The following article was written by Lucy Ann Williams (founder of PXPO), www.pxp0.com, a social enterprise transforming the societal relationship with young people through youth insights and music projects. Lucy will be attending the conference and can be reached via https://medium.com/@lalalawilliams or www.twitter.com/lalalawilliams
1. Ask something…
I began working on PXP0 three years ago, with the question: how can society support young people to fulfil their potential – better and more inclusively?
Your question should make you want to move mountains. I conducted three pilot projects, in London, San Sebastian (a small city in the Basque country of Spain) and Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia), with 9 young people, to host 3 events and 15 workshops Society sometimes tells us that we must be qualified to conduct research or pilots – not true! Crack on. The findings informed the development of a fledgling social enterprise – PXP0.
2. Adapt to what you learn
I always thought that PXP0 would mentor young people – using music projects as a hook to develop their professional skills. During the third project, in Ethiopia, I realised that young people could not develop because society was not adapting to fit their needs. The businesses who create services and products for young people, did not understand them. I did further research and saw that societies around the world talk AT young people, rather than including them in the conversation. I had to adapt to ensure that PXP0 tackled this issue. A baby’s brain develops the most in the first three years of life and PXP0 has done the same. Not only can the direction of your initiative change in the first years, but the fundamental assumptions that it is based on might change too. You can always shift around until it feels comfortable – but do always keep your original question in mind.
I began to imagine a world where PXP0 created a keyhole view into young people’s lives. Through this, businesses would understand young people’s behaviour in a fluid and useful way, services and products would be better, and young people would be better catered for.
3. Design with relevance – to your research, and to the world
And so, PXP0 came into being – as a social enterprise. PXP0 mentors young people in music projects, and absorbs information about their lifestyle and behaviours whilst doing so. PXP0 will only use it’s precious insights to inform socially beneficial initiatives, services, and products – which have the potential to improve young lives. By doing this, PXP0 will transform societal relationship with young people.
No matter where your research takes you, it is probably still linked in some way to your original question. Don’t get frustrated that your focus groups aren’t having an impact – ask yourself why and adapt your model accordingly – maybe even try a new one. Use every scrap of info – it all means something to your end design. Equally as important as your question, is the surrounding context. Keep tabs on the world! Understand your market. You and your enterprise will have to exist in it.
At last, I have resigned from my day job to give PXP0 my full attention. I am proud to be part of the most important movement of current times – as a values based economy takes hold. Initiatives such as The 2015 Social Enterprise Conference are driving this movement forward.
I am currently applying for seed funding from incubators and charity foundations, to set up PXP0 London in 2016. The 2015 Social Enterprise Conference will offer inspiration, guidance and shared experience at this pivotal point in the journey. The often lonely, frequently unmediated and sometimes bewildering position of being a young founder, is catalysed through conferences and meet ups like this one. Like a Monday morning coffee, but far more sustainable and interesting.
For more information about the conference and registration, please visit:
Looking forward to meeting you on Monday, 12th Oct 2015!