Search Results for: "big society network"

An amazing day with Chain Reaction: no moans, many assets, a community march. That’s big society – or Our Society

I spent yesterday on the 30th floor of a Canary Wharf tower, with 100 people at Chain Reaction 2011, a hugely creative discussion about the future of East London that we could see below. Our bodies were in the sky, but our heads and hearts were on the ground.

I spent this morning less productively tweeting about the story that Lord (Nat) Wei is cutting back his volunteer time on Big Society, and the follow-ups about How to save the big society and what this tells us about the labour market.

Nat responded that “#bigsociety is about much more than volunteering – it’s about helping people to take control over their lives, however much time they have” … but, without the stories I heard yesterday, that and other tweets seemed mostly abstractions.  Heads in the clouds. read more »

An amazing day with Chain Reaction: no moans, many assets, a community march. That's big society – or Our Society

I spent yesterday on the 30th floor of a Canary Wharf tower, with 100 people at Chain Reaction 2011, a hugely creative discussion about the future of East London that we could see below. Our bodies were in the sky, but our heads and hearts were on the ground.

I spent this morning less productively tweeting about the story that Lord (Nat) Wei is cutting back his volunteer time on Big Society, and the follow-ups about How to save the big society and what this tells us about the labour market.

Nat responded that “#bigsociety is about much more than volunteering – it’s about helping people to take control over their lives, however much time they have” … but, without the stories I heard yesterday, that and other tweets seemed mostly abstractions.  Heads in the clouds. read more »

Want to influence? Understand networks.

I was fascinated last year by the analysis of how climate sceptics networked more effectively than environmentalists to create Climategate, which was followed by practical advice on the role of social insurgents in the equivalent of online guerilla warfare.

The story of that research commissioned by Oxfam was broken by the blog Left Foot Forward, and they have now invited Stephen Fitzpatrick, from the socialbusinessgroup.com to report directly here on their latest piece of work on connections between informal networks of financial websites. Some of these are close to the source of the last financial crisis, and Stephen suggests that following them might help politicians see the next crisis coming.

The report Social Media: the New Influentials, from Mindful Money, shows how an increasing number of web and blog sites connect to each other, how they influence the debate and influence investors, providing, in the process, an alternative viewpoint to the established media. They list the top twenty. read more »

Steve Moore leads new Big Society Innovation Platform

I’m delighted to see Steve Moore emerge from the confused world of internal Big Society politics as new director of the Big Society Network, with the aim of making it “the innovation platform for the UK’s Prime Minister’s big idea; to build the Big Society”.
Steve isn’t a man for the formal press release, and the news emerged via Steve’s bio posting to the Athens TEDx event tomorrow, where Steve is presenting.
Before continuing, I should declare an interest: I’ve worked with and for Steve on and off over the years, including a couple of months with the Network, and know he’s just the guy to make socio-technological innovation a big part of whatever the network becomes. That’s not because Steve is in any sense a geek – but over the past three years or so he’s been one of the best convenors and connector of people across different sectors and professions in the field. He knows everyone on this front … inside and outside No 10.
I’m guessing the current role may not be long term for Steve – but should help the network find a new direction as it re-organises. read more »

Round-up of my recent posts on Big Society

Much of my blogging in recent months has been around Big Society, Our Society and other ideas about local social action and community empowerment. I’ve been using the amplify.com platform with a group at bigsociety.amplify.com as a place to do that, because it makes it easy to clip and comment on other people’s posts. Here’s a round up of recent items. read more »

Where do we gather on Big Society – besides London and Twitter?

Yesterday morning NESTA launched the Neighbourhood Challenge, promising the first new Big Society money for local communities. In the evening RSA hosted an excellent event with NCVO on voluntary organisations in BS. In between I had a couple of productive BS-related meetings … all in London, of course, where the public events were as useful for informal networking as the main content – good though that was.
There was lively commentary on Twitter, and some blogging – including a thoughtful piece quoted below by my friend Kevin Harris, long-time specialist in community development and neighbourhoods.
The online content will be dispersed in the cloud of continuing chatter, and those interested in Big Society as friends, critics, or critical friends will go their various ways until the next meeting. In London.
At the end of the day I met up with another old friend who is keenly interested in Big Society, not least as a specialist in whole-system change within organisations and communities, but who is not part of the London crowd.
There’s currently no bigger system-changing policy in the UK than Big Society … and I would love to give you a neat online link to summarise that. But there is no one place to go to, and nowhere online to gather apart from Big Society in the North, which is limited by the amount of effort volunteers can put into such a big topic.
In the evening I gave my out-of-town friend a run down on the BS landscape … which I am tempted to replay here, but that would be to break some (gained in London) confidences. I’m trying to be a helpful, positive, joining up sort of social reporter. It can be frustrating. read more »

