Tag Archives: food

Scaling disruption

There are multiple ways we can intervene in the current business system in order to support change toward better environmental and social outcomes. One of these ways is to scale small initiatives that have the potential to create significant change in the current ways business operates. This is particularly effective where these ‘disruptors’ also act as commercial demonstrators to traditional organisations and inspiration for other emergent entities by proving the case for alternative forms of business.

I have a portfolio of these ‘disruptors’ that I currently coach from seed stage until first significant funding. This means taking them through a structured programme of business development, drawing on IDEO, LEAN and my own start-up experience across multiple sectors and stages of new business building.  The programme is underpinned my three key principles: fail fast, engage early and rapidly build credibility. This means we work closely together to:

  • Identify and engage potential customers to establish and build the business toward meeting real needs,
  • Set-up of a series of experiments where the team can quickly configure and test different operating methodologies, and
  • Understand how the market operates, where the gaps are and which organisations could inform and, even better, certify the set-up.

This is underpinned by regular ‘pivoting’ as we reconfigure the business model to meet emerging needs and cost structures. It is supported by work around vision, team dynamics, business basics and fundraising.

Two oranisations in my portfolio are currently seeking an extension of their seed funding. They are:

Clotho London: The destination for sustainable fashion. http://www.clotholondon.co.uk/

Set-up by two recent graduates from Imperial College (who worked together as Chemistry lab partners) this business aims to create a secondary market for good, used clothing. It is a simple technology platform built on the principle of clothes swapping. It provides young women with a more sustainable option for quality fashion choices. Clotho thereby works towards preventing new purchases of high-street brands and reducing the 350,000 tonnes of used clothing that goes to landfill in the UK every year. They currently operate collections at 3 UK Universities and are rapidly growing a loyal customer base. They are looking to raise investment to fund operational costs as they scale their service.

Vesco: Developing sustainable feed systems. https://vescofeed.wordpress.com (under-development)

Vesco has been set-up by four classmates from the Imperial College Environmental Technology MSc programme.  They are developing a sustainable ‘insect-based’ animal feed designed to mitigate the environmental and biodiversity impacts of contemporary soy and fishmeal-based feeds. They aim to harness the efficiency of insects in converting organic waste into high-quality nutrients and are running a number of experiments to rear  fly larvae on a variety of organic wastes. They are working closely alongside high-profile potential customers to co-develop product specifications and a unique, ‘circular’ offering and are in the process of organising trials for pilot products. Vesco is looking or funding to allow further development of the concept by paying a base wage to the team. 

Both these worthwhile organisations will effect change in the existing systems they operate within – clothing and food – through demonstrating initiative, possibility and trialing new business models.  Any funding or other suggestions to scale and support these worthwhile organisations would be appreciated.

Alternatively, if you are a young enterprise with a good idea towards a positive shared future or an investor/accelerator/incubator with disruptors in your funding portfolio  that need help in clarifying their business models towards delivering scalable impact –  please do get in touch.

For further information or to arrange a meeting, please fill in the form below:



All February’s inspirations – and how to keep the sunshine into March…

An Inspired February

Your February posts have been little beacons of clarity and light”

Today is the last day of our month of inspirations. We’ve loved how they have spread out like ripples to far shores and connected us and the ideas within to new people and places. Thank you Columbia, Canada, Singapore, Botswana, Brazil, Romania and all the other places that picked up on this! We like the possibility that we’ve not only brought daily sunshine but somehow inspired change.

We’ve enjoyed having others volunteer to write – and encourage anyone who’d like to write, to contact us for future blogs at info@6-heads.com. We know our stories are currently UK centric – you can change that!

We’ve enjoyed a sense of community beyond our normal group of change warriors.  We’d love to invite you to continue to join us at our events or our regular UK members meetings. For more details have a look here: events , or join our regular newsletter here: newsletter

And of course, if there is any other way we can support you: through talks, writing, training, consulting or spring-boarding your business idea – please do get in touch!

For today’s inspiration, we invite you to enjoy a selection from the past month:

Thank you for joining us on this sunshine journey for February. 

