Innovators making changes that matter: Animorph Co‑operative
The ingenious team at Animorph Co‑operative produce augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions that create a positive social impact.
“Our co-op was formed by a group of friends deciding to make a change in the world,” says producer Geoff Morgan.
One solution they’re particularly proud of is the Virtual Inclusion Project. This is an interactive virtual reality lesson that helps school pupils understand social inclusion.
“The problem is that exclusion leads to extremism, hate and anti-social behaviour,” says developer Szczepan Orlowski. “The virtual reality lesson puts you in the shoes of a witness to something – and in the driver’s seat of how to deal with such an event. Using VR, pupils can take action and see the most impactful outcomes of their actions. And that’s a powerful way to learn.”
The Animorph team met while living in the Sanford Housing Co-operative in south east London. So forming a co-op business felt like a natural choice, and one that resonated with their values.
The co-op was incorporated in 2016, and like any young business, its journey hasn’t been without challenges. Luckily, Geoff, Szczepan and their colleagues were supported by The Hive when starting up. And in early 2020, they received further Hive support.
“At the beginning of the year, we were thinking of focusing on a new venture, but we decided to continue with Animorph. Once we’d made that decision, we felt we needed some support in branding, marketing and business development,” Geoff explains.
So they applied to the The Hive and received a number of sessions with Pete Burden and Siôn Whellens.
Pete and Siôn’s sessions challenged the team’s thinking and empowered them to take action. “It gave us the chance to refocus our perspective,” says Szczepan. “It showed us that the capacity to fix problems is within us. And that it simply comes from having awareness, being organised and using the interpersonal tools they were using – which they explained we could also use.”
The members of the co-op had previously disagreed on their approach to marketing, but thanks to Pete and Siôn’s help, they reached an agreement. “Their advice was very clear and just what we needed. We decided to seek marketing support within the co-operative movement,” smiles Geoff.
“Thanks to The Hive’s help, we’ve also introduced new ways of working and communicating. We have meetings at the start and end of the week to ensure we all stay on the same page. We’ve also generated leads and new business opportunities which could result in great work that would be amazing – and would achieve what we set out to do: make change in the world.”
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Picture credit: Blake House Co-operative.