The Third Sector and Social Enterprise in 2007

I’ve been inspired by Rob Greenland’s spoof of what will happen to social enterprise in 2007, so have decided to have a go myself:

JANUARY: The New Year starts with a celebration as the first combined ‘Cooperative Community Interest Company Limited Liability Firm Trust Association by Guarantee with a trading arm’ is officially established. The social enterprise, thought to be the first to simultaneously hold more than eight legal structures at the same time, will focus on developing new acronyms for organisations in the third sector. Its first piece of work is its own name: COCOCOLILIFITAG or CocoLili, for short.

FEBRUARY: A flagship conference is held, attended by the great and good of the sector. Entitled "Definition not delivery: the importance of pontification", the event includes seminars on ‘Make meetings your entire life’, ‘Partnership as a route to entropy’, and ‘Keep it simple stupid: the art of doing nothing’. Five sub-committees are set up on the back of the event to research joint working, silo defining, and deciding what the committees’ names should be.

MARCH: Several luminaries of the sector are injured after a meeting room implodes after a consultation on how many consultations it takes to consult a consultant.

APRIL: The words ‘public service delivery’ are reported to have officially become a mantra for those who worship the god ‘Procurement’. Social enterprise employees and medium-sized charity workers are heard to be muttering the three-word incantation as they go about their business. Social psychologist Professor Timothy Snaffle said, "It’s extraordinary how those three words have become so central to these people’s lives in such a short time. We’ve also started to hear variations on the prayer involving the word ‘Compact’ and ‘commissioning documents’ ".

MAY: A branding consultation is held on what a fairtrade-type brand for social enterprise might look like.  Several days are spent sitting on strangely-shaped beanbags in a room with a blue-sky painted on…until it is decided that the logo should be a hand giving a thumbs-up. The Thumbs Up initiative is launched with a great fanfare, and several members of the public notice.

JUNE: Jamie Oliver is appointed as Shadow Minister for Social Entrepreneurs by David Cameron. A by-product of this is cookbook sales funding the party, ensuring the proportion of earned income allows the Conservative party to be called a social enterprise. Labour follows suit, reconstituting itself as a CIC.

JULY: During a heatwave, a social enterprise called ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ cashes in with solar-powered mini-fans which go down a storm across the UK.

AUGUST: Confusion reigns as someone introduces a fourth bottom line. Financial, social and environmental are joined by ‘technological’. Social enterprises rapidly adjust their balanced scorecards to evaluate their technological return on investment (TROI), and the number of references to web 2.0 in business plans proliferates exponentially.

SEPTEMBER: Non-profit research experts ENC (Emperor’s New Clothes) release an evaluation which estimates the value of the sector’s values at £1.2bn. This contribution is said by commentators to be ‘undeniable’, ‘incalculable’, ‘immeasurable’ and ‘invaluable’ in subsequent commentary.

OCTOBER: At the Social Enterprise X-Factor finals, controversy reigns after it is revealed that one of the finalists is a registered charity. Louis Walsh is said to be "flabbergasted".

NOVEMBER: The NHS is now officially a social enterprise, after 50% of the PCTs changed into social firms. The government announces that the country should be proud of this amazing achievement, making the UK’s healthcare system the largest social enterprise this side of the Chinese army (which is a co-operative, of course) and the Indian railway (itself a development trust association).

DECEMBER: The Social Enterprise Awards To Outstanding First-class People And New Team Success awards are won by the NHS, with the Conservative party a close second. In his keynote speech, Muhammad Yunus says, "I have no idea what a keynote is, but I am delighted to be here and support these awards.  These fledgling institutions demonstrate the power that can be unleashed by social entrepreneurs in their communities. Now we must see if they can scale up".

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Active Citizenship: a proud city


SSE Fellow Mike Felse sends us news from Salford about an ongoing Active Citizenship project involving himself and SSE Fellow Bernadette Wright. Bernadette (aka Bernie) was the first woman in the UK to get the City & Guilds Active Citizenship Award during 2006.

You can read more about the City and Guilds Active Citizenship Qualifications here, or download the leaflet (pdf). Or listen to Mike on the video above….

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Afruca and child trafficking

Debbie Ariyo, the amazing social entrepreneur who founded and runs Afruca (Africans Unite Against Child Abuse), has sent us a link to their campaigning video on YouTube. We played the video at the recent Fellowship ceremony in London, at which Debbie’s cohort of students completed their programme.

It’s a powerful video that reminds us how the most vulnerable can be treated as a commodity; a message that carries particular weight at this time of year. Long may Afruca’s very necessary work continue.

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Patient involvement; requires patience

All I seem to have done recently is report on SSE Fellows and their successes/appearances in the media (indeed Dave "Intelligent Giving" Pitchford is on BBC London Breakfast this Saturday, I believe)….but it’s great to see so many of them really pushing their projects (and themselves) forward.

The latest article is about SSE Fellow David Gilbert in today’s Guardian. Entitled "It’s curtains for the NHS if it won’t act on patients’ views", the feature tells the story very much of David’s personal journey from his own experience of mental health/NHS through to his establishment of the NHS Centre for Involvement. A true tale of a social entrepreneur understanding the problem best through personal experience, working up a solution and then implementing it in such a way as it solves it for many people.

And also an example of how social entrepreneurs (and intrapreneurs) can help change the way the NHS and healthcare system works from within and without.

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Mondragon and other stories…

The back(b)log has built up again, so a Friday round-up is in order:

– The Fellowship Ceremony last Wednesday which went really well; congrats to all involved; photos and video to follow soon

– whilst on the subject of Fellows, two more have e-mailed with news:
    – Michelle Baharier writes with news about her organisation’s (Cooltan Arts) new website, which was recently reviewed in 3rd sector magazine: check it out….
    – Nathalie McDermott writes about her organisation, On Road Media:

"On Road Media – is the UK’s first citizen media company set up to provide
training and access for marginalised and underrepresented groups in mainstream
and citizen media, or podcasting.  Our first radio documentary ‘Sareena’s
‘ will be aired next Monday 18th December on BBC Asian Network.  Sareena,
the citizen journalist, is 21 and applying to become a magistrate as part of a
scheme to encourage more ethnic minorities into the judicial system."

So check that out as well! More soon on more Fellows….interestingly, both Michelle and Nathalie were SSE Fellows before going on to get UnLtd Awards and then, recently, go to India on a learning journey. Good to see the way the social entrepreneurship support organisations can dovetail and interact for individuals as they progress.

SSE was privileged to be visited today by the Mondragon Innovation and Knowledge team; we have so much to learn in the UK from their experience as the biggest group of worker co-ops in the world (currently 82,000 employees) and everything they’ve learned along the way…will blog more in depth at a future date

– Check out the Hippo Water Roller via Springwise!

– Plenty of stuff on Muhammad Yunus receiving the Nobel Peace Prize

– News of a ‘bio-entrepreneur’ school, whatever that may be…

– the ICT Hub National Awards scheme (where is the blog award? ;0)

– a bit tangential, but a very interesting interview with Richard Florida..

More soon…..

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