Blog – “We don’t ask why, we ask why not?”

Big Ideas Programme 2016b Alumni and now Solutions for the Planet Non-Executive Director, Dan Harrison shares his story.  The work of Solutions for the Planet contributed to my growth as a person when I had the experience of participating in the Big Ideas Programme in 2016.  I am excited that I now have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the organisation as a Non-Executive Director (NED). This is an organisation that because of the people who lead it, look at the world and do not ask why? but ask why not?

I was eager to apply to become a Non-Executive Director (NED) of Solutions for the Planet, because of the incredible experience I had of participating in the Big Ideas Programme (BIP) 2016. I was part of a three-member team that created a product called E-Waste. This was a bin that electronically measured the quantity and type of a household’s food waste.

The programme offered invaluable opportunities for skills development. I became a more confident public speaker, team player and leader. I developed my communication and collaborative skills, as well as growing my commercial awareness; for the first time, I created a business plan and spreadsheet. I also gained a clear sense of what sustainability is and what a sustainable business looks like. I developed many skills and equally as important, I had great fun and today I have great memories of the programme.

The work of S4TP contributed to my growth as a person and I am excited that I now have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the organisation. I was also keen to work with a team that is full of creativity, energy and passion. This is an organisation that because of the people who lead it, look at the world and do not ask why? but ask why not? I am using my time as a NED to further develop my knowledge and understanding of strategy, as well as developing my collaborative skills.

I believe that as a NED I am helping S4TP to make its Big Ideas Programme even more attractive to schools by linking the programme to the skills development that the BIP offers. I am also providing insights into what school and university leaders are thinking and the latest developments in education. Today, there is a greater focus on the importance of employment and life skills for young people in education settings and I believe that S4TP can help schools deliver skills development.

I believe that I have gained three main things from serving as a NED: skills, contacts and valuable interactions. The main skills that I am developing are my communication and collaborative skills and the board meetings provide the perfect forum in which to do this. I am also growing my network of contacts in the private and public sectors, especially in the social enterprise, utilities and engineering sectors. I have also gained insights into how businesses operate, especially around how board meetings are conducted.

Thus far, I have made regular contributions to board meetings by asking probing questions about a topic such as the regional targets that we have set for school recruitment to the BIP. I am also working on a skills development resource that will help schools, students, parents and S4TP staff track the skills development of S4TP participants.

I have loved serving S4TP as a NED and I look forward to more opportunities and challenges to grow myself and the organisation.

Daniel Harrison

NED, Solutions for the Planet

Connect with Daniel Harrison on LinkedIn

Check out S4TP’s LinkedIn welcome to Daniel Harrison in 2021

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd

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