- Everything we do has to be to further our mission of making people’s lives brilliant.
- Maintain perspective – nothing is as important as something that is important.
- Laugh – be laughing, be laughed at, just have a laugh. It helps with the point above.
- Be childlike smart – imaginative, adventurous, curious… any other way is dull.
- Listen – always be listening, so that we’re always learning and more likely to be able to help.
- Never stand for mediocrity – don’t believe in averages, they’re useless benchmarks. Like asking a loving mother if your work is great, you’re never going to get an honest answer.
- Collaborate – learn to work with others to make things happen.
- If you look back at the end of the day and can’t honestly see your contribution, then you better make tomorrow nothing like today.
- Be fearless – stand for something. We should never be worried about being judged or failing.
- Every project should take into account the unintended consequences and these should be minimised.
CAST is accelerating the use of technology for social impact and since we have such shared missions, we are working together as their technology partner. In particular, this involves working their FUSE programme – which is the UK’s first charity digital accelerator. We are currently finishing up work with Oxfam and Breast Cancer Care
We’ve gone and produced a book in partnership with entrepreneur, Mark Lazarus. A proper SBL joint venture.
Being ManKind Volume 1 hopes to address the unique issues that men and boys face in the 21st Century. This book is a collection of inspiring stories told by men from all walks of life. Each is an honest account of their experiences, ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary. From one man’s use of comedy to break the stigma around anorexia, to a paratrooper who lost his legs on the battlefield and now rows for Great Britain. We want to show that once you get past the gender stereotypes, the only unbreakable code in humanity is kindness. If we can help the next generation understand their roles as individuals, only then can they start to positively understand their relationships with those around them. This will hopefully set us on a path towards equality, where we all succeed together.
How can you help?
You can help support our mission (find out more here) by getting the book and having conversations with young teenagers you know. For every book you buy, we’ll gift one to a school or youth organisation. You can find out more at www.beingmankind.org and the book begins with a very powerful foreword from the World Heavyweight boxing champ, Anthony Joshua.
Over the next year, we’ll be bringing these stories to life through digital and film too. This is just the start of the journey. If you know anyone who wants to help with this or you want to be involved, please do get in touch.
We are working withUnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, to help them support the companies in their Fast Growth programme.
We have been working with the current cohort and enabling them to use our Super Being Labs model to scale growth and impact in a way that takes into account so many more factors than a normal growth plan can… especially at the stage the ventures are at.
State of Ambition is a new and exciting space between formal education and the real world. It’s where 16-30 year olds make connections, demonstrate grit, grow their skills and start making their dreams come true. Our mission is to nurture future generations of leaders to be collaborative, compassionate and determined.
Through our digital relationship-building and learning platform, we enable brilliant but underserved 16-30 year olds to connect online with a variety of role models at ambitious companies. The role models help them grow through industry advice and feedback on digital tasks set over a 21 day period. In providing this help the role models also benefit, as they engage further with their employer’s culture and reinforce their knowledge of required skillsets. Continuous learning and developing benefits everyone involved and it takes minutes.
During our trial period of 6 months, our young people engaged with over 166,000 people, had over 2700 conversations and over 456 opportunities as a result.
Since launching, SoA has been funded by Super Being Labs, Big Issue Invest and WayraUnltd (Telefonica’s acceleration programme). We also have a high profile board of advisors, who are some of the most helpful people we’ve ever met. This is going to be huge. If you would like to roll this out in your firm or are a youth organisation who wants to use the platform, then we’d love to talk. Email us at email@example.com – Thanks.
Skills used for this project: Design | Web | Film | Digital & Community Strategy
As creative and digital partner of the initiative, this year we have big plans for Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Foundation’s main cultural initiative. To mark the launch of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, we have launched a new website for the initiative and a new strategy for moving Commonwealth Writers forward to the growth phase.
Why does Commonwealth Writers exist?
We believe that well-told stories can help people make sense of events, engage with others and take action to bring about change. Commonwealth Writers is committed to tackling the challenges faced by writers in different regions. Commonwealth Writers works with local and international partners to identify and deliver projects. Their activities take place in Commonwealth countries, but their community is global.
