Hire yourself! A corporate shell to help your project take off – and the community make a living
A corporate shell to help your project take off – and the community make a living
Alberto Cottica & Nadia El-Imam
So, you’ve got an idea...
... a project. A dream. Whatever, it’s something you want to do.
... but not everybody is convinced.
Ideas are super-important. Nothing can ever happen without them! But they are never enough to make things happen. What does make things
happen is the combination of a good idea, capacity for execution and delivery and a little luck. Getting an idea off the ground – especially a new
one, that needs to overcome a powerful status quo bias – is never easy, even for experienced professionals. For young people starting out it
might be absolutely daunting.
Activities need diverse skills
Even relatively simple ideas need a lot of skills for effective delivery. Some kind of budgeting skill is necessary to even put a price tag on it;
business and revenue-raising skills are important to achieve sustainability; many projects need technical skills (for example working the land if
the project is about agriculture, or coding if it is about ICT); many need communication and engagement skills to put the word out there;
increasingly, some kind of storytelling is becoming important; a minimum legal and banking infrastructure needs to be in place; ﬁnally
coordination and management need to be there for activities and skills to be tied together in a coherent manner.
So, you’ve got an idea...
You may be smart and hard-working, but very few people can do all this stuff well. Clients and funders know this, and tend to be wary of oneman or -woman shows. The solution is not to be alone. And you don’t need to be! Just look around you: there is lots of expertise right here, in
Start by thinking of your idea as a PROJECT. A project has not only goals and outcomes, but, importantly, activities: things that need to be done
so that the project can be successfully completed. Projectifying an idea means answering three questions:
1. why is this important, and to whom?
2. why am I the best person to do it?
3. how will I make it happen?
Questions 2 and 3 are interrelated. You answer them by identifying activities (example: “get 1,000 young people from the Baltic countries to
sign up to our newsletter”), and mapping them onto skills (example: “building a signup page somewhere on the Internet and using social media
outreach to drive signup”). At this point you need to identify people or organizations that have those skills, and could credibly carry out those
activities well. For some activities, that person will be you. But for others, it won’t. And this is a weal link in the scheme. Think how much
attractivity your project would get if you could simply say, “oh, X is taking care of that. She got a million people onto the Y newsletter last year –
here’s the link”!
Second: come for a chat
When you have done this, come talk to us. We can help to match your activies and the skills needed to deliver them to human and technical
resources in the Edgeryders community.
To build a team?
Lots of skilled people in the community! We can point you to the ones who are best for you.
A home for online collaboration?
Got a great platform - maintained, with tech services and community management – AND 1,500+ registered users from all over the world in
case your client cares about that.
Social media outreach/engagement?
We have our own social media presence, targeted to the hackers/social innovation scene. Many of us have signiﬁcant individual online traction,
and can be mobilized.
Got great bloggers (Dougald, Vinay, Chris Brewster...). These were critical for the Mission: Baltic gig.
Well, there’s metrics and metrics. But we are unusually skilled at network science, and can provide some rigour around analysizing online
conversations. Some clients like that.
To organize events?
We can do this – with contacts in most European cities.
A track record?
Edgeyders has delivered work for the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Swedish think tank Global Challenge, the cities of Cork
in Ireland, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain and of course Matera in Italy. We built the unMonastery. More deals are in the pipeline. We are a
serious player, and deliver the product. If you don’t have that much experience, you can always point your client in the direction of ours.
Boring maybe, but necessary. We do that for you – and our CFO, Arthur Doohan, has twenty years of banking experience.
We are good at sensing and amplifying the weak signals from the edge.
The edge is where change starts. Thanks to our embeddedness in the radical scene, that’s where we are. So, we are unusually good at detecting
trends as they are born. This is a strength.
We are global
We come from, what, forty countries? This is especially good when claiming you can connect a local context to a global conversation.
Use case: the unMonastery
Client: Comitato Matera 2019. Some of us – led by Ben Vickers – came up with the idea. We (Edgeryders LBG) connected it with the need
expressed by a client (“making the bid for ECOC 2019 more cutting edge”); pitched it; signed a memorandum of understanding with the client
that acts as a framework for who does what with what resources (both parties) and who leads in terms of project direction (us).
Use case: Economy App
Client: European Commission Social Innovation Competition. Matthias wins this with a project called Economy App. Now he needs a corporate
vehicle to deal with the European Commission, so he uses Edgeryders. ER LBG acts as “storefront” to the Commission; the internal relationship
between Matthias and the company are regulated by a contract.