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Getting to grips with digital in your social enterprise

18th June 2019

Cosmic has been rolling out its “Digital Leadership for Social Enterprises” programme for two year now, under the umbrella of the ERDF Enhance Social Enterprise programme.

We asked one of our current learners, Susi from SPARK Somerset, to share her reflections thus far.

Here’s what she had to say:

Not exactly certain what Digital Leadership was, but definitely certain that we could use some, I signed up to the Cosmic Digital Leadership for Social Enterprises programme. I have responsibility for some digital tools that are not exactly doing what we want, and I already knew that anything Cosmic was presenting would be worth my time. Spark works with such a huge range of community organisations; it is vital we keep an eye on emerging trends and how they could affect the voluntary sector. “Digital” is no longer an emerging trend, it’s a fact of life but it changes so quickly, I had high hopes for the course!

So, day one saw me rock up to a fantastic venue (with amazing cake!) and meet a diverse bunch of other people also not quite sure what Digital Leadership was. The Cosmic team have carefully planned the programme to be relevant to organisations of all sorts of shapes and sizes, and it’s structured to nurture people into Digital Leadership no matter what their background or IT literacy. There were definitely one or two people who were a little bit worried about what they had let themselves in for at the beginning of the day, but it took very little time for the cheerful and helpful Helen to put people at ease and help them understand this wasn’t a course about coding.

The five sessions lead naturally from vision through to implementation. Every session has a practical element with time for you to consider how this affects your organisation, and how you (and your team) can make a tool or an idea work for you. There is homework! Initially I groaned at the idea, but I actually found this an amazing opportunity to test ideas with colleagues between sessions, as well as giving myself time to reflect on what I’d learnt and bring new questions to the next session.

This isn’t exactly a spoiler: Digital Leadership is not about being an expert on all the technology out there. It is about leading your organisation to integrate “digital” into everything you do and stop treating it as a thing in isolation. The course gives you some very practical and concrete ways to approach this, from setting your organisation’s vision to productivity, digital operations and action planning. Digital Leadership is not about worrying about being left behind, it is about making sure you have a thriving business in the future. This course won’t answer all your questions, but it will help you figure out which questions to ask and how to ask them. Importantly, it’ll help you set a digital vision and structure what you do next.

I’ve come away from the course feeling much more certain about our digital direction, and with excitement about what we can do. I feel confident as a Digital Leader. Spark will be supporting more organisations with their digital transformation as we do ours.

Thanks Susi! And the good news is that in Somerset 2 new, free Digital Leadership courses are about to kick off for social enterprises and charities, in partnership with SPARK and Engage. Find out more at http://bit.ly/2D8CfCM.