Social Impact

February 2019 — #Bee Akhtar, #Class of 2018/19

Social Impact

I held the role of class CEO for the ‘Give back’ Session. A class which was designed to not only benefit the learning of the fellows but also to give back to a participating organisation.

In my case I chose a charity that sat well with my own background in child health. Having worked on pediatric wards, I could see the increasing numbers of children self-harming or having suicidal thoughts.

So... What if we could push ourselves to think outside the box and somehow find solutions and do so in an impactful way? I did some research and reached out to some relevant organisations who work in this field and had a great response back!

Papyrus which is a national charity that has a key mission around the prevention of suicide in young people participated in the session. They were happy to attend and work with our fellows to take on this task!

I also reached out to companies that manage design sprints, and they pointed me to some useful resources and suggested a ‘Lightning decision jam’ would be a good way to go.

To facilitate the 3 hr session, we had invited guests with a background in child/adolescent mental health to attend, and also those with a background in design thinking.

The day of the class came, and I had a limitless supply of post it notes and sticky dots that were needed to run the session! The day of the class coincided with heavy media coverage on a young girl named Molly Russell who had unfortunately committed suicide at the age of 14. This made the class all the more poignant and emphasised the importance of finding ways forward with these challenges in our society.

The 2 problems we focused on and were problems that Papyrus wanted solutions to were: 1. How do we encourage further growth and awareness of our charity without diluting our support service. 2. How do we challenge and reduce the stigma around suicide whilst trying to remain respectful to people’s individual opinions on suicide?

We split into 2 groups with access to facilitators on each side, and after collaborative discussion, people wrote down their ideas/solutions on the post it notes. After that we shared them as a group and voted on the ones that most appealed to us. The top voted solutions were then discussed and elaborated on further by the person who had wrote that solution down.

This method encourages people to work individually as well as collectively which was really engaging and forced you to think outside the box. It also was highly interactive which helped ideas and solutions to develop.

The conclusive part of the Lightning decision jam was where we took the top ideas and decided on a scale of effort and impact where these ideas sat. This helped us to determine which ones would be most likely to be actioned easily.

All in all, It felt good to give back and just as great to realise how much potential we all have in thinking of new solutions. A skill that entrepreneurs should have and develop!