Last month the team at the Unreasonable Institute made a strategic leap to have more impact. Through this leap, they announced their rebrand from the Unreasonable Institute to UNCHARTED: Charting the Course from Impossible to Possible. Below are learnings they gained along the journey:
Changing to Address ‘Persistent Problems at Scale’
- We want to find the best way to solve problems. With an entrepreneur-centric model (Unreasonable Institute), we worked with a wide diversity of entrepreneurs who were creating impact in different sectors. In one cohort, we had entrepreneurs working in healthcare, education, and renewable energy. There was valuable impact with this model, but we want more than that. We want to accelerate the people and organizations that are uniquely positioned to tackle the same issue and put a big dent in it. So we’re moving from an entrepreneur-centric model to a problem-centric model where we put the problem at the center—like how to get low-income students into college. With that as our organizing principle, we identify the best people and organizations to put a dent in it and accelerate them so we can see measurable change.
- Entrepreneurs are only one catalyst to put a dent in big problems. The entrepreneurs we have worked with over the last seven years have created extraordinary impact, but to move the needle on a problem requires engaging a larger audience of entrepreneurs, corporations, policy-makers and governments.
- We asked: What if we could build a collective movement around a problem? Through a collective approach, we can address multiple drivers of one single problem. We’re going to take on specific problems, and build an army of entrepreneurs and give them access to what they need—mentors, funders, and partners— to attack it from all sides. That way, when we attempt to solve a problem, the odds of solving that problem go up dramatically.
- There is no single way to solve the problems our globe faces. This learning marked the beginning of an arduous, important journey to not only a new look, but also a redesigned approach for how to solve the world’s greatest problems.
- Uncharted represents that our world, and how we improve it, is not fixed. There is no single way to solve the problems our globe faces, so we must head into the uncharted and learn what it takes to put big dents in big challenges our world encounters.
- Problems are complex and dynamic. Our approach to solving is multi-colored, multi-changing, and multi-shaped. Uncharted will adapt and become best suited to solve.
- A new brand is often the outcome of a new strategy. At Uncharted, and after nearly a decade of learnings, we concluded it was time to shift two things: our impact model and our business model. Instead of focusing on the entrepreneur, giving them the resources they need to tackle various social issues, we began focusing on the problem—and building a collective, relevant movement of ventures, funders, mentors, governments, policy makers, and corporations around it. This shift in model also shifted our revenue approach; we began partnering with governments, foundations, and corporations who each held a specific investment in the same problems we’re trying to solve.Due to these shifts, we knew it meant we needed a new identity. A company’s brand is just that: It’s what people experience, feel, and do, when they interact with you. A strong brand creates greater trust, brings the right people to the table, and serves as a bridge between program strategy and external communications. It also reinforces shared values, a critical component for a team that is experiencing a lot of change.
- A new brand is NOT a new website. Therefore, a brand is way more than just a website. Sure, what people see when you announce the rebrand is the website. And yes, your website will most likely be your most important communications tool. But it is still only that: a tool. Your website will only be effective if your brand positioning and identity is strong, messaging is clear, concise, and consistent, and you’ve designed it to reach the specific stakeholders you want to speak to.
- The finished product is just the beginning. The best part about Uncharted’s new brand is the amount of opportunities it opens up for our organization. In other words, the work has just begun.
With a clear strategy, a beautiful website, and relevant messaging, we are on the path to running more impactful programs and partnering with the right people—holding tightly to our commitment to chart the course from the impossible to the possible.