Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Farewell 90:10 hello The Social Partners

I've never learned so much as I have learned in the last four years of my life. When Jamie Burke and I founded 90:10 Group we made it our business to drive transformation in organisations with the power of the new connectedness the social web had revealed.

We had to develop the market, create new terms of reference and rules of engagement, new job roles, new products and services, new ways of pitching for business, new ways of delivering the results.

And not just once. Constant reinvention and adaptation was the only response to a fast shifting landscape.
We grew fast. From 2 to 50+ employees in three years. Offices in the UK (we had to move three times in less than three years as the business expanded), France, Germany, Spain, Holland - and eventually into the Middle East in three cities. We were able to do so because we attracted £3.5m of revenue in consulting fees with clients from Tesco to Bupa, First Capital Connect to Citrix, Honda to Mastercard.

For more about the story of the business and Jamie's learnings from it, see Jamie's post here.

After a spectacular journey - more of the mission to the moon, than the roller coaster variety - I decided in September last year it was time for me to consider new roles. My tenure as Co-Founder and MD had lasted longer than any single role I have held as far as I can recall - a testament to the regular but inspiring challenges we faced and the continued stimulation that delivered.

I took a series of consulting gigs, developing social media strategy for two start-ups and one blue chip (I'm still working with the blue chip) between then and mid January this year. This gave me the space to think about what I value and the kind of people I want to work with.

That process ended when I reconnected with Ivan Palmer (who I have known for some many years), at The Social Partners. I'm settling in there now as Strategy Partner in Hatton Garden, London and the more I learn about the team and the scale of their ambition the more I am sure I have made the right decision.
Of course, we face daily challenges - but we do so armed with a collective wealth of experience and range of skills to which I can now add. If you'd like to add yours we do currently have vacancies.

The spirit of 90:10 continues through Open Business. 

Jamie and I (with contributions from many other 90:10 colleagues) developed The 10 Principles of Open Business through working at the chalk face of the social business and marketing space. We have codified and made this available to share. Read Jamie's blog for more on how we are making the IP available for all. Palgrave-Macmillan will be publishing our co-authored book on the subject in early 2014 (I have a July 2013 deadline for delivery). If your company has been an exemplar of any of the principles, I'd like to interview you for the book. Perhaps you can suggest someone I should speak to?

Finally, Jamie is continuing with 90:10 but taking it in a new direction. Rather than consulting to other businesses, his focus is shifting to creating start-ups based on The 10 Principles. Of course I wish him and the board every success with that. We remain very good friends.

I still believe there is much good and valuable work to be done with existing organisations, helping them learn from the world as it it to make them a better fit with it and a greater success in it. That's what's led me to The Social Partners.

And if you'd like to contact me there the easiest way is by email: david.cushman@thesocialpartners.com


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?