Search Results for: bigsociety

Big Lottery funds UK-wide Your Square Mile digital platform on SocialGo

As part of the announcement of a People Powered Change event this month, the Big Lottery Fund has confirmed that it will be funding the Your Square Mile initiative – currently part of Big Society Network – to build a UK-wide digital platform. It is part of a larger funding package that BIG will splash at the event in Salford on March 25.

The partners page says: ”There are 93,000 square miles in the UK. Most of the 62 million UK citizens live in 7,500 to 8,000 of those square miles. These square miles contain identifiable communities – villages or small urban areas – comprising several thousand people each. “Your Square Mile” is about encouraging citizens to identify, claim and then lead change in those neighbourhoods. This is currently being piloted in 16 diverse, challenged communities in the UK.

“The Big Lottery Fund is enabling Your Square Mile to build a digital platform – on PC’s, mobiles and public access screens – that will enable the interchange of ideas, advice, support and benefits to citizens throughout the UK”. read more »

Clearing the ground to claim Big Society for ourselves

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Big Society if you are sitting in Whitehall … but rather a good time if you believe that there are some useful principles and opportunities in the large bag originally promoted as central to the Conservative manifesto. They are just in the wrong ownership.

We need to unpack the bag, re-assemble the pieces, claim them for ourselves, and stick on some different labels. After all, Big Society is meant to be about shifting power from central to local, and enabling citizens to take control. These days social media means we don’t have to accept brands created in our name, or organising methods from another age.

The bad/good fortnight started with a front-page splash in the Times, prompting “end of the beginning” analysis and ended up with Liverpool council pulling out of the vanguard area programme. In between we had lots of “Big Society in crisis” blogging, including a “you couldn’t make it up” piece from the Wall Street Journal. In Liverpool Phil Redmond said he stuck by the principles, but “the marketing slogan is not the best” … and the BBC’s Nick Robinson said Big Society should be high on the agenda for the PM’s new messenger Craig Oliver.

The comments from Phil and Nick show what’s wrong with Big Society communications … as well, of course, as the problem of people thinking it is all about volunteering (that’s just part of it) and cuts undermining local support systems (they need changing, but not this fast, at this cost). 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 »

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 »

Presenting to myself on collaboration and social innovation

Here are some slides I developed over the Christmas holiday, not for any specific event, but just to clear my mind and provide a framework for thinking about social innovation and collaboration. I often don’t really know what I think until I write it down, and after making notes, drawing mindmaps, downloading a few iPad doodling apps, I hit on the idea of producing a presentation to myself.
(I suggest clicking view on Slideshare and then full screen because the notes are a bit small).

Towards the end of last year I was getting a bit sluggish on two fronts … what I wanted to blog about, and what sort of projects I wanted to do. And how to link the writing and doing.

I spent a lot of time last year writing about Big Society, and more recently Our Society, on this blog and also here and here. I’ve continued to do some social reporting at events, run workshop games, floated ideas like the social app store, and become increasingly convinced of the importance of developing networks blending face-to-face and online. 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 »

Connecting Big Society? Bring in the young social reporters.

Reporting from a conference in Cardiff today brought home to me how combining low-cost video, social media, and the skills and versatility of young (and older) people in using these tools could provide a way to develop Big Society … or Good Society … and certainly Our Society. It could also help create some jobs.
Everyone agrees that there’s lots of great projects being developed in local communities, and brilliant people behind them. Case studies are written, activists and social entrepreneurs are invited to speak in conferences … but somehow the stories don’t spread, and policy often evolves uninformed by local reality.
I’m in Cardiff for the Promoting Respectful Relationships on anti-bullying, and you can see on the site a rich mix of streaming video from SwitchNewMedia, live blogging from Tim Davies, and video reporting from a team of young people. I’m adding some too. The communications have been brilliantly organised by Sangeet Bhullar of Wise Kids, who I worked with on this earlier event.
Several things came together to give me some insights into what might be possible in smaller events. Last night over dinner I met up with Tim, and Diarmaid Lynch of SwitchNewMedia (above) and we talked among other things about how difficult it still was to share good stories about local projects.
Diarmaid explained that it was now possible to do low-cost streaming from a village hall or community centre, and by adding some encoding equipment enable a remotely connected professional like himself to connect different events and blend in conversations from Twitter and other media. It can even be done with people just using personal computers and Skype. Events could be staged around particular themes, and content archived and organised to provide learning resources. Maybe this could be one way to develop training for community organisers.
This morning at 8am I turned up at the conference venue, with Sangeet, Tim and Diarmaid to meet a team of six young people who would act as social reporters with a little help from me and Tim. I was slightly anxious, because Sangeet explained that the original team of media students couldn’t make it at the last moment … so we might have to rely to an extent on whatever personal skills the team could muster. A couple of the group knew each other – but they had never met as a group.
Tim had prepared a great briefing on reporting, and together we explained what was involved. We demonstrated a Flip video camera. Then came the hard part. We had to figure out who was going to cover what sessions, who was going to handle uploads, captioning and how to use the equipment. All within 90 minutes before proceedings started. Tim shot a video to show how to do it … but what next?
From a few questions and conversations it was becoming clear who in the group liked organising, interviewing, or doing the more technical stuff. So I just suggested the group work out for themselves how to to cover the event … which they did … as explained here by Bleddyn Perry.

Combining this insight with the conversation with Diarmaid, and discussion with Tim, who specialises in youth engagement and training as well as social media, it seemed to us there could be package.

Why not put together a social reporter kit of low-cost equipment, with some training and professional back up, that could serve several functions. In the Big Society context it could connect communities and policy makers, and help learning between activists. It could also help create jobs, because social reporters could – like Tim and myself – be paid to report from the bigger events, provide training, run social media surgeries. There is certainly plenty of work to be done in helping our public agencies and nonprofit organisations use social media.

Although I’m emphasising the role of young social reporters, I’m sure older folk (like me) could play a part. Sessions to plan and learn about reporting would be a great way to bring together different interests in a community.

Tim, Diarmaid and I will be developing these ideas further, so if they appeal to you too please drop a comment here.

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 »