May 2014 be your best year yet. 


28 Days of Inspiration – Day 23: Scotlands culinary delights?

Beyond Haggis, Whisky and deep-fried Mars bars

I am up in Scotland this weekend and finding myself inspired by the myriad of community initiatives around food.

farm scotland

The closer people come to understanding and engaging with their food source, the better they can make decisions about what to eat. Ultimately better decisions around food choice can positively impact the food system, shifting towards organic, local and seasonal produce. Where this also engages the community it can result in a more equitable and resilient system.

The Fife Diet aims to develop collective and participatory approaches to reduce our impact on the wider environment through the food choices we make. It links community members through a New Food Manifesto, which aims to get an understanding of how food can be part of restorative practice across health and well-being ecology and community. They have some fascinating initiatives and are currently looking at starting a co-op to support access to local, organics products.

Bread is a food staple and there are a few community-owned bakeries which provide an opportunity for a community to engage in producing a food staple. Breadshare, says “Our mission is to serve and involve the community by making excellent, nutritious bread using organic ingredients and distinctive local products, helping to create a more sustainable and health-enhancing food system.”

Whitmuir aims to become Scotlands first community owned farm. They have a vision that it will become a national resource on sustainable food and farming, with discovery trails, exhibits, educational opportunities and citizen science projects. People can discover what bugs and beasties do all day; why organic farming is good for you and the planet; what makes a pig happy and how to grow your own food. They provide an opportunity to explore everything from the brilliance of clover to the intricacies of the carbon cycle. You can buy a share in the farm for as little as £50.

Tying it all together is Nourish Scotland. It host events, workshops towards reconnecting producers, growers, retailers, consumers and all who care for local, sustainable food to make healthy, local, seasonal, and organic food available everywhere in Scotland.

Hungry?  Time for a visit to Scotland then…

Initiatives from your region that are inspirational?  Please send them to us at info@6-heads.com.

Just want to hear more? 5 days left of our inspiration series – sign up here: 6-heads

28 Days of Inspiration – Day 21: What’s for lunch?

Feeding the future

James discovers zero carbon farming – underground!


Here at 6heads we love food and we love the pioneers blazing an innovative trail in making our food more sustainable. On our harvest hike last autumn, Kate from GrowUp talked about how they are making their vision of closed-loop, hydroponic, rooftop, urban farms a reality. Or our friends at Hodmedods, a recent start-up seeking to encourage people in the UK to fall back in love with the humble fava bean as a low carbon protein source that can be grown here, in contrast to most other beans which are imported.

Perhaps most counter-intuitive is Zero Carbon Food’s current initiative to grow salad greens underground in an old London bomb shelter! As Stephen Drink points out it a Guardian article about the initiative: “Open field and greenhouse farmers are affected by low light, weather, pests, all of those issues”, says Dring. “Between 2009-2012 food inflation ran at about 32%. That’s because of issues with crop production and failed crops … down here we have no pests and a consistent temperature of 16C. Once we’ve put all the LED lights in they give off a little heat that will take us up to about 20C, perfect growing temperature.” The lights are currently powered by a renewable energy supplier, but they plan to generate their own renewable power on-site using wind and solar energy.

28 Days of Inspiration – Day 10: Hungry for change?

Hungry for Change?

Challenging accepted cultural habits


Isabella challenges your current eating habits by introducing the idea of eating more sustainable food, or more precisely eating protein in the form of insects. It might not immediately appeal to people in the western world, but insects are already eaten regularly by 80% of the world. Entomophagy (the consumption of insects) is seen by many as a solution to the challenge of feeding a growing population.

Insects are also entering the UK food market – last year, Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca put grasshoppers on their menu and asked costumers for feedback on the experience. Food start-up Ento are working towards getting people to eat insects by designing exciting food experiences that also raise awareness of insects’ manifold benefits for our health and the environment. I have personally tasted Ento’s products and can highly recommend them!

Hungry? Almost lunch time – what will you choose?
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