Even if we don’t “love” statistics, they are crucial for effective local services…
Why do you love stats? It is a tricky question that might not make your Valentine date melt with delight. The question is especially difficult if you weren’t in top set at school. (For the record I was bottom set maths, and only just scraped a pass following lots of after school tutoring). Anyway back to stats. Here at Red Potato, we’ve embraced statistics with the zeal that a former smoker embraces data on the dangers of passive smoking.
The reason for our zeal is because without data too many of the big political and economic decisions are made on “gut” instinct. Don’t worry I’m going to rehearse points made previously about Brexit, Trump election and Russian bots on Facebook. My point is that without statistics the less glamorous decisions that effect us locally on road improvements, changes to parking schemes, or where and why a company decides to locate, are determined by those who shout loudest.
Local decisions probably have more effect on our daily life than Brexit & Trump, yet without statistics, data and insight these local decisions would be made based on hunch and gut instinct. So, it really is in all our interests to look beyond the rhetoric and ask “where is your evidence for that statement?” And the answer to that question lies with lovely statistics!
No, we don’t remember either! But it certainly wasn’t an easy time; so huge congratulations to the young people who ventured into the Dragons lair last week to present their business plans.
Success, Failure and Experience
The teams came to tell the story of how they succeeded, failed and learnt from experience, during the 2016 Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge.
The eight teams had to brave a “friendly” grilling from our Super Dragons: Special thanks to our Super Dragons; Sir Roy Gardner, Robin Webb (St Lukes Hospice), Joanne Price (Barclays Bank) and Terry Michinson (Welwyn Hatfield Times) for “firing” off questions to the teams.
We were genuinely impressed by the preparation and passion shown by the teams. It was great to hear their honest reflections upon the process. Some of the young people said that their involvement had inspired them to continue to work with their charity and in some cases the young people said they were going to set up in business when they leave school. Let’s hope they remember the lessons learnt as part of the Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge.
Red Potato believe passionately in careers education. So we wanted to be the first to “sign up” as an Enterprise Advisor at Hertfordshire LEP.
Hertfordshire LEP are delivering The Careers & Enterprise Company Programme. This forms part of a nationwide network being rolled out across LEP areas.
The ambition is to:
• inspire and prepare young people for the fast changing world of work
• shape the future workforce to meet local business needs
Why careers education is important
Here are three reasons why business leaders in Hertfordshire should get involved with this programme:
- “What you sow, so shall you reap” – firstly, your business can gain important insights into what your next generation of customers wants and expects from your business.
- The young people will give you especially relevant feedback and new insights. Hence, you will learn how to improve your business.
- Most of all this is your opportunity to give back to Hertfordshire. As a result you can help future generations create wealth and prosperity in the local economy by sharing your experience and insights with young people.
What do flight safety information, dog treats and Ghanaian cosmetics have in common? If you said they provide inspiration for the latest crop of entrepreneurial ideas from students at a leading UK university then congratulations.
Inspiration can come from different sources – sometimes life experiences can be the reason people set up in business. Recently Red Potato helped to deliver business Bootcamp services at a leading UK university. The students on the Bootcamp came from a variety of countries, different nationalities and perhaps significantly many were not studying business studies.
The course being studied was less important than the business idea. The most impressive business ideas – think passenger safety, pampered pets and Ghana – were all solving a problem or had recognised a market opportunity. The inquisitive, innovative and in some cases idealistic vision of the students was more important than the course being studied. Crucially the best students were able to talk about that vision in everyday language -not management speak.
Funnily enough despite the students coming from all over the world, few focused on geographical markets. Instead there was a natural assumption that they would build a business which would be able to serve customers from all over the world from “day 1”.
After the initial flurry of excitement, not all the ideas will develop into sustainable long term businesses. Some would-be entrepreneurs will find more (financially) rewarding careers working for someone else and “Business studies” will give them an important career qualification for these roles. Good luck to all the students as they launch on this exciting adventure. We hope that the students will stay in touch and remain inquisitive as they decide to brave the “enormous ups and deep downs” of running their own business. Here at Red Potato we believe the value of practical entrepreneurship education is not always obvious but it can be demonstrated over the long term. That is why we are committed to delivering measurable long term outcomes by working in partnership with further and higher education organisations.
Well in the private sector, it would be called something like market research or customer relationship management, account based marketing or maybe all of these things and probably others I’ve missed out. The point being that the methods used are with one aim in mind – building a relationship with the customer which will lead to more business.
The public sector is different; we’re not a profit making business and I don’t think we should be run as a profit making business. That doesn’t mean that the sector shouldn’t strive to be efficient and effective.
This is where community insight comes in: by regularly checking what are the issues that are important to local people, services and priorties can be adjusted and reconfigured to meet the needs local residents.