Our Passion & Purpose:
We are passionate about helping people achieve their potential.
Yeats was right, education is about “lighting fires not filling pails,” and we believe this applies to many other parts of life. For example, healthcare should be about giving people the enthusiasm and the ability to be as healthy as possible and work should be the basis for freedom to live the life you want, not being a wage slave. Similarly, democracy shouldn’t just be about engagement or listening – it should be about working together to achieve change. It’s about social action not consultation.
But the reason we are so passionate about empowerment is that we believe it’s the foundation for tackling many of the major challenges we face, from climate change to the economic crisis.
Why We Work Together:
Having been working together for many years, we decided to build this organisation for two core reasons: our shared values and our different skills and experience.
Richard is experienced in how organisations reach out and engage external parties, whereas Nick’s focus is how organisations support those people inside, such as students, pupils and staff.
Richard had a strong policy and international focus through running the Involve Foundation, and Nick, through running Envision, has been more involved in significant practical, local work programmes.
We realised that both these perspectives, internal and external, need to be brought together for either to work properly. For example, it’s very difficult for an organisation to empower external parties if its own staff are disempowered. Similarly, external participation processes stand or fail depending on the internal skills people have to design and run them.
This approach of combining tools and perspectives is at the heart of how we work. For example, we don’t do online OR offline engagement – we always do both. We don’t look at systems OR culture, we bring them together. Just as different people need different approaches and often collaborate more effectively when they feed off each other.
This alchemical approach is crucial: bringing all options to the table to tackle each challenge we work on.
Finally, and most importantly, we work together because we believe in the same things: we believe in prioritising social and environmental results, and in supporting our team to be as empowered as possible. And we believe that high quality participation and empowerment, inside and outside organisations, is central to achieving a better world.