Edwards Inspire

Blue and grey Edwards Inspire company logo with a beautiful blue butterfly representing digital transformation

Creating business connections that drive change for good

dull looking hands, with no colour, holding a bright smiley face on a piece of paper

Profitable change for companies, businesses & individuals of all shapes and sizes. 

Simply by thinking through how we connect the dots and taking a conscious decision to follow the “feel good factor

Let’s play this out, with our first scenario of connecting two companies with a shared “feel good” value.

Our first scenario is a large energy company who wants to help the most vulnerable with advice on how to save money on their energy bills 

Now this is a bit of a tactical solution, so it might not have all the “wow this feels amazing” vibe just yet, but, don’t worry, we will get there :-).

What is it they actually wanted to do?

To help those over a certain age who may struggle to pay their energy bills. 

 and, how did they do this?

They provide articles within ¨get more help¨ links on their website, but unfortunately, these links we´re not very obvious, so customers couldn´t find them and the help articles we´re confusing, not written in a relatable way to their audience, plus the font was small and hard to read. 

So a great idea to help is now causing confusion and frustration to their customers, which the Customer Services team is hearing a lot about, with several angry calls.

Following the “feel good” principal, they could have reached out to another organisations that shared the same desire to help those over a certain age.

Maybe connecting with a likes of Saga, or Age UK, as they would know how to speak to their audience, the tone & style, plus, what font size formats and colours work well. I bet you they would already have some free articles on the matter. But, even better, instead of paying a large some of money to a User Interface designer, what about giving that money to the charity and ask them if they could design the layout of the links and articles?

In addition the charity could share the information on their website too, this will help get the word around, maybe reducing campaign costs, but it can also reduce the calls to the Customer Services team. 

Even better, now we are building up a rapport, maybe the charity can advise on an ongoing basis, on how the energy company could improve their services for their audience, after all, they would have a wealth of information. 

Wouldn´t it be great if company’s appointed charity advisors to better connect to their customers? They could do that for many demographics and lots of different topics and causes.

What we’ve achieved

With these relatively simple steps, everyone would benefit. The customer is happy as they can easily find out how to save and get help on their energy bills, the energy company gets kudos points (positive brand image, which attracts more customers, which in-turn brings in more money) and the charity would be helping their customers and getting a little bit of cash in the process. A win for all

And all we did was to consider; “how can we do good” and “who does good for this audience”

And we took the “right” time (i.e. Calm Mind) to think this through. As a hectic, “need to find a solution” mindset typically doesn’t find easy solutions, and….

We tried to avoid the “people’s choice” and common pitfall, especially when we’re busy, of wanting to do everything for ourselves. As connections are good, especially as we can’t be great at everything, nor should we be, but, with the right connections, we can be great together. 

We can do this today, but it’s not common practice

large ïsh¨ man dressed as a fairy with the text looking like a smile on his t-shirt, saying; smile and the world smiles with you

This  scenario is something we can do today, for this and other groups. And maybe some companies do, but, it really isn’t common practice. Maybe because we think it’s not tangible and we must follow the logic. But, think about it: Like attracts like, and as the t-shirt says, ‘Smile and the world smiles with you’. Imagine the smiles on your employee’s face, when you say, hey, “we’re going to figure out how we can do good today”, wouldn’t this be a place you want to work? I know I would tell everyone what a buzz I felt, being able to create solutions that helped everyone and were still profitable. 

So why don’t we do it more? 

I think sometimes we get stuck in trying to “fix” what’s wrong that we get caught up in our own heads and just sometimes, if we took a step back and followed the trail of what felt good and the right thing to do, profitable solutions that help everyone naturally start to emerge and if we continue to re-focus our attention to this “feel good factor”, the more and bigger the possibilities become.

Let´s consider a different scenario, this one, with the initial focus on how to bring in more cash

So let’s continue to follow this “feel good factor”, taking a different scenario, from an original mindset of bringing cash in rather than fulfilling a value proposition, and see how these possibilities start to flow.

The scenario

What if a company from a senior home complex was turning some of its vacant rooms into student accommodation to cater for the high demand generated by the local university and in return for reasonably priced accommodation the students help with transport for the senior residents and maybe a bit of cleaning of the premise. 

Again, it helps everyone…

Which is all good, as it helps local residents with transport and provides a different point of view with another generation around, plus the complex gets additional money in & reduces their running costs.

But, let’s not stop there, what if we continued to build on the “different points of view”????

We have two totally different generations in the same area, one eager to learn (the student) and another with a wealth of untapped knowledge. So, let’s connect the two and see what stream of possibilities start to emerge;

Cloths mannequin with a tape measure around the neck and irons in the background

Maybe, those studying fashion could find an experienced mentor in hand-sewn tailoring, or receive advice on how to upcycle for a low cost outfit that’s great for the environment. Or maybe, it could be some authentic design insights from the past.

