I have an idea, any thoughts folks?
Tuttle, the facilitation of Participation and Community

Not wishing to reinvent the wheel nor plagiarise great works, I’ve quoted, paraphrased and joined dots between the somewhat ‘perfectly phrased’ words and sentences of inspirational authors and doers, these include:
Sir Ken Robinson (The Element – how finding your passion changes everything), Andrew Mawson OBE (The Social Entrepreneur), Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom (The Starfish and the Spider – the unstoppable power of leaderless organizations) and Lloyd Davis (Founder of Tuttle Club London) – to present my thoughts and experiences of Tuttle, the facilitation of Participation and Community 101, and what the future might hold.


Tuttle101 at The Deaf Cat Coffee Bar (Rochester, Kent)
Photo: Tuttle101 at @TheDeafCat Coffee Bar (Rochester)
Original photo taken and licensed by @fellowcreative

 

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Tuttle isn’t for everyone but it is for anyone.

A loose collection of people finding a way of working better together (both offline and on).
Focused on Inspiration, Collaboration and Learning Through Doing.

Tuttle is about social interaction, a meeting of diverse minds and life experiences over coffee, conversation and getting one’s hands dirty in collaboration. At all times it should be fun and engaging – you’re not an attendee, you’re a participant. People show up without preconceptions over what will happen, be talked about or done. Anything can happen, and the environments and spaces change. It’s a philosophy rather than a collective noun. You Tuttle, rather than are part of Tuttle.

Tuttle challenges stereotypical structures and traditional mindsets. Tuttle understands that imagination is not the same as creativity. Creativity takes the process of imagination to another level. Creativity goes beyond linear and logical thought to involve all areas of our minds and bodies. People (you) can be creative at anything at all – anything that involves intelligence. It is because human intelligence is so wonderfully diverse that people are creative in so many extraordinary ways… writing, music, dance, theatre, math, science, computing, philosophy, business etc. Tuttle doesn’t ask how intelligent you are; it helps you explore: How are you intelligent?

Creative insights often come in non-linear ways, through seeing connections and similarities between things we hadn’t noticed before.

Tuttle provides people with an open platform to be social, build understandings and connect, it’s a neutral space to discuss and do. When you give participants freedom, you get chaos, but you also get incredible creativity. On one hand people have freedom to do what they want, on the other they develop a sense of social ownership and added responsibility – everyone becomes an active participant and guardian of sorts – the concept of ‘community’ takes on more meaning, empowering a better understanding of ‘neighbour’. For this reason participants often wish to give something back.

Tuttle can be a goad, a check, a sounding board, and a source of inspiration and support.

Overlapping circles of people with similar interests who create something much greater than any of them could create individually – to become more than the sum of their parts.

There’s no hierarchy, membership, name badges or even business cards. Simply come along, be open-minded and if nothing else enjoy the atmosphere. Over time you’ll form trusted, valued and inspiring relationships – you get out what you put in.

Tuttle101 is the Tuttle Community of Medway (Kent), running since September 2009, normally on the second Monday morning of every month, often in The Deaf Cat Coffee Bar (Rochester, Kent). An evening Tipple101 also happens mid-week nearer the end of the month, it usually involves beer or wine.

If you’d like more information on the above, please feel free to email tuttle101 [at] fellowcreative.com. Please read below for more exciting developments.


101 Projects – The Outline Manifesto

 

The next step for Tuttle101 is the creation of ‘101 Projects‘.

101 Projects will provide a more focused approach towards local innovation and greater community cohesion, focused on solving real problems. The people of Medway often talk about their rights but rarely about their responsibilities as citizens. The local community is suffering as a consequence. 101 Projects aim to empower participants to develop a range of not-for-loss collaborative ventures that inspire a stronger and wider sense of community. Through applying business, cross-disciplinary experience and creative logic to social questions, and challenging existing concepts of personal responsibility, positive impact and social value.

“It is at this present time little more than a collection of people and facts, the cause of which, and their relationships to each other, are so imperfectly understood, that it is not yet very capable of synthetic and analytic modes of explanation.” ~ The Lunar Men.

Similar to the Tuttle philosophy, 101 Projects hope to inspire anyone, to help everyone.

