Interns Insights: Remote-working for a social enterprise

Marketing for a social enterprise

Interning for a company with such a diverse portfolio of social franchises means you are engaged with a variety of social issues on a daily basis. It was a great experience working with an organisation who are providing sustainable solutions to social issues. One who is quite deliberately contributing to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Working as Marketing and Communications Officer I learnt more about social media strategies, writing press releases, speaking to journalists, brand design, nudge theory, and marketing to developing communities. I made first links with contacts using elevator pitches, and gained expertise in simplifying the business model explanation. The fact I was remote-working for all of this provided an extra challenge in ensuring I stayed in constant communication with my team.

With WSV there is the added advantage of being able to network with both the business community, as well as charities- and knowing that you have something to offer to both. All of this was made all the more valuable because, when sharing the message of a social enterprise, you know that you are doing social good. It felt incredibly positive to know WSV are not providing aid, which can make developing communities dependent on this support, instead they are providing people with a business which they can use to support their families and communities.

The Royal Society of Arts

For 4 weeks I worked part-time at the Royal Society of Arts in London. I used the open working space, met interesting people and helpful staff, and used the library space and facilities. During my internship I became a fellow of the RSA due to my work so far in social enterprise at university. Becoming a fellow connects you to a network of 28,000 people across the world whom you can contact for collaboration/guidance. I would recommend it if you are interested in social progress.

Start-up-life

Working for a start up was a dynamic and fast paced experience. There are very few obstacles slowing you down. Processes are streamlined, and meetings are efficient. As a small team, we socialised at lunchtimes, got to know each other, recognised each other’s strengths, collaborated on ideas and projects, and shared expertise and knowledge. Working as a team in this way made the experience so much more useful, as six minds are always better than one!

Tips on remote-working

Remote-working teaches you to manage your time, maintain motivation, and reach out to colleagues for information whenever needed. Here are a few lessons I took from the experience:

  • Morning and afternoon goals- Set yourself a main goal for each morning and afternoon, and stick to them. Other things will come along, but you need to get your big ‘rocks’ in first.
  • Colour code progress- If you’re a visual learner, like me, use a traffic light system to keep track of your progress on goals.
  • Sync your deadlines– If one of your deadlines relies on someone else meeting theres, check in with them regularly so that you can adjust your workload accordingly.
  • Remember no question is silly. It’s always better to contact a colleague to check detail than to make a mistake. Especially in a marketing role.

 

Beckie Thomas FRSA

 

 

Interns Insights: Training in developing communities

Think outside the box

The role of training developer requires a ‘think outside the box’ approach in order to make the training interactive, easily digestible and effective. This is especially the case when writing training manuals for developing countries where messages, examples and activities don’t translate in the same way. For example, when thinking about how a social enterprise can promote their brand through marketing, it would be redundant to use examples of businesses well known in the western world. Instead, it is useful to find out what brands and businesses people from rural communities will be familiar with, and base examples around those instead. In my experience, this is often fizzy drinks labels and sim card providers!

Cultural differences

A training developer must also be aware of cultural differences when writing any manuals and be careful with how things are worded. A prime example, which I experienced during my time with WSV, is sexual health teaching. Petal, a social enterprise involving the making and selling of reusable sanitary towels, is marketed using menstrual health education which the entrepreneurs learn and then teach to others in their community. There are many myths and stigmas around menstruation which is something that training developer should be sensitive towards. Therefore, it is important to find a way to dispel these myths and promote the importance of this kind of health education for the empowerment of women.

 

 6 Top Tips for developing training material:

1. Know your audience: Who will receive the training? Is the message translatable? Are there any cultural barriers that need to be crossed?

2. Keep it visual: A fun and exciting page will attract the reader and help them to remember the information.

3. Use interactive, energetic games frequently: The training manual contains games and activities that get the entrepreneurs up on their feet, role playing and even some friendly competition.

4. Don’t be afraid of leaving white space on a page: The more packed a page of the manual is, the less likely the entrepreneur will read it because it is overwhelming.

