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

 


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] fellow.ventures. 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

Brand Philosophy : is Nokia a Starfish or a Spider?

Drafted 18/09/09 – Published 24/09/09.
The thoughts/viewpoints expressed are my own.

IF YOU CUT OFF A SPIDERS HEAD, it dies; but if you cut off a starfish’s leg, it grows a new one, and that leg can grow an entirely new starfish.

Quote from Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom.
Authors of ‘The Starfish and The Spider’.


As some of you may know I was recently invited to Budapest to take part in filming and social media production for the new Nokia Nseries Campaign (currently code-named #budaviral it is perhaps a little presumptuous on behalf of the marketing department) but the invitation to join a select team of mobile geeks and bloggers was an awesome opportunity and too good to turn down.


When I boarded my flight to Hungary I was carrying with me a book entitled ‘The Starfish and The Spider’. I was also very aware that my iPhone was my primary mobile handset – so why had Nokia invited me? and what were they expecting from me?

Budapest

Photo: Budapest
Original photo taken and licensed under creative commons by Me

FellowCreative Sustainability
Before I continue, and for those that may question the sustainability of such a trip (900 mile flight each way) I would like to point out that my focus in this instance was positive ‘social impact’ over ‘environmental change’ (although EasyJet do have a CSR Policy I have to admit I’m not an enthusiastic fan of corporate carbon offsetting, but I was pleased to see only one empty seat on-board my return flight, in comparison to the twenty or so available on my outbound journey).

I firmly believe that social media tools and technologies have the ability to connect, unite, empower and educate communities towards positive change (both social and environmental) – as Nokia themselves are demonstrating with their Responsiveness Campaign (exploring the positive impacts of responsive conversation) supported by TED Fellow Kyra Gaunt.
I myself spend most of my days joining dots between technologies and ideas to empower positive impact – hence SustainableWidget and my client list focused on training & development, education and entrepreneurship, and socially and environmentally positive enterprise.


However, getting back to the Starfish…


Nokia’s invitation in this case had me both intrigued and a little nervous for different reasons… given my design background I’ve been an Apple user (some might say fanboy) for thirteen years and a business contract iPhone user since August 2007. However, I personally think the iPhone camera sucks and I find Apple’s ‘corporate non-transparent ways’ and ‘sometimes suspicious governance’ of its App Store ‘specifically for video-streaming services’ extremely frustrating (and some might say non existent).

With this in mind and given the fact my Digital SLR just isn’t portable 24/7, I do tend to carry a Nokia N96 mobile in my bag, from which I sparingly record video footage, live-stream via Qik.com and take photographs of useful quality (5 mega pixels).

Over recent months I’ve also been carrying an Nokia N97 which is equipped with a slightly better camera lens (Carl Zeiss Tessar 2.8/5.4) and comes pre-installed with Qik.com live-streaming; but if I’m honest I do leave the real social media content creation and mobile geekness to entertaining and talented folk like Christian Payne and James Whatley (I’m more interested in how all this shiny stuff can be used at a global/regional/social/academic/community level to bring people and ideas together for positive change).

I prefer bottom-up, multi-channel ‘community focused’ mindsets (some might say web 2.0 principles) as opposed to those of one-way corporate governance and dictatorship – I choose Starfish over Spiders.

The Starfish and The Spider
With this said, and given my recent experiences of Nokia, I’d like to voice my viewpoint to anyone who’s interested:

Apple design and manufacture solid consumer electronics that deliver intuitive usability to a mass and global market. Apple are undoubtedly best-known for their hardware products (including the Apple Mac, iPod and iPhone) but in my personal opinion the most impressive part about their diverse and ground breaking product range is often overlooked (especially by the mass market).

The combination of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system and iTunes media platform delivers an unparalleled and unrivaled user experience! Lets face it, the reason most people overlook beautiful simplicity is because its so simple they don’t need to (or even require time to) stop and think about it. I only wish Apple made ‘touch-tone call-center systems’ – the world would be a better place and I might actually be able to talk to my bank manager!

