Podnosh https://podnosh.com Social media for social good since 2005 Fri, 15 Nov 2019 12:46:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://podnosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Favicon-150x150.png Podnosh https://podnosh.com 32 32 Social media for social good since 2005 Podnosh Social media for social good since 2005 Podnosh https://podnosh.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://podnosh.com/blog/ A learning journey to Hastings – or how to buy buildings and build community https://podnosh.com/blog/2019/06/24/a-learning-journey-to-hastings-or-how-to-but-buildings-and-build-community/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2019/06/24/a-learning-journey-to-hastings-or-how-to-but-buildings-and-build-community/#respond Mon, 24 Jun 2019 18:44:54 +0000 https://podnosh.com/?p=8479 Sometimes you need to just trust people when they say come on a journey.

That’s what we did when UnLtd (a lab partner) invited us to Hastings for a thunderously damp day-and-a-bit by the sea learning journey. The heavens opened and ideas poured in.

Lorna Prescott, Louise Cannon and Nick Booth spent the day with a range of others who are building place-based community.

We were hosted by Jess Steele and the rest of the team at White Rock Neighbourhood TrustHeart of Hastings Community Land Trust and Jericho Road Solutions in Hastings.

This is Jess explaining the work they’ve done to buy buildings which act as the basis of long term sustainable community and neighbourhoods.

Some notes:

They began with a meanwhile space in the basement of an old office block in Hastings, £200 a month, with the aim of animating a curious alleyway in the town. It turned out that this was a toehold into a neighbourhood they cared about.

Partly because they were already there the landlord approached them to see if they wanted to buy the building — ‘why not?’, they thought. Jess offered nearly half the asking price and, within a few weeks, they owned a 9-floor office block.

We bought this building in 2014 before we’d done a lot of the thinking, this building helped us do the thinking”

Now full of life and living, this developed gradually

 

They began to use the building even as they were refurbishing it, three floors, at first, now all 9 floors are used for a mixture of homes and workspaces.

We wanted to:

Use community freehold — to de-commodify the market. Use the freehold power for social good instead of private profit

explains Jess.

This means that the tenants have a sustainable rent which only rises by the rate of inflation. Tenants are selected thoughtfully:

1 Based on need
2 They have a local connection — this is for Hastings people
3 They have enthusiasm for the ethos of collaboration and self-management
4 They have a willingness to make a personal contribution to the physical and cultural aspects of the neighbourhood.

But the idea has evolved beyond one building. In part through the creation of Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, they have gone on to buy a huge print works next to rock house and acquire other buildings. The money is raised and the buildings run through an ecosystem of organisations, private, social enterprises and charities, which share an ethos and ambition.

It’s a combined desire to provide affordable living and workspace, resist the pressures of gentrification and nurture a neighbourhood for social good. All for the long term, or rather forever.

Ecosystem

Jess explain that through the ecosystem the boards of the organisations are integrated, they intentionally work to understand each other’s values :

The neighbourhood is the enterprise

Together they tackle the twin challenges of dereliction v gentrification, they take community action “forever “ and Jess tells us “No we won’t wait for the master plan — we don’t accept your master plan”.

“Ownership is a process,” she explains, “it’s not an event. You need different skills and cultures. At one point you have to do the deal at another you need to build different expertise alongside other organisations good at other things — these are alliances based on shared values. “

They call it intentional neighbouring.

Lessons?

This day in Hastings was stimulating, encouraging and energising. Some of their approaches echo many of the principles we are working to at Colab Dudley:

Persistence and Being There matters.

Relationships matter.

Encourage abundance thinking and practice.

Nurture the courage to be curious and experiment.

Default to a doing imperative

Work at the speed of trust.

But above all, I was bowled over by the vigour, the emotional heft and intellectually flexibility that the team is bringing to the ambition to buy and build a neighbourhood for sustainable living, forever.

 

(first published here: https://medium.com/colab-dudley/hastings-community-building-s-a-learning-journey-2a70eac52cf9

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2019/06/24/a-learning-journey-to-hastings-or-how-to-but-buildings-and-build-community/feed/ 0
Commscamp 2018 – what I heard and what I learnt https://podnosh.com/blog/2018/07/12/commscamp-2018-what-i-heard-and-what-i-learnt/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2018/07/12/commscamp-2018-what-i-heard-and-what-i-learnt/#respond Thu, 12 Jul 2018 12:14:00 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8442 These are notes from Commscamp 2018, held in Birmingham 12th July 2018.

Session: Public Health Campaigns

The general view is that public health messages often fall flat.  One public health team not keen on meeting the public, instead they do a leaflet.   Often the message comes better from the GP, not the council.  At one council they have data which says the messages don’t work on our channels.. so we stop doing it.

It is also often “messaging for morons” – often patronising.

How do we have a different conversation with the public?  One always checks messages with real people first.

Health and Wellbeing boards should have their local priorities.  One described putting people in a room to discuss a topic, eg neglect.

Session: Stress and Mental Health

Problem for blue light comms in terms of stress and impact.

The problem of always-on digital comms and the impact of being trolled.

For some public services who receive many online complaints or criticism (for example the courts) means that staff deal with large levels of negativity. One charity offered subscriptions to headspace app and other ways to look after your head.

Find the people at work you can trust and talk to.

Keep the work limits clear, when you stop work stop monitoring social media.

Employers have legal obligations for your health and safety – if you’re expected to work 24/7 or something big happens like the Manchester bomb, the employer is obliged to assess risk and make sure you’re alright.

TRIM Trauma risk incident management happens after major incidents in the blue light services, but comms people don’t always have that option.  Some roles. like family liaison officers, have to have it but comms teams are only just starting to use it.

“I sobbed all the way the home after a suicide – but hadn’t been troubled by anything else in 3 years”

Session: Co-production and engagement

One way to think about this is councils getting out of the way, help support people create spaces where they can connect.

Community reporters collect information and report it back to services. Community information champions. Training on how to offer information.

Some of the best co-production work happens with vulnerable people and personalising what they receive, thinking about the individual. The way to measure the success is through whether the individual feels they have been listened to.

Get real people in and expose them to the management team,  it’s rare

Software building is iterative, not try and fix the services, keep asking, keep changing, keep iterating.

Improve the system, don’t create a fix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2018/07/12/commscamp-2018-what-i-heard-and-what-i-learnt/feed/ 0
What is the loop of generosity? https://podnosh.com/blog/2018/02/07/what-is-the-loop-of-generosity/ Wed, 07 Feb 2018 13:44:05 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8405

I often use the phrase ‘loop of generosity’ to describe the good stuff I see happen in communities.  It sits at the root of the most enjoyable work we get to do.

But what is it?

I think it is elegantly described by Terry Pratchett in A Hat Full of Sky:

“Filling what’s empty and emptying what’s full”

Tiffany couldn’t quite work out how Miss Level got paid.  Certainly the basket she carried filled up more than it emptied. They’d walk past a cottage and a woman would come scurrying out with a fresh-baked loaf or a jar of pickles, even though Miss Level hadn’t stopped there.  But they’d spend an hour somewhere else, stitching up the leg of a farmer who’d been careless with an axe, and get a cup of tea and a stale biscuit. It didn’t seem fair.

“Oh, it evens out,’ said Miss Level, as they walked on through the woods. ‘You do what you can, people give what they can. Old Slapwich there with the leg, he’s as mean as a cat, but there’ll be a big cut of beef on my doorstep before the week’s end, you can bet on it. His wife will see to it. And pretty soon people will be killing their pigs for the winter, and I’ll get more brawn, ham, bacon and sausages turning up than a family could eat in a year.”

‘You do? What do you do with all that food?’

‘Store it,” said Miss Level

‘But you -‘

“I store it in other people. It’s amazing what you can store in other people.’ Miss Level laughed at Tiffany’s expression. ‘I mean, I take what I don’t need round to those who don’t have a pig, or who’re going through a bad patch, or who don’t have anyone to remember them.’

‘But that means they’ owe you a favour!’

‘Right! And so it just keeps on going round. It all works out.’

The best public and social services do what is needed and they do their best to do it in collaboration with people.  To recognise that what we are creating together is part of the loop.

At CoLab Dudley – where we’re currently working – everything involves some part of the loop of generosity.  Whether it is a trade school where the learners bring something to say thank you,  a crafting circle that exchanges materials and skills or the pay it forward stash in the Gather Cafe that allows people to receive a drink or food when they can’t pay.  As Miss Level says,’You do what you can, people give what they can”. (even though some are more generous than others).

This generosity is commonly found in the stories we and others captured through the Community Lovers Guides (Birmingham here, full of others who get the loop) and forms the basis of the Participatory City movement Tessy Britton has built out of those who generously told and shared stories.

It is core to organisations like Gateway Family Services and Grapevine Coventry who may be delivering services, but do so with a mind to being generous and creating space for the people they help to close the loop and be generous in turn.

The social media surgeries are an exchange of time and skills, they are a kindness that gets passed on and passed round. It’s through watching those that I first started talking about the loop of generosity.  It has led to more than 5000 small and local charities and community groups receiving help and passing it on.  Generosity can make tangible things happen, at scale.  Indeed, the loop is almost always found in peer to peer programmes.

It is also key to good help.  The sort of support that Nesta and Osca are now encouraging public services to embrace. The sort of help that organisations measure through our Impact App – which records ‘helps”

Primarily though, the loop of generosity is found in people. How they think and feel and act. Not in formal contracts.

It often thrives in community groups and is often broken by large businesses with large contracts.

Why?

I’m not sure.

Perhaps to work it requires kindness and a memory of a kindness. Miss Level’s trust that she can store food in people.

This is recorded in communities but not so well in institutions. In a community, a  kindness is seen as an asset.

To a corporation a kindness might look like a liability. Worse: a memory of a kindness is accounting for a liability! High liabilities lead to a lower share price. If you forget the kindness you lose the liability from your books, but at the same time you break the loop of generosity.

 

]]>
Notes from the #Locality17 session on: Community Health and Wellbeing – what works https://podnosh.com/blog/2017/11/14/notes-from-the-locality17-session-on-community-health-and-wellbeing-what-works/ Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:33:50 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8379

These are just notes from a session at the Locality Convention 2017.

Meena Bharadwa introduced the session and explained that locality has a place to link real community groups into the academic research on this subject and translate between the two. She briefly reminded us that Community Wellbeing is Complex.

