Thanks to Steve Lawson aka Solobasssteve for recording AudioBoos on the day. And here come the Boos:
Thanks to Steve Lawson aka Solobasssteve for recording AudioBoos on the day. And here come the Boos:
At NLab: Amplified Individuals and Business Resilience on 18 June 2009 we broke into small groups to discuss the three key elements of Andrea Saveri's presentation. The resulting notes are summarised below, with the verbatim post-it note comments at the end of this post.
But first, think about this: when we diagnosed our levels of amplification the group was most confident about its skills in Multi-capitalism (Fluency in working with different kinds of capital: natural, intellectual, social, and financial) and Longbroading (The ability to think in terms of higher level systems and cycles. The vision to see the big picture).
The question now is: how can we now get practical and put those skills to work on the following issues?
Much of the conversation around Community-Based Maker Economies seems to have been less around actually making goods and more about what happens afterwards - i.e. selling them, especially with regard to the best kinds of outlets and how to combat foreign competition. There was also a recognition that skills that are dying out should be recaptured if possible, although there is nothing in the notes about why. Is the reason for preservation to store them in a museum? Or so that new generations and learn and adapt them? Might this be an opportunity for some kind of audit?
There was a lot of interest in Regenerative Commerce but uncertainty as to how it might be achieved, along with an awareness of the complexities of introducing barter and gift cultures into an urban society which has long forgotten how to use them. Of course sites like Freecycle are helping to return this kind of ethos into popular culture but the social structure of the city still has difficulties in working with it. There was much talk in this group about the differences between city and village cultures, but it wasn't clear how much of that was evidence-based. It would be interesting to peel away some of the sentimental thinking around traditional village economic structures and find out which elements might realistically be applicable to urban commerce today.
The User-Centred Governance group were cautious about exclusion and about the difficulty of obtaining a fully representative range of views via social media. They discussed the different roles involved - those who create information, those who use it, and those who moderate and manage the resulting relationships. Could lessons be learned from the user-group focus of commercial sites like Amazon, and how might they be applied in a governance situation? There was an awareness that the quality and focus of online discussion can be excellent, but at the same time access to it remains limited. It would be useful to see a resource which aggregates examples of UCG from around the world to show how these issues are being addressed.
Post-it Notes Verbatim >
NLab: Amplified Individuals and Business Resilience we took a light-hearted look at our levels of amplification*. Here are the results!
It seems we feel most confident in our skills in multi-capitalism and longbroading. That's a pretty interesting combination! Now, how can we put it to best use....?
Delegates at the 2008 NLab Social Networks Conference will remember how Andrea Saveri's presentation on The Future of Work: Amplified Individuals, Amplified Organizations got everyone thinking about the challenges and opportunities of connecting social media with small business.
Today at the Amplified Individuals and Business Resilience event we're pleased to launch the follow-up: a specially-commissioned talk from Andrea on Amplifying Businesses and Communities for Resilience. We think it raises some important questions about the contribution of amplified thinking to the way we respond to current constraints.
Please add your own thoughts on this blog or tweet them with hashtag #nlab.
Are you amplified? [Quiz]
Andrea Saveri is an independent consultant, located in Berkeley, California. She works at the intersection of foresight and strategy helping organizations adapt to a world of unexpected change. For more than 20 years Andrea has worked in Silicon Valley and around the world with businesses, foundations, and public institutions applying insights from futures research and emerging technologies to develop strategy and market opportunities. She currently focuses on the convergence of technologies of cooperation, strategies for collective action and commons building, platforms for enabling resilience, and amplified communities. This nexus of disruption and creativity offers unprecedented opportunity to regenerate community life, flexible institutions, and our capacity for wellbeing.
Amplified Individuals and Business Resilience
Thursday 18th June 2009
Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University
A free one day event hosted by NLab and Amplified
Economic constraints coupled with new technologies mean that changes in the way we work are creating both dilemmas and opportunities.
The Amplified Individual has the necessary skills to grapple with these challenges and use them to create a resilient business model. This event will explore the nature and characteristics of the Amplified Individual and enhance your own level of amplification. Come along expecting to interact and contribute in order to share the valuable takeaways of an unusual and challenging series of encounters.
We've tried a different way to organise this event. Invitations were
sent to 'seed' people, who in turn invited more. It's already full and
we're ready to go! Watch outputs of the day via hashtag #nlab
NLab's CreativeCoffee Club Leicester has been running for about eighteen months, meeting alternate Wednesdays during term-time. Since the Club started there have been some dramatic changes including the global economic situation, and an explosion of local and national networks and social networking tools.
We would like to commission a social researcher to conduct and analyse a short telephone survey of CreativeCoffee Club members. The work must be completed by 13th July 2009, and carries a fee of £1250.
We are looking for a researcher who:
If you're interested in this opportunity and can meet the deadlines, please email Professor Sue Thomas immediately for more information.
Remember, time is short and proposals must be received by 10am Monday 8th June 2009.
In the US at the moment there is a vogue for giving things away. Much of it is altruistic, reflecting a desire to pull together and help the country through tough times, reinforced by Obama's call to give service to the community. In Los Angeles, for example, a yoga instructor is giving free classes to the unemployed, and I saw another store on the TV (can't remember what kind) which offers the same percentage discount on its products that each customer has lost on his or her pension investments, no proof necessary.
But it's fast proving lucrative for some. Probably the first big company to exhibit this community spirit was Denny's, a major restaurant chain which gave away free breakfasts for the Superbowl in February. Since then it has done so well that it's continuing the offer. Two eggs, two pancakes, two rashers of bacon and two sausages - all free for anyone who asks. But it's making big profits for the company. See the maths. A Denny's representative says their next plan is to ask people to pay the favour forwards, and bring in a friend to recommend for a free breakfast too.
Bear in mind that this is not a simple 'buy one, get one free' type of promotion. It's working so well because it addresses an ethos of public service which is familiar to Americans with their pioneer history of communities working together for the good of all to dig a well or raise a barn.
Of course one can be very cynical about this, especially when Denny's are making big profits from it now, but my question is this: would it work in the UK? Could your business offer some kind of giveaway for the benefit of people being hurt by the economy? Could it prove financially viable for you?
Amplified City is a city-wide experiment designed to grow the innovation capacity of Leicester by networking key connectors across the city’s disparate and diverse communities in an incentivised project, enabled by social media. Funded by NESTA, this project will be launched in spring 2009.
NESTA is currently inviting tenders for the Learning Partner for the project.
Closing date: 10am on Tuesday, 14 April 2009.
A neighbour in my Southern California apartment complex is setting up a new business. She's going to provide services to the growing number of home-schooling families to be found in and around Santa Barbara. There will be group trips to places of interest, science classes on the beach and in nearby woodlands such as the Monarch butterfly sanctuary, and all kinds of 'short course' type activities designed to support the curricula devised by independent home-schoolers. It's a great idea and I wish her well.
My neighbour and many of her home-schooling colleagues are 'economommies' - that is, women who were 'stay-at-home Moms' before the economic downturn but who now need to supplement the family income with paid work which allows them to look after the kids too. They are seeking new and original ways to combine family life with income generation, and there's a new company designed to help people like them - Mom Corps. Mom Corps' mission is two-fold:
Sounds like something we could develop in the UK too. Read more about this topic in Time Magazine's Hard Times Send 'Economoms' Back to the Job Market
I'm in California on a research trip at the moment, and I've been coming across stories about some of the ingenious ways in which American businesses are trying to beat the recession. I'll post them as and when I find them, and hope they're inspiring! Here's the first, from NPR Radio:
by Vanessa Romo
Morning Edition, March 25, 2009 · Somewhere beneath the rubble of the housing market collapse, there's an architect trying to dig out and build a clientele. And he's doing it one question at a time.
After getting laid off from an architecture firm for the second time last year, John Morefield had a choice to make: either scratch around for one of the few architecture jobs available in Seattle or do something to control his destiny.
Then he decided: "Now's the time to do the booth."
It's an odd way to grow a business. Every Sunday, Morefield sets up shop at the Ballard Farmers Market. But it isn't anything tangible that Morefield is slinging from behind his small plywood booth; he's selling advice.
For 5 cents, Morefield offers pointers on home improvement projects. He got the idea from the Peanuts cartoon — you remember Lucy and her questionable nuggets of psychiatric help. Read on
Account Manager Jamie Mollart, Senior Web Developer Paul Sculthorpe, and Designer Matt Laws, shared their industry expertise on 18th March as guest speakers at ‘FAME: The Creative Industry Show’ hosted by De Montfort University.
The event, held to showcase successful companies and individuals in fashion, arts and the media in the East Midlands, offered a programme of presentations giving advice on how best to get into the creative industry fields of digital marketing, journalism, web design and broadcasting. RKH's own Jamie, Paul and Matt were chosen as the online and advertising experts and talked about the power of social media; in particular, tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and how these can successfully be used as part of a brand communication strategy.
100% of participants at the RKH seminar said the advice was good. Specific comments also revealed that the session was very helpful for inspiring thoughts on career moves, ideas for creating company business plans and the relevance of digital media.
Credit: Rock Kitchen Harris
"Nervously waiting for our talk to start"
Left: Matt Laws, Shani Lee, Jamie Mollart
Photo credit: Jamie Mollart
"Wow! Thanks for this :) if you need us for any more talks let us know!"
Photo credit: Paul Sculthorpe
Fascinating item on American National Public Radio (NPR) about the important of older employees learning to use social media applications, and how their younger colleagues can teach them. Listen and/or read here.
When it comes to older employees and their younger bosses, it's more than just age and technology — it can be a cultural divide, says Lisa Orrell, a generation relations expert and the author of Millennials Incorporated. Millennials are people born in 1980 or later, also known as Generation Y.
"What's happening is all of a sudden you're 53 years old and you've got a 28-year-old manager, and the millennials are very, very, very different," Orrell says.
They've grown up with the Internet and love to communicate. At the same time younger people are coming into management, Orrell says, many baby boomers are delaying retirement.
Her advice to older employees: "They have got to be a heck of a lot more flexible than they've been."
Some people from Leicester went to the Amplified 08 event at NESTA in November08, one of a series of events with the aim of linking forward-thinking creative networks and practitioners across the country.
The next London event will be on 24th February, this time at Tiger Tiger in the Haymarket.
Places are going fast, so if you are interested, please register quickly.
You can also find video and audio from the Future of Online Video event held last week.
CreativeCoffee Club Leicester has a new facebook group to make it easier to manage the burgeoning membership. Over seventy members have already joined the new group, with everything set for the first event of 2009 on Wednesday 14th January. You can also book for the event through facebook.
CreativeCoffee Club London is changing, too. "We’re shaking things up a little with the CreativeCoffee Club London meetings in 2009. Rather than continue with the cosy, weekly free for all conversations of last year we’ll be doing less regular meet-ups, but will begin to have larger and more themed conversations" says David Terrar, one of the founder members.
The first event is on Wednesday 21st January 9-12pm at the ICA. CreativeCoffee Club are running the event in conjunction with Amplified09 about the future of online video - be that television programming, film or original web content.
Photo courtesy of Billy Abbott
Very interesting time at Amplified08 yesterday, hosted by NESTA. I couldn't resist the session entitled "come and play, have fun" and I ended up playing some impro ball throwing and catching games (not real balls), and trying out the co-creation exercise that led to the pictures above.
Photo courtesy of Billy Abbott
Here's a picture of everyone gathered together for the mid-way whole group session and feedback from some of the workshops. Amplified08 managed to be that hardest of things - both well-organised and remarkably relaxed and informal. The event was put together and run by a host of people, and their enthusiasm, energy and goodwill was infectious.
Photo courtesy of Phil Campbell
Sessions were organised, hosted and facilitated by Amplified08 participants. If you had something you wanted to say, a topic you wanted to explore, you just signed up in advance on the wiki. On the day, you selected your time slot and space (boardroom or pod?), and anyone who was interested joined you. Many of the sessions were filmed (link to follow), and you can see the results along with a host of other cultural products. Here's the instructions for finding the 61+ pages of Twitter comments (tweets) made by people about the event:
Many of the tweets will include links to blogs, pictures and videos.
