Tag Archives: SI Camp

Social Innovation Camp – now you can vote

Social Innovation Camp have extended their competitive-collaborative model for bringing together those people who have ideas for social change with web developers and others who could help put them into practice.

Earlier this week at the monthly SI Camp meetup we heard how 115 proposals had been (competitively) submitted and whittled down to six for the SI Camp weekend December 5-7, where the collaboration takes place. It was foody as well as techie. Details here. read more »

Tips for winning at SI Camp

The Social Innovation Camp team has analysed what excited them about projects that won last time: proof of potential; people-power; technology, but not just for geeks. You have until November 7 to enter for the next Camp in December, (bearing these tips in mind).

Collaboration needs real pay-offs. Where does tech best fit?

In recent posts I’ve looked at two models for collaborative social innovation: Social Innovation Camp and RSA Networks. In the SI Camp model people pitch project ideas openly, collaborate within newly-formed project teams, then compete against each other. In RSA Networks people pitch ideas, look for collaborators, and may also get some help from RSA staff. Both are, in part, about the use of social technology, but my analysis of them both – compared here – brings home, I hope, that technology is not the key element for success. What’s important is the underlying model for moving from idea to implementation, and reward.

read more »

Social Innovation Camp plans a bigger tent


Lots of initiatives are trying to match social technology with social problems but few have an explicit underlying model to turn great ideas into practical projects. Social Innovation Camp made a successful start in London in April, as I reported here, and the organisers now have a chance to follow through with more funding from NESTA to run a further camp on December 5-7th. read more »

Social Innovation Camp: imitations, please

I believe that Social Innovation Camp, which I much enjoyed last weekend in London, will make a big difference in the way that we think about doing good stuff with new stuff.

By that I mean not just how social media may be used by nonprofits for communication and collaboration, but how events are run, projects started and mentored – and how funders, sponsors and media partners consider where they invest time and money.

First the simple story: six projects were chosen from 80 ideas, and project promoters came together with web developers, social change activists and others to work on them for two days. At the end one project and a runner up were chosen. Aleksi Aaltonen has done a great job of pulling together the many blog post here, with more here from one of the organisers Dan McQuillan and from Roland Harwood of NESTA Connect, who were one of the funders. I experimented with live streaming video from my phone to Qik, producing a mix of interviews and general wanderings about.

Here’s what I find interesting and important for the future:

It was quick. A small team were able to generate a lot of interest and support in just three months by using social media and the networks of people interested in its application to social innovation. This wasn’t just about speedy communications. There are now in London (and of course elsewhere) a cloud of people interested in social innovation who will go out of their way to make things happen and help each other. They meet up at events including UKGovwebBarcamp and The Tuttle Club which are mainly organised online. They are not traditional community and voluntary sector people but include many who work as consultants or in the private and public sector.

The ethos was rather different from the traditional voluntary sector. There is a presumption that ideas will be shared, the process will be open and publicly online, individuals rather than institutional formats are important. This draws partly on ten years of social entrepreneurship in the UK, and partly on the emerging Worldview 2 promoted by people like Charles Leadbeater and Clay Shirky.

It was fun, and informal. The event started with drinks and social tagging … with people going around sticking labels on each other and generally making friends. There was a presumption you would introduce yourself to strangers, move around from project to project if you wished, drawing on the principals of Open Space events, unconferences, Barcamps.

It was (apparently) self-organising, and flexible. On the first morning the six projects were posted, and people just decided which ones they wanted to join up with. During the event a rogue group led by Jessica Shortall came up with another project – The Glue – and were allowed to present in the final show and tell, although not as competitors. I say apparently self-organising, because an enormous amount of effort went into getting the logistics right.

Although two project “winning” were awarded £1000 and £2000, I expect that all the projects will continue to develop, and there will be many spin-offs from the idea generated and relationships formed.

All this means that it was richly rewarding for all concerned, and a good investment for funders and sponsors. Roland Harwood of NESTA Connect reflects that in saying:

On of the big lessons for me of the weekend was how limited organisation can unleash ideas, which is counter-intuitive for many. There was so much energy and enthusiasm there was in all the groups compared with the large organisations and beaurecracies that normally try to solve some of these very same issues, but they tend to try to crack ‘nuts’ with a proverbial ‘sledgehammer’.

Of course buzzy events, bright ideas, new networks are developed all over the place. Charities, community groups and volunteers do good stuff every day without as much media profile. However, I think Social Innovation Camp will make a difference because it serves as a sort-of all-purpose reference to quick, fun, creative, cross-sector, generative. It gives confidence to those who want to do things differently, and has helped create a stronger network of those who will make things happen.

I’m sure that there will be many imitations … and equally sure that’s just what the Social Innovation Camp organisers would like to see happen.

Videos from Social Innovation Camp

I’ve spent the last couple of days dropping in and out of Social Innovation Camp, and it ended today with a well-deserved win for Enabled by Design – described here in its earlier stages. I’ve posted the videos I shot over here … but unfortunately something gave out before I caught the winners. There will be an official video, so nothing is lost.

I was experimenting using Qik to stream straight fromphone to web, and it worked pretty well, except that I can’t embed videos here because WordPress.com only allow that from YouTube and similar sites. I can, in theory, upload from Qik to YouTube but I’m having problems with that too.

Struggling with these trivial glitches just brought home to me again what an amazing experience the Camp was, with tech and non-tech innovators working over two days to get projects developed and, in some cases, working online in prototype.

I’ll write more when I’ve collected my thoughts. Meanwhile do take a look at Paul Birch and Paul Miller reflecting on whether it is possible to innovate within existing organisations as effectively. You can guess the answer … and I agree.

Update: The Guardian’s Bobbie Johnson has done a brilliant job blogging the camp over here.