We need a national conversation

A deep and wide process of engagement with citizens to co-create a future vision for N(n)orthern Ireland could help jolt our peace process and our politicians out of the stalemate we find ourselves in.   I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in a few far-flung places, including Pakistan, DRC and Rwanda – each of which have longstanding conflicts, many strongly driven by an inability to peacefully resolve issues over tribal, ethnic or religious identity. One thing that’s undeniably …

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Friday Thread: For ‘trial and error’ you have to first try something (then not be afraid to fail)

There’s a part of the conventional stage which the dramaturg Stephen Joseph used to frame as the ‘God Wall’. That’s the bit at the back which in perspective terms is the origin of the actors complete authority over his audience. In the TED talk above, Tim Harford takes a similar idea and transposes it into conventional design, planning and politics. He calls it the God Complex. Here’s the very core of his argument: …the complexity of the world that surrounds …

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People’s bailout: A social innovation you won’t have heard about before…

Occupy Wall Street. Remember them? Well, in that well worn cliched phrase: They haven’t gone away you know! One of the more successful actions of the Belfast group was occupying the old Belfast stock exchange on Royal Avenue, thereby flagging up latent resources. Well, in the US there’s a fascinating little scenario (flagged up on Google Plus by Jeff Jarvis just now) in which OWS, well, here they are in their own words: OWS is going to start buying distressed …

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Next #DigitalLunch: Sustaining social innovation?

So, we’re rolling the next SocialInnovation #DigitalLunch for the Building Change Trust through to Thursday. It follows three other lively and insightful panels: – 1, was an initial discussion of what innovating for social change might look like? – 2, was a great conversational case study of a whole range of projects some originating the public purse and others private sector initiated: – 3, focused on locating barriers to social change, with some great international contributions: On Thursday we are …

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The limitations of innovation without wider backing?

With our series of discussions on Social Innovation in mind, here’s an excellent piece on why innovation is failing to tackle big problems, Tech Review editor Jason Pontin notes that in fact technology cannot solve everything. He quotes Famine as a Grade A example: Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate economist, has shown that famines are political crises that catastrophically affect food distribution. (Sen was influenced by his own experiences. As a child he witnessed the Bengali famine of 1943: three …

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Lessons in Social Innovation and what it actually means…

So after two great online conversations on Social Innovation with the Building Change Trust we’ve had some useful insights into what social innovation might or could look like. In the first session Michael Kelly from Grow It Yourself Ireland (GIY, Ireland) noted that their network had grown to cover the whole island in just three years, partly by pushing decision making out into the network rather than keeping it at the centre. Stuart Bailie drew on Terri Hooley’s upstart impressario …

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#DigitalLunch series asks: What’s Social Innovation and who needs it?

Slugger has evolved slowly over the years. Hit the archives for October 2002 for instance, and you’ll see a short form journal charting the slow then rapid disintegration of the first Stormont Executive. There were no comments. Today our politics is firmly out of ER. And it is hard to argue that we needed in quite the same way to sustain the informal contact between opponents that we once undoubtedly did. Today, Slugger is more of a long form blog …

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#DigitalLunch: Can social innovation bridge the digital divide?

This week’s digitallunch kicks off with an old mate of mine from River Path days Mark Weston… These days he can mostly to be found pumping out policy blogs on health and development… But a couple of years ago, he left the comfort of his high falutin’ desk and spent six months in three of the world’s poorest countries… An account of his experiences, The Ringtone and the Drum is published in the autumn… Tomorrow we’ll kick off our weekly …

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