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Digitization is key to success also for social enterprises: AdEx Digital Bootcamp with Social Entrepreneurs from Ashoka

How can companies achieve more with limited resources through digitization? How to intensify contact with customers and partners? And how to better collaborate internally and externally reducing the number of business trips?

Challenges that are as important to social enterprises as they are to commercial businesses. The following is a positive example of how AdEx Partners addresses and solves these issues.  

In addition to AdEx Partners' current social engagement, the desire grew and was encouraged by the management, to support other social organizations together as a team. In an internal survey, employees' interest focused on the areas of education and social innovation. The Skilled Volunteering approach pursued by AdEx Corporate Responsibility means that AdEx, which has established itself as strategic management and IT consultancy, uses its many years of experience to exert a positive impact on society with the greatest possible leverage. With this in mind, the "Digital Bootcamp with Social Entrepreneurs" was designed together with Ashoka, the world's largest network for social entrepreneurs. 

Commitment needs teamwork 

"It was important to us to support committed people through our joint work, who drive social innovation by combining social thinking and entrepreneurial action," explains Timo Ströbel, Head of Corporate Responsibility at AdEx Partners. "Founders were invited to apply for our boot camp with their specific questions on topics such as strategy, IT, communication or collaboration. Five outstanding cases were selected from the sectors of education, environment and social participation and were brought together in heterogeneous teams with three consultants from AdEx Partners each.  

The following social enterprises participated in the boot camp: Das macht Schule gGbmH, Euforia, Institut für Inklusive Bildung gGmbH, Regionalwert AG, and the Väter gGmbH. In the first phase, the teams got to know each other virtually via Skype video conferences, got acquainted with the business case and the respective ecosystem and researched additional information. 

Workshop providing insights into root causes and possible solutions  

The second phase consisted of an intensive workshop day in September 2019 in Hamburg, where all participants got to know each other personally and deepened the cases: Using Design Thinking methods, initial approaches to solutions were developed and discussed within the team. "It often turned out that before solving a supposedly technical problem, strategic and organizational questions had to be clarified first," says Timo Ströbel. Another hurdle encountered was the tools needed for virtual collaboration in distributed, mobile teams and for handling large amounts of data and documents. Both were caused on the one hand by a lack of software, which is perceived to be too expensive, and on the other hand by rather rudimentary knowledge of how to use the existing tools. However, both are exactly the topics in which AdEx Partners can perfectly support by consulting and coaching due to its vast experience from countless projects in business and industry. 

What’s next? 

To secure the results of this intensive collaboration in a sustainable way, clear goals and the steps towards achieving them were developed in the form of concrete tasks for all those involved. 

Now we enter the third phase: In virtual coaching sessions over the next three months, the remaining questions will be clarified and the best ideas implemented. The AdEx team continues to provide advice and support. Carsten Kracht, a founder of AdEx Partners, supports this approach and is convinced that the contribution of the knowledge and experience of the AdEx consultants creates a great added value for social organizations. 

Sustainability in consultancy services 

"At the Digital Bootcamp, we made sure to act as sustainably as possible, which is why preferably social entrepreneurs and AdEx consultants from the Hamburg area took part", says Stefanie Hämmerl, Junior Consultant CSR. "In addition, the participants were encouraged to use the train for the few necessary trips." The preparation and follow-ups will take place exclusively virtually. Everyone who has been involved in the project is excited about the trustful and very inspiring cooperation. "Even one week after the boot camp, I am still deeply impressed by the valuable, very solution-oriented support. We have already set the course for implementing a new system that will make many processes easier for us in the future," said Gesa Kobs, Managing Director of the “Institut für Inklusive Bildung”. Bernd Gebert, founder of "Das macht Schule gGmbH", also profited greatly from the boot camp with AdEx Partners: "It has brought us a big step forward in our communication. We are thrilled by the professionalism and great commitment of the consultants, who have committed to our cause far beyond what was originally agreed". 

Corporate Responsibility News, AdEx News, News & PR

Joint workshop at AdEx Partners' headquarters in Hamburg: Together with Design Thinking methods, the first approaches to solutions were developed.

Together with Ashoka, the world's largest network for social entrepreneurs, AdEx Partners designed a "Digital Bootcamp".

During the teamwork, it became clear that strategic and organizational questions must first be clarified before supposedly technical problems can be solved.

Digitalization as the key to success: AdEx Partners' Digital Bootcamp shows that social enterprises must also face the new way of working.