5. Create a good line of communication between you and the illustrator: The illustrator is a huge asset to you as a training developer because they are the ones who bring your ideas to life and make the manuals look exciting.

6. Do the activities yourself: Creating activities from scratch that need to reinforce a message can be challenging. I find it helpful to do the activity myself to make sure the instructions make sense and that it gets the message across clearly.

 

Imogen Jacques

FRSA

 

 

 

 

Interns Insights: The power of networking

‘Wandering around a room full of strangers; trying to spark conversations and desperately hand out business cards. All this in the hope of meeting the perfect connection.’

This may be what comes to mind when you think of networking. Terrifying, right? As scary as it may initially seem, networking is your gateway to accessing a wealth of knowledge, experience and opportunities. Whatever sector you are in and whatever it is you do, building your network and making important connections has immeasurable value. You never know where a connection will lead you!

The Power of Networking

In just 4 short weeks working for WSV, I have written hundreds of emails, attempted to master the art of cold calling and attended some truly inspirational conferences! From meeting a consultant neurosurgeon from Bahrain to the founder of the Africa Technology Business Network… you never know who you might come across! And whilst connections may not always be directly relevant, you never know how they could help you out in the future. Or more importantly, what you could offer them!

Last week, I atended the Planet Earth Institute’s ‘Scientific Independence for Africa’ conference. I was sat at a table with academics, policy makers, scientists and doctors, all working in the field of international development. As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty under-qualified, and was thinking ‘what on earth do I have to offer them?’ The man I was sat next to turned out to be a lecturer in global challenges who was seeking people with links to universities. I was able to share with him some key contacts from Environmental Sciences at the University of Southampton, to which he was incredibly grateful. It is these chance collaborations which can lead to the mutual exchanges of contacts, knowledge and skills that make networking so rewarding.

My top tips

Whilst after 4 weeks I am not claiming to be a networking genius, I have learnt a few things I want to share:

  1. Never overlook a contact as irrelevant – you don’t know who they might be able to put you in touch with!
  2. Think about how you can help others as well as what they can offer you  – the more you can help someone out, the more willing they’ll be to return the favour!
  3. Bring and collect enough business cards! The worst thing is running out halfway through or relying on others to email you – get those contacts to remember you and send a follow up email ASAP!

 

Amelia Gullett FRSA

Network Development Internship

Interns Insights: Illustrations for developing communities

Design and illustration can be a way to make connections to people who are of completely different backgrounds, and creativity is essential to any brand that is looking to grow and be part of a global movement. Design is also in every part of daily life, from the signs on a tube, to the poster you sit next to at a bus stop, to the design of a website telling you key information. When used correctly, it can make things more clear, when used incorrectly, it can completely confuse the matter.

Illustration, and the arts in general, are a way to overcome cultural and language barriers. Most companies in today’s society will use icons to represent themselves because they are devoid of any text and, therefore, can be understood in any language. They can also be used to show a brand’s values or ethos. In my time at WSV, I have helped to illustrate training manuals, how-to guides and even helped to develop a new brand logo (spoiler alert). Each of these tasks requires me to think about how my illustrations will be understood by someone who has no attachment to the company. If I were a stranger, walking past one of my illustrations in a part of the world I haven’t yet been, would it make sense?

These tasks also came with a responsibility, I had to make sure that people would be able to fully understand what we were teaching them and that they would understand how to use the products. If used incorrectly, it could effect them in any number of ways. Obviously, these illustrations are accompanied by text, but the illustration should not be reliant on that text to make sense, especially when it could be used in a community where not many people can read.

Tips for illustrating for developing communities:

  1. Make sure your illustration style is cohesive, so it can be clearly understood.
  2. Make sure your illustrations make sense without any text.
  3. Be mindful of cultural differences, what might be used to symbolise one thing in a culture, may not make sense for another e.g. a piggybank to represent money.
  4. Think laterally. Some of the best ideas may come from being experimental and creative in your thinking. Generate lots of ideas fast. If it doesn’t feel right straight away, don’t try and fix it, move on to another. At the end of the day, you could end up back at one of your first ideas anyway.

 

Alice Clark FRSA

Illustrator Internship