Ideas
Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 500,000 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join 308,223 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join over 250,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Dashboard
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Assessment
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Plans
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Contact
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
FAQ
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Community
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Team
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Jobs
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
News
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Join
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Advertising
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Portfolio
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Settings
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 397,360 cutting edge ideas.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Creator of Little Footsteps (INTERVIEW)

Early Childhood Educational Campaigns

— July 26, 2013 — Social Good
Tony Fitzpatrick is the creator of Little Footsteps, a children-first approach to education out of New Zealand that seeks to revolutionize learning for kids. In this interview, Fitzpatrick answers some questions about his business model and his need for crowdsourced funding at this time.

Four Questions with Tony Fitzpatrick

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

I have long considered that community-owned businesses are better for the communities they serve than individually owned businesses, and have always thought about ways in which we could divest some of the ownership of our own business into a community situation, whether that was by way of staff buying in or a direct buy in from a community group.

The last five years have been especially difficult for us and we are really wanting to refinance, get rid of some of the debt that has accrued in building our business and focus on providing quality early childhood education which is what we do best. I have tried all sort of ways of trying to attract investors, but with no luck, so I thought maybe I’d try a crowdfunding campaign. I don’t like to ask for money for nothing and wouldn’t feel comfortable just asking people to donate money to me to help me get out of a tight situation which is attributable to a decision I made five years ago to expand our business and serve the growing demand from our community. I felt that the only fair way to do that was by offering a long term societal payback and developed the idea of repaying all contributions with an equal or greater amount of free education for children in need in our community as well as developing a charitable foundation to which we would distribute up to 1/3 of our profits annually, and then the foundation would provide funding for charitable causes in our community and further afield as the fund grew. To grow the fund, no capital would be able to be distributed and only 50% of the annual investment income would be distributed to allow the fund to grow.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

My wife is an early childhood teacher and I have always been involved in community groups, mainly sports clubs, so have always had in interest in making the communities we live in a better place. When the opportunity came up to purchase this business in 2002, we saw it as a great opportunity not just to own our own business but to contribute to the growth of our community by developing a top quality early learning environment. In 2008 we found a former pre-school building and saw that it had potential to be a great learning environment and that it would meet the demand of our clientele, so we set about turning it into a new natural early learning center where kids would enjoy exploring and learning.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

My parents have dedicated their lives over the years to ensuring that their local sports clubs and associations thrive in the belief that children involved in sports will less likely end up in trouble when they are older, so I have always been driven by the same desire to contribute to the future of our community, and get a buzz out of seeing someone you have either taught directly or who has indirectly benefited from your actions succeed, whether it is in their chosen sport, or academic or business aspects of life. Everything we do and achieve is set in motion in the first few years of our lives, if we miss that opportunity to set a kid on the right path, then we don’t get another chance.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

Luckily I am naturally creative, I am an architect by profession, so am driven by a desire to be creative and find solutions for problems all the time.

Sometimes though you do just need to step aside, stop thinking about your problems and the answers will eventually come, sometimes this may take a few hours, other times days, weeks or months, but generally if you have thought about it hard enough to start with then disconnect when you can’t find a solution, it will come to you eventually.

As for rituals, I can’t really think of any rituals (other than hitting the snooze button too many times in the morning after working late into the night...) I do constantly try and remind myself though that if you believe in something hard enough and if what you believe is right and possible, then you will work out a way of making it happen, and that nothing ever happened without someone taking the first step towards it. To that end, I have incorporated the famous Chinese proverb into our branding, “Life’s Journey starts with Little Footsteps...”
4.2
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness