4 Principles and 2 Laws of Social Innovation BarCamp

Social Innovation Sydney Unconference: In the case of Social Innovation Sydney Unconferences, the sessions are facilitated conversations. That is, there is no speaker at the front of a room that has an audience.

Instead there is a facilitator or session leader who frames and encourages a conversation about the topic that they have proposed. Participants come along ready to get involved and not just sit back as an audience.

Dave Winer outlines the process they use at the well-known BloggerCon and updates it here:

“…there is no audience, there are no speakers. There is a discussion leader, a person responsible for the flow of the discussion.”

We take a similar approach at Social Innovation Sydney Unconference, and there is a reason for this. We think that the old conference model with experts out front and a passive audience is no longer sufficient to grapple with big ideas. The old conference model uses only a small fraction of the brainpower, passion and intelligence in the room. And Social Innovation Sydney Unconference is about harnessing the passion, enthusiasm and energy of every participant.  Ultimately we want to change the world not just talk or think about action.

Four Principles

  1. Whoever comes is [sic] the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over it’s over

  • The Law of Two Feet, which states simply, if at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet and move to some place more to your liking. Such a place might be another group, or even outside into the sunshine. No matter what, don’t sit there feeling miserable.

Source: Harrison Owen

  • The Law of No PowerPoint, which states simply, we know you’re used to the crutch of PowerPoint (or Keynote or Prezi, etc) but you need to leave it behind for the day. Instead use other forms of communication (perhaps draw a poster or write on a whiteboard?) to help get your message across.

Source: Kate Carruthers

On other thing to remember is that all conversations at Social Innovation Sydney Unconference, whether to the entire room or one-to-one, unless otherwise stated, clearly and up front, are on the record and for attribution. You do not need to ask permission to quote something you hear at Social Innovation Sydney Unconference. Of course you may ask for permission to quote, and you may choose not to quote things you hear.

You are welcome to bring your own recording equipment, cameras are allowed, basically the rules allow Grateful Dead/Phish style recording. Bring your microphone or camera and recording device, and record it and broadcast it any way you like. Be innovative. Have fun. Share. Be cool. (But please don’t interfere with the sessions.)

Brisbane folks BIG ART 2010 art auction to help The Big Issue @big_art_bris

The folks at Big Art 2010 asked us to let people know about …

BIG ART 2010 is an art auction in Brisbane raising funds for The Big Issue to help Australia’s homeless.

Please let any of your Brisbane art loving/collectors contacts know about this event.

There’s some great artists and celebrities involved. Author Nick Earls and musician Kate Miller-Heidke have both donated pieces. See the list of artists here.

Ticket price includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, entertainment from The View from Madeleine’s Couch and the chance to win a dinner package and cookbook from Phillip Johnson’s e’cco bistro. And it’s helping a really great cause.

When: Thursday 14th October, 6-9pm
Where: Bleeding Heart Gallery Ann St, Brisbane QLD
Entry: $50
Order online: e-tickets, no need to collect/post
Big Art website
Twitter @big_art_bris

What is a ‘social enterprise’?

An interesting definition of social enterprise from the UK government:

“businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.”
Source: UK Social Enterprise Coalition

Also some interesting discussion about social enterprise following:

Health secretary challenges ‘narrow’ definition of social enterprise

Numbers nightmare could jeopardise social enterprise

Next Social Innovation BarCamp Sydney #sibsyd

Michelle and other friends have been discussing our next Social Innovation BarCamp Sydney. We’re thinking of running it on a Saturday in November 2010 (date to be confirmed very soon) in Paddington.

The theme is Sustainable Design.

There are so many interesting ideas we can start to consider around sustainable design. Here’s a few resources to get you started:

Articles on Building Ecology web site

Thunderbolt: COFA Staff Member’s Sculpture Raises Energy Consumption Awareness

Senior Lecturer, Dr Bonita Ely was commissioned by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to create a public sculpture to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Sydney Olympics. Ely is Head of COFA’s Sculpture, Performance and Installation area. She also co-ordinates the School of Art PhD Program.

Ely’s 5.8 metre high sculpture, Thunderbolt, is made from a recycled windmill from Broken Hill. It uses photovoltaic technology and data from Energy Australia to raise awareness about energy consumption. The solar poweredsculpture streams live data from Energy Australia and changes colour to indicate domestic consumption levels.

