KVA Dragons’ Den

As a new and developing CIC, we also experience many of the growth-focused themes we integrate into Wild Minds’ programming. This week, for example, discovery-based learning took centre stage with our Dragon’s Den presentation at Kingston Voluntary Action’s Funding Conference. Aside from the more practical tasks such as, designing a visually appealing PowerPoint presentation, honing everything we might tell an audience into 20 relevant minutes, preparing for the inevitable knee-quaking Dragon questions, designing an (under 3 minute) creative activity that gives meaningful insight into the impact of the creative process and preparing a budget that considers, well everything…we also had the benefit of our Dragon’s expert feedback to enhance our own discovery-based learning.  Constructive insight into how ideas or projects come across, where strengths lie or where there is a need for development and clarification, is invaluable at any stage of life or career.

So how did we do?

We received top marks for demonstrating a need for a project that combines creative activity with hands-on engagement in nature to prevent mental ill-health and enhance wellbeing.  Based on our current stage of organisational development the Dragons felt our project was “incredibly well planned.” They loved our “wrap-around approach of considering the wellbeing needs of families and carers.” Finally, they felt a lot of effort had gone into ensuring our projects would have very specific outcomes and a strong evaluation methodology.

Where do we need to improve?

Knowing what you did well is one thing, but knowing where you can improve enables you to see yourself as others see you – and also to grow. The Dragon’s felt we could be a little less academic in our approach. They were also interested to hear more about the nuts and bolts of our projects, including how the programme would be delivered and how our co-design model might work. Although this was all information we were able to provide during the Dragons’ questions, moving forward, we will now prioritise these topics and suggestions in our next presentation.

What did we discover and learn?

Their feedback reminded us that it’s easy to default into your comfort zones (i.e academia) However, to communicate in the most effective manner, it is important to  understand what your audience deems important and communicate information in a way they will find accessible.

Thanks again to the Dragons including Martin Petry from Groundwork London Grants  https://www.groundwork.org.uk, Ailbhe Kirwan from the People’s Post Code Lottery https://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/about-us/news/small-grant-funding and Sanja Djeric-Kaneat from Kingston Voluntary Action https://kva.org.uk/ for organising this fab event.

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