Adding investment to innovation…
Day 3 of the British Council Culture Shift…
Andy Young asks Kelly Clark about “Adding Investment to Innovation”
Kelly: As the day drew to an end yesterday we realized that the time had come to start preparing the teams for the judging panel. 3 of our 6 teams will receive “pre-incubation coaching and investment.” For all the teams the three pots of funding provide valuable budget in the process of creating a market relevant solution.
Andy: Can you describe what pre-incubation coaching and investment will mean for the teams?
Kelly: Of course, it depends on the context but for British Council Culture Shift, Nigeria it is the opportunity to benefit from the space, the creative flow of new people with new perspectives and skill sets and from the expertise and business acumen of CCHub co-founders, Bosun and Femi and the Culture Shift team. The three factors that make the “perfect storm” of innovation possible are 1) dedicated time and space 2) convergence of complementary creative skill sets on each team and 3) the ability to tap into business and investment expertise on demand.
Andy: So how does this relate to investment?
Kelly: Great question! So we are trying on one hand to encourage a culture of collaboration, creativity, and entrepreneurship which can be diffuse, full of many ideas and fun but messy. On the other hand, we are hoping that with enough creative license and enabling factors, we can create a wave of idea generation that allows each team to arrive at a valuable concept with enough elements of a business plan to justify a small injection of risk capital and 3-6 months of mentoring from the CCHub. It is a mashup up of freedom and focus! This kind of workshop is all about finding a thread and working with it-being nimble and showing your flexibility. The concepts that will be presented to the judges this afternoon may or may not mature into viable commercial businesses but the process and opportunity to innovate and experience entrepreneuralism is as valuable at this level as commercial success.
Andy: With the “perfect storm” in mind, what makes it a risk, and why take it?
Kelly: From my perspective, an kind of financial investment into a project before there is proof of concept is fairly high risk, unless, of course, the investor has other goals. In this case, the investor is not looking to achieve a return on their investment as much as they are looking to fire start an idea/process and catalyze (as it says on the tin) a “Culture Shift” towards entrepreneurialism and social innovation. Thus, for this early stage investor round we are hoping to identify good ideas and teams that can develop prototypes. The next round of investment will most likely require a return of investment in line with a different investor profile.
Andy: Do you have any advice for the winning team?
Kelly: Be clear, concise and work smart not hard! (attribution to Femi Longe)