Andy Pennington – University of Liverpool

The point of the programme is to provide state of the art evidence to help allocate resources.  The focus is on people, place and power.  research is being shared here:  https://www.whatworkswellbeing.org

Andy outlined some of the key ways in which issues around the quality of places and power within places can either lead to better or worse community health.

There is so much evidence that decision makers are becoming overwhelmed.

Key things it shows….

1: In the workplace environment (Marmot’s work on civil service) showing that those with more control have better health.  Cardio-vascular heath and life expectancy.  In health institutions those who can share in decision making fare better health wise..

2: In the living environment (in our communities) –  Is there joint decision makaing (by which they mean “the meaningful involvement of people in decisions that affect their environment…”.  Positive outcomes of being involved are..

Depression, self-esteem, sense of mastery

Sense of community, creation of social capital

New skills,  learning, better employment, personal empowerment

Also wider impact for those not directly involved in decision making.  So they also receive the benefits of improving community resources.

Adverse

Psychological strain from being involbed

Some groups are over consulted leading to stress and frustration (although not convinced about methods used for these studies)

David Wilford , Royds Community Association in Bradford

The community Association focuses on getting people into work.   They say they found a lack of investment from CCG’s – they called the residents:  Buttershaw men and Buttershaw women and thought of them as drinking to much and needing fixing.   We studied what people were doing in their communites.  Foudnt hat to get thing going

People needed a little help at the beginning

Proper co-design (not the council working up most of it)

Community anchor orgs featured well (hospitals and GP’;s can be intimidating) – so community centres/setting important

Invited GP’s to decamp from their surgeries and come to local orgs.

So we’re building up social capital around health.  There’s a lot of talk of pooling budgets – but people not willing to put theirs into the pool.

Voluntary sector assets need to be resourced

The money needs to follow the patient into the third sector (as it would to a physiotherapist)

System says VCS are not evidenced, clinical interventions also not evidenced (often)

The voluntary sector needs to steadily and deliberately re-train the public sector rather than hope for a radical change.

We need to convince that the VCS is value for money.

“We drop 10 million pound balls regularly in the NHS – what could the VCS do with £10 million!”.

 

]]>
Hurricane Sandy and the Trump Tornado  #locality17 https://podnosh.com/blog/2017/11/14/hurricane-sandy-and-the-trump-tornado-locality17/ Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:38:02 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8371  

The Donald Disaster from melissa AAse
The Donald Disaster from Melissa Aase (who is speaking on the right of the picture)

She calls it “The Donald Disaster”.    Melissa Asse of University Settlement in New York  (a community organisation/housing for 350000 New Yorkers) has just finished speaking to the Locality Convention in Manchester. 

During Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy Melissa recognised that, although they were poorly prepared, some of the best first responders  were recent migrants. Especially those  who had been learning or teaching english.

They had two key things: trust and languages.  [ trust grown through learning together – which is also what happened at the Stagehuis Schilderswijk in The  Hague and what is happening at Co-Lab Dudley, indeed happens all over the place. ]

She says she can see that they are now facing another disaster. Trump is a storm heading for their communities…  “disorienting and fever pitched and reminds us of other disasters” 

These are the lessons from Hurricane Sandy that Melissa belives community organisations can apply to political hurricanes.

  • Get people together. In a disaster people want to come together and they naturally do,  anchor organisations can be that, can bring them together. get spaces and staff ready to open up.  Be explicit about your intention to be a safe space.
  • Tackle racism: Inequity and racism makes things worse in a disaster – poor and communities of colour are hit hardest but rarely part of the planning.  Tackle white supremacy head on. 
  • Make the most of immediate relationships: Social ties might save your life – in the current storm or right wing hatred and xenophobia, the skills of community, story telling, improvisation, social capital can help us respond to attacks on immigrants, LGBQT people, mysogny
  • Keep your organising skills sharp: Local activism has morphed a little into providing transactional services. It’s time to brush up on skills of community organsiation and civic engagement.
  • Be careful with yourself:  self care matters –  find inspiration from each other. Avoid disaster porn, read the history of movement  read “Hope ion the dark”
  • Wire the network in many ways:  In disaster there can never be enough forms of communication., Things change quickly and we have to change responses quickly, even if the decisions are imperfect.  Find community, find partners.
  • Exploit the disruption.  In No Is Not Enough,  Naomi Klein, expands on how she sees capitalist engineering shocks to create disruption they can exploit.   Melissa says disasters can be opportunities for local organisations, creating new ways of working and unexpected alliances.  Be ready to take advantage.
  • Use it to strengthen:  Intentionally build human relationships build resilience.  We already do that and need to keep doing that. 
]]>
Social Prescribing https://podnosh.com/blog/2017/11/02/social-prescribing/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2017/11/02/social-prescribing/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 11:23:19 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8360

We work with hundreds of voluntary organisations whose efforts help people feel better. It comes in many forms, whether that is improving fitness, finding purpose, finding friendships –  they routinely record the difference through our tools, including the Impact Assessment App.

I just been learning a little more about social prescribing from Locality, as part of their Health and Wellbeing network.

The government (or rather NHS and Public Health England) define social prescribing as referring patients to a link worker who will help them find non-medical ways to improve their life.

Through the Patient Empowerment Project local charity Barca Leeds saw 1400 people in the first two years and now are getting about 100 people referred each month.

This is how things have turned out

and

They sum up their work in a simple way:

“The activities are social – the impact is medical.”

The government is currently looking to encourage the development of social prescribing with partnerships between local charities and local CCG’s or Local authorities:

 
They are looking to provide up to £300k in the first year to create a social prescribing mechanism which involves gp’s referring to link workers who will then provide non-medical interventions to improve health. 
They will only fund year 1 and need partners to have a commitment from ccg or similar to agree to fund after that. 

Issues outstanding are:

  • It’s key to integrate social prescribing into the current health systems
  • CCG’s need to be on board for this funding
  • At the moment there isn’t funding for the people who provide the social prescribing – even though the outcome is medical.

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2017/11/02/social-prescribing/feed/ 0
Thank you Steph https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/11/29/thank-you-steph/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:24:59 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8301 Steph Clarke just about to pick up an award in May 2013
Steph just about to pick up an award in May 2013

——

It was a common joke that Steph came to work for a rest.  She heard it often and it always made her smile.

Besides a full time job with us, Steph Clarke was busy.

She and her husband James started and ran the hugely significant hyperlocal blog WV11. Both volunteered to run their local community centre and she was a driving force on the board of the local charity Hands on Wednesfield.  Steph had just raised more than £5000 for new Christmas lights for her local high street – even though James thought she was pushing her luck on that one.

She seemed to almost effortlessly run a photography business on the side, helped with her local (and large ) photography club, made the Wolverhampton Social Media Surgery happen and supported a range of home school groups. Steph organised voluntary events for Big Lunch Extras, got stuck into making new things happen through Make Shift in Wolverhampton and sorted regular social nights for her and her friends.

In between she never flinched from standing up for injustice (as anyone on the very sharp end of her unflinchingness will tell you) or caring for someone who might not even know that they needed a kindness.

Above all though she was a wholeheartedly committed wife, mother, daughter, grand-daughter and sister.   Loyalty was at her core.

So did Steph come to work for a rest?

The truth is that she was too restless to be all that good at resting.  Her commitment to what we do at Podnosh was total.  Throughout the 5 years she worked here Steph was happiest when we were stupidly busy.  She loved learning new things, solving problems, seeing work through – sometimes with very gritted teeth.  She could not fail to connect her different worlds of work and volunteering and home to make them all work better. She helped and connected people almost casually and her stock pot of social capital was rich and full of flavour.

Our company values are: Think, Make Things Better and Give a ****.  She relished telling people that, especially the sweary bit. She blogged to her friends:

“What do I do? I think, I make a difference, I give a f**k! – and I’m really proud of that!”

She embodied these values and at times scolded me (respectfully, he’s “the boss’) if I wasn’t doing the same.  (She could smell hypocrisy at a 1000 yards and might need talking down from shouting it out every time she sniffed it).

Most days that we worked together ended the same.  She’d head off to do another days work in her life and I’d say ‘thank you’.  I wasn’t really thanking her for the work she’d done.  It was for her being generous enough to bring all of the intensity and decency of herself to work.

Last Thursday our working day ended differently.  So here I’d just like to say one final ‘thank you, Steph’ x.

 

 

 

(Steph Clarke died on Friday November 25th after falling ill the previous day)

 

]]>
Be Bold. Measuring Impact #NCPIgnites https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/10/13/be-bold-measuring-impact-ncpignites/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/10/13/be-bold-measuring-impact-ncpignites/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 17:33:06 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8289 Podnosh_Impact_Assessment

Yesterday I attended the New Philanthropy Capital Conference “Burning Issues and Being Bold” It was a day focusing on measuring and evaluating projects, demonstrating impact – it was right up our street. Unfortunately I was only able to attend for the morning.

However even though I was only there for half the day and I still woke this morning with my brain whirring from the conversations that took place, so much so I’m not sure I have yet processed it all, but as I sit here mulling it all over, sound bites from the speakers keep turning over in my head.

This is mush in my brain and so I’m starting to dump some of it here to try and make sense of what I am thinking.

Boldness in times of change

The first session was a panel discussion, called Boldness in times of change with Mike Adamson, Chief Exec of the British Red Cross, Anni Rowland Campbell Director of Inerscitcia and David Robinson OBE, Leading thinker in community , early action and social investment, and it was chaired by Iona Berry head of Charities at the NPC

  • Mike talked of being bold, and how being bold wasn’t just one large step, but a series of small steps – and that includes moving away from superficial evidence and towards more impactful reporting – that would give a collective voice to report “truth to power”.
  • Anni about the “unprecedented period of change” we find ourselves, and that we need to embrace technology, but remain human.
  • David Robinson said the Voluntary Sector has to plan for change and it has to think urgently, inventively and boldly and that they need to work to protect 2 key things:
    1. The needs of the Service Users.
    2. Embracing Experience – this means protecting the people with knowledge on the face of cuts.

“We are data heavy and insight light”

David also said something that stuck with me and followed me through the rest of the day;

We are data heavy and insight light” – We measure what the government and funding bodies want us to measure, but we should be reporting on where our value is and what we want to achieve.

This really struck a note as it is something we’ve been encouraging with the user of our Impact Assessment App. It’s not just numbers, it’s also the stories – the insight. Use your relationships with your clients to measure the impact of the work you do, trust the voice of your clients to tell your story – what are you achieving and use those voices and experiences to action change.

Learning from others

The next session was a keynote speech from Tom Loosemore, Director of Digital Service, Co-operative Group – ” Learning from others”

Tom had a lot to say it was really inspiring listening to him, but the take away points for me were:

  • Slow down, take a step back and have a think it’s a slow revolution. Don’t be passive, Get excited and make things happen – We have it within our power to restart the world again.
  • We have an obligation to build a better future, using the tools and capabilities of the (digital) revolution.
  • Don’t just strategise, Do, Build, Work, Observe & Iterate, Listen and Iterate, Observe and iterate again.
  • What are we learning? Understand the need of your service users. Work with them, don’t write a strategy for them.
  • Report on what matters.
  • Use digital to: Get better at what you do & deliver your purpose in different ways.

“Keep your Hippo on a leash, beware the snails and don’t be a boiling frog.”

Tom also used a couple of amusing, but simple descriptions to describe some of  the pit falls that the voluntary sector can come up against and what to be aware of. You can sum it up with “Keep your Hippo on a leash, beware the snails and don’t be a boiling frog.”

  • Hippo – Highest paid person’s opinion – avoid this! You can beat the hippo, if you have a strong voice. Often “paid workers” will try and impose their will on volunteers ad community orgs. This doesn’t have to be the case, speak up, be heard, keep the hippo on a leash.
  • Snails – are the people that hold you back, that fail to innovate, that are negative and don’t try to see the bigger picture. Beware the snails, know when they are likely to raise their heads.
  • Boiling Frog – the org/group that is stuck in a boiling pot getting left behind and slowly dying while not even realizing, the group stuck in their ways, failing to move with the times. Move forwards and embrace change. Take the people around you along for the ride. Don’t be the boiling frog.

A view from Whitehall

Following on from Tom was Lord Bob Kerslake – former head of the Civil Service, He gave a talk that touched on the government’s view of the Voluntary sector.

He said elected members often had a default embedded view of the community / voluntary sector, which differs dependent on their party, he said broadly speaking they are:

Tory: Left leaning & Inefficient
Lab: “Why are they doing our job”

However he also said the gov need us more than we need them – we need to stand up and be strong, government respect that, even if they don’t like it. We can use out collective voice to effect change/

Local government relationships are important to CVS, co production and radical change are needed And he recongnised that there needed to be “Show don’t tell” system to demonstrate innovation and impact.

Looking ahead in measurement and evaluation

After the break we went to the first (and my only) break out session – this was all about looking ahead in measurement. They opened the session be saying that this was for cutting edge practices.  That digital has changed both the pace and quantity of data being collected the we need think about how we are using this data.

But from there I will be honest, I lost the pace of the session very quickly. All the talk and slides looked more at quantitative data than qualitative outcomes, it was all KPI and number driven, The scale the speakers were talk about was beyond where we are currently working. Global enterprises with millions of pounds of funding that needed to collect vast amounts of data – and there was lots of talk of data.

Data collection and data analysis, data tools and extrapolation – mainly for outputs and I was lost, It appears that even on the “cutting edge” we were still looking at number crunching –  all I kept thinking was what about the stories and using people’s voice to evidence outcomes – that’s the impact.

Learning from the morning

Overall the morning got me thinking about how we understand impact measurement and broadly speaking how right I think our approaches are.

You can’t report Impact with numbers alone, you can’t really evidence the real difference you are making in people’s lives with graphs and charts, data means nothing without the background story, You need to make people feel, Or as Chip and Dan Heath would put it – you need to motivate the Elephant:

 

The over arching themes that I took from the day, and what I feel to be true from our own  work are:

Ongoing monitoring

Don’t just wait to the end of a project to demonstrate impact. Real time monitoring and feedback will allow you follow the progress of your work and the journey your clients are on.

Responsive working

By engaging in ongoing measurement and impact reporting it allows you to know if something is working and if it’s not, and allows to to make changes and respond to clients needs

Define and redefine outputs and outcomes

Know your mission and what your are aiming for, but don’t be afraid to redefine it as your work, and your clients experience shape what you do.

Don’t duplicate measurement

Be brave with this one, If a funder asks for something to be measured, find out if they really need it. What measurement are you already doing, get them to fit into your framework, don’t include another set of reporting unnecessarily.

I’m not a service user!

The final thing I didn’t learn yesterday, but I had reconfirmed. I hate the term “service user” over and over this term was used and I really detest it.  I’m not a service user, I’m more than just a number, and so is my community, we’re, people, clients, human beings, and if were really going to be talking impact we should be talking real people, not just statistics.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/10/13/be-bold-measuring-impact-ncpignites/feed/ 4
All new shiny Grantnav or where to find information on where charity grants go. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/10/05/all-new-shiny-grantnav-or-where-to-find-information-on-where-charity-grants-go/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/10/05/all-new-shiny-grantnav-or-where-to-find-information-on-where-charity-grants-go/#respond Wed, 05 Oct 2016 10:08:51 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8275 infromation on grant given by funders in the uk

I’ve been to many an open data event and written about it, used it and encouraged it’s use for years.

Never have I seen a standing ovation for a data project – until Friday.

Grantnav is a tool built on the open data that grant funders are releasing using 360giving standards.  It’s a wonderful thing.  It’s uncomplicated but powerful.

Intrigued? I bet you are.  Before you read on – go there (no login needed) and have a play When you’re done you might also be tempted to stand and applaud the people behind this.

It’s not just the determination and clarity of thinking of the team at 360giving (and the tech team at Open Data Services) that deserves applause; it’s also the willingness of the funders to fund this programme and release their data. The largest are Big Lottery Fund and Esme Fairbairn Foundation, the smallest is Three Guineas Trust.

Today there are 25 funders, who have openly shared 184,483 grants awarded to 124,212 recipients worth a total of £8,540,945,514 – yes £8.5 billion.   Next month it will be more.

So why does this matter to you?

 

Grantnav for the local community group, charity or social enterprise. 

  • You can search this information by which place and what activity the grants were given to
  • You can see who gives grants for things that matter to you.
  • You can see who else has received grants in areas that interest you
  • You can find partners with shared interest to collaborate
  • You can find evidence of whether your places or areas of interest are being well funded or poorly funded.
  • You can download this information and combine it with other information, or analyse in new ways
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Grantnav for local councils and other public services

  • Publish your grant giving using the 360giving open data standards
  • Combine the data with your own to learn new things about civic activity in your community
  • Analyse how well your area is being served
  • Find partners to work with
  • Find work to celebrate
  • It’s a ready made list of some of your civic organisations
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Grantnav for grant givers 

  • Publish your grant giving using the 360giving open data standards
  • Find gaps in funding
  • Find partners to work with
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Developers 

  • use the data to provide new services for civic activity
  • You can simply have a good nose – satisfy your curiosity

Enjoy and use and download this data – but remember two things: this work sits on other work – like the amazing  open charities –  and this is just a start.

 

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/10/05/all-new-shiny-grantnav-or-where-to-find-information-on-where-charity-grants-go/feed/ 0
Growing the civic conversation online – a platform for healthier local democracy and healthier communities. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/22/growing-the-civic-conversation-online-a-platform-for-healthier-local-democracy-and-healthier-communities/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/22/growing-the-civic-conversation-online-a-platform-for-healthier-local-democracy-and-healthier-communities/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:47:05 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8255 Austin Rodriguez and Lewis O-Rourke

Bit by bit we’ve been doing something strategic in Birmingham.   Every social media surgery that happens in the city helps in a number of ways:

  • Provides new skills to individual active citizens
  • Creates a place where people can meet each other
  • Helps community groups and the public sector use the web to talk to each other
  • Grows the civic conversation online.

This last one has been the strategic part.

I think that growing the civic conversation online is an important part of building new platforms in neighbourhoods. It helps traditional civic activity work better and new civic models emerge.

This is based on a simple assumption that if more civically minded people are using the web to talk to each other in a community it will be easier for politicians, public servants and other citizens to share ideas, information  and collaborate or campaign.  Of course people can and will use the web to talk about brangelina – but with the surgeries we target those already involved in or wishing to do something consciously civic.

We’ve taken this a step further in the last two or three years. A normal social media surgery is run by volunteers for volunteers – the free help is available to active citizens, local charities and community groups.

With funding from three of  the different quadrants of the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership  and some other initiatives  (thank you) we have run surgeries which involve public servants too. This means that they come to a surgery to get help on why and how to use social media. More than that though they learn alongside local community groups and active citizens. At times they are teaching each other – strengthening understanding and relationships.

We also used the effort to help spread live streaming of meetingscreate alternatives to traditional ward cttes and give public services tools to think about the stages of engaging online.

We sent out a survey to people who’ve used the social media surgeries in Birmingham. 35 people replied, about 10 per cent of those involved. They were a mixture of volunteers, third sector workers, public servants and at least one councillor.

The Survey

social media and public sector
does learning about social media influence how you think about your work

A third of people said what they had learned had influence how they think about their work ‘a lot’ – three quarters replied either 4 or 5 to that question.

One comment from a worker in a charity supporting charities said

“If I hadn’t started using social media  to build relationships I doubt I’d still be employed in my organisation, and I doubt my organisation would be doing some of the brilliant work it is doing. It’s enabled both me and my organisation to be pro-active in a rapidly changing and challenging context”

Do you use social media to build relationships in your work?
Do you use social media to build relationships in your work?
can you make (civic) things happen because you use social media ?
can you make (civic) things happen because you use social media ?

65% of people felt better able to make things happen because they are using social media. This is a core point. Growing the civic conversation is not just about more blither – it’s about more action.

Would it help your work if more community groups and active citizens were using the internet
Would it help your work if more community groups and active citizens were using the internet

Developing these skills in community groups and active citizens was also seen as a fresh opportunity by at least 77% of those who replied.  They know that the online civic conversation can help them get things done – so helping more people get involved ought to help that more.

have you seen the online conversation grow?
have you seen the online conversation grow?

More than 85 % felt they has seen the online civic conversation grow since getting involved with the social media surgery.  You would expect that to be the case for most people, simply being exposed to new people and new places where civic things get discussed would have that effect. But it is still encouraging to see that they have a wider civic conversation to take part in.

So Birmingham – you’ve already started a strategic investment in building a critical platform for civic change.   Persistence is paying off. Some more?  And what next? Which other new platforms are worth building?

