An Update of Thoughts & Activities

Tuttle Projects, EmptyShops in Medway (Kent),
Sustainable-Creativity, Open-Source & Open-Data,
PodCasts, Social-Media & HyperLocal-Activity-Streams
& Community-Spaces for future-thinking LikeMinds

Yesterday (02/06/10) I re-visited the blog post I published at the beginning of January 2010 entitled ‘A new year of opportunity for a Padawan‘ and I re-read the ‘Hopes for 2010’ bullet-point list that formed it’s sign-off – in doing so I was reminded of all the to-do-lists that I (and others) have since worked through; its been a busy few months, and a busy year thus far!

Now, less than six month into 2010, I’m encouraged to report that many of January’s bullet-point ‘hopes and aims’ are well on their way to being realised, some are even complete, and much more has happened to convince me that I’m personally (and professionally) on the right road – all I need to do now is appease my bank manager by building a sustainable business model out of what I know but I’ll still remember Steve Jobs advice: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish! ‘~)

In an attempt to mark some lines in my cognitive sand, I’ve decided to publish this update. What follows is last January’s re-prioritised bullet-point-list, accompanied by some written explanations – and just for the record, each point seems to me, to fit very neatly within the framework of Chris Messina’s latest SlideShare presentation (as embedded below). I hope the following provides some inspirational mind-fodder to you, and hopefully it delivers some mental-release and focus to me – putting such things in writing usually does ‘~)

Aim #1Afford travel & ticket to SXSW® Interactive, March 2010

I commence this update on a slightly ironic footing, my original #1 priority back in January was to “Update FellowCreative.com and define ‘What I Do’ so that I can provide my bank manager with some form of stable cashflow graph”. Today I find myself hesitantly declaring that I’m yet to achieve such stability but I’m very happy to report that I not only earned my way to SXSW Interactive 2010 in Austin Texas but whilst I was there I learned from, and met, many inspiring and forward-thinking people.

I didn’t find the time to specifically blog my SXSW experiences but I can say for certain that I benefited greatly from my trip in terms of knowledge, inspiration and connections – and I trust the content within ‘Social-Web for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups‘ (published in March) has since demonstrated this fact.

My trip state-side provided non-stop activity, when I wasn’t listening to presentations from the likes of Danah Boyd or Clay Shirky, or wrapped up in conversation, I was socialising with friends (some of whom I’d not met in person but had been talking to online for years) – in short, Austin left me speechless (quite literally horse upon my return) and I’d recommend the trip to anyone with an open-mind and a soft-spot for shiny things.

I’m also proud to note that during the SXSW Digital Mission Breakfast I found myself suggesting a bold idea to Intel (the world leader in silicon innovation, processor technologies and supporter of global initiatives to continually advance how people work) – it appears the idea has since been signed-off for implementation by Intel’s HR Vice President *~)

As a closing note on this, I’m also pleased to say that only days ago Nokia got in touch regarding LikeMinds in Helsinki – I will tweet as soon as I know more about the participatory four day trip, so far it sounds extremely interesting! *~)

Aim #2Organise a Tuttle101 Project (or bigger: BarCampKent)

I will assume that you are already familiar with the concept of BarCamp, and thus I’ll move onwards to an explanation of the lesser known Tuttle:

Lloyd Davis, the founder of The Tuttle Club, describes Tuttle as ‘a loose association of people finding a way of working better together both online and off.

As a Tuttle Club regular, I think of Tuttle as ‘a philosophy or approach’ more than a Club or Event; I perceive it less as a Noun or Event Name, and more as a Verb or Action ~ as in: ‘to Tuttle‘. I believe people are participants of Tuttle, not members or attendees. Everyone who experiences Tuttle walks away with their own unique experience and perception of its unframework, open-social-approach and value; but almost all those I’ve met describe it as ‘fun and inspiring’.

If you’re a likely friend of Harry Tuttle, I do hope to meet you soon:
YouTube Preview Image


My personal understanding of Tuttle continues to evolve daily but today I’ll pose the following definition: ‘a participatory action or moment in time, where the spaces between people (as individuals or in groups) provide an open-mind and conversational canvas for transversal lines and alternative angles of exploration, learning, perception, approach, collaboration, ideation and innovation, resulting in positive-participation and social-value‘ – or put simply, to Tuttle, is to have a great excuse for an open-minded conversation over a coffee or beer, plus its free to participate and provides a much better platform for social-interaction, education, inspiration and creative collaboration than any structured conference, speed-networking programme or lead generation event I’ve ever attended.

