PCA caught up with Design Management alumni Jeremy Agnew after the launch of his company ‘Anew Mission’: a community of global problem solvers engaging in real world environmental and social challenges.
Where are you based now?
Between London, Lisbon and Paris.
In a few sentences, tell us about your new project and what inspired you to create/start it?
I was inspired by my PCA teacher, Philippe Van Caenegem, who taught me innovation for a year in the ‘Creative Thinking’ course. While learning about innovation and seeing not only how enjoyable innovation methodologies are, but also how easy they are to do – it got me thinking – why can’t we find a way to automate the process to allow for scale, to create one BIG brain! A new way to harness the intelligence, creativity, and knowledge of millions of people around the world to drive social impact together. Each citizen, like a synapse sparking off one another; an ecosystem for innovation; a neural network for doing good.
I am lucky that Philippe is an advisor to me still and has helped guide me along the way since the beginning. He’s be a fantastic inspiration that I have a lot to be thankful for.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced?
It has taken me 4 years to get from a minimal viable product, to a working prototype, to actually launching publicly. We went through so many iterations, testing, breaking, redesigning (PCA’s ‘Design Thinking’ class with Romaric Le Tiec taught me how to do this luckily). I sold my apartment to fund the project and have been working part time as an innovation consultant as well as having launched another tech company in Lisbon for a few years which my partner and I exited last Christmas. So there have been distractions, delays, and resource issues. There have been technical problems I’ve had to learn and be taught. But the journey has been amazing and I’ve learnt so much from the process and met so many amazing people.
Have you collaborated with other PCA alumni/current students on this project?
Some of my classmates helped me with the initial ideation session, and Kata Budin (BA Design Management Class of ’15) came and worked with me in the first year which was wonderful. She has an extremely bright mind and was a pleasure to work with. I would love to invite PCA alumni/current students to use Anew Mission to run Missions of their own! Collaboration is at the heart of the platform – alone we are a drop, together an ocean.
Have you collaborated with other companies on this project?
Yes, we’ve collaborated with SciencesPo students of Innovation who helped test an earlier version. As well as a number of charities, and networks who also ran Missions to help test it. Our public beta launch is with an amazing organisation called the Plastic Pollution Coalition – they have over 500 member orgs dealing with plastic waste, and 180k facebook followers. So they are an ideal launch partner as not only is the mission to reduce plastic use in supermarkets so relevant right now, but they are forward thinking enough to dare to use a new platform like ours, as well as having a great reach to invite users to join.
What’s a normal work day for your like?
Well at the moment I am on my annual holiday – I come to Bulgaria each year around my birthday, ski in the mornings and work in the afternoons from my desk that looks over snowy fields and inspiring mountains. But normally I work remotely from whichever county I need to be in for other work opportunities. Talking to my tech team who are all around the world to coordinate bug fixes and improvements, as well as respond to our users who need help, and continue to work on every other aspect of the business that demands my attention; from raising investment, to marketing, to day to day operations. You get involved in every part of the business when you’re a start up.
What’s next in your professional life?
I’d like to grow Anew Mission to a million users! We’ve had 860 monthly active users since launching a few weeks ago, so I’ve a long way to go and a lot of impact I’d like to help generate.
What advice would you give to students thinking of starting their own businesses/projects/further studies?
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with as many people as possible. People worry about other people stealing their ideas. It rarely ever happens as it takes a lot to steal an idea. The benefits of telling everyone about it are in finding the resources and help you need to get it going – from the right contacts you need to open new doors of opportunity to the elements that stitched together will allow your to proceed. The other piece of advice is don’t do it alone. Have at least one, preferably two business partners. And be generous with them. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have people to be accountable to, to be inspired by, and who can energise you. Choose them wisely as they’re more important than your future husband or wife!
Can you solve this challenge with us? We need YOUR ideas to get supermarkets to stop using so much plastic. Download the app ? http://www.anewmission.org/join-the-revolution and together we can demand change ?Thanks to Make A Change World and Anew Mission #DrasticPlastic
Publié par Plastic Pollution Coalition sur vendredi 16 février 2018