Tag Archives: shine09

All posts Entrepreneurs

Radioactive reporting at SHINE09

Amidst the online social reporting at SHINE09 I found Max Graef of Radioactive demonstrating the miniaturised radio station he will soon be taking to work with the Kenya Wildlife Service. There in the Tsavo National Park he will be broadcasting to the Masai about how to prevent killing of elephants, stop destructive fires, and other conservation issues.

At SHINE09 Max was interviewing social entrepreneurs about their projects … although this time without broadcasting. He explained that when the 40ft anteana is up the station has a range of about 15-20 miles, and is ideal for areas with low literacy and no electricity.

I last met Max at the graduation day for the School for Social Entrepreneurs, as you see here, with a fine hat acquired on a previous trip.

All posts Organisations

Creating friendly places for the re-emergence of mutualism

The SHINE09 unconference gave me a chance to catch up with Ben Metz, UK director of Ashoka, who I last met in December when he spoke in Lisbon, at a social innovation conference, about the emerging ecology of support for social entrepreneurs.

Since then the landscape has changed still further, and not for the better. The collapse of the capital markets makes things tough for any type of entrepreneur. On the other hand, social media enables organisations like Kiva and Zopa to raise funds in a highly distributed fashion.

This opens the way for a shift in the ownership, governance and management of enterprises with, perhaps, increasing interest in mutualism and cooperatives and more concern for values that profit. I summarise …please listen to the interview, where I ramble around and Ben is admirable clear. read more »

All posts asides local

UK Hyperlocal Alliance launched

The Talk About Local project to train and support local activists setting up websites is inviting people to join in a UK hyperlocal alliance. It is being led by Will Perrin, Dominic Campbell and Kalvir Sandhu. Earlier news here.

All posts games local

Fun unconferencing at SHINE09

I had great fun at the SHINE09 unconference for social entrepreneurs last Friday and Saturday, first with a little light social reporting and then helping run the Social Collaboration Game, which I wrote about earlier.
The social reporting was light for me because there were far more video cameras around than last year, and much more Twittering… but I did do a few interviews including a particularly interesting one with Ben Metz, leaving Ashoka after three years as UK director. We talked about some of the issues raised at the UK Carnegie Trust seminar on civil society associations. He hopes to see the rise of mutualism.
I’ve blogged a full report of the game here, including downloads of the cards we used. Briefly, about 40 people for two hours inhabited a fictitious borough rather like East London in 2010, developing project ideas for neighbourhood renewal, mixing in some social tech from the cards ideas, and pitching to the the new Tory Minister for Civil Society (otherwise Cliff Prior CEO of Unltd) and council leader Jess Tyrrell (of conference organisers Germination).
There was a flurry of excitement on Twitter when Cliff announced a new empowerment fund developed from refunds of MP’s expenses …. but unfortunately it didn’t survive game end. Unless …

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Shine 09 photo collection

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Brief reflection on Shine 09

Just wanted to capture some quick reflections on the two days of Shine 09. Am sure there will be more over the next few days, + more photos and videos to be uploaded.

Overall, as one of the co-founders and organisers (SSE), I’m pretty delighted with how it went. Massive congrats and thanks to Sam, Lizzie and all at Germination for all their hard work in making the event a reality, and one that ran pretty smoothly. And all on a shoestring budget.

The four partners started the event because they felt there was a need for an accessible, affordable, practical, well-networked, dynamic event that was less about long powerpoints and plenary speeches, and more about one-to-one support and moving your business on. I really think Shine 09 delivered on that concept, and, overall, it felt like more ‘business’ was being done at the event than last year. Or, as Cliff Prior (UnLtd CEO) summarised to me, Shine 08 was about inspiration, Shine 09 was about perspiration…or about implementation. I saw a couple of SSE Fellows walking out at the end of Friday and they were listing the work they’d got, the contacts made, and the practical advice they’d received…which was very much music to my ears.

