Socialising Intelligence With The Urban Survival Project

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: social intelligence)

I've been meaning to put up this presentation on Socialising Intelligence for a few weeks now, but held off as I was planning to turn it into a slidecast with audio. Unfortunately I'm so busy at the moment that it's just going to have to be the slides I'm afraid!

Anyway, I created this for a talk at the last Ogunte event on Facilitating Social Intelligence and Women's Role In It, and it seemed to go down pretty well. It is essentially about social intelligence and how it fits with what I'm trying to do with the Urban Survival Project.

The basic gist is that our societal definition of intelligence is Academic, which makes it a function of economics. And since we have social economic differentials, we also have social intelligence differentials. Balancing out these differentials is what I call Socialising Intelligence. In other words it is about facilitating knowledge transfer in order to create a collective social intelligence.

In essence then, USP is about using web technologies to create a community platform to enable knowledge transfer between those who have it and those who don't. Check the slides out. They are short, simple and pictorial.


From Charity to Social Enterprise: Organisational Redesign

These days, everywhere you look in the social space, it's all about social enterprise rather than charity. Or to put it another way, it's all about financial independence and sustainability rather than dependence on grants and donations.

The question then is how do you go from being a charity that functions through fundraising, into an enterprise that actually monetises services or products; especially when you factor in the charity status restrictions on commercial activity?

Bang Edutainment Logo

This is actually something I'm looking at with Bang Edutainment and I'll try and keep you all updated on what I learn. In essence though the answer is a combination of Business Model Innovation and Organisational Redesign.

Business model innovation is about identifying new ways of monetising your existing services and engaging your target audience, or creating new ones that others aren't offering. Organisational redesign is about restructuring the legal, financial and probably even human structure of your organisation to increase clarity of purpose and ability to deliver different but related services.

When moving towards financial independence for charities, we're essentially talking about monetising existing IP, products or services; and creating linked organisational entities that keep the benefits of being a charity while also allowing commercial activity that can drive profits back into charitable services.

I'll talk a bit more about these as things progress with Bang. We're getting close to business plan stage for some new ideas, and it will tell us if our ideas are viable. If all goes well, I'm hoping to learn some useful stuff for USP too!

For now though, here's some interesting presentations on business model innovation that are relevant regardless of whether you're working in the charity or commercial sectors.

Finally... thanks to those of you who wrote in about this blog, particularly Safs and Katie, who've kept in touch with encouragement all the way. All helps :)

Observations on the Blogosphere

You've probably noticed that over the past few months I've not been quite so prolific with posting. I've been wondering about that too. I don't know whether it's because I'm running out of things to say, or running out of time to write especially now that I'm doing so many other things, because I'm simply facing information overload.

The last one is probably the real reason, and it's because once you start blogging, you realise that there is a very tight correlation between blog readers and bloggers. Bloggers comment to improve their own readership and read other blogs for inspiration. The problem of course is drawing the line on how many and what blogs to follow. I keep finding so much interesting stuff that I now subscribe to over 50 blogs, most of which post multiple times a day. Upshot is way too much information, and blogging paralysis for me!

An interesting observation is that the blogosphere is really a small place even if it seems huge. It's a bit like the internet, which seems infinite but is actually pretty shallow with same information recycled from limited original sources. The more I see this, the more I want to create original and useful content, which of course adds pressure because I need to find more time to think, and voila... we're back at blogging paralysis!!

Overall, I think I'm experiencing information, blogging, and social networking overload. Blogging right now seems a bit like jumping into a small pool with so many other people that swimming is not an option! Maybe it's because this blog doesn't get many comments that it's difficult to stay motivated. I can guess that's because unlike tech blogs the readership here is mostly through email subscription and probably readers that don't normally blog or comment, but still... you know what I mean.

Anyway, if you've enjoyed the posts and do actually keep up with them, stop by and leave a comment. It's easy, and will make a big difference :)

Freesouls and Sharism

Came across a couple of mildly thought provoking presentations this morning and thought I'd share them. The common theme between both is open sharing. The premise is that it's time to start recognizing that knowledge isn't owned and can't be owned and that learning is inherently social. Of course it is sort of related to my view of the world, as what I want to achieve with the Urban Survival Project is less a form of direct learning and more a socialisation of knowledge; effectively meaning the voluntary sharing of knowledge between people who have it and people who don't.

Joi Ito's idea of Freesouls is about collaborative idealism and participatory culture as a team game. Making knowledge and content open to the world.

