#2 Purposing event takeaways: How to deliver purpose with substance through co-creation


01 / 10 / 2020

How can the principles of co-creation create rapid and effective change?

We heard that diversity drives creativity.

This idea came through again and again throughout our discussions. Each speaker talked about the need to bring different types of personalities, roles and perspectives on your journey with you. This must be done deliberately. It can’t be assumed or taken for granted and spanned across assignments ranging from full scale purpose review to more tactical or specific initiatives. All agreed that co-creation has the unique ability to build better ideas through different perspectives, and to get things done faster by bringing people together with a shared aim or set of goals.

If you missed the session or would like to watch the full webinar again, you can here.
We’ve also included a summary of the key insights heard during the session below.

Our panellists included Jude Brooks, Head of Aviva UK Corporate Responsibility Team; Begum Kurkcu, Senior Sustainability Strategy Manager at PVH; and Katie Buchanan, Head of Sustainability at Virgin Media.

1. Engage senior leaders

Our panel agreed that it is critical for senior leaders to be involved in projects throughout to ensure buy-in and ownership of recommendations. All shared examples of engaging leadership in simple, efficient ways to ensure they felt that they had contributed to a process – and therefor were more likely to support the result. There were three rules for this:

  • Keep it simple – work out what they need to know or will be interested in, and keep your ask very focused!
  • Make it timely – always ensure enough time and exposure has been provided to Senior stakeholders prior to any set piece meetings or engagement
  • Make it commercial – always show the business case for your proposal
    “Make sure that you simplify the story enough for your slot in a board meeting, but still informs them enough with operational details, and position sustainability as a revenue-driving activity” – Katie

Make friends with the CFO! Connect with them personally. As well as having a strong business case, show them what you are trying to do, don’t just tell them.


2. Help to socialise a strategy, set clear objectives and create ownership across the business

The first and most important thing to do here is to ensure you have representation from across the business throughout your project. We need to ensure that colleagues from different teams are fully aware of the project goals and boundaries. More importantly still, they have to see the potential for their part of the business to be involved in what you are trying to achieve, and how it will benefit them. It is also critical that the objective of the work is not diluted or compromised as it is picked-up by more people across the organisation.

“Whilst tricky, it should work like a standard handover but the power of co-creation will help new team members stay in touch with the original aims of the programme, and make sure to have a personal connection with the person taking over the project” – Begum

“Give the new team the tools to keep themselves in check regarding the impact of the project” – Katie

Create a network of advocates for what you are trying to do across the business and use them to help you engage different teams more effectively


3. Ensure your plan is sustainable – co-creation is not a silver bullet or a workshop, it’s a philosophy that allows you to create long-term change

This was a theme that came up throughout the discussion. The long-term nature of sustainability strategy creates challenges, but also opportunities. It we see purpose or sustainability initiatives as a way of engaging future leaders then we will help to develop a new generation of talent in businesses that see this work as core. We also have to give our work away for it to be successful. We have to trust people and also make them accountable so their success is our success. Three pieces of advice from our panel:

“Let go! Give people accountability and let them shine with a program” – Begum

“Make sure your work is built on the business strategy. If the strategy is relevant, it will be easier to accept and also to build on. It allows teams to add on top of the work you did” – Katie

“Don’t ever think ‘your done’. Re-invent and keep questioning if the strategy is still relevant to today’s world” – Jude