In order to harness that community, we have designed a new platform which allows writers, creatives, activists and leaders to see the progress in each project and then get involved by subscribing to it specifically. We then use that data to broker connections and create on-the-ground initiatives to help that area grow. The long term goal is for each on-the-ground project to become self-sustainable through the relationships that form from the communities we help grow.
How are we helping Commonwealth Writers grow?
We are helping them by designing their new online strategy to create communities around each of their projects, and we’re achieving it through working closely with them on producing their creative output, especially digital, film and web. Why are we excited about this? Well, Commonwealth Writers inspires, nurtures and connects writers and storytellers in a range of disciplines, via a series of different projects. Not only does this give unheard voices a platform to thrive; the team then links these writers and storytellers to groups which seek to bring about social change. That’s powerful and we’re right behind it.
“Super Being Labs are consistently impressive and offer the perfect combination of reliability and innovation. They have designed and delivered a new design, digital output and a strategic digital overview for Commonwealth Writers which has helped us to achieve our goals and continue to grow our community.” – Programme Manager – Commonwealth Foundation
We have been working with the Press Association to deliver courses to help journalists use innovation, communication and digital to produce better journalism, and in the process, build audience communities around their work. Over the last year, we have worked with the Belfast Telegraph, the Daily Mirror, the Telegraph, Immediate Media and trained 85 journalists and counting.
“Super Being Labs work with us to help teach journalists and clients how to use social and digital to build a long-term community around their work. Feedback from all delegates who attend the courses are universally positive. Darshan is always thoroughly well prepared, entertaining, but most of all authoritative.” – Head of Training – the Press Association
We spent 4 months working with Brightside Trust to redesign their entire customer experience and user-interface in order to really make online mentoring even more meaningful for young people and mentors. We did this through a combination of using our innovation framework, our user-interface design skills, our entrepreneurial skills and our experience in co-design (we worked with over 151 stakeholders, partners and young people combined). Not only is this one of the most exciting and impactful projects we’ve worked on, but it also ties in so well with our own social enterprise, State of Ambition , so it’s something we are super motivated by.
We’ve since won a competitive pitch to build the new technology to enable the work from the above phase and are pleased to say that we are now working with Brightside to do exactly that over the next 12 months.
In March 2014 we met some brilliant people at an organisation called Young Philanthropy who were trying to create a big change in the world of giving. The idea was genius – groups of professionals form a syndicate at their firm, give time and money to a charity they work with, and are match-funded by a senior executive from their firm. They had had a phenomenally successful start but were now looking to rebrand and grow sustainably.
Over a period of three months, we worked with Adam Pike, Michael Harris and their passionate team to focus on a big rebrand – encompassing not just the name, but also looking at the positioning, the service design and the brand strategy. So what happened?
In looking at the idea of philanthropy itself, we noticed many things holding progress back. It was traditional, it was old, it was often seen as the preserve of those who had made it and had spare cash. If giving was going to become a habit, we had to go beyond just rebranding Young Philanthropy; we had to rebrand the whole concept of philanthropy and make it something everyone can do. We decided to focus on the idea of generosity and leadership.
The End of the Beginning
Well, after three months of workshops, interviews, iterations and ideas, we are so delighted with the result. We are excited to announce that as of September 2014, Young Philanthropy is now called BeyondMe. It’s a movement dedicated to promoting generosity in leadership – because generous leaders can substantially improve society, their businesses and themselves.
Ultimately, we chose the name because it helps us to focus on three questions:
- How can I be generous and improve the world beyond me?
- How can I inspire my friends, colleagues and clients to improve the world beyond us?
- How can I go beyond who I am now to become a better leader?
The service design
Simplicity was crucial. So rather than a syndicate being anything up to 15 people, we focused on the dynamics of a project succeeding, the ideal number of people needed and ways we can make the experience exciting from beginning to end, in order to form habits which lead to exceptional leaders being born.
