Shorten the time frame for brand action
I have just had the privilege of returning from a two-week visit to Nepal and Bhutan running a series of entrepreneur workshops. The program is a result of a number of fellow EO members coming together and forming an organisation called T Foundation, as a vehicle for sharing entrepreneurial thinking to assist young people to become more self-determining.
This is our second stint in Nepal and first in Bhutan. More about our experiences in Bhutan next week – today I wish to focus on a key activity we pursued in our sessions in Kathmandu. For the twenty five young people we had in the workshop over 3 days, we gave them a forty eight hour challenge to break into groups of three and establish a business, and actually make money. It was an amazing exercise because it moved beyond the usual conversations of what sort of businesses individuals aspired to open, to action.
The outcomes were brilliant. No team faltered. They all worked at applying their imagination and energy to producing a result. One group leveraged the focus on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, by going to a wholesaler and buying football jerseys of the major countries and selling them. They sold them to fellow workshop participants, hotel guests and to nearby fan hubs and shopping centres. Their result was the sale of 194 jerseys – a great effort because they, like the other participants, had to operate their money making business ideas around attending structured learning sessions on entrepreneurship.
Other business ideas varied from phone apps to websites, and from heat product for injuries to a home made health product. However, one of the more pleasing initiatives was an expression of social entrepreneurship. One group, lead by dynamic individual called Prinsa Shrestha, who just also happens to be Miss Nepal Earth (i.e. runner up in Miss Nepal 2014), chose to focus on launching a program to counter violence against women. It had a very practical format to it, offering women self-defence classes. In 48 hours they organised a venue, instructors and invited people to an introductory session in a weeks time. Using social media, they not only had 147 people sign-up, each paying a small booking fee, but also had the planned event picked up by The Himalayan Times. Their efforts were focused, swift and effective.
The lessons from this very positive experience in Kathmandu for me, was the potential to drive demonstrable action when you give passionate people a short time frame to generate ideas and execute. The goal to make money was tangible and real. There was nowhere to hide. Within all our businesses there is the opportunity to bring greater urgency to producing results. I encourage you to introduce your own version of a meaningful 48 Hour challenge, and see what you can produce.
Brand Scientist & Founder