Supporting our communities

It is my firm view that companies should operate ethically and that they should seek to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate.

And I put my money where my mouth is (quite literally) by donating each year 10% of Sockmonkey’s pre-tax profits to charities who are doing great work in the communities where I live and work.

I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to support two amazing organisations in 2017: the Farming Community Network and the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team. Continue reading

Alignment: The key to achieving your goals

The late computer science professor (and author of the truly excellent ‘Last Lecture‘) hit the nail on the head when he said that the way to achieve your goals is to chip away at them a little bit every single day.

And as we get into the new year, I suspect that you – like me – have a shiny, brand new list of goals ready to go. But in the hustle and bustle of doing all the things we need to do in a given 24-hour period, it’s all too easy to let our longer-term aspirations slide.

There is, however, a surefire way of making sure that we do indeed spend our days working towards the achievement of our longer-term aims. And it’s called alignment. Continue reading

Efficiency in a student-focused world

With universities coming under growing pressure to justify how they use their resources, efficiency is back in the spotlight. But the focus will increasingly be on how well institutions meet the needs of their students, while accommodating growing cost pressures.

Our universities operate in a challenging environment. Expectations of funders and fee-paying students are rising. Competition from traditional and alternative providers is becoming more intense. And costs continue to increase. All of which mean that institutions need to do ever more with the resources at their disposal.

Student.jpg

When it comes to improving efficiency, our universities have already made great strides. They have streamlined processes and eliminated waste. They have improved space utilisation and reduced energy consumption. They have shared services, pooled assets and co-located professional services staff. And they have become lean, mean procurement machines.

This is all great news, but it is no longer enough. Continue reading

Turning a hobby into a living

Making a living from their hobby is the dream of many craftspeople. In a slight change of pace, I explore here how they can turn this dream into reality. I’ve focused on woodland crafts because, as an amateur green woodworker, that’s what I know about. But the lessons are the same for pretty much anyone wanting to turn pro.

As our jobs become more stressful and less secure, an increasing number of us spend our few idle moments wondering what it would be like to jack in the day job and make a living by doing something that we truly love. Whether it is managing a woodland, making chairs or carving spoons, the thought of using our skills to create an exciting and profitable business holds many of us in its thrall. But what would it be like to turn our hobby into our livelihood? And how can we make it happen? Continue reading

Long-term planning in an age of uncertainty

Long-term planning in the current political and economic climate can seem like a bit of a mug’s game. But it’s not because things change. That, after all, is to be expected. It’s because everything’s changing. We can’t take anything for granted any more. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t bother with long-term plans, though. It just means that we need to approach them in a different way. Continue reading