Charity engages with Co-Innovation Lab to speed up digital projects.
The Prince’s Trust is using Capgemini UK’s new innovation lab to explore digital ways to improve its entrepreneurs’ success rates by linking them with 80,000 potential mentors.
Staff from the youth charity, along with six of its entrepreneurs, spent yesterday at the IT outsourcer’s new Co-Innovation Lab, working in teams with Capgemini experts to try and increase the sustainability of their businesses by creating an online community.
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme provides low-interest loans of up to £4,000 to young people hoping to start their own businesses, and since 1976 has seen 80,000 entrepreneurs come and go.
But the organisation approached Capgemini to try and improve their startups’ success rates without having to spend a lot more money, looking to take advantage of their graduates’ business experience.
Capgemini’s chief digital officer, Cliff Evans, said: "The question is how can they get more value out of those 80,0000 people? There’s a load of success stories that can come back and help the people starting now.
"Part of the opportunity is closing the loop between those who’ve been successful and the businesses who’ve just started. If we can help find a way to do that so they can share advice, then that helps the trust make more sustainable businesses without any more money being invested."
Over the course of the day, the trust and the six entrepreneurs present worked with Capgemini to opt for an online community of former and current Trust entrepreneurs that would ideally become self-sustainable.
Evans said such a project could transform the way the trust shares information if it finds a way to keep people using it.
The trust’s Enterprise programme shares potential course details with its young people, so they can get training in finance, for instance, as well as mentor expertise and go-to-market strategies.
But Evans explained: "The way the Prince’s Trust shares information is fairly physical at the moment – word of mouth, a bit of training, paper-based systems.
"There needs to be a motivation behind sharing it online. People go on LinkedIn to tell each other what they’re doing, on Facebook to keep up with friends. With all these things there’s a motivation behind exchanging information."
By the end of the day Prince’s Trust staff had rudimentary plans for funding the site, its governance and operations, a platform, and even a roadmap to deliver it – they can now decide whether to work with Capgemini to pursue the project.
Dermot Finch, Prince’s Trust director for South England, said: "Seeing the Co-Innovation Lab in action is very exciting and I’m sure today’s session will help The Prince’s Trust-supported young people to find efficiencies which will benefit their businesses."
Evans said the idea behind the Co-Innovation Lab was to speed up digital projects to have a "concrete, functioning business outcome" in eight weeks, rather than eight or nine months.
And it has already worked with EDF Energy to improve employee innovation, introducing a gamified platform to boost collaboration across the firm’s UK operations.
EDF registered a 65% increase in participation and an 80% increase in the number of ideas generated compared to previous internal efforts.
Christine Hodgson, Capgemini UK chairman, said: "We have entered a true era of collaboration, and our Co-Innovation Lab marks not just an exciting chapter for Capgemini, but also our clients, who can now explore new digital possibilities and see them come to life before their eyes."