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How a 1950s award scheme’s principles are still important today

Mar 2, 2021 9:14:02 AM Neil Cornish Business, Supply Chain, Partnership, Ecosystem, Project Management

It was sad to see Prince Philip back in hospital this week. Over the past few years the media has not always been kind to him. But for many people who have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, which he founded in 1956, Prince Philip will hold a special place in their memories.


I still recall the excitement of my parents when we received the invitation to go to Buckingham Palace, back in the summer of 1976. Only one parent allowed though. So, my father was the chauffer, driving my mother and I up to London from Somerset. He was still impressed, being allowed to park his Cortina in a special place on the Mall. As a teenager, meeting Prince Philip in those surroundings and briefly discussing the achievements that had led to me being there, made it a special occasion.


Participating in the Gold Award created some great opportunities and memories, plus the chance to see parts of the UK you didn’t go to as a child. The Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and for our final expedition, 5 days on Dartmoor. The scheme also promoted teamwork, encouraged public service and required an individual to make a commitment to society for at least 18 months.


In this new world we find ourselves in, many of the underpinning values of the Duke of Edinburgh Award are becoming more prominent in today’s society and within business.


The aggressive, foot in the door teachings of the seventies and eighties have been replaced by a partnership approach, where parties recognise the value of the contract between them. With an added focus on ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) principles by many larger businesses, there is a greater consideration for the impact on the wider society.


And these businesses are looking for longer term relationships, replacing their project by project tendering processes with one of consultation across a group of selected suppliers. Checking adherence to standards, legislation and investment criteria as well as value for money and fit for purpose. As we heard from one of our Industry guest speakers recently, organisations are creating their own ecosystem of supplier partners who share their principles.


Recognising this change in how business is being done, many of the partners within the Tech Data Ecosystem Programme are directly asking about other partners who might be interested in working collaboratively with them. Since the turn of the year we have made over 10 new partner to partner introductions where we believe there could be synergy. Others will have been made indirectly following the various events and partner showcases we have run so far this year.


Our current Ecosystem webinar series is focussed on Supply Chain and last week we were joined by Paul Alger, International Director for UK Fashion and Textiles, alongside 4 partners (Entopy, InterSystems, SofMat and ESSL) each with their own value proposition. A recording of the session can be found here. https://youtu.be/OV1gN19KQic


Following our recent link-up with the UK F&T, we are looking for solutions that would help their members with the digital transformation that the Industry is going through. If your business has a solution that might help, please get in touch. We are planning our next Showcase event for March 25th and still have slots available. Participation doesn’t necessarily lead to an award, but it will increase awareness of your solution and possibly create some new partnerships.



Neil Cornish

Written by Neil Cornish

Neil Cornish is Business Development Manager at Tech Data UK


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