Feedback from the Open Space sessions

Ed: the ‘yes … and…’ group summary: Is Big Society neutral, is it just a brand; what about rural communities; deprived communities and those not represented (middle class agenda). We also talked about not needing to go with the brand – what does our big society model look like? Can we set something up to test its values? Let’s look at how power is shifted – will it be shifted fairly (can it?). We need a network of people who sit outside of the Big Society to critique it; to keep a distance; to work up some answers to the questions raised.

Mandy: we had a similar discussion. Is this the emperors new clothes? what about class, what about gender – very male approach; talking about apps / ipads / notebooks – does this exclude people in its very nature? Discussed using postcards and ensuring different approaches are included. They also discussed the good stuff: this is about governance, activism , encouraging debate and change - and this is needed. It’s about communities doing it themselves – and they liked this. There is a Dangerous Ideas event coming up in the NE – details to follow… which will critique the big society

Group 3: mostly chatted about the big society in a group of 5 social entrepreneurs. They loosely looked at connecting up; they talked about the conference on 9 September, where they will look at this in more detail. They are in the process of talking to interesting people and looking for more…

The Mapping Group: 4 people were in this group. 1 of whom is a tech expert who develops mapping tools / social networks. Discussed needs of mapping social networks.

Simon: talked about scale. ‘If we’re going to make this work, we need to get the scale right. We need to start at the ‘street level’. We have people from different places – innercity vs rural’. They talked about identifying 3/4 streets and finding out from people in these areas, what they would like to do… what they think about the big society

Positive Psychology toolkits for change: housing groups, housing associations, healers – all were discussed in this group. They decided that we first need to empower people, so that they can empower people. ‘Teach people to teach themselves’. This group decided they would continue discussing how to do this further, and will set up an online space to do this.

Social media apps store: dichotomy of different people from tech savvy to not at all! essential take away was that – it must be simple! identify the different types of audience and their different levels. Initial meeting is required to look at this further within the region to make use of exiting skills. Thought about funding and CSR came up a as possible avenue to do this. claire@clairemckenszie.com said he is happy to start the ball rolling….

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