In September 09 I decided to introduce Tuttle to the community of Medway in Kent (UK) – Tuttle101 was born. Now, only eight months later there’s a ‘casual community’ mailing-list of 78+ and an expanding ‘core community’ of participants who actively propel things forward and encourage evolutions of the concept such as Tipple. Last month (17th May) Tuttle101 welcomed 19+ participants at 9:30am on a Monday, with a further 15+ appearing for Tipple101 on the evening of 25th May.
Click here for the latest info on Tuttle101 and Tipple101.

Such community participation was somewhat unexpected, but its been magically inspiring and welcomed; it has also presented challenges of time, resource and the eternal questions: So what’s Next? Is such a thing Sustainable? How could it be done better? Where’s the Value (social, financial, educational, transversal) ?

As it turned out, Tuttle Club founder Lloyd Davis had been asking the same questions – on 15th May 2010 I spent the day at TuttleCamp discussing such things amongst a small group of nationwide Tuttle participants – the agenda for the day ‘come talk about tuttle, lets see what happens’ – suffice to say it provided interesting and stimulating conversation between people who wouldn’t normally meet.

I left with a few nuggets of inspiration to ponder: 1) Tuttle – its not for everybody but it is for anybody. 2) Tuttle works best in a publicly social space such as a Café or Bar, partly because hosting drinks and washing-up is already catered for, but mostly because it automatically supports social inclusion and openness. 3) At least one person needs to assume the role of saying hello to new participants. 4) Twitter, more often than not, provides the social back-channel to Tuttle, and thus it automatically supports the unwritten rule of no business cards or name badges. 5) As highlighted by the principles of Activity Theory and Open-Source Community Management, Tuttle appears to develop both a ‘casual community’ and a ‘core community’, whilst removing any formal sense of hierarchy.

So, what’s next on the agenda for Tuttle101? Well, in many ways that’s up to the community but one core conversation from TuttleCamp continues to surface – the idea of Tuttle Projects. The concept of ‘core community participants’ being able to provide value to a wider community through collaborative projects – this interests me greatly and I hesitantly find myself paraphrasing Erasmus Darwin and Jenny Uglow’s book The Lunar Men: “a group of enlightened improvers abounding in charity’s deeds and everything valuable in human life, principles, ethics and social liberty”. The word ‘charity’ is perhaps a little misleading but ‘social-value’ is more my mindset – and already such projects have begun to present themselves:

A. Medway Council have expressed an interest to engage the Tuttle101 community in the redevelopment of their public service website – more information here. Such engagement is yet to be confirmed but things certainly look hopeful.

B. The result of much co-working and floor101.org related discussion and inspired by the national Empty Shops campaign, the tuttle101 community (@BecomeKnown @DavidBahia @OnMeJack & @FellowCreative – helped by Steve @KentishFella at Royal Tunbridge Wells #Twuttle) collaborated over the course of two days to Geo-Tag and Photograph 136 #EmptyShops across Medway – the result of which can be seen here as the beginnings of an Open-Source Platform ~ more information can be found under ‘Aim #3’ (below).

C. As the community grows and new faces arrive in the mix, opportunities and like-minded projects are beginning to present themselves, only last week I gave up a day of my time to help out Gary Weston @LightVessel21 – LV21 is a 40 metre steel-hulled lightship being transformed into a floating cultural facility, designed to provide a range of services promoting and supporting the creative industries in the Medway area and beyond. And please note, if you’re any good with paint-brushes, hammers or abseiling lights, Gary @LightVessel21 is happy to welcome all hands on deck! please ‘~) http://www.lv21.co.uk

LV21 Light Vessel

D. A PodCast, it seems that Steven @OnMeJack and myself @FellowCreative are in the midst of attempting such a production to help engage others in conversation and spread the word of local like-minds and unsigned musicians; as well as furthering discussion and connections towards HyperLocal-Activity-Streams and Community-Generated-NewspapersTheBridgePodCast is now available here!

E. The final Tuttle Project to mention is that of a KentBarCamp – at this stage there is nothing even planned, let alone confirmed, but I feel it worth mentioning that a collaborative group of like-minds is slowly forming that might just be able to realise such a feat in Kent ‘~)

If you’d like to participate, or have your own idea for a Tuttle Project(s), please do get in touch, and please do SignUp for Updates.
In addition I’d like to note: Tuttle101 is not owned by anyone, it merely exists because of its growing community of people – and this means that the community are free to shape it, use it, or discard it, as they please. With this in mind these assets are now available to help you, but please do let us know what you’re up to beforehand so we can help ‘~)

PS. I will also note that January’s ‘Aim #5 – Plan a 15,000ft LIVE-stream sky-dive for charity’ is now added to my Tuttle101 Project list but due to finance and time constraints, and a few technical checks awaiting completion, it is now at the very bottom of my priority list.