The next Amplified event takes place in February 2009 - register your interest on the wiki if you are interested in getting news (remember to include your e-mail address) or follow @shanitomorrow, @suethomas on Twitter. The timing of the event was 4-8pm - very handy for people from Leicester wanting to take advantage of cheap travel.
It must be a year ago that Toby Moores @sleepydog and I sat in a bar in Leicester while he rolled out huge pieces of paper across the table to show me his plan for a 'network of networks', radiating out from CreativeCoffee Club, a Leicester/London based group which we set up in Autumn 2007 in partnership with David Terrar @dt and Shani Lee @shanitomorrow (and joined more recently by @sizemore). A year ago it seemed like a grand vision which would probably be too complicated to ever materialise but Toby is nothing if not dogged and this week his idea is coming to fruition with the first event. Amplified08 will happen at the offices of NESTA in Central London on Thursday 27 November 08 and it looks to be full capacity with 200 people.
Blurb from the blog:
Essentially, Amplified08 is an opportunity to bring together those who meet in various UK social media, technology production and mobile media and related fields to come together to share your ideas and projects, to discover new ways of working together, and to break through the generation of silos among social media communities.
We also have a lot of interest from groups who still come together virtually via Twitter and the like who will now have the chance to chew ideas over, face-to-face for the first time. We’re also welcoming groups and individuals who are quite new to social media but want to learn while adding to the experience. Importantly we’re reaching out first and foremost to practitioners who are already full of ideas and opinions.
There's a programme wiki here and much of the event will be streamed through Twitter using the hashtag #amp08.
It looks like Leicester will have a strong presence there. Shani and I are going, as are Rakesh Parmar from the Phoenix, our DMU colleagues Stephen Brown, Jess Laccetti, and others, and Tia from our MA in Creative Writing and New Media. See you all there!
Great post from Mark McGuinness giving an overview of some of the most popular sites including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.
At the end, Mark asks the following questions:
"What part do social networks play in your creative and professional life?
What are your experiences of the networks on this list?
Have I missed out your favourite network? If so, please tell us
Where it is,
How you use it and
What benefits it offers creative professionals.
What tips can you offer people who are new to social networking?"
What would your answers be?
Barack Obama has taught the world a lesson in the use of social networks. This former community organiser already knew how to connect with many different cultures and communities, then he combined that knowledge with an understanding of social media, and his reach became huge (thanks also to a large and skilfull team). Now we can learn from his success and apply his methods to our own projects. More on this in Read/Write/Web's Obama's Social Media Advantage
There's a lot happening over the next few months and I've picked just three key events for you, two of which are free. They are the Future of Creative Technologies (registration closes this Friday 7th November, so hurry along), Amplified08 and LIFT09. I've also included some travel information for the event in London:
This conference takes place on Thursday 20th November from 9.30-5.00pm at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester. Registration is free and closes on Friday 7th November - so book now to be sure of your place.
Jess Laccetti, who, for a long time, was part of the NLab team, is one of the organisers.
Next is Amplified08, which I posted about at the beginning of the week. It takes place on Thursday 27th November from 4-8pm at NESTA, Plough Place, London. This event has only two hundred places, so if you are interested Declare Your Interest now. The other really interesting aspect of this event is that you can set the agenda - you can share your ideas and put forward topics for discussion, so that you really get what you want from it.
The late afternoon timing of Amplified08 means that you can benefit from off-peak rail travel and maybe even get one of those £1 only fares on National Express. I got a deal for £9 each way - can anyone do better?
This will be the fourth LIFT conference in Europe - and I can recommend it. A huge themed array of fascinating speakers, some engrossing workshops and multiple opportunities for networking, gathering, talking. All the presentations were filmed and are available on the LIFT website. Here's one about forecasting the future:
I also loved Geneva, and I'm looking forward to going back to the Cafe de Paris which serves just the one dish: entrecote steak (plus some marvellously extravagant desserts). it gets very busy and if you want a table to yourself, I suggest going early.