If you’re not Birmingham, other places understand this and we can help you.  We introduced Dudley CVS to the why and wherefores and they have been running surgeries for years – indeed it was Lorna Prescott who told me that what were doing was platform building (sometimes it takes others to spot the obvious).

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/22/growing-the-civic-conversation-online-a-platform-for-healthier-local-democracy-and-healthier-communities/feed/ 0
The benefits of story telling – or why you should spend your training budget on stories. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/20/the-benefits-of-story-telling-or-why-you-should-spend-your-training-budget-on-stories/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/20/the-benefits-of-story-telling-or-why-you-should-spend-your-training-budget-on-stories/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:56:25 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8238 21-century-report-4-pg-report_pdf

 

I had planned to blog a little more about #Beingthestory – the wonderful event staged by Jude Habib last week.  I thought I would describe more of the astonishing stories I heard that day but instead I want to try and organise some thoughts.

Being told stories or telling stories often seems a little nebulous.

When faced with a choice of spending training budget people want to know what the “learning outcomes are”.  Likewise with comms spending, or even spending on organisation change, people will often want to know specifically what they will get for their money.  (Ironic in the latter case)

We have worked for years helping people tell their stories and helping them use story telling to achieve more. Obviously stories help them attract attention to what they do and build the case for their cause, but it goes further. So perhaps I should have a stab at outlining why it is worth spending organisational money on stories?

Stories are a work skill. We may need to win the argument that story telling is as valid a work skill as project managment – but it is. Perhaps if we have a training programme called “Princess and the Pea 2″ – we could charge thousands for it.   The work on 21st Century Public Servant includes storyteller as a quality to be identified and nurtured in public service.  It’s worth investing in how you do it and how well you do it.  Listening to others do it helps you develop that skill.

Stories encourage creativity.  At least Einstein thought they did – he is quoted as saying

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

It helps you to see things from another perspective. If you want to improve what you do story telling can help.  Perhaps the people you do it for can tell you what it means for them or what they experience.  Perhaps you telling a story will jog your thinking away from process and back to what that process means.   Listening to people tell stories from another world altogether helps freshen up our thinking.  I also think it helps us find new analogies for our own work. (Think the wonderful TedxBrum or TED in general)

It can help you get to the nub of things.  There were a lot of tears and smiles and laughter on Friday.  Emma Lawton told us (beautifully I may say) of her experience of being diagnosed with Parkinsons aged 29.  You’d think the nub of the story was just that, the shock of it and the battle with it. It was the opposite: how she shrugged it off, how she shifted gear in her life and moved on. How Parkinson’s had given her many of the best things in her world.  We knew what mattered most by the tears of pride that welled up in her fathers eyes (and mine) as he listened to her tell that part of the story. Listening to how you feel as you hear a story helps you get to what matters. Once you know what matters it’s easier to decide what is the best thing to do next.

If you’re going to change you need to stop and listen first.  So you may as well listen to stories – they’re a darn site more interesting than reports.  (That doesn’t mean you don’t need numbers or other forms of structured thinking – but do stories)

why story telling helps organisations

“Empathy creates radical disruption”.   This expression leaped of the stage at all of us when used by the astonishing team of Samiya and Naveed Parvez. They are using product design, medicine and 3D printing to create a service which means that disabled children can be measured for and receive their Orthotics (limb/muscle/torso supports)  in just one week. They start with listening to the people they want to help.  Everything they do flows from that. If conventions conflict with what makes sense, they ignore them, go round them, disregard them.

Stories help you appreciate you’re not alone.  When people tell stories they often mention the mundane or are brave enough to talk about the things that professional language tends to exclude – like doubts and insecurities. Recognising them in each other can help boost confidence. Punk Pop Poet Brigitte Aphrodite helped us see that on Friday.

 

These are just a few thoughts. I think they need to be more concrete. Please feel free to make them even clearer for the people who write the cheques.

Other posts on #beingthestory.

Gemma Pettman: “If you believe in a story keep on telling it.”

Madeleine Sugden “Empathy and the power of stories

Comms2point) “A mother whose son was stabbed to death just reminded of the power of storytelling

Claire Bridge  Storytelling: why I am all ears

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/20/the-benefits-of-story-telling-or-why-you-should-spend-your-training-budget-on-stories/feed/ 1
A dog called Guinness and some thoughts on stories and social good #beingthestory https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/16/a-dog-called-guiness-and-some-thoughts-on-stories-and-social-good-beingthestory/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/16/a-dog-called-guiness-and-some-thoughts-on-stories-and-social-good-beingthestory/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 20:02:05 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8228 beingthestory

I’ve spent today in London at #beingthestory – a days of stories brought together by Jude Habib from Sound Delivery. Thank you Jude.

Here are some thoughts on stories picked up today (this doesn;t cover the whole day – I’m still digesting other bits)

Telling someone’s story helps make them real.

Lawyers tell stories – judges and juries listen to them.  That’s one thing I learned from Sue James who works for the law centre in Hammersmith and Fulham. She tells other people’s stories for a legal living.  

When trying to stop someone losing their home she needs the judge to understand the story. She told us that telling someone’s story helps make them real.   

One client lost his wife, then his son died. “His life fell away”.  The one anchor in his life was his pet, a dog called Guinness.   Because he didn’t walk the dog and the dog crapped everywhere the landlord wanted him evicted.  To keep her client in his home Sue had to do two things: tell his story to make him real and get his dog walked.  

It got me thinking how helping people is only one thing that organisations should concentrate on – telling their story is just as important if we are to make their world real to the system. (It’s something we’ve helped with in the past – indeed it’s how the impact app helps – collects the stories for you to tell.)

Telling stories is the way to break a taboo

Mandy Thomas silenced the room with her story of domestic abuse. She had been advising the team from The Archers, including the actress Louiza Patikas, who plays Helen in the Radio 4 drama.

she cried when we met, she’s had to live and breathe this story line – I’m proud of the Archers team. This is no longer a taboo subject.

mandy-thomas-domestic-violence-bookMandy’s abuser was sentenced to 15 years but after he was released form prison her son died – he killed himself.  Her abuser ignored the conditions placed on his release and continued to pursue the family.  “He was“, she said,  “playing the system because they let him play.”  Stories can help remind the peiople in the system why they need to behave differently.

One last thought from Mandy: “a listening ear can save a life” . Her book You Can’t Run is here.

To make stories stick make them visceral.

Clare Patey is an artist who started The Empathy Museum (alongside Kitty Ross).  She quoted Barack Obama on the  “empathy deficit”

Clare says empathy is a skill – we can learn it.   If we do this we can combat hyper individualism – the “me, me, me” culture.  “The internet decreases our friendship circles and surrounds us with people who share our values”

In their work they have taken empathy very literally. A mile in your shoes gives people the opportunity to walk for twenty minutes – wearing someone elses shoes and listening to them talking through an mp3 player. It makes story telling and story listening physical – visceral.  It makes it have more impact.

That’s not quite all

I’ve more to digest/share on this, more and even wilder stories were told  – but I just wanted to start whist it was fresh.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/16/a-dog-called-guiness-and-some-thoughts-on-stories-and-social-good-beingthestory/feed/ 2
#FacesofCHADD – Telling the stories of the people behind the services. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/12/facesofchadd-telling-the-stories-of-the-people-behind-the-services/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/12/facesofchadd-telling-the-stories-of-the-people-behind-the-services/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:32:01 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8219 Over the last few weeks we have been working on a storytelling project with CHADD: Churches Housing Association of Dudley & District

I (Steph) have been visiting the various services that CHADD offer and shooting the staff and residents. This has included a Domestic Violence Refuge, their Foyer accommodation for 16 – 25 year old’s and their sheltered housing schemes.

The aim was to capture a portrait and story that demonstrated the #FacesofCHADD, the people behind the services. Some of the stories I’ve heard have been heartbreaking, Some touching, and some very amusing but they all show the very human side of the services that CHADD offer, the stories that often get forgotten as organisations are reporting KPIs, on outputs rather than outcomes.

Here’s an example of just a few of them.

Over the next few months more photos and the accompanying stories will be appearing over on CHADD’s facebook page.

Like their page and keep your eye out for more updates.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/09/12/facesofchadd-telling-the-stories-of-the-people-behind-the-services/feed/ 0
17 things I picked up at #commscamp16 – oh and one biggish thing https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/07/15/16-things-i-picked-up-at-commscamp16-oh-and-one-biggish-thing/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/07/15/16-things-i-picked-up-at-commscamp16-oh-and-one-biggish-thing/#respond Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:24:49 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8136 vwicecreamvan

Emma Rodgers and Dan from comms2point – with a huge amount of help from others   – always turn on a fab day for commscamp each year. Thank you.

I was there yesterday and here are somethings I picked up:

  1. Not everyone has been to an unconference!  Comms camp is an unconference for comms people.  A lot like govcamp and localgovcamp and bluelightcamp, hyperlocalgovcamp (I kid you not ) and..  well you get the gist. For about half the people there  it was their first unconference . And on the whole the newcomers loved it.
  2. There’s a VW campervan ice cream van called Polly that is fab – their newest competitor painted their van in the same colour and calls themselves dolly. (I’m not going to link to the competitor because I’ve already decided that polly is better than dolly )
  3. Twitter is commonly used as a way to create the appearance of doing something by comms teams.  “I’ll just bash out a few tweets” rather than winning the argument to say “we shouldn’t be communicating that in this way”.  So it can become a broadcast channel polluted with the passive aggressive product of internal disputes.
  4. Some people in public services have serious disdain for middle managers.      
  5. Us as citizens can get talked about as commodities.  In one session which covered laws around e-mail lists  the language was very much about e-mail addresses as a commodity.   Language like harvest gets used.  It made me think that someone’s email address is their attention – their personal world. Perhaps we should talk about a  “group of people”,  if we send this e-mail  we’re interfering in someone’s world.
  6. I can get a bit snarky about public sector comms (well I didn’t strictly pick that up yesterday).
  7. Trust is a thing
  8. 3 years is ok – ten years is excessive for keeping data.
  9. Don’t just have an unsubscribe link when you send bulk e-mails – add some information on where you got their e-mail address from to improve confidence in you.  
  10. Brexit will mean we lose a critical directive that protects you from all sorts of legals problems on comments sections of your Facebook page or blog.  At the moment the EU provides for protection is your comments are not pre-moderating, include a flag this button and your respond to someone’s objection in good time.  Without the EU lawyer David Banks thinks that protection will go. 
  11. David has also given some thought to why social media and politics is so toxic. He says there appears to be tacit permission that when it comes to political discourse people can be “absolutely vile to each other”. For him it’s a psychological phenomena – previously you’d say something a bit strong in the pub, and people would go quiet – showing they disapprove.  Social media exposes people to the likeminded – so reinforces  the excessive views. This normalises what could be called creeping malevolence – people start with something mildly abusive but because nothing happens to them, it creeps.
  12. All threats of physical violence on social media should always be sent to the police. Any message intended to cause “harassment alarm or distress” is a criminal offence.    Signing social media messages with a name (which we always suggest) stops this being a faceless organisation – reduces the amount of abuse.
  13. Language is a powerful thing  and discourse analysis is a way to recognise how that power is being used.
  14. It takes tenacity to change how people talk about places.  One person explained that their hospital was always referred to as a “basket case”.  Patience and persistence means the media now describe it as a “teaching hospital”. Small victories hard won
  15. The word remain was a problem in the referendum campaign because it is not not part of normal vocabulary for a lot of people.  (Update: thanks to Erica Dariks of Aston University for pointing to her source for this) That reminded me how sometimes appearing clever (there was a poor visual pun here – because the word IN appears in remain)  gets in the way of doing the best you can – like use the word stay.  
  16. The samaritans have some very good media reporting guidelines on suicide.
  17. Cake – I picked up several pieces of cake.

