Shine 2010: unconference photos

Slideshow of some of the photos from the Shine 2010 unconference, Thursday and Friday last week.
Photographic evidence that I did indeed run out of chairs for my 'introduction to measuring social impact' session, amongst much else besides…..

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What is the role of social entrepreneurs in the Big Society?

SHINE-logo_372616a [copy and pasted from the live Independent blog that accompanied Shine 2010; see David Floyd's write-ups for more on Shine]

The Shine Unconference started with the launch of a new report from ResPublica about the Venture Society, looking at ways in which the support structures that already exist to support social entrepreneurs can be scaled up to meet the significant challenges that lie ahead. There was also a representative from the Big Society network which, as an idea closely associated with the Conservatives, got a fair old kicking during the election campaign.

While it's interesting to debate the reasons why the Big Society idea has been pilloried from both sides (in brief, the left saying it is a smokescreen for savage welfare cuts; the right that it is unclear, communitarian or even Fabian; some have even paraphrased the famous Thatcher quote to say that "there's no such thing as big society"), it's perhaps worthwhile reflecting that this is as much a debate about top-down versus bottom-up as it is about left versus right. Part of the critiques of the Big Society idea was that it appeared to be aspiring to be a bottom-up network or movement….but that's a difficult position to pull off when you're announced in a top-down political party kind of way. The network has since been working away to emphasise that it is in listening and engaging mode.

Whichever your position, these are uncertain and fascinating times for social entrepreneurs. No-one here underestimates the challenges ahead, but there is also a tension or excitement at the opportunities that may also become available. For the social entrepreneurship movement, it is also a time to weigh up the possibliities. It is a time to seize opportunities, but not only be replacement public service deliverers; to be pragmatic and resourceful, but not stray off their original mission; to not lose their innovation and reach, but also look at the chances to scale interventions that work; and to work with government where it works, but be straight with them about when government funding is required. Rob Greenland has made similar points on his blog here, saying "Now the hard work begins…." As Michael Young used to say, it is a time to really be sure of the balance between hard-headed and high-minded.

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Wednesday round-up: induction, investment, inspiration

SSE YH Launch 1
So much going on, and so little time. No time to stand around like these people smiling and joking (see left). Here is my attempt at a round-up of recent major news and events int he social entrepreneurship world etc.I have picked out some highlights but you can read more of what we've been reading on the Twitter feed as well: @SchSocEnt

– SSE has recently started work in Lewisham, in Yorkshire (official launch article, and photo above; massive thanks to Campbell Robb from OTS & Saeeda Ahmed, Social Enterprise Ambassador + SSE Fellow), and the Ontario feasibility study is motoring along…and we've hosted the induction of our new Australian CEO Benny Callaghan over the last fortnight, which has made for a busy, if enjoyable schedule…

.- Event-wise, it's a smorgasbord of choice for social entrepreneurs and social enterprises. The Social Enterprise World Forum is currently going on in Melbourne, complete with SSE Australia staff and students. Follow #sewf09 on Twitter for live updates (through the night….) or to catch up.

– Then there's some more crackers coming up, including Good Deals: the National Social Investment Conference , the Guardian-organised Social Enterprise conference (more of a commissioning / public services theme) and, of course, Voice 10 coming up in Wales….and the ClearlySo Social Business conference as well.

– Hopefully they will all take a leaf out of this year's amazing Shine unconference (yes, SSE is a co-founder of the event, along with Ashoka UK, the Hub and UnLtd); for a sense of this year's event in May, check out this recent video by BeInspired:

– On with the rest; the Times reports that the third sector is increasingly the choice for graduates; Peter Jones goes younger, aiming at schools: Children need to be taught entrepreneur skills
(to which, we would say, they can't be taught…but they can be learned and nurtured and developed)

– From one Social Enterprise Ambassador to anotherl Craig Dearden-Phillips welcomes Peter Holbrook as the new CEO at Social Enterprise Coalition

– Interesting article from Stephen Bubb on the need for capacity-building in the sector (and making the case for it in the current climate)

– Great piece on SSE in the Guardian's housing supplement: A School for Social Entrepreneurs: we're the boss

– Further Guardian piece on the first 'embedded' social entrepreneur in the NHS; not convinced they are one as such (more a facilitator, development officer) but it's an interesting experiment….

– Inspired to read about the Sheila McKechnie Award-winners (for campaigning) and especially delighted  that Lea Misan, current SSE student, was a winner; and that Sam Akpabio (SSE Fellow) was a finalist. Well done all.

– And finally, best recent headline was definitely Social Enterprise Skyscraper; congrats to all those at Coin Street for showing perseverance, vision, and many other entrepreneurial qualities to get this done.

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