This weekend I was reading about a childrens’ festival in Surrey, organised by children, for children. The committee is headed by 12-year-old Daniel Moran (who was already aware of the challenges of leadership – “All of the children are younger than me, so it is harder to get their attention” he says. Something we can all appreciate I’m sure). Also on the committee is a “Lego Specialist’ and ‘Ideas Specialist’ and, finally, the best job role of the lot belongs to little five-year-old Cicely Woodyer, who is the self-appointed head of tigers. I wonder how many other organisations can benefit from a Head of Tigers? Perhaps it would apply well to the HR Director? Or to Asia Sales Managers?
What interested me most though (yes, even more so than the chocolate eating contest) is that the people in charge are the peers of those they are organising the event for. If it had been left to the adults they would have provided a lot of hi-tech stuff as that is what they were expecting them to come up with, so were rather surprised by the committee’s decision to have events such as foot wrestling, a custard slide, a tantrum contest and a jelly fight.
It makes you think. Brands today rely on customer insight in their product development and marketing, but how many of them actually involve their customers in their decisions? With social media tools such as twitter and facebook, there is a massive potential for crowdsourcing ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing this go a stage further and actually getting people involved in the delivery of a brand’s product and services.
It could certainly be an interesting employment approach. Those out of work could find project work by taking part in specific events/projects, and build up their portfolios. Employers would get input from a wider range of people, pumping fresh energy and ideas into their companies. Meanwhile, customers would feel engaged by the brand. And how much more attachment will they have to that brand if they know they can impact on its future, and not just be a passive consumer?