This is the first in a series of 6 blog posts by Simon Strong about his portfolio career.
Reading how people have created their own portfolio career can be useful to inspire you to create one yourself.
The rest of this blog is in Simon’s own words.
What are the components of your portfolio career e.g. study, paid freelance work, part time job, volunteering etc.?
I don’t really have components as such. More a load of stuff that I’m doing. Some I get paid for. Some I invest in. Some is just because I want to. Interestingly, it’s often the stuff I do just because I want to that leads to the most satisfying and lucrative work opportunities. Probably the easiest thing to do is tell you what I’ve been doing recently and what I’m up to now.
I ran Pecha Kucha Night in Guildford for a couple of years which allowed me to connect with so many amazing creative people and their stories. This led to being asked by Ellen Dowell (who runs Einstein’s Garden at the Green Man Festival, and whose academic work is based on interdisciplinary collaboration) to help set up Bright Club Guildford – where University Academics do stand-up comedy based on their research. Ellen and I ran Bright Club for 3 years before we stepped down in January this year. We have handed over to a fresh committee who we hope will be able to take it on to the next level.
I run a creative consultancy, Human Zoo, named after a book by the amazing Desmond Morris with whom I had the great honour of working when in advertising. We work with our clients across a broad range of projects including branding, innovation and culture change, running lots of seminars and facilitating workshops and conferences. We act as Ambassadors for the University of Surrey Business School and are involved in delivering seminars on their MBA and executive MBA programmes. I’m currently consulting with a global print company and am about to go out to Dubai to run a conference.
Last year my business partner in Human Zoo and I got bored of expending so much energy on client projects that went nowhere, so we decided to start investing time in our own innovation projects. We’ve got three projects currently underway:
1) We won a funding competition from the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) under ‘Re-Imagining The High Street’ for a feasibility study on an innovation we developed and we’ve just been asked to apply for phase 2 funding for a market test which we are just about to submit.
2) We are working on developing an accelerated learning platform which has been proven to deliver the same learning outcomes as 27 hours of traditional classroom based learning in just 1 hour. We are working with the University of Surrey Business School to run a learning tournament to compare different learning techniques in one of the largest studies of its kind – and we are engaging the top 1,000 businesses in the UK on how this will impact on engaging Gen Y and creating ‘Business Ready Brains’.
3) We are working with one of the University MBA students to take a charity start-up idea to market. We are about to go into a funding round…
Part 2 of Simon’s 6 part guest blog series coming soon.
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View the Human Zoo web site:
What could your portfolio career be made up of?
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