Tag Archives: NESTA

Ten pillars of wisdom: a manifesto for a better later life

There’s lots of research, programmes and even innovation funding to address the challenges of later life, as our team of socialreporters detailed in a recent exploration for Nominet Trust **. However, most of this is about doing things FOR older people. What would it be like to switch the professional emphasis towards doing things WITH older people?

I spent yesterday in Bristol at the SW Seniors Assembly getting some ideas, and I’m quite sure I’ll pick up more from a NESTA event with Vickie Cammack this evening. I’m nearby and so can attend, but it is also being live streamed from 6pm.

Meanwhile I can’t resist sharing some thoughts I developed from the assembly discussions, and then bounced off Tony Watts, who is chair of the SW forum on ageing, and Bryan Manning, visiting professor of compunetics at the University of Westminster. We turned my 10 provocations into a draft manifesto, and Tony suggested Ten pillars of wisdom, which I like, since it reflects a lot of the discussion around the wisdom held by older people, but perhaps not sufficiently valued by the “ageing industry”.  Point 4. The manifesto reflects some of the 10 propositions generated by the Nominet Trust work, but this time without so much of an emphasis on technology.

Ten pillars of wisdom: a manifesto for a better later life

  1. Enable older people to do as much as possible for themselves. We can’t afford to do otherwise.
  2. De-professionalise the communication of ideas, options and policies around ageing so that everyone can engage in the conversation.
  3. Apply good design to simplify technology that will benefit everyone. Codesign with users.
  4. Respect and use the wisdom of older people. They are the only people who know what it is like to be old.
  5. Develop communities and networks with older people for influence and learning.
  6. Recognise that ageing affects people differently, and that only by understanding the diversity of barriers faced can we develop the choices needed to enable people to live the lives they want.
  7. Switch the digital inclusion framework from “how do we get more people online” to “how do we encourage and enable people to use whatever technology meets their needs and preferences”.
  8. Question whether it is really useful to teach older people how to use traditional computers. Tablets, smartphones or smart TVs may be easier and offer what’s needed.
  9. Switch funding from research and “good practice” about ageing into supporting action led by older people, and sharing knowledge through social learning.
  10. Recognise that a connected society is a healthier and more harmonious society, and that ageing is a challenge suffered individually, but best addressed socially.

Here’s an interview with Tony and Bryan.  It is also available on Audioboo here with a couple more from the assembly.

What do you think of the manifesto? I’ll be developing a more rigorous framework with Tony, Bryan and others, and also developing ideas on how to put some of this into practice, building on the work we did for Nominet Trust on technology in later life. Now off to NESTA.

Update: There’s a very relevant new item on NESTA’s excellent list of projects – the Living map of ageing innovators: it is the Wisdom Bank which “provides a platform for people approaching retirement to share their skills and insights with those that need their advice”

** Update: All content from the Nominet Trust exploration is now available on this site – Digital technology for a better later life.

NESTA announces details of hyperlocal research and funding

The innovation  agency NESTA has now announced full details of Destination Local, their hyperlocal development programme, which I trailed here.

Together with the Technology Strategy Board they are funding £1 million of pilot projects.

In particular, we are looking for prototypes that make the most of mobile technologies to deliver geographically-relevant local media.

Our goal in funding the prototypes is to understand what new business models may be required, what types of service work well with audiences and the challenges and opportunities of using mobile technologies.  Successful applications will be able to demonstrate how they help to understand these themes.

I’m glad to see one of the partners are the champions of local bloggers, Talk About Local. As Sarah Hartley writes on their blog:

At Talk About Local we’re delighted to have been invited to become partners in what must be the biggest drive of its type to identify the technologies, business models, content opportunities and challenges in this space.

We’ve championed, cajoled, encouraged, developed and celebrated the great work which goes on up and down the country since we were formed in 2009 and welcome both the focus the initiative will prompt, as well as the coming together of expertise it is facilitating.

The two headline announcements today are calls for applications:

  • Nesta is offering seed funding of up to £50,000 to test the next generation of hyperlocal media services. Applications open today at www.nesta.org.uk/destination_local
  • The Technology Strategy Board aims at technology-focused feasibility projects and offers grant funding of up to £56,250. Applications will open on 23 April at http://www.innovateuk.org/competitions.

Here’s quotes from the NESTA press release:

Jon Kingsbury, Programme Director, at Nesta, says: ‘Consumers’ increasing adoption of new, mobile-based technologies offers exciting possibilities to deliver highly localised information services to niche audiences.  ‘Destination Local’ will prototype the next generation of hyperlocal services in a bid to understand whether these new technologies and platforms can deliver sustainable, scalable models that serve local communities and deliver economic benefit.’