Through research and workshops, we settled on the number 7 and a senior sponsor. This would mean the professionals work better, the charitable project gets focused attention and ultimately, it’s better to have many small units of exceptional leaders than a few large units of a mixed bag.
So BeyondMe is now really simple: you start (or join) a team at your workplace. Each team will have a founder, six colleagues and a senior sponsor. The team chooses a charitable project that excites them. Then you all crack on until you’re done and the world’s a slightly better place. Hoorah!
The branding and the website
Once we finished our work, Adam and his team briefed a designer to create the identity and worked with the brilliant Hactar on the digital platform. It’s been a really collaborative affair and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
How are BeyondMe doing now?
The impact has been huge and we’re delighted for the incredible team at BeyondMe; you can read more about their outstanding progress here.
We are working on a project with primary schools to teach 8-11 year olds how to work together to achieve an outcome by using humour and collaboration rather than money. Initially we prototyped this through a face to face class but we’re now working on turning it into a game that will help us scale the impact.
We have been using our service design skills to help redevelop The Brilliant Club online tutoring platform. We are launching the first version of the new platform in September 2016.
The Brilliant Club is a UK non-profit organisation that aims to widen access to university for students from under-represented groups.
They runs two programmes. In The Scholars Programme, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers deliver academic tutorials in non-selective state schools to pupils aged 10 to 18. For the older pupils, PhD tutors design the courses based on their own area of research, whilst for younger pupils standardised courses are delivered. A third of places on the programme are reserved for pupils who have been eligible for Free School Meals in the last six years.
The organisation’s second programme, Researchers in Schools, is a teacher training programme unique to candidates with a PhD, which began in 2014. The programme aims to increase subject expertise, promote research and champion university access in schools.
powers:branding . communications . Design . digital strategy . Experience Design . film . humour . Product Development . product innovation . Project Management . Research . Young People
Darshan graduated with a MA in Economics and Modern History from the University of St Andrews (and almost embarked on a PhD in anti-terrorism in the USA but the entrepreneurial world was too much of a draw), and has over 10 years of experience working in start-ups, branding, innovation, communications and digital. His passion is using all those skills to tackle real social and industry challenges. This led him to create Super Being Labs and build a team around this vision.
Over his career, he’s created campaigns, digital products and strategies for Adidas, Sanyo, the Commonwealth Foundation, the National Trust, the Technology Strategy Board, Forum for the Future and many more.
Through Super Being Labs, he has also founded State of Ambition, a youth social enterprise that creates a space between education and work, where young people can make their ambitions come true by connecting to and learning from role models in ambitious companies.
Outside of work, Darshan is the Chair of trustees at Somers Town Community Association, and is on the board of advisors for both the Sporting Memories Trust, a national dementia charity and for the British Council’s Entrepreneurial Africa programme. Most recently, he has been appointed to the NSPCC Digital Taskforce to keep children safe online.
powers:Mobile Development . product innovation . Project Management . systems administration . Systems Architecture and Design . Web Development
Richard is a hands-on CTO with over 16 years’ senior professional tech development experience, working for a range of companies from FTSE 100 corporates like BSkyB, to large corporations like Betfair, Guinness World Records, New Scientist, Gumtree (Ebay), all way through to 3-person startups. He is now helping us scale meaningful ideas that help companies and society thrive.
He is an entrepreneur and polyglot programmer, choosing the right technology for the job, and an accomplished systems administrator with a wealth of experience with traditional rack-based hosting solutions and scaling cloud-based systems. He follows an agile development approach, has led many teams and believes in good test-driven methodologies.
powers:Design . Product Development . product innovation . Project Management . Web Design . Web Development
Beez has an amazing mix of creative, technical and operational skills that allow him to design and build complex systems – from secure file sharing apps for the Commonwealth Foundation, to booking systems for City University, and brilliantly, our digital platform for young people, State of Ambition.
These projects have utilised his keen eye for design, his product distribution skills and most importantly his ability to translate complex technical issues into plain English. Ultimately, he is highly focussed on creating great products and experiences for customers.
