Building a Profit for Purpose Business

with Peter Scutt. Mable

Thought Leadership

How do you start a movement? Start by finding a new solution for a challenge you’re currently facing.

How do you start a movement? Start by finding a new solution for a challenge you’re currently facing.  

Mable is having a huge impact in Australia right now, revolutionising aged care and disability support. The company was co-founded by Peter Scutt, who came up with the idea when he struggled to find the right home-care solution for his own aging parents.  

Peter is a strong believer in our elderly and people with disabilities having agency over themselves, and the Mable platform allows support workers and individuals who need support to come together and negotiate a level of care and support that works for both parties.  

In this episode, Peter discusses his ‘Profit For Purpose’ business model, the influence Mable is having on government policies surrounding aged care and disability support, and he shares his perspective on gig-economy based models of working.    

If you’d prefer to listen to our conversation you can do so here: Apple Podcasts or Spotify

You’ve used the term ‘Profit for Purpose’ before, what are your thoughts on this idea and how can we rethink ‘for profit’ organisations? 

[Peter:] When I heard the expression profit for purpose, I really latched on to it because I thought it really described what we were envisaging when we set up Mable. The areas we operate in, around aged care and disability support, is about human services to support people in communities to live independently, to live a better life, and to live a life of their choosing. 

These are areas that touch nearly every family. And so the scale of what we're trying to do is far reaching. 

“When you look at some of the challenges society faces, how do we deliver a solution that meets everyone's individual needs at a price point the government can afford, that taxpayers can afford and that empowers everyone and drives better outcomes? They're really challenging issues.” 

I think building a sustainable solution comes from this profit for purpose model. Being able to think both through a lens of how we deliver a purpose, but also how we act commercially, those two lenses have to come together. 

How would you like to impact governmental policy in relation to aged and disability care through your work with Mable? 

[Peter:] So even though we've had major policy shifts in this country, I think it's important that the government holds the course, in terms of these reforms. Because it will take some time to really show evidence of the success. 

We want to show that people with a disability and older people have capacity to make decisions about their lives and the support they need. We should assume they have capacity, we should build their capacity to support them to make effective decisions.

Sometimes when failures do occur, when there are poor outcomes, there can be a tendency for the government to rush to regulation that's all about protecting people that are vulnerable. 

“We want to continue to advocate for this movement of self direction, self management, choice and control, it's very consistent with human rights, it will deliver better outcomes. We also want to support the movement towards flexible ways of working and to attract the workforce we need.”

We want to be part of those movements. We've got to be sure we're helping build communities around those movements. And so that policy is still really opening up the rights for the shift to empowerment and defends the rights for shifts to empowerment.

You're empowering workers to come together through the Mable platform, how do you approach the gig economy with empathy for workers?

[Peter:] I don't think Mable has a long term future if it's not improving outcomes for everyone that comes to the marketplace to engage, right? 

So we have to be just as much about improving outcomes for the people that offer support as much as people that need support. Even though we're a platform, we're not a gig model in the way you think about it. 

A lot of the concerns people have around some gig models is that people wonder what the outcomes are for people who provide services via those platforms. Often the platform is in control of how people engage, and the people supplying the services don’t have an avenue to advance themselves.  

Our platform is different because we're not getting in the middle of the people engaging via Mable. We’re not setting prices or allocating jobs. We’re enabling people to come directly together and work it out together. 

People providing support via Mable are just as empowered and have just as much choice and control to build relationships with the other side of the platform. Service providers are setting their own rates. There's no evidence of that being a race to the bottom, which is often a criticism of gig models. If anything, it's a race to the top, because the individuals who need support really value the people that provide support, and they want them to be valued and well compensated. 

The workforce is going to come from communities everywhere. There's people in communities all around Australia that will support somebody in their community, if they can do it in a way where they're feeling valued, if they're feeling adequately rewarded, if it's flexible, and if they're feeling empowered. Mable is giving them a pathway to be a small business provider within their community. 

I see the workforce that's engaging with Mable, like many entrepreneurs, they are working out what services they can offer to people in their community that will make a difference to their lives. 

That's exactly the sort of creativity and responsiveness you need. Because support is fundamentally changing.And platforms like ours are really enabling that to happen. So we're part of a profound solution. 

How are you approaching diversity as you build your organisation? 

[Peter:] The community we serve is very, very diverse. So at one level we would like the team at Mable to reflect the community we serve, and that's a bit of a vision statement. And so we really want to have an approach to diversity and inclusion that heads in that direction. 

We recently completed our first diversity and inclusion survey, using Culture Amp. It's been a great tool that we've been using at Mable, and there was some really good baseline feedback from our team. For example, 9% of people working here identify as having a disability. 24% identify as having an immediate family member with a disability. 42% of people identify as having a caring role within the family. 

So there's some really interesting baseline data, which I think says we're on the right track. But I think there's room to improve. But interestingly enough, we got a lot of positive feedback with people saying that you have an opportunity at Mable to feel competent, and to really make a contribution, irrespective of the background and the voices heard. So I think that's a real positive. 

How is Mable supporting and building a community, and what are your thoughts on community being a part of a successful organisation? 

[Peter:] When I get asked, ‘What is Mable?’ I say there are three levels. 

One is we're a technology company, we're building a platform to enable people to connect and improve human services. But at the second level, we're a community of people that gather around that marketplace to connect. And the third level, I think we're part of a movement towards self direction, self management, self employment, and people taking control. 

And so I think of Mable as all three of those things. But at our core, we're connecting people with people within communities. We have to provide local solutions. So in many respects, I think we're one platform that brings many communities together.

We are very keen to foster this community based approach, and we think that's what will attract the workforce to the sector. Supporting people within my community - right? I think that's a cause that people can rally to. 

The approach we’ve taken is that the community can build a solution. And we can enable them to build that solution by bringing the platform in to connect people and to build their capacity. So people within the town can work with other residents, to build a support solution and to build on the strengths of the community. That's the core of how we're thinking as we continue to build Mable. 

There’s more to this episode! To hear all of Peter’s insights, listen to the full episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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