Dr. Jeremy Silver, Creative Industries Lead Specialist of the Technology Strategy Board, says: ‘Traditional models of local media, print or broadcast, have suffered as the internet has undermined their business models. But the combination of social media with location-aware technologies, the lowering of barriers to entry for self-publishing, and the high degree of user-engagement now visible online suggests that new models for local media might emerge out of new smarter uses of enabling technologies. We believe that the UK could be a great source of innovation in this field and that this could have value to communities around the world.’

There’s a comprehensive round-up of the the announcements and links from Damian Radcliffe, who until recently worked at Ofcom tracking hyperlocal developments. In a private capacity Damian has produced an excellent landscape review as part of the NESTA research, referenced below. Damian writes:

You can read the press release here as well as some FAQs and a list of partners (which includeCreative EnglandMozillaSkillsetSTVTalk About LocalTime OutUniversity of Central Lancashire (uclan) and the Welsh Government).

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £1.8m in feasibility projects that address the converged nature of the digital landscape, the first part will look at encouraging innovative, hyper-local cross-media platforms and enabling technologies that will drive new service offerings, reach out into communities and provide conduits for public services. There’s a four page brief here.

Projects should last up to 12 months and are eligible for grants of up to £56,250 or 75% of total costs. Total project costs must not exceed £75,000. Click this link for more details.

My own involvement has been around a landscape report looking at hyperlocal in the UK. You candownload it from here. Many thanks to everyone who has said nice things about the report thus far. With 52 pages, 173 footnotes and I think 15,000 words or so, it is not necessarily a short read, but I hope it is a useful and insightful one.

Sarah Hartley over on the Talk About Local blog has published Five hyperlocal take-aways from the Here and Now report – be interested to see what others glean from it.

NESTA’s main Desination Local site

Funder NESTA tells community projects: cut the paperwork, blog your reports

I’ve been catching up with the Neighbourhood Challenge programme that was launched last year by NESTA and Big Lottery to support innovative work by community groups in 17 locations around the country. They were chosen from 600 applicants, so I think we can expect to see some interesting developments.
Often the problem with these big agency funded programmes is that they are launched with a flourish in London, and after that it is difficult to see what’s going on until a long evaluation report emerges that may or may not give many insights into what really happened. By then things have moved on, and the chance to share lessons has been lost.
In between, local people and agency staff have probably been too caught up with reporting procedures to tell the stories that might interests the outside world … or even local people. There may be an unwillingness to open up on how they tackled problems in case that doesn’t play well with the funders. read more »

Neighbourhood Challenge promises first #bigsociety funding from @nesta_uk

I’m surprised that the NESTA Neighbourhood Challenge, to be launched on Tuesday, hasn’t attracted more attention – since it promises Big Society funding for local areas.

I don’t have more information than that in the invite (below), but it looks like a programme in which areas will be invited to compete for funding for Big Society initiatives. Shades of Michael Heseltine’s City Challenge programme of 1991? I would be very surprised if this initiative were not planned in No 10.

If so, it looks like a smart move on the part of the government, because not only will it benefit the ten areas who get the funds, but also do something for the Big Society “brand”.

Talking the other day to an academic with a long memory of government support for community engagement, we discussed how to get good publicity and positive word-of-mouth mentions when you don’t have big marketing budgets. His answer: hand out small amounts of money, and make it competitive so people have to be polite about the process if they are to benefit. Be nice about people who are already doing the sort of thing you want to see happen. Help people tell good stories.

I’m not being cynical here: it makes a lot of sense to pilot new approaches, and learn from those before releasing further funds.

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Sources for social technology propositions – please mix your own

The 45 propositions about using social technology for social benefit have generated some discussion on this blog, Andy Gibson’s, and Amy Sample Ward’s – including an interesting visualisation from Rob Allen. That prompted me to head over to Wordle and have a go myself. I’m glad it shows People featuring more strongly than Tools.

The propositions evolved over a couple of months, and were originally linked to sections in a chapter that offers a sort of development route map for a social technology project. I’ve posted an earlier version of the propostions, showing that, in a comment on Amy’s blog and also below. The book – Social by Social: a practical guide to using new technologies to deliver social impact – should be published and distributed by NESTA next month.

I should also give some credit to Roland Harwood, and the rest of the Connect team in another part of NESTA, for their earlier work on principles for open, collaborative innovation. They have no responsiblity for our propositions, but the framework they have evolved helped spark some ideas.

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Can RSA help bridge the social innovation divide?

There’s something of a digital divide emerging in the UK between those who believe that web-enabled social innovation is almost impossible within established nonprofit organisations, because of their management structures, culture and generally low-level of tech skills, and those who believe charities can make the change if they really try. See my item on Social Innovation Camp for illustrations of the “outsider” view.

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