How to run an event developing innovative projects

It is just two years since the first Social Innovation Camp, when a mix of social entrepreneurs, geeks and activists came together for a weekend to develop projects from a set of crowdsourced ideas, and pitched for a prize to help further development.

That and similar formats are now well developed and accepted, if not documented … so I’m delighted my colleague Amy Sample Ward has taken the trouble to create a wiki explaining what’s involved.

Amy explains in Project Spaces: A format for Outcome-Driven Events:

This event format that I’m calling Project Spaces is a response to my experience and what I hear echoed throughout the “innovation” sector:  that we have lots of opportunities to come together and people are  excited to share and collaborate, but nothing ever “happens.” Project Spaces is a format that includes a longer-term process instead of just one day and requires commitment, excitement and purpose in order to succeed. If you are an organization or group that wants to catalyze and support community-generated projects or you are someone that wants to get involved, I hope this is a format you can take and run with.

Amy has taken her own extensive experience, and work we have done together recently, to provide a detailed plan of what to do before, at and after the event, blending online and face-to-face facilitation. The most recent event we did together was Transformed by You, with Kent County Council, which Amy has written up as a case study, with the event plan.

In that event the team in Kent CC and Medway Council did a lot of the work for us, by creating a Ning network site before the event, linked to a uservoice site where people could their ideas for discussion on the day. Then Amy did most of the facilitation, while I concentrated on social reporting, as you can see from the videos above.

The Kent and Medway team committed to reviewing the ideas and helping take them forward where possible after the event … which is really important. Creating buzz on the day isn’t too difficult if you prepare well, and invite some buzzy people.

What’s much more difficult is turning ideas into action. Here above are some reflections on that from Carrie Bishop and Denise Stephens, at last November’s mypublicservices event. They talk about the experience of Enabled by Design, the winning project from the first Social Innovation Camp

Project Spaces Wiki

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