Big day for Big Society Network

It’s been an interesting day for Big Society watchers, or more particularly for those interested in the role of the Big Society Network.**  (declaration of interest below).
Third Sector Magazine ran an analysis of the Network by John Plummer, together with the story that the “town hall tour” of a dozen or so meetings around the country had been called off following a “turbulent” first gathering in Stockport.
The Guardian racked it up a bit with ‘Big Society’ meetings cancelled over cuts anger – “Embarrassment for Cameron as meeting series meant to kickstart ‘big society’ abandoned due to public frustration at spending cuts”. read more »

An innovation hub may help make sense of Big Society

As the blogging, tweeting and media coverage of the Big Society idea increases (earlier posts here) it is more and more difficult for people to make sense of what is going on, and figure out where the opportunities lie. I’m seeing on Twitter a lot of ideas on how to deal with that: we need a wiki, a blogroll of best blogs, better tagging of tweets etc.
Yes we do, but who is going to do it?
Because there is no central government focus – and Big Society is intended to be bottom up – we should be prepared to do something for ourselves.
But who are ‘we’? It’s back to that problem of organising without organisations … fine in social media fantasy land, but difficult in practice. You need a framework, facilitation, procedures and so on. Wikipedia has a very big back-end for that sort of thing.
In addition, it isn’t only about places to go to – like a wiki. That would be a great start, but what’s really important are the conversations, the relationships, the opportunities for people to meet across the usual sectoral and organisational boundaries, and do stuff not just read about it and talk about it. In the jargon, we need a knowledge and innovation ecosystem, with lots of gardeners to help it grow – as I wrote here. I hope someone will plant a wiki as a kind of knowledge shed, then we can start growing more.

Innovation Hub process

Innovation Hub process

Larger image here and pdf

I see something really exciting on the horizon thsat could help. I’ve been hearing about an online space to enable government, innovators, investors and users to work together in a totally new way to reinvent government services, with a launch date in October.
read more »

Evolving Big Society – summary and next ideas

Here’s a catch-up on the posts I’ve written over the past few days about Big Society, with a few more thoughts on networking and knowledge ecologies. All posts on the topic are here.
As a reminder, the Big Society idea, launched pre-election by the Conservatives and now a centrepiece of coalition Government policy, is about a smaller state matched by more powers for local communities and encouragement for volunteering, social action, social enterprise and other forms of nonprofits.

The post There is no Big Society Big Plan – but that’s no bad thing said there’s a lot starting to happen under the Big Society banner, but it is a mistake to see it as an old-style government programme. The idea is that things emerge more organically, without any one Minister – or anyone else – being in charge. Fair enough for something aiming for wide-spread action by many interests, but the problem is that no-one really understands what Big Society stands for, or how to join in. There’s no voice, no story, and consequently a lot of rubbishing.
In Since there’s no Big Society Big Plan, can we expect Big Process? Probably not I examined the idea of a Big Process to develop some clear purpose and shared vision, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, but concluded that was unlikely to happen. It’s not really feasible in the current political climate, and probably not the sort of thing Downing Street would want to orchestrate anyway.
Networking Big Society – or maybe some knowledge gardening suggested another approach to get the best out of Big Society: build on the wealth of activity already supported by many community and voluntary sector networks, while also adding innovative methods for mass engagement. Help community organisers and anyone engaged in social action make good use of the social technologies now widely available, but under-used by traditional activists.
(I should declare some self-interest here. I’m working part-time with the Big Society Network, and this is the sort of programme of network-weaving I would like to work on …  joining up conversations, helping people make sense of what’s going on, brokering new opportunities. While it would be possible simply to write lots about the great projects already underway, it would be counter-productive to try and pull these under a Big Society banner without asking. If people want to add the term Big Society to their project stories, that’s up to them – anything else is co-option. Certainly not empowerment).
As I mentioned in the last post, we have a forum to explore social tech and networking here on Social by Social, and that’s probably the best place for detail.
So, in summary, what I think that what we should try (and I’ll come back to the we) is development of a rich mix of online and offline conversations, stories, wants, offers and inspirations created by those who have been in this field for years, and some fresh voices too. read more »

Networking Big Society – or maybe some knowledge gardening

In my last two posts here and here I’ve written about the Government’s idea for the Big Society, which aims to ….

  1. Give communities more powers
  2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities
  3. Transfer power from central to local government
  4. Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
  5. Publish government data.

… and suggested that while there is a lot now underway,  there is no Big Plan and it is also unlikely that we will see a Big Process aimed at creating any shared vision for what’s needed to move from aspiration to achievement.
I haven’t been writing particularly critically – not just because I’m working part-time for the Big Society Network. For the best of Big Society ideas to succeed they have to be filled out and realised bottom-up, not through Government-orchestrated programmes. read more »