Oh and one biggish thing

If algorithms are encouraging the creation of bubbles then we should stop doing traditional comms.  This was a conversation I had just after the session on a fractured nation and post factual politics with a comms person who may not want to be named. We chewed around the problem that algorithms in both search and social media can tend to exacerbate self regarding bubbles.  They need to do that to create concise clear groups of people that advertisers can target.  If that’s what’s going on using them for more comms risk feeding this tendency to organise people in self serving bubbles. To break out of that we need to stop inflating the bubbles, get of our backsides and go and talk to people instead.  

 Updates

Other blog posts

Francis Clarke.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/07/15/16-things-i-picked-up-at-commscamp16-oh-and-one-biggish-thing/feed/ 0
Pokémon Go, Goes into the the Community https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/07/15/pokemon-go-goes-into-the-the-community/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/07/15/pokemon-go-goes-into-the-the-community/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 15:08:35 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8129 PokemonGO

Technology, gaming and social media often gets a bad wrap. Zombie teens alone in their bedrooms staring at screens, people isolating themselves staring at a hand held 4 inch screen, shunning real life interactions, Kids no longer willing or able to play outdoors. All this and more has been said of digital technology.

I’ve never bought into any of it.

I am a mom to a gaming teen, I am a fan of mobile phones, social media, the internet and more. I play games myself, I use the the tools available to enhance my work life, my social life and to work with and improve my community, But I do also understand why some people who maybe don’t make the connection between the real world and virtual and how they can work hand in hand, worry about the disconnect and the social ramifications of digital technologies.

This week however Nanantic Labs released Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game based on the 20 year old Pokémon franchise. The release, which in its first week out in America has surpassed Twitters entire 65 million user for the same area, is massive. It has outstripped search results for other cultural phenomenon and it has bought the “real world” and the virtual crashing together in the  most brilliant way.

ComparePokemon

The game is based on the 90s phenomenon that spawned card games, a TV show and multiple gameboy games.

Essentially you use your phone’s GPS, and a map to track and hunt Pokémon in the real world and there are set locations in your area that you can collect items from, and others that you can battle your Pokemon for after joining teams, but you have to physically be in the vicinity of them with your phone. If your phone has a gyroscope you can use your handsets camera to “see” the Pokémon in the “real” world” but you actually have to get up and leave the house to play.

I side loaded the app 5 days before the official UK release after reading some of the hype coming from the States, Australia and NZ. Stories that included examples of communities coming out to play together, local police departments engaging with players, people being galvanized into getting out and walking – and the benefits it was having to peoples mental health through both the exercise and socialising (and the stories keep on coming – I love this).

It already had a core local audience when I got it, but mainly Pokemon fans and traditional gamers. But bigger communities online were emerging both global and local as people connected with the game, so I played and waited with anticipation for the official release, I had already engaged with some of the local players, but I wanted to see what would happen when everyone else caught up – I saw the beginnings of that yesterday.

UK Release bringing people together

The app officially launched yesterday 14th July and I first hand saw some of what had been going on in America all week;

Yesterday lunch time my son and I walked to the shops, phone in hand, a group of teens coming the other way caught our eye. “Pokémon” one of them shouted. “Pokémon” we shouted back, waving our handsets in their direction. A van pulled up along side us as we passed by a “Pokéstop” rolled down its window and the driver began to play, he looked at me sheepishly and smiled, I smiled back and went on our way.

Last night I went to the supermarket, I deliberately parked where I could see what I knew to be an active Pokémon area, with multiple “stops” and 2 “gyms” in walking distance. I spent a while watching as a group of teens walked around the area, to the casual observer aimlessly, but with the map open I could see they were looping around the Pokéstops. As I watched (and caught a few Pokémon of my own) a car pulled in besides me and a young girl got out and walked over to the nearest stop, I sat and listened as a conversation took place between her and the wandering teens and what was obvious was that some of these kids had never met before but were working together to capture the Gym – the lone girl joined in with their group and was all smiles, Her dad (or at least that who I assume it was) who was still in the car grinned as his young daughter made new friends.

In the store I overheard some of the staff were giving a colleague some gentle ribbing for hunting while on her cigarette break, to which her retorts, while said in jest, said a lot – “I’ve walked further today than I have in years” and as I left a Mom and young son were sitting together on the benches, he actively instructing his Mom how to battle in the app.

And that’s not all, I got home to find that the local Pokémon Wolverhampton group were arranging a met for that night in West Park, and were actively encouraging solo players along to buddy up with people of the same teams so that they wouldn’t be alone, The Community Centre I help to run is next door to gym, so we’re trying to make the most of it and we are planning on hosting a Pokéhunt, using out location as a charging station and base so that younger players can come together to hunt safely

So in one short week, and only 1 day after the official UK release this mobile game and franchise has bought people and communities together, it is getting people out of the house and exploring their neighbourhoods, it getting people on their feet and walking, making new friends and offering up marketing opportunities. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this can be optimised upon before the initial excitement dies down, and more importantly what comes next as we learn that our communities aren’t big scary places, and technology doesn’t have to be the death of social as people play together. But for now you’ll have to excuse me as my mobile has just told me that there’s a Jigglypuff somewhere local, and you know, I gotta catch ’em all.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/07/15/pokemon-go-goes-into-the-the-community/feed/ 5
Adding Administrators to Facebook Pages (when you’re not already friends) https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/16/adding-administrators-to-facebook-pages-when-youre-not-already-friends/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/16/adding-administrators-to-facebook-pages-when-youre-not-already-friends/#respond Mon, 16 May 2016 17:49:54 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8115 This is going to sound like a pretty obvious blog post for those of you that already know this but  –Did you know you can add people to become an administrator on our facebook page without having to be friends with them?

No? Well neither did the organisation I helped at Wolverhampton Social Media Surgery this week.

So for those of you that are unsure, here is how you do it:

 

Sign in to facebook and go to the page you would like to an administrator / editor etc to.

Now go to settings:

Screenshot_051316_025424_PM

The Page rolesScreenshot_051316_025503_PM

From here you can invite people to help you manage your page.

Screenshot_051316_025557_PM

 

If the person you are adding is your friend on Facebook and already likes your page you should just be able to start typing their name and it will appear in a drop down list. But if they are not our friend, or they don’t like your page then you will have to enter their email address…it has to the be the email address that they use Facebook with personally.

Screenshot_051316_025721_PM

Press enter, and you will be prompted to to re-enter your password, Once you’ve done this an invitation will be sent to your new admin, but they wont get notified about it in a an obvious way.

 

This method does not generate an email invitation, or even a standard Facebook notification, so for the invitee to accept they need to log into their facebook account and then visit https://www.facebook.com/pages.

Once here they need to find the invitations tab:

Screenshot_051316_025922_PM

Any pending invitations to admin pages will be at the top of this page, they can accept or reject from here.

Simple when you know how!

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/16/adding-administrators-to-facebook-pages-when-youre-not-already-friends/feed/ 0
Craftivism and Social Media Surgeries. Being there. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/09/craftivism-and-social-media-surgeries-being-there/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/09/craftivism-and-social-media-surgeries-being-there/#respond Mon, 09 May 2016 17:00:45 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8099

During the Making For Change project I mentioned in my last post, I had the opportunity to listen to Sarah Corbett give a talk on Craftivism. Sarah  is the founder of the Craftivist Collective, a social enterprise which uses the techniques of craftivism to engage people in social justice issues, so she was perfect for the #MakingForChange project.

The Craftivist Collective’s approach to activism is more low key, respectful and more targeted approach than that of traditional activism.

To give you an example when the group were protesting in favour of the living wage for staff at Marks and Spencer’s they didn’t rock up to the head office waving placards shouting and stamping their feet. Instead they were took a more subtle approach, holding craft sessions or “stitch ins” outside branches of M&S.

They encouraged people to turn up to their session wearing Marks & Spencer’s clothing and to then to sit peacefully and stitch nice messages on M&S handkerchiefs encouraging the adoption of the living wage, that would then be gifted to all members of Marks and Spencer board.

This low key, quiet protest worked to engage the community. Shoppers, instead of having to shuffle around loud placard waving, intimidating protesters stopped to ask questions, “Why were a group of seemingly well dressed people sitting on the High Street sewing?”. Their interest was piqued, they were intrigued and a conversation was started.

This was only one of the projects Sarah talked about, and they were as equally as interesting, but in all of them the message that Sarah kept coming back to was the importance of being there.

Being there.

By being there with other craftivists – wherever there may be – and engaging in crafts gave people the space, time and freedom to talk about the things that mattered to them in a gentle way. By being there at protests and behaving non threateningly but intriguingly, passersby were engaging and we able to spread the message of the issues that mattered to them.

And being there is a message the we sell both for and at Social Media Surgeries.

When people approach us wanting to set up a Social Media Surgery for their town or neighbourhood it’s one of the first pieces of advice we give. “Just be there”. Find a space, start small, have zero expectations, but be there. You may only have 1 or 2 people come for help, but if you weren’t there you couldn’t help.

