When International Projects Work – Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship

When it comes to working on overseas projects there are often elements to consider depending on where you are in the world. Whether these elements are social or cultural the shared goal is always the same, and the end result fulfilling. Particularly when it comes to Pro-bono work.

Working collectively with others helps generate a shared sense of ownership. This is something the Resolution Interiors team, have recently experienced during the spring of 2017.

The team, as part of their long-standing client relationship with Virgin Holidays, offered to provide design assistance for the relocated Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, in Kingston, Jamaica, which was due to open in June 2017. The centre was formerly in Montego Bay.

Sammi Burden, Head of Creative Design and Charlotte Byrne, Project Manager led this, alongside the Chief Entrepreneurship Officer, Lisandra Rickards. The team worked on the new design for the centre with a focus on bringing the brand values of Virgin into the environment whilst considering the local context.

The centre is sponsored largely by Virgin Unite and Virgin Holidays with a vision to ignite Caribbean entrepreneurs to scale impactful, globally competitive, sustainable businesses that lead to social, environmental and economic change. The center provides entrepreneurs the tools and education to thrive and grow. The overarching message is to “Do good and spread the entrepreneur spirit” which is something Resolution Interiors very much wanted to support.

The Overseas Dilemma

When working on projects within different countries and cultures, does this create a challenge?

Head of Creative Design, Sammi Burden said. “The key in any project, international or otherwise is to be focused on the needs and wants of those it is impacting. Projects work when you put yourself in someone else’s place and put care and attention into understanding the values of that particular environment. The focus from the outset is on listening and having a shared goal. In this case, it was creating something new, fresh and fun with a Virgin sense of humor. We wanted the Kingston community to feel part of a bigger story here. To empower people to want to make a difference in the business world”

A Common Ground Is Key

When working on international projects, those that are successful are when an identity is created that is sympathetic to locality!

Sammi mentions “Whilst this project was unique in that the time scale was very tight and the client is based in the Caribbean. Meaning we had little to work with in terms of materials and furniture, which all had to be sourced locally. We very quickly solidified our relationship and assisted where possible in making these selections using photos and phone calls. It wasn’t conventional but it was fun and the dialogue with Lisandra, the CEO of the centre was fluid and easy, especially when considering the time difference.”

“When we arrived in Kingston for the official launch, it was like placing the final piece of the jigsaw” observed Charlotte Byrne, Project Manager. “Having the opportunity to talk face to face with people we had only heard the voices of who were responsible in seeing our design come to life was a great experience. The sense of pride and excitement surrounding the centre was mirrored by everyone involved. Working with Virgin on a project such as this, you get to see the intentions of a brand that has invested in giving back to others and within local economies who will use and embrace this for years to come.”

Sammi highlighted what brings people together, “From inception to delivery on an international basis, the only thing that separates us is water. When there is a sense of collectivism and recognition of the roles people play and the assigned responsibilities, things can be clear from the outset. We understood the importance of creating a design for the new centre that would be easily interpreted by local contractors. In times of accelerated change, it is good to go back to basics.”

Culture As a Unifier

Although we have many differences between the UK and Jamaica, our commonalities are much bigger.

We both want this to be a success. We both want this to be a place that has longevity. We both want this to be a place where there is a sense of kinship, a place which inspires and provokes the power of creative thought. We both want this to be the launch pad for a new breed of home grown entrepreneurs. And we both want this to be a place that we can tell other people about.

We can sum up the spirit of this project perfectly with one of Richard Branson’s, founder of The Virgin Group, chosen top ten quotes on the power of connection

“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” By Gina Bellman.

From the UK to Jamaica, we both had a common cause, where we knew we could deliver a project that can stand the test of time and the entrepreneurs, who participate and become a part of, have the ability to grow and be a part of.


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