Existing Tuttle participants seem to share a fundamental optimism, a spirit of liberty in action, encouragement and enlightenment – where many people would see problems, they see opportunities for positive change, and they wish to take on the personal responsibility for making things happen.

“If I were the minister responsible for enterprise, I would identify fifteen people who have shown that they can deliver results in practice. I would imagine they would all be pretty challenging people – the John Birds, Bob Geldofs and Alan Sugars of this world. I would invite them to sit down with me in a room and tell them I was giving each of them £3 million to invest in working in a particular poor, deprived area. One year later I would invite them back into the room. Those who had messed up would get no more money; those who showed promise would get another £3million; and those who had done really well would get £10 million. In other words I would back success and build upon what actually works.
I would for the most part keep civil servants and academics at a distance and I would certainly ensure that no more than 5per cent of what monies we had available went towards evaluation. However, I would not for one moment underestimate the importance of evaluation.
To that end I would choose another group of successful entrepreneurs and business people to carry out research in how projects were performing by using all of the available technology and by trusting them to use the best methodology for their purpose. I would want to see very practical results being delivered and I would want local people to be involved in the process. Entrepreneurs smell success: they do not write reports about it.”
~ The Social Entrepreneur, Andrew Mawson OBE, Pg. 139

101 Projects will encourage people by supporting individuals not structures, those who bring to social problems the same enterprise and imagination that business entrepreneurs bring to wealth creation – people that have it in themselves to be community leaders, to help restore our connections to people, places and values – human relationships and community cohesion.

101 Projects aim to inspire cross-discipline, cross-cultural relationships built around people ‘doing’ things together. Rewarding those who bother to get off their backsides to work together on practical projects. Government often knows the shape of the forest but has no idea what is actually going on under the trees. If the current economic environment is to be overcome, governments, organisations and structures must become more ‘people friendly’, more responsive, turning peoples passions and responsibilities into effective and constructive action at a local level. Encouraging greater local participation within society is the answer to both our democratic and economic deficit.

Medway is full of glorious diversity; stimulating greater participation will create a wealth of opportunity in the local economy. The emphasis must be on access to opportunity, on recognizing individuals and their passions and talents and on developing these by bridging together teams of local people focused on identifiable tasks, rather than relying on representative structures and local authorities.

Tuttle Projects provide a non-hierarchical incubator of potential for creative, destructive, innovative ideas for social good. Anything goes. Good ideas will attract more people, which in turn will inspire an appreciation of their full potential. What initially looks like entropy might just turn out to be one of the most powerful and positive forces in the local economy. Turning passion into practice may take many forms. Social capital can only be created for many when we grow a strong and honest sense of belonging and community, focused around a shared practical task.

Supported by Tuttle participants, Tuttle Projects aim to back successes with time, energy and hopefully small financial investments, to build upon what actually works at a local level, to create social value. With an emphasis on discovery not theory, Tuttle Projects don’t know failure – only learning opportunities. By the community, for the community.

At the heart of social entrepreneurship sits the aspiration and ability to come up with creative ways of raising standards, challenging beliefs (about ourselves and others), changing attitudes, lifestyles and, eventually, changing lives – for the better.

Tuttle participants aren’t necessarily philanthropists or representatives of charities; many are budding social entrepreneurs (local people of Medway) hoping to connect the logic of business to social need. Breaking patterns of failure, raising expectations and in doing so build cross-cultural relationships around people actively ‘doing’ things together.

Ideology is the fuel that drives the decentralised systems of innovation and creativity.

Social Entrepreneurs have discovered that business principles have a considerable amount to offer them. They like business because businesses operate in the real world. The public and charitable sectors often don’t have to operate in this ‘real’ environment – they often stay safely removed, preferring to engage more with theory than practical reality, locked into reams of paperwork and a grant-dependent culture. The same can be said for many whom exist within the traditional ‘creative’ sphere.

Social entrepreneurs have recognised, however, that new ideas generally emerge from the creative process that occurs when people from different backgrounds and different approaches engage effectively with each other. Difference and diversity, not conformity and equality, are the fertile soil of social change, the seedbed of new ways of working.

Tuttle Projects aim to work beyond a grant-dependant culture, towards a more participatory and sustainable model of public service, which has innovation, customer service and community at its core.


