SSE Global Away Days

by Amy Barbor

Firstly, to introduce myself.  I’m Amy and am covering for Leah as Network Manager at SSE Central in London.  I’m also a Fellow (from way back in 2005/6) and have been facilitating Action Learning Sets in London for SSE since 2008 , so a big fan of SSE already.  I’ve also been running my own social enterprise, Living Lens, for the last 7 years. 

I’m really excited to be working with all the network schools in the UK and overseas and what a way to begin my new role last week with the annual Global Away days.  These took place in London and saw CEOs, Directors, Learning Managers, Board members and more from 8 UK schools and Celia and Paul from SSE Australia coming together for 2 days of ‘looking into our crystal ball’ at the future for Social Entrepreneurship and more specifically SSE’s role within it.  Missing and missed were Canada and Scotland, who were unable to attend this time.

On a personal level this was a really great way to meet and put faces to names of many members of the network and a chance to find out more about the real people before working with them all.  Thanks to the fantastic planning of Leah, organising of Survi and facilitating of Ian Pringle there was time to chat, laugh and get stuck into some really interesting discussions.

Our aim for the 2 days was to explore what the future may look like over the next 10 years and to understand the skills and structures we may need to have in place to address future challenges effectively.

Having spent the morning of day 1 exploring the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental climate for us over the next 10 years we drew out the following themes:

  • How we use technology
  • Who we reach and how
  • Where and how we draw in new income and funding

We then broke these down into actions in the following areas:

  • Sales
  • Shared Learning
  • Evidence & Data
  • Our networks, especially SSE Fellows

I am in the process of writing a report which will give more detail and outcomes on these, but I just want to mention a couple of things that stood out for me, as Network Manager.

Firstly, people were often referring to our CRM Salesforce – at the time I hadn’t even attempted to open the database, since then I’ve had time to explore it.  It seems there was mixed feelings about it and like with many databases those who needed to use it, did and those who could get away without using it, didn’t.  But what came up a few times was how useful it could be if used by all and kept up to date.  For example, for sales, extending our reach,  drawing in new income and sharing learning  we need to have evidence and information on people, both qualitative their story and their successes and quantitative how many and how much.   It’s the age old problem of balancing our gorgeous exciting creative side of our brains with the sometimes less appealing but equally gorgeous systematic consistent side.  Any tips or ideas welcomed!

SSE Global Away Day. Dancing

The other thing to mention is the fun that was had – some lovely performances with singing, dancing and laughter on the roof of the Exchange in the shadow of the Shard (more pics to come) and an unbelievably delicious meal cooked by Tedi in the peaceful haven of Fenella and Fred’s garden.

I will of course include more detail in the report, due to be complete by the end of this month.  So all there is to say for now is what a lovely bunch.  Thanks for a fab couple of days – may there be many more.

Thumbs Up all round

You can follow Amy on Twitter – @amybarbor

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