Beez believes that technology should serve as an enabler, helping people to have great experiences. He also has a strong belief that it should serve to enhance the environment not distract from it. In other words technology should not get in the way or become the focus; with a great technical product the technology becomes invisible.
In keeping with our view that everyone in our team should be entrepreneurial, Beez is co-founder, designer and publisher of the national yoga magazine, Draze. Draze has been extremely well received, with special acclaim for its design and immersive content. With an initial print run of 3,000 and over 40 distribution points, he took it to market in just 90 days and it’s now on its 5th edition.
His motto? Stop talking, start working. Beez is in charge of making sure this belief is followed through in all our work and on a bigger level, getting out there and meeting people, so we can understand how to invent things that can help them.
powers:Product Development . product innovation . systems administration . Systems Architecture and Design . Web Development
Alex and coding go together like gin and tonic. He has years of experience in programming, with a degree in computer science as well as a Masters in bioinformatics, where he specialised in big data and machine learning. He’s a full stack developer with experience in systems admin, specifically building scalable and secure web application architectures on the AWS platform. He also has deep experience in automated server provisioning and systems architecture design.
With his skills in PHP, Ruby on Rails and Java, he has built some cool digital products, including an event schedule app to generate schedules for multi-track events and various prototypes for clients. Most recently he designed and built a restful API for Code Club.
Ultimately he believes in simplicity for the user, even if it means added complexity for the developer, and is a big fan of behaviour driven development, as testing always pays you back in spades down the road. On the front end, he believes in mobile first and considers a website to be complete only when there is nothing left to take away.
A fun fact – he also started a games website, which generated over £1m in revenue for partners like Amazon, Tesco and Littlewoods. This process taught him how to run a business and also helped developed his SEO and PPC marketing skills.
When he’s not tapping out code, he enjoys coffee, craft beer, cooking, and most of all cycling – show him a hill and he’ll always want to suffer his way to the top. He’s also scuba dived all around the world and has amazingly curly hair.
powers:Business Models . communications . digital strategy . Financial Modelling . Product Development . product innovation . Strategy
Steve is a strategic business consultant who specialises in working with early-stage social enterprises and businesses; co-creating business models, road maps and financial plans. He has worked in the UK, US, Europe and Far East with global consulting firms, the BBC, Channel 4, British Council, NESTA, Creative England, REACT and a huge range of entrepreneurial social enterprises, digital/creative agencies, hardware startups, EdTech ventures and SMEs.
Steve works with individual entrepreneurs helping grow their businesses by building robust, actionable strategic plans. Funding bodies and accelerators engage him to de-risk their grants and investments by ensuring the ventures they support have robust actionable plans for growth.
powers:Directing . film . humour . Project Management . Screenwriting
Collaborating with Super Being Labs on film and storytelling projects with his production company Turtle Canyon, Stu is the man you need to speak to get some quality storytelling via film, animation or stage.
Stuart is a director, comic and writer, creating great new films and comedy with exciting new talent and established stars. He has worked with Robert Lindsay, Nick Helm, Julia Davis, Jessie Cave, Diana Weston, Jake Lloyd, James Acaster and Elizabeth Tan. He has spearheaded the online comedy channel for Turtle Canyon Media and racked up 700,000 hits for the regular stream of viral hits, sketches, web series and short films. The majority of the content is directed by Stuart and has been featured worldwide in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Poke, The Daily Mirror, Upworthy, The Daily Star and the British Comedy Guide. He is developing a range of TV shows with comedians and produced video content for Nick Helm’s upcoming BBC3 series.
Stuart’s latest short film “Chubby Bunny” has played at film festivals worldwide including The New York Comedy Film Festival and The London Short Film Festival, and has been shortlisted for awards in Seattle and at the prestigious Van D’Or awards. His most recent short “Over To You At 2″ was nominated for Best Screenplay at the One Shot Movie Competition. Of course alongside all this, he has also worked on corporate films for 12 years, working all over the world and for some of the biggest international companies.