Apple’s product quality, intuitive user experience and developer community have made them a world leader. The App Store topped 1.5 Billion Downloads in its first year and with less than 3 years in the mobile industry its supposedly on target to be market leader by 2013.

But remember I personally think the iPhone camera sucks and I find Apple’s ‘corporate non-transparent ways’ and ‘sometimes suspicious governance’ of its App Store ‘specifically for video-streaming services’ extremely frustrating. And more importantly still, I know I’m not alone.

I might be an early adopter in the technology space but I’m confident that those who frequent my circle will agree that being able to upload a video to YouTube is not enough (especially when its sprinkled with targeted advertising later), and its certainly not enough when so much more is easily possible (I’m reluctant to believe its a matter of cost).

It may surprise some of you to hear me say, others will have heard me openly say it already, but compared to the iPhone I actually prefer the look and tactility of the Nokia N97, and I’d even go so far as to say the build quality is better – if only it had an intuitive OS interface and keyboard (?)

It is with the above ‘open mindset’ that I landed in Budapest…

A nagging voice in my head kept telling me that Nokia wouldn’t be able to live up to my Apple expectations. What I found made me re-evaluate.

I found Nokia’s team to be extremely ‘community and socially minded’ in there approach and very open in conversation; not just excited about their products but more interested in what I and those around me thought we could (or wanted to) do with them. They appear to understand why I carry multiple devices and they didn’t appear at all threatened by the presence of a competitors product or a non Ovi Store App (I fail to name another brand that would be so open to this situation – perhaps Google?). Nokia appeared to understand why I prefer the App Store to Nokia Ovi, and they appeared to recognize iPhone OS is more intuitive than Nokia’s current Sybian OS.

The independent bloggers I met all shared their own stories about how the Nokia Marketing Team had actively promoted blog posts that highlighted ‘traditionally negative’ product flaws and drawbacks. Nokia seem to understand that ‘learning through doing is key’ and providing an open platform for constructive criticism and negative consumer feedback is a strength not a weakness in today’s connected ‘bottom-up’ world. Inviting bloggers and Nokia fanboys to see the latest toys is one thing but to boldly invite an opinionated Mac Addict along shows confidence in product.

Nokia N00 (N900)

Photo: My hands on an Nokia N900 Prototype
Original photo taken and licensed under creative commons by Me

The very fact that Nokia are developing innovative multi-channel Social-Media tools like Noise Cancellation Headsets and products like the Booklet 3G’s makes me feel they understand a growing audience and mindset; and better still I think they understand their competitor marketplace (especially with Google and HTC now on the playing field). The N97 and specifically the N900 demonstrate to me that Nokia understand that one button clad product doesn’t fit all but making an adaptable touchscreen interface can help. Sure their current standing is in mobile (especially in developing markets) but I’m encouraged by the fact its building upon its impressive audio and camera know-how to develop new legs in other markets like Netbook’s and VOIP.

I left Budapest impressed with a Starfish, and I keep my fingers crossed that Nokia sort out their OS Interface before a competitor releases a decent quality camera and signs-off on a live-streaming App. The fact that they are working in developing markets gives me confidence that not only will a more intuitive and useful user experience emerge on a Nokia device but its sense of social media and global connectivity/transparency will grow.

Nokia, if you are listening, thank you for making me welcome =)
I’ll leave you with three thoughts, imagine what you could do away from Ovi…

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To read more content from our Budapest adventures here are some relevant links:

#BudaViral: Social Media Adventures in Budapest with Nokia
Nokia Nseries Campaign: A Storyboard of Secrets from Budapest #BudaViral

My Review: Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905 (Probably the ideal freelancer/co-working headset?

My Review: Nokia Booklet 3G
Ben’s Review: TheReallyMobileProject.com – Nokia Booklet 3G
Stefanos’ Review (in Greek): Pestaola.gr – Nokia Booklet 3G

N97 mini and N900 stuff can be found here: http://thereallymobileproject.com