And when people come to us for help and support at surgeries, be it at our paid training sessions with councils, housing associations or charities, or at volunteer run surgeries with volunteers, third sector orgs or the solo community activist the message is the same “be there”. Who is your audience? Where is your audience? Find them and be there. Share your stories news and ideas, both good and bad. Write for them, engage with them, but be there. Because if your not there telling your story to your audience, no one else will.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/09/craftivism-and-social-media-surgeries-being-there/feed/ 0
Droney McDroneface https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/06/droney-mcdroneface/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/06/droney-mcdroneface/#respond Fri, 06 May 2016 10:34:28 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8103 NERC_-_Home

Mike Rawlins sent me a link to the Boaty McBoatFace public consultation on Faceboook,  probably a day or two before it became front page news.

I chuckled.  For hours.  It’s one of those things that made me randomly burst out laughing for days afterwards.  It hit my funny bone, and it hit the nations.

Today we’re told that the ship will be called RSS Sir David Attenborough.  According to the minister responsible, Jo Johnson,  the underwater unmanned vehicle (submarine drone) on the ship will be called Boaty McBoatyface.  What a bore.  Perhaps it should be called Droney McDroneface.

There’s something else about this that isn’t funny…

Besides the obvious, that you asked our opinion then ignored it,  it’s how glib government is about consultation. Formal government engagement or consultation with the public has long been mostly a lip service exercise.

So the one clear lesson from this is: ask us about things that matter!  If you consult us on something essentially trivial, we will either ignore it or quite likely have fun with it. If we do, respect that.  Better still, why not preserve our attention for things that matter?

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/06/droney-mcdroneface/feed/ 0
Crafts, Social Justice and Social Media #makingforchange https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/04/crafts-social-justice-and-social-media-makingforchange/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/04/crafts-social-justice-and-social-media-makingforchange/#respond Wed, 04 May 2016 14:57:58 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8073 Craftivism Making for change

A couple of weeks ago we spent a whole week out of the office working with a group of 16 – 25 year olds  on the #MakingforChange project –  using Craftivism for social justice campaigns. The project was developed by Craftspace a Birmingham based organisation that creates “opportunities to see, make and be curious about exceptional contemporary craft.”

So what is Craftivism? Craftivism is a form of activism that is centered on practices of craft.

It is low level, often non confrontational activism that allows people to participate, slow down and discuss the issues at hand.

The making for change project introduced Craftivism as a way for the young people to talk about the things they cared about, and they had a week develop a campaign and a craft project that they could deliver to an audience. They worked hard to understand what social justice meant, what it means to campaign using craft, and to experiment using different craft techniques before their showcase on the Friday evening

The campaigns they ran included many topics from environmental concerns, with recycling and the declining bee numbers to loneliness and race issues, such as immigration and stop and search.

So where did Podnosh come in?

Well we’re obviously not artists or social justice campaigners in our day jobs, so we concentrated on what we knew best. Data and social media. For any campaign to be successful you need to have the facts and figures to back up your claims, and have a audience to share them with. So that’s what we worked on.

We introduced the idea of data, search and social media early on, before the group had even decided on what campaigns they would like to run, and then stayed around throughout the week to offer one on one support to help them with their specific projects .

In actual fact the one on one support was particularly useful because while we didn’t plan for it to be this way, as the groups and individuals were exploring issues and coming to us for help finding data we were able to help them refine their ideas and their message.

For instance one group Vishal , Rahul , Sanam  and Terell, came to us wanting to look at some very broad issues around stereotyping and racism, with a desire to do something that reflected their experiences, but they didn’t know what. They were thinking big, but didn’t know what they wanted to say. It was only by sitting and talking to them about issues they had faced and showing them some available data that they narrowed it down to stop and search – and the disproportionate amount of minority youths that get stopped – something they had first had experience of – and that refining of their message shaped their campaign.

Stop and Search Data

On the other hand another individual, Siandana came to use with a fully established idea – she wanted to to run a campaign about waste, but focusing on how litter can kill wildlife and had already developed a craft project around recycling plastic bottles into bird feeders.

Recycled bird feeder

She just wanted help on finding facts and figures to help prove her point and hopefully spread her idea further. We looked at what numbers would help her and we settled on data about the amount of time it takes different types of rubbish to break down, which she displayed on her table and hung off her feeders as discussion starters for whenpeople we busy making.

IMG_20160408_175352445

IMG_20160408_181516955

We also helped her consider using hashtags to share her reuse or recycle for wildlife message if she was to continue with her campaign, and she decided that #GoodRubbish would be a nice play on words – she actively encouraged people through the showcase evening to tweet pictures of their makes using the tag,

 

These are just 2 examples from the week, in all there were 6 different campaigns we supported, and all of them just as interesting.

Sarah ran a campaign to Save the Bees, Mahnaz on integration in communities and what it means to be British. Heather looked at the stigma around mental health and Jaswant  explored issues around isolation and loneliness.

We supported all of them in one way or another and it’s been really pleasing that since the project has finished both Mahnaz and Sarah have been in touch for some extra support as they are both interested in taking their campaigns further – and continuing making for change.

IMG_20160408_180438

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/04/crafts-social-justice-and-social-media-makingforchange/feed/ 0
Bad manners, blockchains, open data, government as a platform and and Birmingham pigs in muck. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/03/bad-manners-blockchains-open-data-government-as-a-platform-and-and-birmingham-pigs-in-muck/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/03/bad-manners-blockchains-open-data-government-as-a-platform-and-and-birmingham-pigs-in-muck/#comments Tue, 03 May 2016 15:43:13 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8075 Pigs in muck

Image cc leeturner.

Is the real barrier to open data good manners?

There’s honest open truth in the blog post Over Politeness is the fatal flaw in the open data movement.

Anything Tom Steinberg writes on Open data needs to be taken seriously. It was he who was one of the key people behind the power of information task force report which got government starting to understand why it’s important to free up information.    Never a natural insider, now he writes:

So, how do I feel about it all now, eight and a half years on from the Open Data Principles? Not good. I’ve watched the government of the country I live in sell off our national addressing database, a breathtakingly moronic move that more than undoes the sum and total of good works done in the same time period. And I’ve watched that same government tacitly endorse attempts to kneecap our Freedom of Information law, whilst simultaneously grinning and waving a flag labeled ‘most transparent government in the world.’

I’ve not seen any meaningful attempt to systematically overhaul procurement rules to ensure that new government computer systems produce decent open data by default. This omission is especially important since building open data feeds into new government computer systems remains the only way that most government data will ever get released cheaply, quickly, and in appropriate formats. Factories and power stations only pump out less rubbish when the law says they must, and the same is true of government computer systems. International progress on that front so far? Somewhere between dismal and undetectable.

and

Transparency laws are like babies: There’s no way to get a real one without someone somewhere having to go through a very unpleasant experience that they’d really do almost anything to avoid. And as a consequence, meaningful transparency laws don’t get implemented except in situations where legislators fear something even worse than the effects of more transparency.

If you don’t believe me, consider the following examples.

In Britain, we did not gain the right to see our Member of Parliament’s expenses untilHeather Brooke forced out a scandal so enormous that four MPs were actually sent to jail. Just in the last two weeks we appear (in a vaguely codified way) to have won the right to see our leaders’ tax returns—but only after a week in which the press savaged the Prime Minister daily over his connections to off-shore finances co-ordinated by his father. The pain required to produce this concession could literally be seen on David Cameron’s face as he was forced to face the issue.

I agree.  I’ve sat on the Local Public Data Panel at the Department of Communities and Local Government. Rarely did I feel I was being much use, often felt stifled by process and internal political demands. This stifling of what people on the panel wanted to achieve was usually tolerated because we were over respecting  convention and frankly being polite (or weary).

Government can and does co-opt,  in part to control change and bog things down.  I do though only partly agree that being combative is the whole answer. Government also needs to invest in sharing information. We’ve benefited from that investment.  It needs to be a combination of a will to change from within government and impatience for change outside.  But then I’m probably still being polite.

Bitcoin for Volunteers and blockchain for government.

Bitcoin is the digital currency that is being fussed over at the moment as  Australian Craig Wright says he invented it.   It’s important because it is a way of creating currency that doesn’t require a bank.  It allows us to trust each other with who owns which money –  because we can all share the same cash book – or ledger.

HullCoin allows people in Hull to create a new currency with the time they put into volunteering. It is similar to the =Bristol Pound or Timesharing in some senses.  What’s interesting, in part, is that it uses a blockchain.  The technology behind Bitcoin.

Blockchain is, rightly, also on the minds of government.  Why?  If this technology helps us trust each other with money, it can also help us trust each other with much more besides: who has voted, who owns which house, who is entitled to which services and who is qualified to deliver them.

In his speech last week, Digital transformation in government and blockchain technology,  the Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock, said:

To make real progress, we have to be much smarter.

That’s why we started building what we call ‘government as a platform’. That little catchphrase sums up a huge amount of work building many different things – not just actual technical platforms, but also standards, design and service patterns, data registers, and the skills and capability of the people who deliver digital services, and indeed the whole business of government.

All those things – the platforms, the standards, the legacy technology, the service design – come together as an ecosystem of interconnected components that departmental teams can use to assemble their services.

They will only do that, though, if they actually trust those components in the first place. So delivering transformation is just as much about fostering a new culture of trust across government.

The old culture depended on departmental silos, and services designed and delivered within them. Instead we’ve got to work across those silos. And that depends on trust.

This brings us to the benefits of the blockchain.

Blockchains – distributed ledgers, shared ledgers – are digital tools for building trust in data.

Rather than a single central authority demanding trust and declaring: “I say this data is correct,” you have the distributed consensus of everyone in the chain, saying in unison: “we agree that this data is correct.”

They bring with them built-in integrity and immutability. You can only write new data, nothing is ever removed or deleted.

It does sometimes get touted as a wonder solution. In time institutions that we rely on to manage trusted processes – planning departments, banks, local authorities – will be changed by technology like this. The most important first start for government though is to recognise that many of it’s structures are a barrier to better ways of working, to focus instead on what needs to be done to solve a problem.

That is what Mark Rogers – Chief executive at Birmingham City council – has been thinking about in what he calls a

Pig in Muck moment…

His blog post Tapping into Brum’s talent and innovation expresses his  pure pleasure of spending time with a group of people passionate about finding new routes to solve problems:

Hosted by that hotbed of forward thinking grooviness, the ImpactHub, a small number of fellow travellers sat down for a couple of hours to make my brain hurt on the subject of an ‘open innovation system’.