Not only is Stu blooming funny, he also has a very weird thing for Haribo and Panini football stickers.
powers:Capoeira . Drawing . Photography . Project Management . Research
Dr Priya Dabasia is in charge of our research methodology and protocols, especially for impact and health projects. We are also collaborating with her on a wildlife photography based comic book for kids, due to launch by the end of 2015.
Priya is actually a highly experienced optometrist, specialising in the field of glaucoma detection, and has been practising since 2004. Priya completed her pre-registration training at City University for which she was awarded the prestigious Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Prize, and the George Wheatcroft Prize. In September 2005, Priya was appointed visiting tutor at City University, teaching on internal university lecture programmes at both postgraduate (MSc) and undergraduate level. Alongside her main role, Priya continued to develop her clinical experience with locum clinics, both at the university and in independent community practice. Priya writes CET accredited articles for journals The Optician and Optometry in Practice. In March 2013, Priya was awarded the Geoffrey Hall, Lightmongers Prize for services to City University. Priya also has a PhD for a project titled ‘A study of the role of advanced technologies in glaucoma case-finding’ and has recently finished a Postdoc and is now working with us to help us with our mission.
Outside her work as a researcher, optometrist and wildlife photographer, Priya enjoys playing Capoeira twice weekly and travelling around the world.
powers:Languages . Project Management . Publishing . Writing
Jenny is a super smart cookie who not only speaks multiple languages, but also has a passion for producing brilliant things. She studied Russian and Italian at the University of St Andrews and then went on to gain a Masters in Screen Translation and Subtitling. She has 5 years’ experience in the publishing industry, including one year at a publishing house in Florence, and most recently she has worked in production for a top financial magazine.
Outside of work, Jenny loves cooking, travelling and eating good food with friends and family – ideally all of those combined. Her role as a Producer at Super Being Labs is to ensure that our projects go swimmingly from conception to launch.
powers:communications . Experience Design . Graphic Design . Industrial Design . Making Cocktails . Product Development . Web Design
Having come from a consultancy background in industrial design, Matt has worked on numerous projects, designing all sorts of things – like coffee machines, headphones and nappy disposal bins. All through this, he has learnt a lot about creative thinking and problem solving, but most importantly focusing everything around creating outstanding experiences.
In his spare time, he keeps busy with photography (35mm), video making (Super 8) and scriptwriting, as well as designing things from tattoos for friends to clothes. Interest in the latter has spawned his non-profit clothing line YOUNG+IDLE, which aims to generate money for worthy causes and inspire a collective sense of action among his peers.
As a complete aside, Matt also enjoys bar tending (with 9 years’ experience behind the bar) and makes a mean espresso martini. Drinks on him hey.
powers:communications . Design . digital strategy . Product Design . Product Development . product innovation . Product Management
When Stefan was a kid, he started making robots out of toothpicks and fishing cork. As he grew up he still wanted to create, so he taught himself the skills needed for his creations – starting off with graphic design, 3D modelling and basic animation, and then moving onto learning how to sew and even basic carpentry.
From here began his love of solving things creatively. He went on to study Marketing in Birmingham, and after working on a few start-ups, he learnt to stitch his creative skills with his product development skills. Welcome to the grown-up kid turned product manager – Stefan Moghina.
powers:communications . Design . product innovation . Project Management
Ameena is somebody who understands how the creative arts and design sectors work through research, funding, partnerships and networking.
She has a wealth of knowledge and experience working across the creative arts and design sectors, where she has successfully conceptualised and produced projects and programmes working strategically (and creatively) in partnership with many of the UK’s leading national cultural institutions. These include the Victoria and Albert Museum, Arts Council England, London Design Festival, the Museum of London, English Heritage and the Design Council.
Ameena is also the the co-founder of Creative Fruits and the Living Space Art School, and Chair of Elthorne Pride (a £1m Big Lottery Initiative in her community).
powers:humour . Social Work . Young People
Sarah brings the experience, skills and energy to the table to help us make sure we work well with the young people involved in our not-for-profit social enterprise, State of Ambition.