Photo credit: OperationOF
And here's a picture of the steak, complete with herb butter:
Photo credit: Joe Gratz
And another review.
You might have wondered what's been happening with CreativeCoffee Club after our first meeting of the season on 24th September ...
We've had some busy events with new CCC-ers Jaqui Crooks, Gillian Heggs, Jennifer Jones and Ishi Khan-Jackson as well regular supporters Kathy O Driscoll, David James Ross and Thom Corah. Other visitors included Stephen Brown, Stephen Peak, Ashley Carreras and Benoit Welch from De Montfort University and Rakesh Parmar and Sue Porter from Phoenix Arts.
Here's Ishi performing at the Brewery Tap Comedy Club earlier this year:
We also had a visit from Rohan Gunatillake:
Rohan leads the Web Connect strand within the NESTA Connect team, which explores the role the social web plays in innovation. Among many other things, NESTA supports Amplified08 and Ken Thompson's work on SwarmTeams. Ken spoke at the NLab Social Networks Conference in the summer.
I went down to London for my first visit to CreativeCoffee Club London on 1st October and saw for myself the amazing view from the Heights Restaurant at St George's Hotel in Langham Place, Regent Street.
Photograph courtesy Toby Moores
CreativeCoffee Club London is very different to CCC Leicester and well worth a visit. The event is enjoying a nomadic life at present, looking for a new home, but for the latest up-to-the-minute news about where it will be on any given Wednesday, follow @DT, @sizemore or @sleepydog on twitter.com.
I met lots of interesting people including Allix Harrison-D'Arcy, whose company does rapid prototyping for esoteric platforms, and who has some great quotes on his facebook profile. I think this one might be my favourite, but it's hard to decide:
Other great people included Steve Lawson (due at CCC Leicester on 5th November - I'm really looking forward to that), Jenny Brown, Joanne Jacobs and David Jennings. Here's a cute mix of Leicester and London CCC-ers from Flickr:
CreativeCoffee Club London is reviewing whether it should change its hours from 10-12pm to 11-1pm. I've suggested the latter would be really helpful for Leicester people who'd like to visit as we would be able to take advantage of off-peak travel. If you have thoughts about this, or you have something to say about anything else included here, please add your comments below. We'd love to hear from you.
News of a really exciting event in London - Amplified08: The Network of Networks
Thursday 27th November 4-8pm at NESTA, Plough Place, London.
This is a really great way to meet other CreativeCoffee Club like-minded folk, expand your network and your mind at the same time!
Shani, Toby and I will be going and we really look forward to seeing you there.
Tickets are limited - only 200 - and I recommend that you sign up as soon as you can.
NLab got into gear with the first CreativeCoffee Club of the Season on Wednesday 24th September when we heard about Helen Roscoe's photography exhibition from 6th-31st October at The Exhibition Gallery, Hinckley Library, Lancaster Road, Hinckley. Helen has teamed up with make up artist Jessica Nurse to work on a collaborative body of works surrounding the beauty and artistic form of body art.
It was great to catch up with Coffee Club regulars Carl Dawson, Jamie Mollart and Ian Moore, Trevor Wood, Karl Craig-West, Sean Clark and George Ballentyne. Mike Atherton visited from London and, with Toby Moores and Sue Thomas, enjoyed a stimulating discussion with Phil Campbell. Other visitors included Mike Wilkinson and Nur Yaryare and long-time Coffee Club friend Professor Stephen Brown, Director of CREEM.
But just a word about this past year:
- CreativeCoffee Club garnered hundreds of members in just a few days with clubs meeting in London, Liverpool and Bangor, as well as Palo Alto and New York. Leicester has been the most consistent of these, with over sixty small businesses taking part.
- our partnership with Vijay Riyait from iQubed. Vijay has been involved in all our activities, but I'd like to highlight the Facebook for Business event in November 2007, which Vijay and I put together.
- the NLab Social Networks Conference in June 2008, attended by 140 small business delegates, with a line-up of national and international speakers, plus an array of workshops from our partners and local small businesses.
