A few weeks ago we launched Mission Beyond - a social initiative to bring together business leaders and other actors with brilliant minds and a sense of purpose to contribute to society and the planet.
The launch was a great success with inspiring speakers, great attendees, valuable insights, conversations and quick turn around actions to make things better.
You can watch the recording here or jump right to the key takeaways below.
First things first - What is Mission Beyond?
Mission Beyond is inspired by economist Dr Mariana Mazzucato’s Mission-Based approach. Mariana describes ‘grand challenges’ as difficult but important, systemic and society-wide problems with no “silver bullet” solution. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs for short, act as global grand challenges, and start with ending poverty everywhere. Impacting a grand challenge might sound extremely lofty, and in practice, hard to achieve – this is where the mission-based approach comes in.
By their very nature, grand challenges are big, bold, difficult and complex. They have to be broken down into more manageable chunks, which are termed missions. Within a mission area you will define a mission project, starting with innovation activity to generate ideas, and then using experimentation to validate and iteratively improve ideas that at first looked risky or uncertain. This approach makes change happen early and quickly.
Kicking off Mission Beyond
Our CEO, Cain Ullah, kicked off the launch by introducing the overarching goal for Mission Beyond: to inspire, prove, and collaborate to have impact on the world's grand challenges.
- Inspire to provide thought leadership
- Prove to demonstrate a proof of concept around the topic of the event
- Collaborate to invite the community to work together to have impact at scale
We’ve been heavily influenced by mission thinking as a way to target the grand challenges, like those captured by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with experimentation that can create a local, measurable impact in a quick span of time. We know from our work driving innovation programmes that creating sparks changes the culture and energy of teams - and while some things will fail, some things can become the catalyst for great change.
Matthew Syed, author of Rebel Ideas shared some inspiration on thinking beyond our organisational boundaries, the power of diverse thinking and the impact it can have on the work we do. While equality, diversity and inclusion is a hot topic in business and the world at large - Matthew offered a compelling case for why recombinant innovation (the dominant form of innovation in the modern era) requires diverse perspectives to be unlocked and harnessed. Drawing from his work, Matthew’s examples of radical successes such as cracking the Enigma machine in Bletchley Park, or the reinvigoration of Microsoft’s culture, sparked a lot of questions from the attendees on how to apply the lessons from diverse science to their own work.
We were also able to get some valuable responses and thoughts from Matthew posed by the audience in the Q&A session. You can listen to them here.
Moving on to the Prove section of the event. To prove the impact of mission thinking, Product Director, Harri Adams, showcased ShareThyme, a social initiative platform to connect older people who love to cook with younger people who want to learn new recipes. The aim of the platform was to foster human connection and address loneliness, aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goal #3. - Good Health and Wellbeing. A major health concern for modern society, loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, worse for you than being obese, makes you more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression, and increases your risk of death by 29%. By applying a data-driven innovation process to the mission area, we created over 150 ideas, and landed on the idea of an intergenerational cooking platform.
After testing the idea with the general public and receiving an overwhelming response, we built and launched the ShareThyme proof of concept in 8 days, and began running cooking sessions between pairs of younger and older people.
To meet our goal of bringing 1,000 people together across 30 countries, and providing older people with 1,500 hours of time spent cooking, we need partners and support to help us drive awareness, expand the platform itself, and ultimately reach the most lonely people in our society.
It’s now ready to scale and the first coalition has already started to form to take it onto the next phase. If you’re interested in getting involved or have ideas to support this initiative to help create meaningful human connections, please get in touch.
Key to making progress in a mission area is the forming of coalitions. To collaborate in novel ways, our Product Director, Andreas Conradi, took us through the vision and model for coalitions: dynamic, action-oriented working groups that align thinkers and doers around a shared purpose, like an SDG, and achieve results through rapid experimentation. The validated proof of concepts will then be incubated into the coalitions, who will be tasked with finding an owner for the proof of concept, to help create impact at scale. They will also work together on the mission as a whole, developing new mission projects and associated proof of concepts.
To make this a success we will need a set of diverse minds, with a range of experience and expertise across sectors and industries to collaborate. Radical collaboration will be key to achieve the impact we need.
With Red Badger’s expertise in rapid digital product innovation and the collective mind and diverse thinking of the coalitions, we believe we can really create social impact at scale.
Launching is just the start. We need you to help make change happen. If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, feel free to get in touch. Or head to missionbeyond.co.uk to register your interest for a mission area you’re passionate about, or to join us at a future community event like this.