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Meet the Member: Innovate Social

11 Sep 2023

Meet the Member: Innovate Social

We caught up with new A&B NI Business Member Josh Watts from Innovate Social, to find out more about what they do and why creativity and innovation is at the heart of their business. 



Hello! Introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about who you are and what your organisation does?  

My name is Josh and I live in Belfast with Becca (my wife) and Finn (our rescue dog). I’ve worked across Belfast, London and Manchester over the last 10 years as a consultant with PwC, a General Manager with the National Trust, and an Operations Director for a Belfast Tech Start-Up. I’m also a partner in Banana Block in East Belfast, having joined the two founders a few months after it started.

I founded Innovate Social in 2023 to work with organisations who care about more than just making a profit. We work with private companies, charities and social enterprises to grow revenue, generate impact, and create purpose driven strategies and growth.

What’s your favourite thing about working for your organisation?

Working with interesting people on interesting projects is the best thing about Innovate Social – as we’re cause based, we’re not focused on one industry, we work with a variety of organisations. Being able to focus what I do with organisations that are serious about growing through socially impactful initiatives is liberating – rather than being stuck on budget review meetings or pre-meeting meetings that I experienced in some of the large organisations I worked for!

Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you’d like to tell us about?

Innovate Social is launching a story telling arm, where we help businesses, social enterprises and charities communicate their value and impact to customers, investors, or funders with the clear intent to generate more revenue or funds. We want to help companies across NI and beyond deliver engaging content that helps gather support and revenue. It’s been incredible to work with an amazing team of creatives from around NI and the rest of the world on this.

What does creativity and innovation mean to your organisation?

Innovation is so central to what we do (it’s in the name!). Innovation and creativity is about taking seemingly random concepts, ideas, or challenges, and generating truly exceptional initiatives that surprise and delight. Look up Rory Sutherland – his book Alchemy outlines this way of thinking way better!

What are you looking forward to most about being part of the Arts & Business NI membership network?

With Innovate Social we work with creatives to create content, and at Banana Block, the space is often filled with creative programming. I’m looking forward to working with organisations of different sizes and different stages of their journey and doing what I can to chip in where they aren’t in a commercial space and looking for ways to survive and deliver their mission.

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Arts & Business NI believe in the transformative power of arts and culture and the vital role it plays in society - and our growing network of members do too. Find out more about the benefits of joining our business member network here. 

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Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.