Highlights for me on the Friday were the 1:1 areas, where organisations like Lovells, Futurebuilders, UnLtd, Ashoka and ourselves got little respite from social entrepreneurs thirsty for advice and information. Some of the workshop sessions were a little more mixed, going on anecdotal feedback, but I heard positive things about the Mind MOT session and Jackie Westlake’s DCLG session(s) in particular.

On Saturday, the vibe was relaxed and enjoyable, and What If gave a load of bespoke consultancy to those who were there (and booked in). The Social Collaboration game was great, and its hypothetical MP expenses endowment fund almost became a Twitter hoax, before being stopped in its tracks. Finally, the pitching session was great, with four excellent projects, and the judging panel giving supportive and constructive feedback (though I say so myself). Martin Sherrard won the popular vote, and an UnLtd Level 1 Award, for his walled kitchen garden project.

As ever, we will learn from this year and the things that went well and that didn’t. The balance between structured and unstructured felt good this year, and the Kings Place and the Hub Kings Cross were stellar venues. The only challenge with Kings Place was the split levels (which meant it felt slightly less of “one event” together) and lack of natural light in the downstairs rooms, but it’s a great and well-resourced place to have an event. The Hub has a great vibe and, as at Kings Place, the staff and team there could not have been more helpful and accommodating.

Final big thanks to all who made it possible: Germination as I mentioned above, the funders and sponsors (Lovells, Futurebuilders, CCLA, DCLG, OTS et al), the media partners, the founding partners (especially Ben@Ashoka, Jonathan@theHub, Cliff and Nic@UnLtd), all the volunteer UnConsultants and helpers, David Wilcox for this site, and to all the social reporters and twitterers who helped make the event one that others could be involved in even from miles away.

Till next year then… ;0)

Guest post: ideas generation gone comedic

Post from UnLtdWorld‘s Nicola Jones:

So after a thoroughly inspiring “big sheep little sheep” game, I find myself sat in the corner of the Hub with Dave Dawes, Sam Beinhacker and Lucy Wood thinking about the “yes and ” model..the idea that you stop rubbishing other peoples ideas and building on them..

Best way to put this in motion?…ACTION! So we start off with Dave’s Idea of creating an off-license with sells organic beer, but also encourages less alcohol consumption..okay so what next? Well Sam suggests the off-license has AA-sessions…ok so where from there? well ever the alcoholic(!) I suggest we also add in a “recovery and dry out centre” to the centre, which helps people recover from long nights out…so Lucy what can you add…well she reckons the now centre, also has a minibus that goes out to schools in the area and teaches them about responsible consumption of alcohol…so now we’re into education..not enough! says Dave…the minibus will simulate the “ministry of sound” for young people but without alcohol…teaching them it isn’t the be all and end all..

You see where you get?! Love SHINE – its all about these random conversations which inspire whole new ways of thinking..

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Saturday morning: creativity and collaboration

Sitting here, listening to WhatIf? get everyone going this morning. Writing down our barriers to creativity on a bit of paper, scrunching it up and throwing it at them was strangely satisfying. Enjoyed that. And I like the Vicky Pollard device of “yeah but, no but” to test ideas….seeking objections etc.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the Social Collaboration Game is being prepared in what looks like a very serious darkened corner room. Looks like the Gorbachev-Reagan summit from down here on the ground floor.

Good crowd in today, and a good, relaxed vibe. Check out the photos on flickr (shine09’s the tag). Finest example of collaboration this morning was the WhatIf-UnLtdWorld-SSE breakfast; coffees, savoury and pastries. Simple but effective, and with a practical outcome. That’ll be the vibe of the day, I reckon.

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Catching up (and missing out)

OK, so managed to sneak a sandwich and some coffee and am back on the laptop. Loving chatting and ranting with the effervescent Servane from Ogunte (whose social leadership awards are coming up later), and Maor from EGO Network. The importance of evaluation and measurement are the topic round this table; still lots of good 1:1 work going on. Lovells are very busy, still. So are Futurebuilders and Ashoka and a whole range of others.

Great also to catch up with SSE Fellow Sheenagh Day, whose Maison Bengal fairtrade business is going from strength to strength. She’s been so heads down busy that I haven’t seen her for about a year, but all seems to be going fantastically well. We’ve agreed to meet up re. some pro-bono legal support and other strategic capacity.

