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The vibe is: chilled and engaged

It must be the hottest and sunniest day of the year, and, in combination with the Premiership title decider , that means the crowd is smaller today. There is a lazy, Sunday vibe today….but still people from different walks of life, different backgrounds connecting, getting advice and taking part in a really wide range of sessions. Currently, there are sessions about partnership, about authenticity in social media, about marketing, and different 1:1 sessions on tax, business planning and so forth.

What always interests me are the unique points of view and preferences that everyone brings. I thrived on the energy of Friday / Saturday, but there are others finding today’s atmosphere more to their liking…interesting to think about how an event can try and cater to those different interests and emphases: a challenge for next year.

Insights and wedding dances

Just attended a great session led by Servane Mouazan of Ogunte about different ways of gaining insights into dilemmas, obstacles and situations. Introductions via the senses (i.e. less what’s your name, and more what’s your favourite colour, smell, sound etc.) were remarkably illuminating, and there were some interesting connections from those first thoughts alone.

Then we had to choose a dilemma (mine was worrying about the first dance at my forthcoming wedding (considering my two left feet), then utilising thinking cards and cross-pollination cards to think about it in new ways. So, for me, that was thinking about ‘how my superhero would do it?’ and then a few ‘what would happen if?’ questions to prompt answers. Whilst I didn’t arrive this morning thinking about how Superman would approach a first dance at a wedding, it was interesting to do so….and certainly brought about some new insights: about the ability to use an alter ego to gain confidence, about everyone having insecurities / anxieties (re. Lois Lane / Clark Kent), and about the possible use of pants outside the trousers as a distraction tactic.

Nice methods to gain insights, and approaching problems in creative ways. Check out Servane’s site (link above) for more.

Day 3 begins….and a look back at Day 2

Thankfully, no hangover this morning, and it’s another beautiful day here at the ever-more-appropriately named Shine 2008. There was so much going on yesterday that I barely got a chance to sit down and type before being whisked away somewhere…

Some highlights for me:
- the Kaos Pilots living up to their name with their mental refreshment games outside (see the videos via the Qik link to the right)
- the School for Young Social Entrepreneurs co-designing session, led by SSE Fellow Tom Bulman and former SSE CEO James Smith, which also decamped outside; such good engagement and interest that they carried on beyond 5.30pm….
- recording a podcast (with Dave Dawes’ marvellous ‘pocket recording studio’) with the fellow geeks…sorry, social reporters ;0)
- seeing the great 1:1 sessions taking place by the What If-ers, admirably marshalled by James Baderman….as one social entrepreneur said to me “you couldn’t pay for that”, to which James said “actually you could” followed by me saying “but it’s more than £20″….
- the Foundation for Social Improvement (I think)’s session on fundraising was packed out both times in the Clinic, with chairs having to be dragged in from elsewhere…

Overall, despite the beautiful weather luring people outside (is it wrong as an event organiser to pray for rain?), it seemed to go well. As ever the richest stuff was taking place in all the different conversations and relationships being built in the cafes and snugs all around this amazing building. I hope that the videos and blogs are giving off a bit of the vibe that’s marking this out as a really different event….and one to build on.

And on that note, off to Day 3; I’m delivering my blogging session again in 10 minutes, so must dash. If you want to see the powerpoint, check out the embedded slideshow from my earlier post.

Making mapping part of the event

Nick wrote earlier about the importance of better understanding how to help people connect at events, and the experiments that Shine Unconference is carrying out with The Social Network Company.

I explored those possibilities further with organiser Jess Tyrrell, and Tom Alcott in this conversation.

Mapping connections at Shine

The Shine unconference is very much about connecting people: acknowledging the value that comes from one-to-one connections, intimate conversations, personal advice, peer-to-peer learning and so forth. This did make it difficult at times to pitch to funders: so mapping those connections, trying to track them, and start to measure the value of them, is really important.

And that’s why we’re excited by the conversations we’ve been having with The Social Network Company, who are going to experiment with using their graphical mapping tool at the event….which (as with much at the event) is very much an experiment and a trial, but could have interesting results. Particularly if we can go back to those people after (say) six months, and see how such relationships have developed over time.

MyBnk, The Hunger Project and other stories

Great, laidback vibe around the building today: lots of one-to-one sessions and conversations taking place. I bumped into Lily Lapenna of MyBnk in the Snug and chatted about CSR, Ashoka and other things. It’s a great project, so check out the website: financial awareness and understanding is such a key life skill, and initiatives like this will be key in making it happen.

