Just a (not so) quick one here to say MERRY SHIFTMAS, one and all!
Tis the season for gratitude, so I’d like to take this Christmassy opportunity to say loudly that we’re grateful for you, without which Future Shift would be but a figment of our imagination.
I thought it would be nice for Future Shift’s friends and family to hear our story over the last two years. If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be someone who’s played a part in shaping us. So for that I say thank you from us all!
Within the walls of Future Shift HQ, we’ve had a year of meaningful collaboration, learning and intense discussions about the future we want to design. But let’s go back to when it all began.
In the winter months of 2020, Will and I sat down and made a plan for what Future Shift was to become, each year, for the next five years. The first two years of this plan were to be our ‘Launch period’. This meant creating a brand we were proud of and a mission. Beside this mission were a couple of services we would design to uphold our founding principles.
So, what did our ‘Launch’ look like? Well, we started off in Future Leap, in the heat of lockdown, and talked to people who we believed were doing the kind of things that we would like to be part of in the business sustainability space.
We reached out to the wonderful network of UK B Corps and listened to the learnings that had been made on their way to becoming more sustainable businesses. This is where our first consulting service, Shift B Corp was born and, along with our first client Creative Revolution Group, we designed a platform-led consulting approach to support businesses on their certification journeys. Today, we are proud to have supported a new wave of B Corps with this service.
In the early months of 2021 we moved into an abandoned Costa coffee shop in the middle of Bristol’s old town and set up shop, sandwiched between two squats, acting as guardians of the property in return for cheap rent. We enjoyed an excited range of visitors who’d pop into the office from time to time and absorbed the revolutionary atmosphere created by the various pop-up anarchist shops and political flags draped from the windows of our neighbours – there was never a dull moment in our six months on High Street.
In September 2021, we took our reclaimed desks and Gumtree-freebie office equipment to 31 College Green, our current office. This was a big step up for us in terms of professionalism, being able to open up a space where some serious innovation could happen, we could take clients and begin building a home for ourselves. Here, with each new client (and all-important paycheck), we made copious trips to Ikea to buy plants, lamps and mugs for the office, one by one with each penny rolling into the Future Shift bank account.
Around this time Will and I could start paying ourselves ‘real money’, move out of our parents’ spare bedrooms and live lives like our friends were. This was a big ‘this is getting real’ moment for us.
Not long after, in summer 2022 we were included on a 12 month project which gave us something we had never experienced before: some form of stability. This meant we could plan 1, 2, 6 months into the future, and that future included employee #1. So we set out to hire the first of the ‘founding employees’. We looked through some 300 applications for a ‘junior consultant’ role and out of the dozens of interviews and many hours reading cover letters, we found Tom.
Tom is an important one. Not just because he’s a brilliant mind and was already strongly aligned with our mission, but because he represented the departure from a business that was effectively two consultants trying to make ends meet. Now we were closer to a firm, with diverse, complementary skill sets and management structures. This was a big jump from us that we are still getting our heads around.
It’s quite clear from our experience that when multiple people work together, emergent properties like culture and innovation begin to bubble up from sharing our collective experiences. We have another team member coming on in early January 2023 which we are all super excited about. Our ability to interpret the world, as an organisation, gets that one bit deeper, allowing us to make better, more equitable collective decisions.
So that’s us over the first two years of Future Shift. Thanks for listening to our story.
As I write this at the end of 2022, I can confidently say that everyone at Future Shift is excited to witness what 2023 has in store for us. We’ve worked hard to create conditions of innovation and collaboration, guided by an undertone of revolution, gratefully instilled into us by our anarchist neighbours all those months ago. Now it’s time to establish the principles developed during our two-year launch in our next phase: growth.
Kind regards, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year,
Oscar, Will & Tom