LinkedIn: Stimulating Purposeful Change – My Experience with Blueprint
Daniel Philips, Summer Placement Student, Royal Holloway University of London
With what has been an amazing four weeks, I have come to the end of my placement with A Blueprint for Better Business. They are far from your average organisation, and you may be wondering who they are; so, here’s an introduction to the organisation and my fantastic journey with them!
A Blueprint for Better Business (or ‘Blueprint’) was founded in 2012 and is an independent charity aiming to create a better society through better business.
So, what does it mean to be a purpose-led business? Well, in the words of Blueprint:
“A business with a purpose that envisages a positive impact on the world, understands it is a series of relationships where every person is a someone not a something”
Lead by a team of six, a trustee board of eight, and an advisory council of eleven, Blueprint’s work stimulates a different way of thinking and behaving in businesses across a range of sizes and sectors.
Blueprint works alongside prominent companies, organisations, and academic and social institutions both in the UK and internationally to help create the environment for purpose-led businesses to thrive, including the ones below.
Blueprint’s most recent event, held in May 2022, discusses what challenges the next 10 years will bring, hosted by a phenomenal panel of guest speakers, including Alison Rose (CEO at NatWest Group), Dr Rebecca Henderson (John and Natty MacArthur University Professor at Harvard Business School), Dr Margaret Heffernan (Entrepreneur, CEO and Writer) and Nilesh Dosa (Founder of icanyoucantoo), chaired by Andrew Hill (Senior Business Writer at the Financial Times).
Well, if I haven’t made it clear enough already, Blueprint is simply an amazing organisation to work with!
I came across Blueprint through my university, Royal Holloway. Throughout my second year of undergraduate studies, I enrolled in a programme called the Professional Skills & Insights Programme, run by the Royal Holloway Careers Service.
The programme consists of numerous employability workshops throughout the academic year including application writing, CV sessions and interview practice to feel confident and prepared to complete the programme by undertaking a summer placement.
After submitting my CV, application questions, and interviews to a number of organisations, I was in an incredibly fortunate position to be offered every placement I applied for, with companies much larger and more renowned than Blueprint.
Blueprint stood out for me because I instantly saw the passion and drive that the organisation had, catalysing positive and effective change in businesses across the world. When I realised the potential for Blueprint and what value I could bring to the organisation, I couldn’t say no, so I started working there as a Marketing Assistant!
What did I get up to at Blueprint?
From day one, I was immersed in the world of Blueprint and was given a variety of responsibilities.
My first task was to provide a student perspective on Blueprint’s Knowledgebase Platform, a resource for executives and professionals to learn more about purpose in business and how to incorporate Blueprint’s thinking and approach into an organisation.
I designed some mock-ups with suggestions for improving the site’s appearance, from the log-in feature to how courses appear on the landing page.
My next task was to create and plan a 4-week schedule for the May 2022 panel event mentioned earlier. I decided to break the panel down into four sections to tell a story about purpose, but also bring everyone viewing the posts to the same level of knowledge and understanding:
- What is Purpose?
- The Power of Purpose
- Purpose in Action
- Leading with Purpose
I planned a variety of resources to post on LinkedIn including blog posts, still images, short clips from the panel, external reports, TED talks and polls.
I also worked on a research blog covering the topic of the role of the next generation of business leaders in enacting purpose, which I hope to publish very soon!
I had 1:1 meetings with every member of the team to hear more about their role and journeys leading up to Blueprint, as well as shadowing external client meetings, strategy meetings and trustee meetings.
Unbeknownst to me, I started a course with Harvard Business School Online in Sustainable Business Strategy a few days before starting my work with Blueprint. Not only did my learnings from the HBS Online course complement my placement, but the course convenor, Dr Rebecca Henderson, has close connections to Blueprint!
What are my key takeaways from working at Blueprint?
It’s been an absolute pleasure working for Blueprint over the past month – I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, learning so much in such a short space of time.
As a prospective postgraduate business school applicant, networking amongst professionals and gaining contacts within the worlds-leading business schools is a privilege. In particular, meeting with the co-founder and former CEO of Blueprint, Charles Wookey, inspired me with his passion and vision for the role of businesses within society.
My placement with Blueprint certainly got me thinking about the wider issues businesses face, but there is hope:
- It’s possible for businesses to do well and do good
- Purpose is fundamental in driving innovation
- Positive change comes from being uncomfortable with uncertainty
- Courageous leadership is needed to take the first step towards better business and a better world
If my experience working at Blueprint has got you thinking, give them a follow on LinkedIn to explore and keep up to date with all the fantastic work they do.
A huge thank you to the entire team for their support throughout my placement and for such valuable exposure to a world where the future is indeed bright!