyone interested in finding out more about The Lens can visit; https://www.lensperspectives.org.uk.