Having graduated from the University of St Andrews, Sarah went on to graduate with a Masters in social work and this coupled with her experience of working in the field and most importantly, the passion for helping young people succeed, makes her a perfect advisor.
Here is why Sarah does what she does:
“I have worked with young people and children in various capacities and for various reasons and all of it has completely rejuvenated me. I have found the difference in working with younger people, rather than adults or older people, is the financial support given to them and the hope that is placed on them. This area of work needs to be understood as not just working to ’empower’ young people through financial support and goals, but to inspire them too. I can only hope I am able to give as much inspiration as I personally receive from the young people I meet.”
powers:Electronics . Mobile Development . Music Production . Web Development
Simon is a well-rounded programmer, with a love for electronics and a passion for technical challenges.
Simon is going to be helping us implement solutions quickly, so that we can iterate through prototypes and then scale into robust technology. Oh, and not only does he love to produce music, he also has the coolest kids ever.
powers:Aeropress Trickery . branding . Data-driven design . Design . Graphic Design . Web Design
As a kid, Konnaire wanted to follow a career in the design industry after getting frustrated with inconsistent patterns in elevator buttons. As he got older, he began playing with web technologies and realised that his calling was a mix of UI and UX design, where he could make things both beautiful to see, and to use. He’s been described as someone who has a knack for catching easily-overlooked silly mistakes.
Konnaire loves community and trying to make a small difference, organising not-for-profit film festivals and attending tech meet-ups purely to make new friends and help out. He keeps himself busy cycling and running, taking photos and being possibly too snobbish about coffee.
powers:branding . communications . digital strategy . humour . storytelling . Web Design . Writing
Joe has been a jack of all trades – writing, designing and airbrushing his way through life since leaving Falmouth Art School in 2002. He is drawn to anything that can be optimised in digital form, even his biography.
Before joining Super Being Labs, Joe worked for the Commonwealth Foundation for three years, managing their online communications. In 2012 he helped develop the cultural initiative, Commonwealth Writers by establishing an international network for emerging writers and relaunching the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
He loves storytelling in all forms, and only moved to London to promote his first novel. Four years and three jobs later, he’s still procrastinating.
Joe can be found heading for the coast as soon as a weather warning is issued suggesting he shouldn’t. He has built yurts that occasionally still pop up unannounced in fields and festivals, and keeps one in the shed just in case somebody pulls the plug on the digital world.
Join the Mission
Are you someone who gets stuck in, putting the job title second and the collective mission first? Do you laugh way more than you worry? Are you ready for a challenge? Do you like people? Do you like mangoes? Are you able to question things? If you answered ‘yes’ to all of those questions, then we want to meet you.
We do things differently at Super Being Labs:
- You either work with us as part of the main team or we sponsor you for a year as an Impact Scholar and help make your idea a reality, whilst training you through our work. Think of it like education with a purpose.
- You can take as many holiday days as you want – with power comes great responsibility – we trust in teamwork.
- You can either take all of August or December off, fully paid.
- You can work from anywhere in the world.
- Find a creative way of getting in touch with us to find out number 5.
Become an Impact Scholar
Each year we plan to take on one firestarter* who has an idea that can improve this world. Sound like you? We’ll nurture you, train you and help you turn your idea into a reality. Oh and we’ll give you a £30,000 scholarship for the first year, so you can fully focus and dedicate yourself to this, without any stress. We don’t care about your age, your education, where you live or anything like that; all we care about is that you’re up for doing something huge.
Apply now by telling us in a simple sentence what your bold idea is and how it makes the world a better place. Throw over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you in to meet the team and pitch to us.
*We can only take on one each year at the moment but as we grow, we’re definitely going to break that rule and take on more. Investing in people who care is one of our core beliefs, and we’re willing to take those risks if it means something huge could happen for the world and for you – the person who dared to give it a go.
If we can help or you would just like to talk about anything then drop us an email at:
Call us on +44 0203 457 3761 | Visit us at 146 Strand, London, WC2R 1JD