From the time we opened the call for THINKTECH, our applicants have been eager to promote their projects to us. Having reached the final 11 of our selection process, we wanted to hold an event that would encourage finalists to start thinking about what they could get from the programme while having a little fun along the way. Like any organisation pitching to a client, it is easier to visualise the end product if one is immersed in it. This was to the role of THINKTECH’s workshop.
Our three key speakers, experts in their own fields but largely new to the social innovation sector, provided our THINKTECH finalists with three key lessons that can be applied to any organisation from start-up to large business.
Paul Murray, Investment Director of Atlantic Bridge opened the day with a segment called ‘preparing yourself for a programme’ full of tips on what to do and what not to do during a programme. A lesson that resonated with my colleagues and I as a key learning was the importance of ownership. While consultation and deliberation are important elements of any programme, being conscious and aware that any decision you make is your own, regardless of the outcome, is paramount to progressing your project and yourself as an entrepreneur.
Collaboration & Communication
Following on from Paul, Google Ireland’s Abdullah Aydin prepared an engagement piece that had all our applicants form one team, electing a CEO, Vice President, line managers and painters. Each had an integral role to the success of the team yet each were restricted in communication, movement and knowledge of their other team member’s work. The image on the left is the end product of this work and illustrates how effective communication and collaboration can create a ‘work of art’.
Alex French, former Animate mentor & Interim CTO of FrockAdvisor, discussed the importance of not only having a roadmap for your project but incorporating a technology roadmap as well. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, particularly with technology, is of utmost importance. Know your ability and don’t outsource what you are good at. Armed with this knowledge our finalists were tasked with designing a new App: HugFinder – the uber/halo for Hugs. While the basic concept of each app design remained the same, certain features varied amongst the groups. We look forward to seeing a version in the App store very soon.
Lessons in Practice
2015 Animate Awardee Dara Connolly closed the proceedings by explaining his experience with Animate. Dara is a true example of someone utilising all aspects of a programme. While his ideas of growth at the beginning of Animate may not have been the same as those he left the programme with, his openness to feedback, strong ability to collaborate,and commitment to his objectives allowed him to succeed and take ReCreate to the next stage.
What’s the value of a workshop for a Selection Process?
Naturally a Workshop does not yield the information that a formal interview does, nor can it compare to the detailed explanations, anecdotes and data-driven results that are so paramount to a strongly written application. However, it does provide you with a lens into the person and the team that can often go unnoticed in paper applications.
Those who are willing to engage, and take on board the lessons given will be the same projects that will have clear objectives, asks and plans when they enter a programme.