Thursday round-up…Blakebrough, Baroness and blogs

Ok, so what with the pressures of Shine, a swathe of documents to write, and two new programmes starting, things have been a little busy. Also been covering some ground of late: Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds and so on….all good stuff. Particularly enjoyed the board meeting at EMSSE: great to see the progress the organisation has made under Fergus Brazel, with much assistance from the board; and also enjoyed delivering my measuring social impact session with the cultural social entrepreneurs in Liverpool. What a great bunch they are, and look forward to seeing their progress over the coming months.

Anyway, here’s a long overdue round-up:

Adele Blakebrough, CEO of CAN, is stepping aside to spend more time with her family (whilst retaining an involvement in their Breakthough investment fund). CAN and SSE started at a similar juncture around 10 or 11 years ago, and have worked together on direct delivery of support, on the founding of UnLtd and, more recently, on promoting the policy agenda for social entrepreneurs. Adele is a unique, engaging and inspiring presence in the sector, and that energy and passion will be sorely missed. She’ll be welcome as an expert witness here anytime ;0)

– At the recent Good Deals conference, a couple of things stood out for me: the first was the social enterprise ambassadors launching their first campaign, called More For Your Money, about the added value the movement brings; the second was a typically rabble-rousing effort by (ambassador) Nigel Kershaw about the need for incentives to attract investment (interestingly mentioning that 3 of the 1706 CICs have received inward investment of this type)

– OTS is investing about £350,000 on developing a standard for measuring SROI; it’s a thorny, complex area, but if (even limited) consensus can be achieved, the benefits could be substantial….watch and wait.

– At a recent ACEVO conference, Baroness Glenys Thornton (formerly chair of Social Enterprise Coalition), mentioned her beginnings in this world, which is relevant to us / our founder:

"I was very fortunate when I was a young woman to work for one of the
20th century’s social entrepreneurs – Michael Young. He’s a person who
gave birth to many of the great ideas we take for granted today, like
the Open University and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. The thing
he taught me was that you mustn’t be afraid of coming up with ideas and
testing it to see if it works. He was always prepared for ideas not to

From what I know from those who worked with him, that certainly rings true.

– And on that note of ideas not working, here’s a cheery little piece called the Six Signs of NonProfit Decline., which includes both the obvious ("1. Loss of all or a significant portion of support from a key funding source") and the less obvious ("3. Sudden and dramatic expansion of services"). Interesting to note, and put alongside your organisation, or those in your sector….

– And finally, for those who missed my session at Shine (where were you?), here’s my How and Why to blog set of slides….feel free to use (with credit!):

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Shine 2008 aftermath: toasting success

So Shine 2008 was a real success, I think: really did what it set out to do in terms of accessibility (of price), a dynamic feel, practical/relevant sessions, lots of connections and conversations, a real mix of participants and contributors. I think the social reporting also went well, and big thanks to David Wilcox, Paul Henderson, Dave Briggs, Duncan Arrow, as well as guest bloggers Dave Dawes, Darragh Doyle and Ben Matthews….for getting involved and helping it happen! [btw, if you can’t see the site, it may be because your ISP is Virgin….] Do check out some of the videos and photos which give a real sense of the vibe and atmosphere of the event.

Lots to learn of course, and my (unthoughtthrough) changes/amendments would be to do with some bigger collective moments (as per what Kaos Pilots Netherlands did), slightly more structure / formality at certain times, linking online and face-to-face connections better, more food/drink options and so on. And, at times, numbers were affected by a) it being the most beautiful weekend for many months, and b) the Premiership title decider….

Nevertheless, whilst fully acknowledging my inbuilt bias, the event was a real success and very much in line with what we had discussed and planned since the get go; and it’s a tribute to those involved that it all happened on such a tight budget. HUGE thanks to Andres from Eudemonic and Jess from Germination (and their teams: Grace, Lizzie, Gemma et al), all the blue t-shirted volunteers, all the contributors who took a risk on an unproven event, the pioneering funders (NESTA, DCLG, Buzzacott, BWB, OTS), the pro-bono branders and web designers (Neru, Rolled), Green-works for providing all the event furniture, and many many more.

Along with the other founding partners, UnLtd, Ashoka and the Hub, SSE‘s delighted to have been involved in making it happen…and look forward to next year’s event, which can now be built on some really credible (if radical) foundations.

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Follow the action at Shine 2008

Come join us over at Shine 2008 which starts today and runs right through the weekend. I’ll be blogging live across the whole weekend, along with others, over at a site we’ve set up specially: (thanks to David Wilcox, Paul Henderson, Dave Briggs et al) will feature video, blog posts, flickr photos, twittering (oh yes) and everything else you might possibly imagine.

If you’re coming and blogging, everything should be tagged with shine2008 (or #shine2008 on twitter); if you’re not, then follow the action live and come join in on Saturday and Sunday.

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