On Saturday at SHINE09 about 40 people spent a couple of hours playing the Social Collaboration Game … mixing regeneration challenges, social media tools and a splash of Social Innovation Camp. The session generated a lot of buzz as groups pitched entrepreurial ideas for tackling social, environmental and economic problems in a fictitious borough not unlike east London.
We started with Jess Tyrrell of Germination playing council leader, and explaining how they hoped social entrepreneurs would come up with some innovative project ideas. Cliff Prior of Unltd was a very convincing Civil Society Minister in a new Tory Government of 2010 promoting localism and a shift from big central funds to social enterprise. William Perrin gave an spirited account of how the KingsCrossEnvironment blog has successfully acted as a campaigning focus for the area – and how the 4ip-funded Talk About Local project will spread the model country-wide.
Everyone then milled about to form groups and come up with project ideas, which they took to Jess and Cliff for initial approval. If they got the nod, they were give a set of cards representing technology tools and other methods for project development, and offered mentoring from Amy Sample Ward and Andy Gibson.
The cards each had an image, description and budget points of 1,2 or 3 representing cost or difficulty. Groups had to choose cards totalling 10 points and pitch back to Jess and Cliff ideas that would fit into their earlier briefing. Download the cards here or view below on Scribd.
Cliff livened things up by announcing a new local empowerment fund created from repaid MPs expenses, and there was a serious risk it would gather credibility on Twitter where people was rating the game as scarily true to life … if confusing. About which more later.
Most of the projects were around engaging with young people, including helping them find and develop more opportunities in neighbourhoods where gang territorialism restricted movement and activities.
Thanks to Richard McKeever of Community Links for help with the background scenario, and to friends at Communities and Local Government in flagging up details of existing funding currently available from Futurebuilders, the Grassroots programme and other sources: details at Office of the Third Sector. There’s also a £7.5 million Empowerment Fund, and a £70 million Communitybuilders programme. All info about voluntary and community sector funding at governmentfunding.org.uk. I think there’s real scope for developing the game in a way that would tie more directly into these and other sources of funding, and so provide a “for real” ways of planning how to bring social tech into the mix.
The game was developed from early work with Drew Mackie – examples here at usefulgames – and also from discussions with Jess, Amy and Andy. I put the final format together, and now have plenty of ideas about how it could be improved. Drew flew down from Scotland the night before, and was on hand during the day to guide the play where possible … but we could have done with more time for preparation. Drew is the real games and simulation expert.
Here’s how we planned the game, how it worked in practice on the day, together with our reflections. The main points were much clearer briefing and instructions; developing a short version of the scenario; explaining the role of social technology; change the bidding process. We also suffered from the acoustics of The Hub where we played the game, making it a bit difficult to tell groups what was happening and what to do next. Download here or view below on Scribd.
I’ll add more about the results of the game when we have some video – but meanwhile would love to hear from groups about the projects they developed, and also any reflections on how it worked as a session.
If you are in London on June 2, do join us for a shorter revised run of the game at Net Tuesday.
Photos by Daniel J Wilcox – view here as slideshow.
Update: Amy Sample Ward has more excellent ideas on how we can improve the game posted here.
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)
SHINE09 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.
We ended up talking about Twitter and similar tools encouraging sharing and a gift economy – because you are only as good as what you give. We agreed (I think) that the task for organisation with members was to create a friendly environment for hard-nosed approaches to soft/gentler living enabling people to learn to live better with each other. Some of this ties in with the discussion recently at a seminar organised by the UK Carnegie Trust, about civil society organisations, where Andy Gibson was promoting mutualism.
Ben is leaving Ashoka, but will still play a part in the social enterprise ecosystem. He’s promising a blog at benmetz.org within a week or two.
One of the delights of SHINE09 for me was to find so many more people this year using video to capture some great conversations, and show the potential of social media first hand. One of those was Felix Gonzales of Youandiskills who was, in effect, creating an archive of the event as part of his mission to use video to inspire and help people share ideas. I showed Felix my use of audio recording with the Audioboo iPhone app.
I then bumped into Angela Dove, who I had been talking to a few weeks before about use of video in her work in facilitation, and with museum, libraries and galleries. I enthused then about the use of small Flip cameras … and how they make it easy for anyone to be a social reporter. What better way to demonstrate this than than giving Angela my camera for an hour and seeing how she felt it worked? Here’s the result:
Me offering Angela the Flip video camera
Angela interviewing Harry Leckstein of Freeport records
Iris Lapinski of Zeitgeist Advisors
Johnnie Moore, facilitator
Angela reporting on her experience
I think it is fair to say that the Flip – and other similar cameras – make it really easy to carry out interviews. There’s a flip-out USB connector that makes it easy to transfer video to your computer, and upload to YouTube. There’s a bit more time involved if – as here – you want to embed the video in a blog. And even more time if you take the trouble to listen through and extract key points for the blog. I’ve skipped that bit here … but I can recommed listening to the interviews.
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..
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.
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.
Yes, yes – Audioboo is the latest cool and trendy tool for social reporters, But let’s not forget good ol’ Twitter, eh?
There’s lots of activity from the twitterati here at #shine09 (click on the link to view the buzz), so follow these lovely people below for a taste of the action:
- @benrmatthews (me!)
If I’ve missed you out and you’re tweeting from Shine09, leave a comment below and we’ll add you to the list.
There’s so much buzz at SHINE09 that it can be difficult to shoot informal video, so I’m using Audioboo on my iPhone and encouraging other people to try it too. All my boos here, with a few of the first embedded below.
Pauline interview Zoe