How might it be structured and done?

Medway is a multicultural community, where over __ languages and dialects are spoken, a place full of glorious diversity – admitting the world is fundamentally unfair and unequal is ironically the first step to stimulating greater participation, a widening of opportunity for all and an increase in wealth creation in disadvantaged communities (a wealth of opportunity in a local economy). The emphasis must be on access to opportunity, on recognizing individuals and their passions and talents and on developing these by bridging together teams of local people focused on identifiable tasks, rather than relying on representative structures, government or local authorities. Turning passion into practice may take many forms. Social capital can only be created for many when we grow a strong and honest sense of belonging and community, focused around a shared practical task.

The Tuttle community will develop a list of potential 101 Projects

All projects must embrace a practical approach based around ‘learning by doing’ and encouraging people to ‘get their hands dirty’, and remain sceptical about a culture that makes few demands on the individual (and personal responsibility) and is dominated by policy papers and academic theory – precisely the world that underpins much of the current way of ‘doing government’, and a methodology that has been found to be far from effective the world over.

“The government (and citizens) should put less blind faith in system and process, but offer us more opportunities to take more personal responsibility for social issues. I would like to see a serious overhaul of the Civic service and its prevailing culture, which infects every bit of the public sector and so often undermines real change. I believe it is individuals who can change the world (some of whom are in the civil service – I have met them) and that the key lies in identifying these change-makers and supporting them wholeheartedly. It is people who make all the difference and I worry that so many policy papers fail to even mention them.”
~Andrew Mawson OBE

Tuttle Projects recognise that delivering real change is a risky business and all governments struggle with it. Unless governments take the long view, and withdraw and provide genuine space for social entrepreneurs to operate – and yes, at times fail – real change will never happen.

“If you are from a secure family and a well-educated background, with a bit of money, a bit of self-esteem and some contacts, you are lucky. In an area like Bromley-by-Bow, nearly everything is run by the state – housing, health, the money in your pocket, whether your children live with you or not. Nearly everything requires a form from somewhere or other to be filled in, signed, stamped, considered, responded to… The contrast between that kind of an experience of life – which believe me, can feel frustrating and actively discouraging – and someone simply saying. ‘Sure, go ahead, when can you start and how can we help?’, without forms or systems or anything else, just a person talking face to face with another person, is not to be under-estimated.”
~Andrew Mawson OBE

101 Projects will encourage the words ‘Sure, go ahead.’

 

101 Projects will only support collaborations between people with cross-disciplines – No more than 12 people, no less than 2. Projects might include:

 

Demo a self-sustaining-notforloss Creative Coworking Space (design, technology, social-participation)
Supporting OnMeJack/MadeLabs with an #Emptyshops initiative
Supporting MedwayEyes and MedwayBroadSide and Creatabot
LightVessel21 Volunteering
BarCampKent and BarCampCanterbury
Supporting @DavidBahia’s Medway #Jelly
DockyardGraffiti (http://lasersurvey.co.uk)+ National Heritage, site of historical relevance…
Workshop activity/series such as (BrightonBuild)
Media Tree and Kent’s Creative Business Economy
Develop a hyperLocal news plugin
Sounding Board / Focus Group for Public & Local Services
Support wider Kent initiatives such as Canterbury Geeks / Digibury
etc.

More information at: http://coFWD.org

8 Comments

Carl @FellowCreative

about 4 years ago

Hi Adrian, Thanks so much for your comment. In answer to your question/interest… point #2 and #3 in the blog post link below outline some of the things that have been going on. There are various things in the pipeline… as you'll see our relationships with the council and public services are growing: http://www.fellowcreative.com/2010/06/tuttle-projects-open-source-open-data-emptyshops-medway-kent-sustainable-creativity-light-vessels-podcasts-social-media-hyperlocal-activity-streams-and-future-thinking-likeminds Tuttle Club London are also working on a Consulting Model - perhaps food for further thought: http://tuttleconsulting.posterous.com/innovation-through-conversation

Adrian Mills

about 4 years ago

Medway is indeed an area that offers cultural diversity as much as it does a diversity of business and social opportunities. Local business network groups tend to be full of self-promotion and sales. Tuttle 101 sounds more interesting. It would be good to know of business & social partnership successes formed from Tuttle meetings.