Pretentious? Hopefully not.

Under discussion was actually something very straight-forward; how we might further encourage and accelerate a progressive, welcoming and applied approach to convening interested parties from civil and civic society to tackle the city’s wicked – and not-so-wicked – issues.

Those of you who have been following my ramblings for the last couple of years will know that I am (very) interested in working out, among a number of things, how the council can itself become more innovative, whilst also being more enabling of others across the city to do the same.

It’s important that people like Mark take the time to have their head hurt.  It’s much more productive than the sort of polite government meetings that stifle change in areas such as open data.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/05/03/bad-manners-blockchains-open-data-government-as-a-platform-and-and-birmingham-pigs-in-muck/feed/ 3
Game of Thones : Facebook vs Youtube for video https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/03/10/game-of-thones-facebook-vs-youtube-for-video/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/03/10/game-of-thones-facebook-vs-youtube-for-video/#comments Thu, 10 Mar 2016 18:27:18 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8049 Game-of-Thrones

Tuesday night niche parts of the internet went a little bonkers when the season 6 trailer of Game of Thrones was released, a week earlier than any fan anticipated.

HBO released the footage simultaneously on Facebook and Youtube. Both platforms quickly racked up millions of views, but I was really interested to see the what the difference was between the two and what that could mean for video sharing….(I promise there are no Season 6 spoilers in this post!)

Actually my thinking started last month when Ok Go – an American band, in part famous for their innovative music videos – released their latest video and chose to do so on Facebook only.

Hello, Dear Ones. Please enjoy our new video for “Upside Down & Inside Out”. A million thanks to S7 Airlines. #GravitysJustAHabit

Posted by OK Go on Thursday, 11 February 2016

If a band that is famous for its music videos chooses Facebook over a dedicated video sharing platform, what does that mean for online video sharing? Has facebook overtaken Youtube as a video distribution platform?

Game of Numbers

Lets have a look at the figures that are publicly available for the Game of Thrones trailer, which used both platforms for a comparison.

14 hours after the release of the trailer the Youtube upload had gained over 6 millions views:

Game of Thrones Youtube

But the footage shared on Facebook,  well, that had over 19 million views:

Game of Thrones Facebook

 

So on the face of it, Facebook appeared to be performing over 300% better than Youtube.

But is it?

I suppose that depends on how each platform counts its views – how long does a video play for before it’s considered a view?

I’ve done some googling and Youtube, it seems, just don’t tell you what their time limit is – they don’t want people gaming the system, especially when you-tubers can earn income from advertising on their videos.  This from Atlanta Analytics seems to be the most plain English explanation on HOW Youtube counts it’s views:

“YouTube video count WILL increment when:

You watch a video on youtube.com, as long as you don’t reload the video a bazillion times….You watch an embedded video (using YouTube’s own HTML5 or Flash player) on another domain that requires you to hit play.

YouTube will NOT increment video count when:

You watch an embedded video in a player that has autoplay enabled (video begins playing immediately on page load).You watch a video that is loaded through a proprietary player via the YouTube API.”

But Facebook’s own insights shows me that public view count is:

“…videos on your Page watched for 3 seconds or more.”

From what I can gather from my reading it counts everything on it’s site or embedded elsewhere with or without autoplay.

So if videos on Facebook auto-play while you are scrolling through your feed, and if you are pausing for just a few seconds to read friends updates above or below the post it registers as a view, How accurate an indication of view counts are these figures? Did the Game of Thrones trailer really rack up that many views?

A look at Facebook Insights

Now I don’t have access to Game of Thrones video insights, but I do have access to other pages we’ve shared videos to and I can take a closer look at the figures there.

This is a video we shared onto the Stirchley Baths facebook page

Ron Coley is in 60’s and has lived in Stirchley since a boy. in the 1970’s he used to use the baths once a week for his, well, weekly bath. Twas quirky….

Posted by Stirchley Baths on Thursday, 11 February 2016

On the public side of the site it says it has had 431 views, which for a page with 975 “likes” is just under half the audience, but when we look at the overview insights they tell a different story.

Ron-Colley-Stirchley- Baths

Of the 431 views, 348 were unique and on average only 28% watched to completion.

And when we really dig down and export the data to a CSV it tells another story again.

Lifetime Total Video Views 431
Lifetime Unique Video Views 348
Lifetime Total 30-Second Views 98
Lifetime Unique 30-Second Views 85
Lifetime Total Views to 95% 56
Lifetime Unique Views to 95% 54

So according to the insights of the 431 views, only 56 watched to almost completion, that’s 12% of the total number displayed by Facebook as a “view” And when we throw in another set of stats. Facebook’s Autoplay vs Click to Play figures then it tells you something else again:

Lifetime Total Video Views 431
Lifetime Auto-Played Video Views 402
Lifetime Clicked-to-Play Video Views 29
Lifetime Total 30-Second Views 98
Lifetime Auto-Played 30-Second Views 76
Lifetime Clicked-to-Play 30-Second Views 22
Lifetime Total Views to 95% 56
Lifetime Auto-Played views to 95% 40 
Lifetime Clicked-to-Play views to 95% 16

The number of people who actively chose to click to watch the video was far far lower than those that watched it through auto play, but the retention rate of those that chose to watch to almost completion was much higher when someone had chosen to click on the link (10% on the AP compared to 52% CTP).

You can also break this down further in the insights if you want to, to people who watched with and without sound, but you don’t need to to see that Facebook’s Autoplay in news feed has a positive impact on viewer numbers on its platform, but nowhere near to the degree that the public facebook figures would have you believe.

The same video on Youtube had much lower viewing figures (30 overall from 26 unique users) but had a 74% view to completion rate. A true like for like comparison with Youtube is not possible as Youtube don’t give as detailed analytics as Facebook, but on the face of it people who watched via Youtube, watched for longer.

Maybe this is because they are on dedicated video sharing platform, or viewing an embed on a site where they’ve intentionally gone to find news on a project.

Who’s the winner?

So which is better for video sharing? I think it depends. Looking at the Game of Thrones trailer was a folly. It is a massively popular television series with an audience of millions and fan base that has eagerly awaits any tidbit of information and will watch, re watch and share any news they can get on any platform it’s on.

But for community use, for local news and for niche topics both is best. Youtube for it’s search and the ability to share , tag and target niche audiences and Facebook for the sheer numbers, the way it will appear and re appear in peoples timelines and for accessibility.

But which ever is best I think we can see that when looking at popular content we can’t take the viewing figures at face value and if you want to embed a video using Youtube, don’t have the autoplay enabled if you want the view to count.

I suppose I should also finish this with a disclaimer. I am a Game of Thrones fan and this all started with me blatantly getting my Game of Thrones fix while I impatiently wait for the the sixth season to start in April, or George RR Martin to (finally) finish next book installment of the series The Winds of Winter, but I had some useful musings from it.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/03/10/game-of-thones-facebook-vs-youtube-for-video/feed/ 1
Facebook, Profiles, Pages and Groups. What’s the difference? https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/24/facebook-profiles-pages-and-groups-whats-the-difference/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/24/facebook-profiles-pages-and-groups-whats-the-difference/#comments Wed, 24 Feb 2016 14:11:41 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8045 facebook-logo

We were running an Awareness Session today for the East Birmingham Community Safety Partnership and it came up in conversation again about the different ways you can use Facebook – profiles, pages, open groups, closed groups – and how confusing it can be to the casual user.

There is a lot of choices and not always a plain English way of describing what each of them are – or why one might me better that the other, so I’m going to give it a go here.

Profiles

Profiles are people – end of.  Profiles make friends with other profiles. Just like real life – you make friends with people – not places, businesses or brands. Friends can interact publicly and privately, and just like in “real life” this interaction can be initiated by either person.

Once you’ve made friends with someone, depending on your privacy settings, you will have mutual access to each others personal profile information, status updates and photos.  – This is one of the reasons I refuse to make friends with brand or businesses who have profiles. I don’t know for sure WHO has access to it – or if I do know – who will have access to it in the future I don’t want strangers accessing photos of my son. Businesses should have pages.

But just like all rules there is an exception, mine is my hairdresser – I have a relationship with the person that cuts my hair and she is a business.

Pages

Pages are set up by people – and they represent groups, businesses charities, community groups etc. They are run by people. People with profiles can “like” pages – which essentially means they are interested enough to follow the updates on your page.

Unlike making friends. This is not a mutual connection – Profiles can view a pages information, photos, status etc but pages can not view profiles. Pages updates will go into their fans news feeds. Their fans updates do not appear in a pages news feed.

Pages can add other pages to their favourites and receive updates from other pages – but again this is not a mutual connection.

Pages can receive private messages, and they can respond to private messages, but they cannot start a private conversation with anyone – contact with a page needs to be initiated by a person (profile).

When a page owner posts to their wall the content appears as the page in date order with the latest post at the top and this is pushed out to fans news feed.  All page owners content is given priority over all content created by fans – all posts to the page by anyone other than the admin stays on the page in a section called “Visitors Posts” – and is not pushed out to other fans news feeds unless the page owner share it.

Screenshot_022416_015856_PM

I know some people get iffy about running pages with their personal account but in my honest opinion they shouldn’t, for starters there is no link to you from the page unless you choose to put it there. and secondly running a page form your personal account makes life so much easier

I manage several facebook pages from my personal profile and unless you know me, and I choose to tell you, you’ll never know which ones. Unlike groups where you always post as yourself – the default is to post as the page, so there’s little chance for mispost mishaps.

 Groups

People with profiles can create and join groups – Groups can be for anything – they are a way of bringing people together with shared interests.  There are several types of groups  and I like to use  a pub analogy to try and explain them:

  • Public A public group is like a pub on a high street with it’s windows and doors wide open. Any one can wander by and hear the conversation, Anyone can enter or be invited in to join in and you can come and go as you please.
  • Closed A closed group is like standing outside a pub with locked windows and doors – you can see who’s inside but you can’t hear what they are talking about, you can’t join in and you have no idea if its the sort of place you’d want to go – you just have to knock until you are invited in and then decide….If you leave, you have to ask to be given access again.
  • Secret A secret group is like a private party in  a pub you don’t even know exists until someone invites you along.

Whenever something is added to a group it appears at the top of the group feed, if someone comments on something older this is then bumped back to the top so the order of posts is constantly changing giving prominence to the most recent thing posted or commented on. Unless something is “pinned” by an admin to stick to the top for awhile – anyone’s posts could be pinned.

