An interview with Doug Summers - Creative Director, Bold
Question 1: From your day to day work, what project, situation, Bold client or person have you found inspiring?
Answer: It's a great privilege to work across the social enterprise sector and have a window into so many different models, ideas and passions. I am impressed every day by social enterprises with a strong sense of purpose. Music Broth is one such shining example - Scotland’s musical instrument library is social enterprise with a great idea that is economically viable, hugely impactful and excitingly scalable.
Their beautifully succinct brand vision says it all - 'No instrument sits still'. The message is clear and the system works. From donations they now have 1300+ instruments enabling access, learning and development to take place across society with all the knock on effects that that brings. Their impact also extends to tuition, gig support and promotion, training and employability as well as the obvious environmental benefits.
Pre-covid, I was lucky enough to visit the warehouse in Govanhill. There was a vast and eclectic array of instruments stacked floor to ceiling. Drumkits, pianos, decks, PAs. Rack after rack of guitars, ukuleles, violins and brass. Industrious workbenches with instruments under repair. Up on the mezzanine I was introduced to a hammer dulcimer and a much loved double bass called Fankenstein. We now have a family membership and so for my kids have benefitted from turns of a kid size electric guitar, a keyboard and a piano - delivered!
Question 2: What trends do you see over the horizon that will impact on the sector?
Answer: Covid recovery and Climate crisis and have to top the list. Despite the very necessary and welcome recovery funding of late - things are going to be financially tough for the next few years and the enterprises that are most resilient will survive. Some will coalesce around a cause and many will merge to gain strength. Enterprises that can communicate a strong sense of purpose will fare better. Some will fold, but so many of these provide lifeline services that we as a sector will have to think collectively and make sure society continues to benefit.
The climate crisis - without doubt the biggest issue facing humanity, is emerging from the shadow of covid and will get an enormous boost locally from Scotland hosting the COP26 summit in November. As the host nation Scotland has to lead by example and inspire the world. This means acting on every level and pushing the debate on major change like circular economy and wellbeing economics. The SE sector will be responsible for a lot of that pushing.
Question 3: Why and how did you decide to join this sector?
Answer: In a way the sector found me. My first real exposure to the sector was rebranding HealthynHappy, a bustling social enterprise improving lives in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. They opened my eyes to the movement and as the penny dropped and I began to wonder why all business wasn’t social and why anyone would ever consciously choose otherwise. I was drawn to the principles of fairness baked into the Code. This was at the time of bankers bonuses hitting the headlines and the 1:5 pay ratio borrowed from Plato especially chimed with me. It occurred to me that if the public were widely aware of the model - then the private sector (and by extension inequality) would really have something to worry about.
When I got the opportunity to join Community Enterprise and later Bold I saw the opportunity to make a real difference to the movement. To help the sector compete and tell its story through access to effective branding and quality design - raising the bar in the third sector as we proudly proclaim on our website.
Question 4: Outside of work, what interests you?
Answer: My long standing passion is world music and in particular the rich melting pot of Brazilian music. I have been a member of the glasgow group SambaYaBamba for over twenty years running the full gamut from learning as a beginner to playing wonderful gigs all over the place from Barrhead to Bavaria. In various capacities directing, teaching and shaping this diverse and vibrant group has been both a privilege and an education. In 2008 I rehearsed for a month with Parque Curicica samba school and played in the Rio carnaval which was the pinnacle of my career.
SambaYaBamba has newly achieved charitable status as a SCIO and looks forward to progressing it’s impressive youth band and outreach programmes as well as entertaining thousands every year with its explosive performances. And I’m proud to say I will be playing my part as a trustee.