Or….maybe their mentors want to give advice on funky, but flexible clothing that helps them reconnect with how they feel inside and enable them to be their unique fashionable self. After all, it’s an untapped market with buying power. Oh, you could even set-up a shop within the complex and maybe the student gets well needed funds, the customers gets some funky cloths and the complex owners get commission. 

And how about injecting some life into the environment, with a fashion show?

yummy looking asian food with a thirst quencher beer

Then maybe we have a culinary student, they may already know how to cater for the fine dining experience, but what about working with “ingredients you have in the cupboard” approach. With help from their senior mentor, maybe they could create a new “fine dining” spin on it (creating a new course for the university). We could even have a restaurant on the premise (so now a “senior” place, is starting to become a hive of activity and a place to experience); or, sale the recipes online (marketing students could help with the product idea & campaigns); maybe even create a food delivery service, changing from “fine dining” to nutritional pre-prepared cupboard food meals (those studying nutrition could help); or, have both, and also provide an in-room dining experience for the residents (fine dining one night, nutritional the next), now our “senior” premise is growing to provide a hotel type experience.

Grandma's fresh and fragrant garden allotment

And now we’re starting to get a bit of commerce going with money coming in (for all), maybe we expand this even more, maybe it’s time to get a little allotment and grow our own organic food (healthy exercise for some). Serving our restaurant and our food delivery service, actually let’s assume we have quite a bit of land now and maybe part of it isn’t suited for veg, so let’s help the animals (and us). Let’s rescue some farm animals, a couple of hens (for fresh eggs), a cow that provides us with milk (in a natural, more as nature intended way), maybe a couple of sheep (we could create our own jumpers), goats (good for keeping the grass down I’m sure), a couple of pigs (can they help with compositing – ok not sure here, but I hear they are deeply intelligent and loving), hell why not a donkey and a horse. We now have a little farm and students that want to help the environment, gardening, natural farming, etc. can all help with running it. This is sounding like a great place for kids to visit, maybe we could provide a nursery service. We’re now teaching kids the love of animals. Plus, maybe some of the animals have the right temperament to be service animals for special needs children and some of our students that want to go into child psychology, or social support could create the natural health program for this.

I could go on, but I think you get my gist on how the possibilities flow & continue to expand on each other when you simply allow yourself to follow your stream of thought of what feels good (aka what brings a smile to your face).

 

This isn’t just good for our seniors, students and the housing complex, there is also opportunities for companies....

Grandson and grandad making furniture together in the workshop

Maybe a drinks company wants to supply the restaurant (they have a cross-generation audience to get first hand insight for new product innovation), or our in-room fine dining experience, or accompanying drinks with the food delivery service. Or an auto industry could have a new audience with “group student” buyers, as they all need to go to & from the university, as well as first hand insights into the needs of mobility cars (or the need for cross-generation cars). Or a big furniture company could supply the cross-generation furnishing, with the guidance of our interior design students, of course. Plus, given the growth of our students (through expansion of knowledge & shared experiences), they could design a furniture collection that not only looks stylish, but it’s also practical for all generations (kids to seniors), and if the furniture corporation purchased the designs they could expand the range across markets (there are several countries that have multiple generations in one house).

Mature lady rocking her unique fashion very funky

We’ve also created a whole new (and proven) senior audience for the fashion industry, something a fashion company could take global: hell, they may even want to start creating emotional support teddies with the material off-cuts too (it would help with their eco footprint, especially as I think they might be one of the worst offenders).

girl having fun studying the new courses via new online course

The university’s courses expand from the knowledge gained in this cross-generational environment (1950s design, animals used in psychological therapy, how to create thriving cross-generational environments and more), which they could sell to other universities, or it could help them rise-up on the academic desirability board (the university to study at for today’s new world).

Plus, we have the usual branding opportunities on products & services and I’m sure through this whole process, we would have created a few famous faces (a new generation of Instagram influencers here we come).

Now you have companies connected that will expand the feel good factor across other markets and countries, whilst continuing to grow the income for everyone.

Or maybe the housing complex connects with other housing complexes and “Bob’s your uncle” you now have a cross-generation environment, that makes a difference to everyone it touches.

And this is just the start, there is a lot and I mean a lot of possibilities for all. You may think, “you’re out of your mind, no university will have all these different types of students” and you might be right, on both counts ;-), but connections make connections. You start with who is there (the easiest), which in this case, could be another local university (we don’t have to compete to win), or maybe it’s not a university, maybe it’s a local school, higher education, or an organisation that wants to support others in education.

Oops I forgot to mention, maybe we even turn some of the rooms into family hotel rooms, especially in the summer season when the students are on a break (after all, we’ve got the in-dining experience, restaurant, shop, farm, potentially bar and nursery already). Ok, I think you get my point, the ideas flow, they flow when you start making purposeful connections simply by following what feels good.

 

And these are not pipe dreams or charity, they’re achievable profitable solutions that can make a difference, we just need to start connecting our “feel good” dots.