- the organisations which helped us to reach diverse small businesses through the city and region, including Mainstream Partnership, Princes Trust, Leicestershire Business Voice, Federation of Small Businesses, LCB Depot, Business Link, Cattalyst, Creative Leicestershire, East Midlands Incubation Network, EM Media and UKita.
NLab has been awarded a further three years support from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to continue its work with small businesses in Leicester and the East Midlands.
The new leaflet for NLab, setting out the work of the project and how you can get involved:
At this seminar held on Wed 18 June 2008 at the Institute of Creative Technologies, DMU, Andrea Saveri described an emerging landscape of change that will shape the future of work–including disruptive shifts brought about by amplified workers, ubiquitous transparency, a redefinition of diversity, the “scientification” of work, strategic sustainability, and health as a strategic asset. Together, these shifts challenge traditional business strategy and organizational roles and functions. Several new kinds of roles will emerge that embody the opportunities presented by these six driving forces of change. The seminar presented these ideas and gave participants an opportunity to re-imagine their own roles in the context of the future of work.
Andrea Saveri was at DMU at the invitation of NLab and the IOCT to speak at the NLab Social Networks Conference 19 June 2008. She is a senior director at the Institute for the Future Palo Alto, and has worked closely with Howard Rheingold for several years. Her focus is on understanding how individuals, families, organizations, and communities make sense of the diffusion and re-invention of new technologies and media, and create new social, cultural, civic, and economic institutions. Andrea leads IFTF’s practice area in the Future of Cooperative Strategy. The cooperation research examines the principles and underlying technologies of cooperation and collective action, and their potential to transform society. She has applied this research to domains such as innovation in health, public education, and business strategy.
CreativeCoffee Club has been going for about a year now. Local groups have met in London, Leicester, Liverpool, Bangor, Palo Alto and New York. The Leicester group has been especially successful, meeting consistently over the year with steady participation from local small businesses and visitors from further afield.
One of the great things about CreativeCoffee Club is that it doesn’t cost any money. It’s about finding a convivial, accessible spot in a local coffee bar or similar, arranging a time and date and letting people know about it – and Facebook has worked really well for that. I like the variation of the different groups – some meeting now and then, others, like Leicester, meeting more frequently.
I guess that, ideally, CreativeCoffee Clubs need to meet fairly regularly to enable relationships to grow over time, and to provide frequent opportunities for members to engage – not everyone is going to be able to make every time. Here are some of the factors that have influenced the success of the Leicester CreativeCoffee Club:
- Pre-posted events going forward for 2-3 months
We’ve gone further this year, and planned events for the whole season. My reasoning is that people know just where they are and can plan CreativeCoffee Club around other things. Posting the events well in advance means that members can add themselves to the guest list for a later event, even if they can’t make this one.
- Invites sent out at least 2 weeks before
This has probably been the most complex aspect of organising local chapters of a global Facebook group. Even with the introduction of mailing lists, we still haven’t got this quite right. However, what does seem to be important is the regular rhythm of invites for people to take or leave as they wish.
- Close proximity to/links with a large institution (De Montfort University)
Meeting within the DMU campus has certainly brought added value for CreativeCoffee Club Leicester. Members become aware of other resources available through DMU, and project managers have an informal, easily accessible way of connecting with local small businesses.
- Central location
It works in Leicester – people can travel into the City Centre easily, there’s local parking, and no one is making out of the way journeys. In a big city like London, I suspect it’s more complex and more difficult to find a focus. Wi-fi would be nice.
- Core of 4-6 active local members
There are different roles that need to be shared: organising events, getting the word out, encouraging people to come, meeting and greeting, introducing people to each other, and having enough people around to engage in conversations. Four to six people can share the work nicely and, hey, you look like a group already!
I’d be really interested to hear other people’s ideas and experiences, and especially, how the members of CreativeCoffee Club globally could get more value from each other.
*** STOP PRESS *** Stunning Interactive Poll results from NLAB Social Networks Conference. Q1 Would your work team be better or worse if it organised itself more like your favourite sports team? - Only 7% say it would make things worse! Q2 Does Twitter (and other such tools) distract from work and is it worth it? - Yes it does but Yes it is!
Ken's interactive poll was one of your conference favourites. Read the results