We often get asked the same questions about the Point People over and over again so we thought we’d post a few answers here.
Are you an actual company?
We are a Company Limited by guarantee, which means we are a notforprofit organisation, with no shareholders, whose resource goes back in to fund our organisational objectives.
How was is started? What is it all about?
The Point People were first convened in 2010 and it was incorporated in 2011. It was started in part in response to the dominant narrative around entrepreneurship. There were so many programmes, accelerators and incubators all gearing everyone up to be entrepreneurs but as a group we didn’t feel that it fully represented who we each were, the work we were doing or the ways we could add value to a system of change.
As a group we were doing work that was much more about thinking laterally and building value laterally, than it was about building one thing and focussing on growth in that kind of “enterprise” trajectory. We could see that global issues were huge and complex and that there was a real need for sectors to work together and people who could speak and understand across disciplines had a really important role to play in spotlighting, convening, connecting, sensemaking, translating and coordinating. So Point People was a response to that.
We convened a group of 16 people that we knew had large networks in different sectors and who had developed a language and set of behaviours to how they worked that embodied that transdisciplinary and generous approach. As 16 people sat around a table we became a microcosm of the larger systems at play in the world around us and we believed that by sharing and learning and working together in a way that bridged across all of our different experiences, we could bring some value to trying to address these huge systemic issues. The very first video we put on the website back in 2011 was this talk, and it still helps to make some sense of how we see our role in systemic change.
How do you become a Point Person?
We don’t actively recruit people at the moment, however we are always looking for more people to join our project teams or to be part of our wider learning circles. If you would like to connect with us you can email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aren’t you just the same as a consultancy?
In some ways we are, yes. We have made a decision that the Point People is not a main source of income for any of us which does give us a freedom and flexibility to work on more experimental work or projects with an unknown quantity to them. We try to make a distinction between what a Point People piece of work is and what one of us might do as an individual consultant outside of the collective. This means that we tend to only do long-term pieces of work with organisations that see things systemically and what to invest in the long haul. We also bring our collective intelligence to each piece of work at different points in a project so whilst not all Point People work together on a piece of work, at some point all of us will contribute to it.
What do you actually do?
I think we are really interested in this question and the idea that sometimes it’s more important to ask how do you “be”?, what do you bring? We are not firm believers in only the tangible, measurable world as we know it, however we are actively involved in thinking about ways to document and identify where value (of all sorts) is being created.
I’m interested in doing an internship with you?
We aren’t very well set up for people to do internships with us as we are all working in very different ways and on different timescales and paces. Whilst we do have a base in Euston that we share with Snook (The Interchange), it is rare that any Point People are there with any regularity. We are bothered about not being able to support internships and really feel it is important to support people developing their practice and skills in this emerging type of work, therefore if you have ideas of how we could so this then we would love to hear from you!