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SEC7: Anthony Gerrard from Bad Idea CIC

Bad Idea have quickly risen to prominence in the Scottish social enterprise scene, so with that in mind Mark had a chat with CEO Anthony Gerrard to see why.


6th October 2015

As I attended the latest E3M Seminar in London last week, one of the key factors I took away from the day was how to balance passion with process, and how it’s this balance which will help a business grow without sacrificing quality.

It’s something of a thorny subject – once you start a business it’s only natural that you want to see it grow, and one can only achieve this by bringing in the right people, augmenting your company’s skillset so that with growth there’s no compromise on quality.

In this episode I had a chat with Anthony Gerrard, Chief Executive of Bad Idea CIC. One of the questions I asked him was how his organisation balances quality and growth, a topic which turned out to be particularly relevant because at the start of this year the organisation had grown from 1 to 14 people in a very short period of time.

Anthony’s response to such growth was to ensure that he still had visibility of all of Bad Idea’s day-to-day business to ensure that there was no lapse in the quality of the services that they offer. I wonder how other chief executives handle this?

Bad Idea are an organisation which want to help young people create a brighter future for themselves through entrepreneurship training, they want to spark people’s ambitions in order to help youngsters create opportunities for themselves. Not only do their workshops and training help people think about business, but they also seek to give people skills and confidence to achieve their ambitions.

Anthony believes that young people need more options in their lives, that it is okay to try things and fail at them in order to find out that something is not for them, so that they can then go and seek out the things that they were naturally born to do.

Highlights include:

  • One of the motivating factors which lead to Bad Idea was a different approach to business start-up
  • Anthony had gone to 27 different start-up organisations before starting Bad Idea
  • Increasing in staff number from 1 to 14 and how they balance that growth against retaining quality
  • Anthony’s thoughts on why social enterprise growth is outpacing the growth of SMEs as shown in the SE100 report – more responsibility toward society, more people wanting to work for themselves, a reaction to the financial crash
  • How Bad Idea measure their impact – it’s important to measure impact because good intentions doesn’t necessarily create positive impact
  • How important it is for Bad Idea to use entrepreneurship skills to help young people create opportunities for themselves and to embrace their ambitions
  • Entrepreneurship helps people go out and try things in order to make something happen, in turn giving people the skills and confidence to do anything. It helps people get over the fear of failure
  • There is no such thing as a bad idea because even if something doesn’t work it’s about learning why it didn’t work and then trying again
  • Bad Idea’s expansion plans, including the realisation that Americans seem to be really on board with the concept of the business

So far, Anthony’s approach has worked well, having been listed in the SE100 as a business to watch, as well as going on to receive numerous accolades and recognition for their work. It is clear from the podcast that Anthony cares very deeply about what Bad Idea does, and that he passionately believes that the lives of young people can and will be changed by fostering their creative spirit.

And I have to say, I’m inclined to agree.


Bad Idea CIC website.
Bad Idea CIC on Twitter.
Bad Idea CIC on Facebook.

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