What do you do when the only pub in your home town is about to shut down because it can no longer sustain itself as a private business?
In England, many communities are taking on the challenge of solving such local problems by turning their solutions into community businesses. And since 2015, there’s been an organization which aims to help them do just that. Power to Change, as it’s called, is an independent trust that supports community businesses. Community businesses are geographically focused social enterprises which are owned by their respective communities and are designed to solve local issues.
In their quest to engage community business leaders from around the UK, "Power to Change" has been putting the Insights method to good use. They’ve found a variety of ways to use our platform. The “Bright Ideas” program, for example, offers a package of support to communities with a business idea to help them get set up and start operating. This support includes a business adviser as well as a small grant. However, a recent Insights consultation of the program’s current participants yielded an interesting result: The participants suggested that Power to Change provide pre-application support to help grow the number of qualified community groups in the program’s pool of applicants. As this is a recurring program, this insight can be incorporated in the application process for future cohorts.
The “Leadership Development” program is another support program by Power to Change. It helps community business leaders develop management skills and works with a smaller cohort over a longer period of time. Here, as Dimitrios Tourountsis, who was a Research Fellow at Power to Change, puts it, “we have been adapting and changing the content and delivery style of the workshops and the meetings based on the rapid feedback.” The quick feedback mechanism that the Insights tool provides allows Power to Change to tailor their programs to the needs of their participants.
Dimitrios also emphasized that the Insights method helps Power to Change close the feedback loop by keeping participants updated on the results of the consultations in which they’ve taken part.
"This is an important part of engaging the community, because when people are giving their time and energy and contributing their own ideas, they deserve to know what happens with their contributions." (Dimitrios Tourountsis, Power to Change)
There is a third, less obvious way in which the Insights platform has proved to be a valuable tool for Power to Change. This involves not so much the organization’s programs themselves, but the process of planning and delivering them. The Insights tool sparked conversations about questions such as ‘How to phrase a question?’, ‘What is our decision scope?’, ‘What are we committing to do and how can we deliver on it?’ Engaging with the Insights method and figuring out how best to use it for the purposes of each of Power to Change’s programs provided an “interesting, fresh way of thinking for the program managers.”
Overall, Power to Change have found that the platform has helped them work towards their aim of building stronger communities through their work. It has allowed them to engage people in a conversation and empower them to help their communities. We at Insights.US are proud to be able to support Power to Change in their important mission of revitalizing small communities.
To learn more about Power to Change, check out their website.