InterSections11 at The Eden Project

I’ve been at the InterSections11 conference run by the DottCornwall team. What an incredibly inspiring, fun, informative and unexpected couple of days.

Reflecting on the event while sitting on the train, all I could think about was how beautiful the Eden Project is – the sun was shining, there was a sense of creativity floating round and the air was clean! I had forgotten how lovely Cornwall is.

Eden Project

The Eden Project made the perfect location for the two day event; social enterprise, innovation and collaboration were three of the main topics discussed. Once I’ve had more time to let everything sink in, I wil blog my favourite take aways from the conference but here is a taster with a few links to get your taste buds going:

– Nick Jankel from WeCreate on ‘innovation and crowd sourcing’ discussing how ‘together everything is possible. We need to adopt new behaviours not new tools.
– Tom Hulme from IDEO on ‘Open IDEO’ on using existing platforms for innovation and how being visual, collaborative, evaluative and fun we can create better together.
David McCandles on Infographics and how we should use ‘data as the new soil’ and use colour techniques to get messages across.
– David Rowan from Wired UK on co-creating with bits and atoms and how if we create the right structure, collaboration can work.
-David Kester from the Design Council on how design can nudge behaviour and boost the economy.
– Charles Armstrong from Trampoline Systems on mapping networks and how you need to measure something to manage it.
– Josephine Green on social innovation and how we are moving from a hierarchical, industrial market to a flat (pancake) socio-ecological era.

It’s worth doing a Twitter search on #intersect for Tweets from the event.

I also discovered how small the world is and met a whole network of fantastic people!

Collaborative Consumption….to promote health care

I worked with UsCreates for a day helping to promote and gain an understanding of who is aware of and using the Healthy Start scheme; an NHS initiative to help provide fruit and veg to expectant mothers and those with small children. We had a tiring day on our feet, stopping anything moving that looked like a pram. But it was a day filled with insight. Some families were very aware of the scheme but didn’t necessarily take the offer up due to supposed lack of accessibility. Others had never heard of the scheme because their health professional hadn’t promoted it and others didn’t see the point in being interested. A very mixed response but it was clear that accessibility and stakeholder buy-in are essential. The flyers communicating the scheme were well executed – simple to read, colourful and easy to digest!

Collaborative Consumption: Testing the StreetCar scheme
The day was spent in Essex and as we had a pop up café to take with us, we hired a StreetCar. I’ve been very aware of the StreetCar scheme; my old flatmate was a member four years ago and I remember the unsuccessful day that we tried to rent one but the membership card was faulty and we couldn’t access the car. I’m not a member and to be honest have been put off by the membership fee and strict rental hours but having the chance to test it for this project has changed my attitude.

A very quick call with the StreetCar team which involved a simple conference call with the DVLA, downloading of the iPhone app and booking my nearest car was all I had to do. The cars are situated in very clear ‘club car’ bays which make them easily distinguishable and all I had to do was ‘swipe’ my iPhone near the car, the door unlocked and off I went.

Rachel Botsman’s talk at the RSA on Collaborative Consumption stimulated my interested in this area of social innovation again and now I think I’m hooked. It was efficient and has my trust which were the two aspects that Botsman said were essential for enabling interest. It’s no longer about ‘me’ but ‘we’. I felt part of the StreetCar team and enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have the responsibility of car after that day, which is often the problem of having a car in London.

I’m still not happy about having to pay a yearly subscription for StreetCar but luckily Botsman spoke about WhipCar, the car sharing scheme which allows car owners to rent out their own car. What a fantastic idea. I went straight onto the site when I got home and loved the personal touch given by each owner. There is the option of renting a car opposite where I live from a guy who simply ‘has his car in the garage and hardly ever drives it’. The prices vary depending on who the owner is and the insurance is covered by WhipCar.

I just need an excuse to rent one now. A few years ago I would have found a reason to go to Ikea but luckily my social sustainability lifestyle now only takes me to the recycle centre or to people’s houses with Freecycle!