Thunderbolt is located at Jacaranda Square, Sydney Olympic Park station.When nearby electricity consumption is low the sculpture is green. As energy usage increases it changes to yellow/green, yellow/red and finally tored, which indicates that usage is high.

Ely created Thunderbolt under the auspices of COFA’s The Environmental Research Initiative for Art (ERIA). She worked with a team which included fellow COFA staff member Allan Giddy, who is ERIA’s founding Director, and Bany Jaya and Rob Largent from the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, with assistance from Energy Australia and The House of Laudanum, a digital solutions company.

Link to artilce here:

Fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream…

Noticed this in my travels recently and it seems very apt for those of us who are interested in social innovation:

Always you have been told that work is
a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil
a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you
When the dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you
are in truth loving life,
And to love life’s labour is to be intimate
with life’s innermost secret.

Excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Interview 3: Steve Hopkins discusses SIBSYD

Steve Hopkins is a Melbournite who made the migration recently to Sydney, further strengthening the ties of the emergent social entrepreneur segment between the 2 cities.

He has helped organise events such as Future Summit and Trampoline in Melbourne. Steve is now an important part of the team at AI-Media, he also wears cool scarves!

He gave some interesting feedback on the day, ideas that he picked up, and feedback for future events.

What was the overall feel of the day:
Thought it was good and a nice way to spend time with people of same thinking. Great group of people there. The format of the day was great with the session times fine, take the pressure off the day and let it play out.

The sessions happen as the session happens.

Principals of an unconference: 1 rule: the rule of 2 feet ~ essentially people rule with their feet. At a traditional unconference people should be able to present in what ever way you want.

What were the common themes which occurred throughout the day?

The main theme discussed was how can we get paid to do good things? With business models for social innovation, of importance was how do we get support for social innovation?

An example was the session by Stephen Orster:  Commerce and Entrepreneurship for a cause. He created an in-depth conversation on how do we get paid.

This all tied into the 2nd theme : that we (the social innovators) are outside the system so need to fight the system: to be a maverick and play outside.”

Steve’s favorite conversation of the day was the discussion on Mental Health: people in the system who want help.

Discussing Slow Projects: People have time now and do these projects because  they  want to (interesting that Australian’s donate more of their time than any other nation smh: article).

People were caught up in finding ways to fight the system but this takes time.  Feel the people who will make real change have to learn to work with the system. It’s not our job to bash the system.

Also, there was a lot of talk about change but not much discussion about action.

TED has examples of people who have made big change within the current system. Done it in a way where it becomes the concept of change.

We don’t have to deal with corruption but this is an example to fight the existing system without just fighting: How about creating a new system:

Stay tuned for more details about upcoming Social Innovation BarCamp’s.

Interview 2: Bronwen Clune talks about SIBSYD

Bronwen Clune is well known online as a writer and commentator, especially via Social Media. Heavily involved in the entrepreneurial community, Bronwen also now works with Pollenizer.

Recently, I sat down with Bronwen to get her thoughts and ideas about the Social Innovation BarCamp. Great to hear a perspective from someone who has not dabbled directly in Social Innovation, but excited about what the future could bring:

This first Social Innovation BarCamp seemed to be an educating process, letting participants know how to be involved in an unconference. This initial step will ensure that future sessions/events run a bit freer.
There was a lot of energy in this first Social Innovation BarCamp and it would be good to keep that going.

The food, the organic, freshly made rolls, with locally sourced ingredients, was great and it added to the overall feel of the day.

Themes from the day

“The main themes from the day was getting middle management or government to listen. The participants have the energy and are willing to change things but a feeling of being blocked.”

It is an important to grab or develop an actionable project. Coming up with a project that people can action, have the last session be about the action project that was chosen.

Having Bob Carr open the day was a great start, was very  interesting to hear Bob’s perspective.

How do you get people interested in your causes, what will call people to action in your area of acton? People only care about things that affect them so how do we get beyond that?

Bronwen was surprised by how many people had the intention to work in the area of Social Innovation. Many who were part of the camp on the day were private citizens and not just the tech and social echo chambers.

Vision for the future of the Social Innovation BarCamp: interested in action around teh topics, not just conversation.

Bronwen’s Twitter feed can be found here