Good also to meet the legendary Steve Bridger in person / passing, and to chat to a whole range of different grassroots social entrepreneurs who are getting the support, advice and (as all of the above demonstrates hopefully) networking they need. Was particularly delighted to meet one woman (Sara?) who explained she was thinking of setting up an organisation in Sheffield, but didn’t know where to go for support. Delightfully, SSE Yorkshire is going to open later in the year, so hopefully she’ll come on board.

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(un)Question Time for social entrepreneurs

OK – first bit of live blogging. Am sitting in a session with a panel of four social entrepreneurs, chaired by our own David Dimbleby, Cliff Prior (CEO, UnLtd). The intention is to share learning, real experiences (successes and failures) and genuinely interrogate these practitioners.

First up is Ben Ramsden from Pants to Poverty, whose organisation started on the back of Make Poverty History and has grown from there. Interesting (already) that none of them are comfortable with being called “successful”. Sold 3,000 pairs of pants first up, and then went from there. [Shock news: Cliff owns some]

Second up is Davina Roberts of Punch and Juicy, who runs a healthy-living / drinks organisation. She has overcome homelessness, and chalenging illness, to do this work. She emphasised the importance of networking and “smiling while pushing business cards at people”. Punch and Juicy is a great name; + she has “juice masters” who make and create new drinks.

Third up is Annys Darkwa of Vision Housing which supports ex-offenders to access accommodation. Very interesting model (check the website)….and she felt that service user involvement and empowerment was at the heart of her success (alongside having the boxes ticked: policies and procedures).

Finally, Ben Matthews of Bright One, which provides PR to charities and social enterprises. I met Ben last year, and he is one of our excellent social reporters, and Bright One is cool. Going very well: too well, because they’ve had to put a stop to charities etc coming with more projects.

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Into the discussion, which is (I’m going to be honest here) sliding straight into definitions, much to a fair amount of tedium in the room…but Cliff has put a stop to it (through asking us to vote on whether social enterprise is charity 2.0 or business 2.0; most thought the latter, though I would say both….).

Now talking about how you can effectively marry your product with your social mission. Soc ents feel it is largely about relationships and interweaving them as much as possible.

Q: what skills do you need? Partners, partnerships (being able to identify the right partners) are key. Be clear about your core idea, and innovate within it. Communicate with wide range of people. Choose whatever structure is fit to your mission, finance and governance (not structure first). Also about characteristics and traits, not skills. Get them to learn by doing.

Q: Did you ever consider giving up? And what kept you going? Lack of holiday, lack of sleep, constant stream of e-mails, personal investment etc. all coming across as challenges. Career-changing a challenge. Need to stick at it (“survive enough until you get lucky” to paraphrase Kiva founder). Scale of ambition can depress you, but relationships sustain you through. Joy, passion, impact that work creates. + turn a challenge into an opportunity.

Q: We all go on a big learning journey? Who’s given you support….leading to ‘social entrepreneurs’ are most similar to offenders: “they see something and they go after it”; interesting answer from Davina; Cricklewood Homeless Concern, Brent Housing, Groundswell, Nigel Kershaw, Shine 09, Bright Ideas Trust, and weaving her way through the network….+ family! Quote of the session: “my gran said, ‘finally, you’ve got a good idea'”

Q: Question about plagiarism of your idea; all had some experience of it at different levels…or at least as they interpret it. One had competition set up, another had staff poached, etc. Importance of retaining core value. Need to take it as compliment + tools to protect yourself.

If I’m being honest, this session hasn’t really caught light for me. Nuggets of gold, and good honesty and openness, but crowd seem a little subdued. Maybe they are just taking it all in!

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Summary: synergy between social and business is key; learning and going, not teaching / formal learning; belief and motivation (support + thing that reminds you why); use your support network: easier to be brave in company; using the people who say no to you.

One line advice: take holidays; time for yourself; JFDI management (just ‘*!@ing do it!) and learn how to drive! Don’t wait till you’re ready. Recognition reminders.