Change and the food ecosystem

Lancaster University Creating change in the food ecosystem

You may have noticed that the food ecosystem is coming to the top of many agendas.  Government and business both recognize the need for change.  The blunt instrument of legislation can create change.  But changes in legislation often have unforeseen consequences.  Change in networks like the food ecosystem works better if it is driven by people within the system.

2.5% of the population are natural innovators and always open to change.  Everett Rogers well accepted model shows once you combine the innovators with early adopters (the 13.5% of the group willing to embrace change) you have a chance of driving innovation forward. So for change to happen you start with 16% of any group.

Finding our 16%

We are supporting Lancaster University as they drive change in the food ecosystem

Simon Sinek brilliantly explains how to make change happen based on Everett Rogers model.  His 5 minute YouTube is well worth a watch.

Once we have our innovators on board we will start to spread the word across the ecosystem.

The big step will then be gaining the early majority, but that doesn’t happen until we have the 16%…one step at a time.

SMEs collectively make up 96% of the food ecosystem.  By working with the most proactive SMEs in the Northwest Lancaster aims to create a movement that will create change in the food ecosystem.

Practicalities of change

We are now rolling out the ECOi Innovation catalyst which was successfully piloted in Cumbria in 2021Jacqui from Thomas Jardine & Co is the lead facilitator for this Lancaster University project working closely with Nicola Roberts their project manager.

Jacqui leads the ‘collaboratories’ . Enabling the task forces to drive the change agenda.  Lancaster University supports these groups with a multitude of resources from academics to engagement fellows to innovation and ecosystem expertise.

The great joy is working with businesses who are giving their time to become part of the task forces who are driving the first step of change.

Lancaster, llamas and change

The second “collaboratory” of the Lancashire group was held at the end of March and recruitment has already started for Merseyside.  This was hosted at the brilliant Wellbeing Farm  a B Corp business just outside of Bolton. The Lancashire task force: Ian Steel, Lee Sanderson, Chris Dew, Celia Gaze, Adrian Moeckell and Raphael Ogunrinde have now set two main Net Zero objectives to look at.  These are tackling ‘waste in food & drink’ and ‘packaging & transport’.

We know, creating change is challenging but ultimately rewarding.  We are looking forward to see how this will roll out across the North West.  Call us if you want to know more or join the Merseyside task force.


Mentoring

Be the Business Mentoring

We wanted to share this opportunity with our network. We know  that one of the most effective ways of developing leadership and management skills and improving business performance is through business mentoring.

Be the Business is an independent, not-for-profit movement. Their mission is to help UK businesses improve their productivity and performance.

The Be the Business Mentoring programme matches experienced executives from some of the UKs leading firms with small business leaders that want to develop their skills and build their business.

Experienced business mentors from leading firms can provide a much needed sounding board for difficult decisions and help small business leaders build a plan for business growth.

The mentor and mentee register on their digital platform and are matched rapidly according to their business needs, experience and skillsets.

Mentoring relationships are offered for either

12 months to focus on long term growth, or for

12 weeks to address specific issues and challenges.

There are no charges or fees for the programme. If you want to know more either give us a shout or contact Sheena McDermott from Be the Business direct.


Global Cumbria

Have you noticed, Cumbria has gone Global

We really noticed last week how global Cumbria has become. It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.  We are getting used to global workers here at the Guild in Carlisle.

Last week just demonstrated the extent of the reach that businesses from our region have.  What we are starting to see are more and more projects from our region that have a genuine national and global reach.

Our contribution

We are used to working with partners and this gives us opportunity to lever our impact beyond that of our own local network.  A good example of this is our work with Lancaster University’s U Start program.  U Start is designed to support Lancaster University’s students, post graduate students and ex students who want to start their own business.  Thomas Jardine’s role is to run 1-2-1 sessions with these students.  As we start our fourth cohort we are truly impressed with the width and depth of these businesses.  From the Guild in Carlisle we are coaching students from across the UK, Europe, India and the Middle East.  These students are starting businesses from creative industry to health to solving todays supply chain issues and everything in-between.

Businesses from Cumbria LEPs network

Again working with partners we have worked with Cumbria LEP for two years now delivering part of their Peer Network and 1-2-1 business support.

It is always surprising the modesty of the businesses we have met during these two years.  From a global perspective some have the visible exports, some encourage global visitors and many just quietly work alongside national and global partners.  Unless you talk to these folk you wouldn’t actually know they had national and global reach.

Moving the Cumbrian Carbon Foot Print Project on

Last year we helped run the pilot for ECOi in Cumbria.  We were delighted to find out that this is been rolled out to Lancashire. It is also set to be expanded across the North West.  It is extremely gratifying to see how a project tested in Cumbria is starting to move out nationally and results from this will help solve the global problems around carbon and the food sector.  So the pilot from Cumbria is having an impact far outside our county.

It’s the odd conversations that really show Global Cumbria

Because of COVID , storms and everything else we had three social events this week at the Guild.  This is not a problem, it just gave us a chance to catch up.  This is when we realized how truly global Cumbria is becoming.

At a meal out we introduced our German Guilder to Lou who chatted about her plans to attend two animation conferences in the USA with her brilliant Plus 3K business.

After a round of crazy golf a few of us retired to Brewdogs.  There we were part of a conversation between Ricky one of the Guilders who has just got a contract to run part of the cloud technology for a Princeton University Project.  A Guilder who runs IT security for International companies then joined the conversation.  We learned so much around internet security!

 

We finished the week off with a round of clay pigeon shooting at Westlands Country Park.  Over lunch Dan from Sparrow Digital shared a story of how he won an all expenses snow board trip to the USA.  He deserved it, he runs a brilliant web development and Shopify business.

We are global , we all just don’t know it yet.

Go on scratch the Cumbrian surface you will find so many global connections. By all means share your global stories with us .  Cumbria is big and it is clever.