Isaac Mao's thoughts are related in that 'Sharism' sort of covers the behavioural aspect of the Freesoul idea. It's obviously not written by a native English speaker, but the message is still easy enough to follow.

Present your Startup - Free Presentation Tools

At some point during the life cycle of your startup you're going to have to present your ideas to an audience, whether it's investors or press or feedback groups. Often this is not so much about conveying the complexity and depth of your fabulous idea, but about telling a compelling story that captures and makes sense to the receiver. One easy way of doing this is through visuals. Traditionally through slides, and now more and more through the use of video.

The obvious presentation tools are Microsoft PowerPoint if you use Windows, or Keynote for Mac users, but here's a free one in case you don't have these already - Open Office Impress. If you aren't familiar with creating slideshow presentations, it's worth starting to practice because an amateur presentation can really make you look bad. One tip for creating slides... keep text content to a minimum. Bullet points, especially multiple ones are really boring, especially as people are beginning to see a lot more exciting stuff in the design focused Web 2.0 world! The best place to upload and share your presentations is SlideShare, which allows you to embed the presentation anywhere after you've uploaded it. It's also a great place to look for inspiration and to find presentations on virtually any topic you can think of.

Talking of more exciting presentations though, a lot of presentations are moving towards becoming Flash based - and looking more like video rather than slides. Tools are popping up that allow you to do this sort of thing without really needing any technical knowledge. Here's a couple of free ones worth checking out - iSpring which converts PowerPoint slides to Flash, and Flypaper which allows you to create flash-based web presentations without any programming experience. Best place to upload these is YouTube, where you can create your own channel, and which like SlideShare opens up a host of embedding and share options.

July 2008 Volunteer News Roundup

Volunteering related news headlines for July '08

  1. The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services has asked the DCSF to fund an accreditation scheme for volunteer youth workers. Volunteers will need to submit a portfolio demonstrating that they have achieved the required level of training and practical work experience. Each volunteer will then be awarded a certificate, warrant or card that identifies him or her as a recognised volunteer youth worker. I guess they haven't gone quite as far as actually providing qualifications through volunteering, but it's a step in the right direction.
  2. Talking of gaining qualifications however, volunteering charity V is launching a multi-million pound scheme to get 16- to 25-year-olds mostly in the NEET category volunteering full-time for 44 weeks in local authority children's services throughout England. At the end of this they will get a recognised qualification and a grant to help them move into work. This is expected to launch in January. (More on this)
  3. A draft Immigration and Citizenship Bill, recently published, suggests that applications should be processed faster for people who could show they were contributing to the community. In other words foreign residents applying for British citizenship could speed up their applications by volunteering. This could of course be viewed from a cynical angle, but we won't go there for now!
  4. Volunteering England has launched a campaign to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to set up employer-supported volunteering schemes and has dedicated part of its website, to explaining the business case for it.
  5. Finally, 2011 is being proposed as the European Year of Volunteering, and has received overwhelming support from UK MEPs, so lets see where that goes. If it gets sanctioned, it'll be interesting to see if there's an increase in funding for volunteer related projects.

Return of the prodigal son

Well, hardly prodigal... but yes, finally a return to blogging and generally chasing down the USP dream after a month of travelling and generally being tied up with other things. I went to SE Asia - Singapore, Bali and HongKong - for a few weeks last month, partly for a wedding and partly to catch some sunshine.

Seminyak - Bali

I just assumed, based on my previous experience of travelling the region 6 years ago, that it would be easy to find internet access, but was very surprised to find quite the opposite. Both Singapore and HongKong have almost ubiquitous wifi, but without a device you're pretty much stranded, and for once I didn't bother to take my laptop. My plans for blogging and keeping up with the world of work online died an unexpected death I'm afraid!

Anyway, apologies to all of you who keep up with this blog, but must admit it made for a great break, which means I'm back revitalised and ready to rock :D Plans for the next few weeks are to

  • Finish mocking up user interactions for how iVoluntr could work
  • Get some surveys out to all of you to understand a bit more about how and why people might help each other online
  • Get back in touch with the needs of young people and inner city kids through my work with BANG Edutainment - which I formally became a Trustee of last month
  • Start looking into collaborations with Google over their technologies, and hopefully for funding support

This isn't confirmed yet, but I might also try and do some work around repackaging information for the TRN Institute in Thailand. They've created some awesome IP around starting up social enterprises and changing the world, which I think is really worth getting out to a wider audience - so visit their website and watch this space.

Next few posts will update on whats happening in the volunteering and philanthropy space. In the meantime, thanks for being patient and hope all is well at your respective ends :)


Creative Commons License

The Urban Survival Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.