make brave happen launches 'C the World'
Here at Carat UK, we know we’re at our best personally and professionally when we’re more connected, more curious and more confident. That sentiment is summed up by our cultural mission: Make Brave Happen.
We hold events – from guest speakers to workshops and cultural outings - across the year that bring Make Brave Happen to life. But we’re always looking for new ideas too. So this month we held our second annual Make Brave Happen pitch event.
Everyone in the agency was invited to get involved and the pitch process was deliberately simple: the presentation had to be less than 60-seconds long, it could only involve one slide max and the winners would be decided by popular vote.
This year’s winner was a concept called ‘A Day in the Life.’ The idea is that a Carat person will spend time working in a client’s business (perhaps even on the shop floor) to better understand the reality of the products we’re creating strategies for.
Last year one of the winning ideas was ‘C The World.’ This was a concept developed by Ella Sy in the comms planning team. I sat with Ella to talk about her idea, and how it has been developing since she pitched it to the agency.
MK: Ella, can you explain to us what ‘C The World’ is?
Ella: ‘C the World’ is an exchange program within Carat’s worldwide network that aligns with the ‘Make Brave Happen’ cultural initiative.
The aim is to create stronger, improved and more fluid live connections. We want to share intel be that at an OpCo, department, culture or process level. Ultimately, we want to send a few people to physically work in a different office in order to bring learnings home.
Anyone within Carat can pitch an idea that will help add value to the network. The candidates are then given six weeks to start implementing their plans. After six weeks candidates will have to deliver a written presentation and pitch to a panel. A few people’s projects will be chosen to go forward. They’ll then be sent to the market of their choice so they can execute their initiative in person.
MK: Why did you pitch this idea? Why do you think it's important?
Ella: We are fortunate to be a part of a wide and sprawling organisation that harnesses various skill-sets. But communicating this expertise and making it more visible and accessible to everyone is actually quite difficult at times. While we have many resources available to us, I felt that there was room for one more method.
Carat is keen to not only have tools and systems at the heart of our business but also people. And this idea literally helps people build relationships and share ideas across the business.
MK: Since pitching the idea, how have you turned it from one slide into what it is now? What support, if any, has the agency provided?
Ella: The Make Brave Happen team has been really supportive throughout the process, while still enabling me to remain as the lead on my project.
Good advice, insights and organisational tips have been shared to help me start in the best conditions.
Since my project is APAC related, I have been able to deal directly with Vanessa Cox (HR Business Director at Carat UK), Fiona Lloyd (Head of Carat Global Network) and Clay Schouest (CSO of APAC) to ensure that discussions progress.
MK: What stage is the project now? What is happening currently?
Ella: Contacts - via email and Skype- have been established and I have been able to present my project and give my interlocutors the context and my vision.
While still a bit blurry, this will be reshaped as we move forward. Now, with the help of Clay, I have started a very simple, yet fundamental EMEA and APAC audit of the tools, departments and types of intel and platforms currently at our disposal and begun to identify how they are being used. Any duplications or gaps are being acknowledged, allowing us to get to the root of the issues/challenges we are facing and find solutions.
From a regional aspect, we have decided to make the project more real, by using it on a client pitch, that is currently underway. This has been an exciting way to see how - by making better connections - we can elevate our services and products for our clients, especially in times of pitches, when resources and enthusiasm are all the more amplified. One of my next steps will be getting closer to our new business team and seeing how my process can densify their battle plan going forward.
MK: What do you think the benefits of the programme will be, beyond someone getting to fly to another office?
Ella: Of course, being sent to another market by Carat is a great thing, but this is clearly not a tourist trip – hence the six weeks of preliminary work we ask from our candidates. Getting to know another market’s culture, their ways of working and above all meeting people face-to-face, are the game changers to building established, strong relationships.
As part of the Make Brave Happen culture, the benefits are clearly to push one’s (and also the company’s) boundaries, enabling us to think outside of the box, quench curiosity, gain confidence and be stronger than the sum of our parts.
Once deployed to other offices, the winning candidates will be asked to update us in a blog or via Yammer so we can share in their daily progressions.
MK: Because this is your idea, does that mean you aren't eligible to be picked?
Ella: Well, I negotiated with the team to actually develop my project, be sent to Singapore and be used as a guinea-pig! A simple reward for showing bravery, especially in the first edition of Make Brave Happen.
MK: How do you think Make Brave Happen helps Carat and our people?
Ella: We are working for a great company that employs hundreds of people in the UK and thousands all over the world. I do believe that Make Brave Happen will help employees to shine where they are not expected, encourage shy or introvert people to stand up and raise their voice – which in turn, will create a virtuous circle as they will feel listened to, taken into consideration and given the resources to achieve a project that may be out of their daily job scope.
Because Make Brave Happen is based on a voting system, some of the great ideas put forward didn’t make it to the podium. However, it is hugely encouraging to see that our leadership team has still decided to implement aspects of each of them. I think that’s great!
MK: That’s it from us. But each week, over the next six weeks, we'll be catching up with people who are running their “C The World” projects, to understand their ambition and see how they are getting on, and when the judging has taken place - we'll follow the winner to their market of choice, to see their plan unfold further.