Where It All Began: Starting Out On The TRVST Journey

Where It All Began: Starting Out On The TRVST Journey

I like change. It keeps us moving, growing, and learning. We’ve certainly seen tons of it my adult lifetime.

Yet at the moment a bunch of change feels far less than positive. Reporting on the record growth of FeverTree following a £103m payout the Guardian recently noted “We’re sipping cocktails while the world burns.”

Trump, Brexit, Iran, Refugees, Letterboxes, Fires, Shootings, Poverty, Inequality, Fake News, Declining Trust, Plastic. And that’s just this month's headlines.

High-profile scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, Oxfam, or Vauxhall are the tip of the iceberg. At the same time, 94% of Millennials want to use their skills for social good and 57% of consumers are buying or boycotting brands based on a social or political issue. Work is changing, the robots are coming. The pace of change continues to accelerate unabated.

If we want to go about being impactful amongst all this whilst being active in setting some of this grief to rights we need to get busy.

Back in 2014, the start of the TRVST journey, I’d had a rubbish year. Someone close had been suffering from a significant addiction, there’d been a lot of grief. I had a personal will to turn all that into something positive. I started a really small foundation, we didn’t have loads of money or large scale, we didn’t have a plan. We did however start to do stuff.

We started researching profit with purpose, exploring what people really cared about. We hosted a series of dinners bringing people together, amazing eclectic nights full of positive energy. The amazing Assia Rosica cooked incredible Italian food, up and coming concert pianist Belle Chen performed 3 times, we had brilliant speakers inspiring from their personal stories and we raised money for the excellent work the team does over at DrugFam. We’d also begun the TRVST journey (the name came later but that’s another post).

I’ve had literally 100’s of conversations since about TRVST, every single one of which has played a formative part in who and what we now are, helped us shape our theory of change and our ambition.

People want to do good. It’s a pretty simple, near-universal truth. And they don’t want to do it alone.

Early on we convened connections for people to come together through our events and network. Despite many an amazing connection, there was little in the way of real action let alone actual impactful outcomes. People wanted to help, they wanted to engage, they were looking for purpose. Yet there was no systematic way for them to meaningfully start creating the change we all want to see. Rather interest waned between events.

We began to theorize a better way. What would happen if technology dynamically brokered actions between people and causes? What if frameworks and resources were readily available and made it easy to just get on with making a difference? What if incentives, recognition, measurement, and optimization were built in? What if everything was 100% transparent?  What if we aligned human motivations across head, heart, and wallet?

With TRVST we’re setting out to answer these questions, to do so we’re busy creating an eco-system where people come together to act for good.

We certainly don’t have all the answers, we will always be learning and we’ve got a lot to prove. Yet I couldn’t be more excited that we now rapidly progressing a plan to make all this happen. 4 years since our small beginnings we’ve built a cracking team, established a bunch of pilots, and are busy gearing for growth.

I’m a believer in people, and at the risk of sounding twee, we really are better together. I’m excited we’re well and truly building momentum, and doing it with people passionate to make a difference.

I’m also looking forward to sharing more as our plans develop. Meanwhile, we’re always interested in hearing from people keen to get busy or contribute. We’re raising money too and would love to hear from investors keen on their own double bottom line. Please do get in touch and sign up for our newsletter to be kept up to date… there’s a lot more to come.

Ben is a life-long entrepeneur with a passion for leveraging technology to create impact. He's TRVST's founder and a professor of marketing.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
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