Also seen quite a few SSE Fellows: Jo Dempster, Winnie Williams, Tom Bulman, Will Rogers and others; great to see them all here. I’ve been trying to broker them to some particularly interesting sessions and areas; where else could you get innovation thoughts from NESTA, bespoke advice from What If?!, planning from Ashoka….all for £20 a day. Bargain.

Currently Tom is talking in front of me to Patrick Moore from the Hunger Project, who’s speaking hugely passionately about the need to empower men and women in developing countries. Patrick’s just suggested that I link to their new video, so watch it here. What I totally agree with Patrick about is the need to stop seeing people as ‘beneficiaries’ and see them as potential leaders, as authors of their own solutions. Very much in line with the messages SSE gives out about people in the UK and beyond: social entrepreneurs often come from the communities they’re aiming to serve (and the problems they contain).

Announcing the 2gether Festival

Steve Moore used the Shine conference last night to announce that Channel4 will be backing the 2gether Festival on July 2 and 3rd in London, bringing together media people, social entrepreneurs and innovators.

The name has changed from 4Good, but the aim will be the same as that trailed earlier – bringing together social entrepreurs, innovators , software dvelopers and other social media types to, well … help change the world for the better.

Steve has recently been working for Channel4 on their Next on 4 strategy to move from being a broadcaster to a digital media company. This involves the development of 4I

… a £50 million creative fund that’ll see us work with partners across the UK to kick-start a wave of investment in public service digital media.

It’s about nurturing new talent. Championing new voices and fresh perspectives. Giving people who can create the future of public service broadcasting content the tools and resources they need to do it.

The fund will be formally launched at 2gether. Steve explained that the style of the Festival will be collaborative – to stream together the many digitally-enabled social innovation projects and programmes bubbling up in London and rest of the UK, and to use the convening power of the Channel4 brand to raise the tide.
I’m somewhat biased in favour of the whole thing, since I’m a big fan of Steve and his networking activities, and I’ll be helping develop the 2gether web site, blogging and other communication activities over the next two months.
Current thinking is that we’ll start with a modest blog site, using the WordPress system developed by my friends at Ruralnet, and then start an open collaboration process to plugin technology, ideas, projects, people, network. That way we should end up with an online and offline event that has been created by the people attending, and others interested.

We do know that the event will be at the Rochelle School in East London, which itself has a fascinating history of social innovation. About half a day will be committed to the IP launch and other slightly formal activities, but rest of the programme is pretty open. Well, it was when I left Steve at Shine yesterday, though with at least half a dozen ideas already buzzing. I’m pretty sure that by the time I go back to Shine today there will be more.

However, no decisions have been made, and we should have a web site up next week to invite more ideas. I’ll do an update here … and many other places too. It’s going to be fun. As I wrote over here, there’s a really good feel about the social innovation/social media scene in London at the moment.

Day 2, people…..

So, with only a mild hangover and a desperate need of coffee, we begin day 2 of the inaugural Shine Unconference. As Nelly once memorably said, it’s hot in here: hoefully the beautiful weather will inspire people to come to the SouthBank, rather than head to the great outdoors…..

Already bumped into the impromptu social reporting team (Darragh, Ben, Dave) this morning; you can check out what they’re writing throughout the day here and at their own blogs ( , ); also met with Siobhan Edwards from Nesta, who are one of our kind, generous and pioneering sponsors. David McQueen has just welcomed everyone in the Marketplace, and people have now gone off to their various sessions in the snugs and nooks and crannies of this amazing building.

Do check out some of the video clips from yesterday (see link to the right), and watch out for the live twittering, posting etc from today’s day at Shine….

First day round-up

Ok, sitting here in the Marketplace listening to Steve Moore (I think) discussing the announcement of a new fund related to Channel 4 and digital media. It’s been a great first day here at Shine: really in line with what I and SSE and the other organisers hoped for when we first sat down to discuss this event. Practical, relevant, full of networks and inspiring, interesting conversations; no long tedious speeches; genuine interaction and engagement. I’ve seen all of that, and more, today, and I hope more tomorrow and Sunday.

OK, not everything’s worked: we had problems at reception with ticketing, and a few sessions had patchy attendance, but generally really positive. And great to see some real value emerging from 1:1s as well.

Roll on tomorrow.

Live blogging: David Rossington from DCLG

OK, here’s a first for me. Genuinely live blogging; let’s hope the wireless holds up.

David Rossington, the new head of the Social Enterprise Unit at the Department of Communities and Local Government, is speaking to around 20-25 people here in the Future Cafe. Great that he’s come out to have the conversation with us here today. Currently outlining the background:

- DCLG empowerment white paper: does relate to social enterprise and entrepreneurship, but also about active citizens getting voice in their communities in relation to local/regional government.

Continue reading ‘Live blogging: David Rossington from DCLG’