Prime Thinkers

There are not many times in my life where I have heard about a business and thought ‘WOW, what a fabulous idea!‘ I’m known as an entrepreneur and have come up with and worked on some fantastic projects and Prime Thinkers is one of those ideas I wish I’d had myself!

Prime Thinkers utilises the skills and knowledge of experienced professional people to develop creative solutions for individuals, businesses and voluntary organisations. They work closely with the client at informal brainstorming sessions which aim to deliver practical, effective and innovate ideas to solve business dilemmas and concerns. So what is so interesting about that I can hear you asking?

As ever, it’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it!

I met Vanda Green, Director of the East London Group at a meeting at the House of Lords in support of Global Entrepreneurship week and she explained,

“My panel of experienced business people will brainstorm business ideas and approaches. It is a bit like Dragon’s Den except that we are all focussed on helping any presenter who brings us what they want to achieve. We have a pool of about 20 experts and professionals that we can call upon at any one time and at least 8 form the panel at each presentation. Because this approach is different and informal we identify our presenters one by one through personal introduction. ”

“We brainstorm ideas in order to address any issues which are brought to us. It’s a bit like Dragon’s Den but we are all very friendly and entirely on the presenter’s side. After a 10 minute presentation we ask questions of clarification then follow with an ideas generation session. Presenters make a note of the dozens of ideas that come up which they can then consider at their leisure and follow up.”

“By getting people to reveal their business issue and explain it to the panel they often come up with solutions themselves and with the input from the expert panel they always go away with a wealth of ideas and strategies. We are clear that we are not offering a consultancy service and are not there to give advice in the proper sense, what we do is work with the presenter to suggest posibble options and solutions and it is up to the presenter if and how any are implemented. ”

“For example, we had a presentation from a charity who was struggling to implement training programmes across the organisation. In presenting their issue it became clear that they were not committed to training but doing it because they felt they should; because other charities were doing it. By listening to ideas from the panel they came to realise that if they were going to introduce a training programme that they had to find someone who was fully committed to training to deliver it.”

And here is the innovative bit… return for our brainstorm the presenter makes a donation of £75 to our nominated charity.”

So how did the idea come about?

Prime Thinkers was set up in 2007 by Maurice Collins OBE and a small group of actively working and retired business people. Maurice, well known in North London for his many business ideas, and his associates were often approached by people asking for advice on various business problems. They would give freely of their help and advice whenever they were approached. It became clear that there were many individuals who were happy to help others by sharing their knowledge and also clear that they were more than happy to share their expertise in support of local charities.

The first Prime Thinkers group meeting was held in a small cafe in London, creating an informal and positive environment for their clients to present their problem and the group to brainstorm ideas which could assist. Not only did the group find that they could make real differences to the client’s business but they also found it a hugely enjoyable activity and a great way to meet other like-minded individuals. Prime Thinkers give their time voluntarily and all client fees are donated to the disability charity, Kith and Kids who are working closely with them to develop and expand the idea across the UK.

Kith and Kids gives much needed help to families who have one or more children with a learning disability or autism. Many of whom also have a sensory or physical disability.

Prime Thinkers is recommended by the RSA – The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. It was shortlisted in their ‘Meet the Dragons’ initiative; promoting innovation in social care. Prime Thinkers scored highly with the panel and although they did not make the final five, they have made a connection with the RSA as part of RSA Networks, whose work seems to engage Fellows and bring the Fellows from the periphery to the heart of the RSA activities. The aim is to become a network for civic innovation, empowering the developement of new initiatives that promote and deliver progress in society.

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