RSA South West Futures – 7th July – Are you going?

The goodly folk of The South West RSA Fellowship Team have been busy recently pulling together a series of important events for the south west.

Inspired by the recent Northern Futures initiative, the aim is to kick start a new style of conversation about the future of the South West’s economy by asking people to get involved in formulating radical new growth strategies for the region.

Lead partners include University of Exeter and Devon County Council, RSA SW and Knowledge Hub, supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly and Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEPs. Other key partners include Made Open, Current Works Ltd, and COSMIC.

The invite is open to anyone from local authorities, businesses, social enterprises, academics and students in identifying key challenges for the region and collaborating to solve them, to drive open policy making, open innovation using creative problem solving tools and design thinking methods.

The South West Futures Open Ideas Day is a pilot project. There is an online call for ideas, seeking to generate topics to explore on July 7th, and develop solutions that can be shared at a follow-up event with key partners in September.

As a pilot prototype, if it is successful then it could lead to an even bigger project in 2016.

On July 7th, parallel events are being held in the following locations:

Exeter (University of Exeter Business School)

Honiton (East Devon Business Centre)

Penryn (Made Open, Jubilee Warehouse)

Places are very limited but FREE, there is space for around 20-30 people at each event.

The events will be good fun and challenging and they are particularly seeking participation from people who are passionate about making positive change and are willing to collaborate across sectors and boundaries.



Announcing Open Space South West #OpenSSW

For those of you who have seen the UKGovCamp Grants website, you may have noticed that there was an event called Open Space South West that I put a bid in for and luckily I was one of the many events to get some financial support – So right up front I’d like to thank Steph and Dave and those organisations who helped create the pot of money in the first place.

It was originally down as South West Local Gov Camp – but I wanted to do something a little different to try to reach a slightly different and more diverse audience.

So it will be different to the usual govcamp events, therefore it is called Open Space South West instead – simple as that 🙂

I’ve put in some basic details below, whilst I get a website sorted in the next couple of weeks which will have links to the tickets and speaker details (yes some speakers).

Open Space South West – the hashtag = #OpenSSW

Date – Friday 14th September

How is it different to a GovCamp event?
Some of the key differences are:

  • It is a Friday (yes a work day) – the 14th September to be precise – 9.30am – 5pm
  • It will be at Coaver Conference Centre, County Hall, Exeter.
  • It will have some speakers who will be providing a 15 minute inspiration/challenge
  • It will have a delegate contract

Some more details on the delegate contract
As a delegate my commitment is to turn up, listen, challenge, participate and take responsibility for my own personal learning and development outcomes and to share my learning openly via the event or other linked website(s).

Partners / Supporters / Sponsors

If you would like to provide support then get in touch via the comments – Specifically I’d welcome contributions towards getting additional wifi sorted (£800) in return you get your logo on the wifi login screen and I’d also welcome some additional contributions towards lunch and refreshments.

There isn’t as of yet any informal “night before” or” after event” activities planned, but again if anyone wishes to make some contributions towards those that would be very welcome – again get in touch via comments or direct message me on twitter.

I’m not planning at this stage to have free gifts,  t-shirts or goodie bags but I’m open to offers if someone wishes to help with this?

The following organisations are already providing support in various ways – so a BIG thank you to them.

New Year Reflections and Thank you’s

As we enter a new year and a new decade, I’ve started to reflect and think about the opportunities and challenges ahead and more importantly who will be collaborators on that journey.

This year promises and is pretty much certain to be “very” interesting one, my employer will be making cuts and that will mean people will lose their jobs – I am not immune from that process – so it inevitably makes you think about what might happen and how one would deal or adapt to those situations should they arise.

This time last year the team I work in at the council had to reduce by 2 FTE’s which was not a nice thing and that experience will be much more common over the coming months, not just in my council but across the whole sector. A lot of good people will be leaving the sector and I hope and wish that they continue to be collaborators with the public sector as it will need all the help it can get to get through the next 3-4 years.

The biggest thing last years process did for me was to proactively look at alternative employment opportunities, whether full or part time and luckily last July I was offered a part time position with Cosmic (a ICT Social Enterprise) and that has made such a huge difference to my personal motivation and personal development – the cultural differences are huge and more importantly refreshing.

Whilst this year will be challenging and in some cases pretty horrid, it will also be one of the most interesting and I’m really looking forward to working with so many amazing people who are passionate about making a difference, not just locally but as far as their influence can reach.

I hope to meet more twitter folk face to face as you are all even more interesting in person and it is great to share more than 140 characters with people.

I’d like to highlight a few people who I know will play a huge part in my life or will influence me one way or the other during the next 12-18 months.

Many more of you will also play a huge part and I look forward to working and collaborating with you all during 2011.

Happy New Year to you all. 🙂

The Civil Sector and Public Sector

On friday last week, I attended the Socitm South West Regional Meeting, where there were a number of presentations from various people from Orange (Event Sponsors) who are actually now part of a new organisation Everything Everywhere – A merger of Orange and T-Mobile. I personally didn’t really take note of this when this was announced back in May, but actually it is quite a big deal when you think about what this means to the mobile networks and coverage. They still need to sort our rural connectivity if they want to make a real difference. Maybe they should connect to Race Online 2012 and make a pledge…

One of the most interesting presentations on the day came from Julie Harris, CEO of Cosmic, a Social Enterprise based in East Devon. What was interesting for me was that Julie highlights some of the practical challenges facing the civil sector in progressing the Big Society – also a great observation that public sector and civil sector partnership working is the Big Society really…

Some really interesting insights in identifying local projects which Cosmic are involved in which could add real value to some high level strategies that the public sector has and are proactively progressing – such as “Channel Migration” – supporting these strategies through grass-roots support and mentoring  via the Digital Mentors programme.

Digital Mentors aim to provide technology training, support, workshops and advice to local sole traders and SME’s –  The support and guidance on offer will include use of standard ‘Office’ software, social media, simple website creation and promotion demonstrations, tips on online selling, computer maintenance and support.

Via Cosmic – Digital Mentors

Julie also make a very obvious point about aligning and working together more with regard to Analysis and Research around IT enabled change etc. An obvious link to Socitm naturally exists as Socitm have expanded into the 3rd Sector – perhaps a bit more to do on making local connections to add value to the widerSocitm membership.

Anyway Julie’s presentation is below, it is well worth checking out.