Steve (MadeLab)

about 4 years ago

Referring to 'Business' not 'Grants' in my last comment. Being Creative doesn't mean you can't have a creative business (built on sound business principles you have referenced) the stereotype attitude comes as much from within the community as it does from outside.

Carl @FellowCreative

about 4 years ago

Hi Steve (MadeLab). I understand you're question 100% and of course I spend most of my days in the realms of creativity too but I think what appears to be getting recognized here is that many whom come from within the 'stereotypical creative' sphere seem to have their minds locked into a grant dependent culture, where nothing gets done unless its got the support of an arts council grant. From my stand point (and I feel the standpoint of others kind enough to comment) I'm/we're not trying to point fingers and shoot creatives down. I'm simply questioning how secure any project is when the only financial income is based on a grant dependent culture – its simply not a sustainable project long-term because if that grant is removed the project fails to exist. Years ago I worked for a company that won a large contract, the company scaled its staff team and outgoings rapidly to cater for the demand, this soon meant that 65% of the required business income each year was based solely on that single contract – two years down the road the company lost the contact and went under because they'd effectively secured themselves on a grant-dependent culture – business logic tells me that placing all your eggs in one basket is an unsustainable thing to do. – any project must have sustainable value, it must either make the money to pay for itself (traditional business logic) or save that amount in other costs and be able to justify this fact to whomever is paying the bill (this might mean in social impact, education or other ways – but in so many ways this is also business logic). I am not knocking the grant system, I'm simply making a point about a sense of business logic being required to make things 'sustainable' and that I wonder whether in some folks minds a grant is less about the money and more about 'a grant of permission to do stuff' – I keep coming back to this idea and I'm inclined to simply say 'Sure, go ahead, give it a try, you should be able to attempt that as a *proof of concept* under your own steam, if your idea is solid and has a positive and justified impact then the money will find you without you even requiring a grant-of-permission'.

Made Lab

about 4 years ago

Why is the word 'creative' followed by 'not in the real world' on these comments. Some of us working in the creative industries are in business and the real world as it's been called (not by me). Not rocket science.

Jaye

about 4 years ago

Completely agree with your appraisal re Tuttle; that’s everything I’m finding it to be :) I thought it was a business networking event at first and was so pleased to find it wasn’t! Re 101 projects – I think you were brave, challenging some sectors, and spot on with the Social Entrepreneur/businesses operating in the real world and charities/public sector/creatives being somewhat removed from it. The ABOVE comment asking why the emphasis on business illustrates the point I think – I’ve a real sense that commercial/promotion/business are dirty words in the creative sector – but without applying that logic, how can they achieve?

Vicki Cullen

about 4 years ago

Wow, very exciting. I really am trying to get to a tuttle. I need to get involved in this if I can. It sounds very interesting and full of opportunity. I'd be interested in trying to work something with holistic care and the arts as therapy...... *wanders to ponder*

Carl @FellowCreative

about 4 years ago

This outlines a twitter conversation between @glue_web and @FellowCreative on 22nd September 2010 in relation to the 101 Projects blog post above. --- Sounds all good except for the emphasis on business... why is the logic of business the only one that counts? Hi @glue_web Re. 101 Projects… Emphasis isn't business *profit*... business logic = *self-sustaining* long-term not-for-loss *value*. I understand the phrase 'business logic' may carry negative connotations but I'm more a Value Catalyst, not a Profiteering CEO *~) @fellowcreative hmm, yes, I see, but Mawson quote v dodgy I think. Research methodology not for back of fag packet. @glue_web I recommend Mawson's 'The Social Entrepreneur' book for full context. Have glue got experience building communities from scratch? @fellowcreative some! but with a specific youth focus, hard to reach at that, growing this now though. @glue_web Research Methods or not, developing hyperlocal community will soon tell you if something has worked or not, & worth more effort. @fellowcreative v. true, no substitute for lots of face to face meetings & enthusiasm, it's the 'businessmen know best' bit that rankles. @glue_web My mind focused on 'social entrepreneurs can smell success, they don't write reports about it'. Book gives Mawsons fuller context. @fellowcreative nuff said - will read and revert!

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