Unlike pages, when a group admin posts to a group that content is adding as themselves.

All posts to groups don’t automatically appear in you news feed the way you receive group notifications can be set per group and deserves a blog post all of it’s own!

So that’s it, my plain English attempt at explaining the different ways to use facebook.

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/24/facebook-profiles-pages-and-groups-whats-the-difference/feed/ 1
The future of local government: being human. https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/16/the-future-of-local-government-being-human/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/16/the-future-of-local-government-being-human/#respond Tue, 16 Feb 2016 17:04:07 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8030 In the past few days I’ve been fortunate to meet some fine people thinking about public services and democracy.  On Saturday I was in Huddersfield thanks mainly to Carl Whistlecraft of Kirklees Council for  #notwestminster.   Last week – thanks to Pete jackson of  IEWM WM-ADASS  I was at a session with senior social services officers run by Cormac Russell. Yesterday I had a cup of tea with Darren Canaan.

These have all helped me crystalise a thought or two.

Notwestminster16 (134 of 135)

(Image Anthony Mckeown.  cc)

If it doesn’t require empathy why would we have people doing it? At notwestminster Matt Clack of Hackney Council ran a session called “Emotion, empathy and urgency – personal experience in public narrative.”  It was wide ranging conversation, which started with how can public servants use personal stories to help develop and improve their work.

I know that government can be very slow to change, but in a decade or two it will be much easier to have software perform processes and robots performs actions.

The work that can’t be done this way is the work that requires empathy. So the future of public servants is about their humanity.  This is also reflected in the work at Birmingham University (which we’ve worked on a little in the last couple of years) on the 21st century Public Servant, which identifies a number of qualities including:

  • The 21st Century Public Servant engages with citizens in a way that expresses their shared humanity and pooled expertise
  • The 21st Century Public Servant needs organisations which are fluid and supportive rather than silo-ed
    and controlling
  • The 21st Century Public Servant is rooted in a locality which frames a sense of loyalty and identity

If people are to be robust they need good networks – so lets help them make them.  Cormac Russell’s mantra – if he has such a thing – is ‘just connect’.  That is our experience too – that connecting help things happen and keep happening.

Darren Canaan used to be a pure connector for a fascinating organisation in Coventry,  Grapevine. “Grapevine does practical, hands-on work that tries to connect those of us who are isolated with the good people and good things in their communities.”  He told me of how his work was to understand someone’s strength and then help them meet people and groups that might benefit from those strength.

One young person was a little socially awkward and tended to sprint ahead of people whenever walking anywhere.  This strength turned him into a walk leader – he was valued for what he helped others do, rather than judged for his awkwardness.

Connecting is human work and it is core to how we increase the opportunities for people in their own neighbourhoods, which in turn (I think) can be expected to reduce the demand for formal services.

Update –  this appeared on twitter this morning (19th Feb 2016)

 

More from Notwestminster:  (update – a full round up of blogs from the event can be found here:

The best of Notwestminster 2016 – a compilation of our Blogs, Photos, Videos, Slides, Notes & Sounds

Paul Mackay’s round up

Notes from all the sessions.

Dave McKenna on re-designing the council meeting.

Francis Clarke on digital and local democracy.

 

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/16/the-future-of-local-government-being-human/feed/ 0
Trailblazers: Stans Cafe, Birmingham City Council and Young People https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/03/trailblazers-stans-cafe-birmingham-city-council-and-young-people/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/03/trailblazers-stans-cafe-birmingham-city-council-and-young-people/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:48:12 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8024 Stans Cafe ( globally successful Birmingham theatre company) has been working with a 120 young people for last few weeks to help the City Council connect in new ways.

Groups from different schools have been walking their neighbourhoods and walking the wider city.  Some of their reflections are captured in a set of animations (find them all here) ….

 

Today they came from their neighbourhoods into the world of the council house, council chambers and council procedures.

Watching them talk about a range of issues raised a few things for me.

  • People are experts on the places they live in.  Respect them for that.  Talk to them about that.
  • Putting people in places that are new can be tricky – asking them to have a view on what the city centre should be like if they don’t use it may be intimidating.
  • But above is only partly true.  I learned years ago watching Dutch, Belgian and German, UK community groups share stories that giving people space to talk about their world creates hooks for them, gives them away into each others worlds.  “What you’re saying sounds a bit like how we… ”  “I’ve never thought of it that way”  “You should meet…” are the sort of sentences that demonstrate understanding.
  • Politicians need to listen to a lot of people, but they don’t have to heed us all.  It is their job to make up their mind.  Communicating that I’ve listened to you but won’t do what you’ve asked is important.
  • If you are 15 the number of people employed to do intangible things is puzzling.  Why have another meeting about litter when those people could pick it up?
  • No one likes cold uninviting empty parks – they want them busy warm and welcoming.  That alone should be the kernel around which parks thrive – and that’s not the same as providing parks as a service.
  • Shyness is often a product of uncertainty. What are you looking for from me?  Can I do that? One way to overcome that is by being interested in them, not asking them to be interested in your or your organisation.
  • It is really important for public services to keep trying new ways to talk to people.  It’s also just as important to be  involved in that conversation, not delegate it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/03/trailblazers-stans-cafe-birmingham-city-council-and-young-people/feed/ 0
Why Public Services should take the time to grow the civic conversation https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/01/why-public-services-should-take-the-time-to-grow-the-civic-conversation/ https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/01/why-public-services-should-take-the-time-to-grow-the-civic-conversation/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2016 19:07:34 +0000 http://podnosh.com/?p=8010 Later this month I’m heading up to Huddersfield for #notwestminster.  It’s  a collection of civic minded folk who get together to think about democracy, digital, changing relationships and changing power. It’s not in Westminster – hence the name.

I’m going mostly to learn and meet, but I’ll also be talking briefly about ‘growing the civic conversation”.  Here’s me just drafting some thoughts.

Public services should have more than a comms function – they should actively grow the civic conversation.

Growing the civic conversation is what probably half of our work is about.

We deliberately find ways to help more people who are civic minded or have roles to create some sort of civic good get online and talk about such matters.  The social media surgeries are an example.  The training we provide that allows public servants and active citizens and community groups to learn together is another. Our Impact Assessment App helps social organisations bring to the surface what their clients are experiencing – enriching the civic conversation.

Why do it?

  • The media isn’t doing it – as much as we need. Newspapers and media tend to provide a particular type of civic conversation.  It’s often very attention grabbing and aimed at providing content for a broad audience. It is also limited (less than it used to be ) in terms of access. Those who can get the attention will be part of this civic conversation.  This is limited.
  • If we can get the people who are actively thinking and doing in their communities confidently using the web it will be easier for them to find each other and achieve new things. It will also be much easier for public servants (also involved in active civic stuff) to find them, find each other, create new forms of working and new flows of useful information.
  • Parochial is good –  but for that very granular level of communal activity to be shared and find an audience it helps to have a wider range of people involved.

Acting to grow the civic conversation should be part of the background hum of the work of public services.

  • Channel shift is likely to happen faster if you do so.
  • Your consultations will probably get a wider range of response.
  • You will find it easier to find allies in communities who can help you achieve things.

This approach also helps public services build towards the five stars of open local democracy I suggested a couple of summers ago:

  • 1 star:  Be seen and be welcoming.  Putting agenda’s and minutes somewhere where it is very easy to find them and where it is easy for others to share them. Make sure everyone knows they’re invited.  (This could be a blog, just on google docs with a link or creating an eventbrite to invite people to meetings. It can include putting invites through doors and agenda’s and minutes on public noticeboards.)
  • 2 star: Talk about what you’re doing.  This means that you have a #hashtag for your meeting and publicise it and also share what you know (make sure that background information to papers is publicly available). You are open to others live reporting or recording what you are doing.
  • 3 star: Do it live.  You do the above but you also do it during your meeting or event.  This is where you can introduce a livestream of video or audio or live social reporting through twitter, facebook and or a blog. This also means you only hold meetings in places where there is good, publicly usable wi-fi or 3g.
  • 4 star:  Involve people outside the room in the meeting.  This is a step change from being seen to be doing. This values the questions and comments made on the web as being as important to your meeting as the ones made in the room.  They are incorporated though hashtags or services like cover it live, blyve or a facebook q&a as the event unfolds.  This could also mean organising events specifically for talking to people on the web.
  • 5 star:  It’s a permanent conversation. This fifth step recognises that the civic conversation you’re having doesn’t just happen at times and places you decide.  It can happen all the time. It means being responsive in between meetings when, for example a comment appears on a website or a hashtag.

As I said – this is me starting to organise some thoughts and and that “Public meetings have moved from the bedrock of local democracy to the rocky-bed.”. Others who chipped in are

Dave McKenna

and his Post on the Double doughnut of Democracy.

Localopolis__73__The_Double_Doughnut_of_Democracy

This suggests that government isn’t well placed to deal directly with the public – and is best to do it  through intermediaries. He calles them sharers. I think growing the civic conversation could well be about partly growing the number of shares and partly about strengthening the networks of sharers through which information and conversation can flow.

Dave mentions these sources of inspiration.

The first is a conversation we had about online democracy at govcampcymru.

The second is a set of ideas developed by Catherine Howe that I heard about first at localgovcamp.  While Catherine is more interested in a citizen perspective here the implications for government are centre stage.

The third source is some conclusions form the academic literature.  Lawrence Pratchett in a paper for Parliamentary Affairs suggested that intermediate bodies such as the media and community groups might be the best route for public participation as local government is essentially a representative rather than participative institution.  Similarly, Marion Barnes, Janet Newman and Helen Sullivan in their research into public participation, suggested that participation initiatives might be more successful when semi autonomous from government and run by voluntary groups.

It also chimes with some of the skills/qualities outlined in the the 21st century public servant work (we’ve been involved with)  –  which suggests skills that will be more prized in future public servants, skills such as “story teller”, “networker” “system architect” and being human.

21st_Century_Public_Servant___Researching_the_future_public_service_workforce

Growing the civic conversation is also about recognising the place you serve as a platform, or a series of them. It helps shape and strengthen the platform upon which local democracy sits. Surely that is partl of the work of any local civic or democratic body?

More after #notwestminster.

Thanks for reading thus far.  You’ve helped me collect some thoughts.

 

 

]]>
https://podnosh.com/blog/2016/02/01/why-public-services-should-take-the-time-to-grow-the-civic-conversation/feed/ 8