Being a mentor at the Designathon was not nearly as frightening as I had expected. For a while, I wondered what I could say to any of the participants – what do I really know about start-ups, technology, laws or sustainability?
At my old work, we used to talk about how none of us know anything about anything, but that because we are aware we know nothing, that morsel of knowledge made us better off than those who did not know they know nothing. It was a truncation of the four stages of competence, but we were happy to live aspiring to stage three.
The enviable position of a mentor meant I did not need subject matter expertise, but only needed an understanding of the creative process. Given the subject matters were food and energy sustainability, my background in commercial and corporate law came in handy to nudge some of the ideas towards a more commercial foundation.
I did not mention Viva at all during the Designathon Day – which was a pity – but that was not the setting for mentioning Viva. There are right times and places, dedicated marketing channels, and appropriate audiences – yesterday did not provide any of those. What I wanted to do yesterday was to hire one or two of the participants, but the setting was not right for making job offers either.
(I am sure the Viva team will frown at the suggestion of my making more job offers without consulting them in the process… but some of the participants were really good!)