Aim #3Inspire an Open-Source Platform

When I set out this aim in January 2010 I thought it likely to be realised through http://deathbook.info (Facebook Privacy and Digital Legacy Issues) or other matters relating The Digital Economy Bill but today I simply point you in the direction of the #EmptyShops Flickr Gallery, the Public GeoTag data (longitude and latitude data) of 136 Shops across Medway, the National Empty Shops Network – and I suggest there is now a foundation upon which to build such a platform, so please do ‘~)

#EmptyShops locational-data and shop-front photos were collected during the 21st & 22nd of May 2010 between Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham (Medway, Kent). Full details can be found here:

#EmptyShops #Medway – a Tuttle101 Project

Aim #4Update FellowCreative.com and define ‘What I Do’

Suffice to say that this is currently my #1 priority and I will be back with more details very soon! In the meantime I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who replied with an answer to my open question ‘What Do I Do?’ – as promised, below is a collection of your tweets, thank you for providing me such food for thought! ‘~)

What Do I Do?

“Sometimes you need someone else or something else to cultivate the great creative thinking. For a crucial piece of creative thinking we asked Carl to help facilitate us, and use his creative methodologies, his knowledge of our market but crucially his distance from our consultancy to improve our chances of making the mental jumps we needed. It worked! Carl was patient, thoughtful and used fun, theory and careful interventions to help us find ourselves some little gems of thought. A good man and one I’m happy to recommend”
Will McInnes, MD of NixonMcInnes

As I’ve said before, I believe we’re defined by What We Do, not by our Job Title’s. I still love my title ‘Creative Midwife & Joiner-of-Dots’ but ever since Will McInnes gave me his testimonial I’ve been pondering: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Google, Bing and Twitter : Real-Time Search may
provide more questions than answers! #BAD09

Blog Action Day2009

Image: Blog Action Day 2009 Original badge supplied and licensed under creative commons by Change.org

As I begin typing this post its 23:05pm and I’m in a parking bay at Gatwick Airport awaiting an imminent ‘phone-call for pick-up’ from my parents who are due to return from holiday via Gatwick’s North Terminal. I find myself accompanied only by my laptop, a stream of informative tweets and a random assortment of thoughts (some of which are my own)…


Six days ago I missed my opportunity to support the worthy ‘Blog Action Day #BAD09‘ campaign, my intention to publish a Climate Change related blog post was overpowered by my to-do list but the act of doing so has never left my consciousness. This appears to be the moment I write and publish my belated submission, and as fate would have it, its based on something I read only 5mins ago on Twitter.com.

The fact that I’ve just driven a forty minute journey to an airport to collect my parents from their incoming five hour flight is perhaps not the best start towards legitimatizing a Climate Change post but this behavior may pail in comparison to what I’m currently pondering – I’d love to hear your thoughts and extend the range of my current thinking:

Earlier today (21st October 2009) it was announced that the Microsoft search engine Bing.com had purchased the legal right to process and display real-time data from Twitter.com and Facebook.com within its own search results.

Just minutes ago, approximately five hours after I first heard of Bing’s announcement, Marissa Mayer of Google.com has just announced (via her twitter.com account and Google’s official blog) that the worlds largest and most popular search engine has also struck a deal to use twitter.com real-time data in Google search results.

In short, this means that Google.com and Bing.com (two of the worlds biggest players in internet search) could soon be providing ‘up-to-the-minute’ relevant results (and in time I’m guessing these may even encompass up-to-the-second results for key topics). In Future, the introduction of such search technologies will perhaps even replace the Days-Old-References and Paid-Adword search infrastructure we are currently used too.

On the face of it this all sounds fantastic, having access to the most up-to-date information is a positive concept with massive benefits for everyone (up-to-the minute/second data would be brilliant for academia and small business, to name but two potential users); and the ability to search for a town name or a person and be given news that happened only moments before would be amazing for citizen journalism and society as a whole.

This said, the likely carbon emissions and wider climate changing effects of cloud computing, continuous data processing and yet more digital legacy, waste and storage requirements leave me hesitant and more than a little concerned about the long-term consequences. The reason for this post however is not to tackle such hearty debates as power consumption and server efficiency, but to raise one further and perhaps more important point:

During the past year a growing number of businesses, SPAMers and so called Social Media Marketeers have been jumping on board the twitter.com bandwagon, unconscious to the global impact and clueless to the long-term destination, filling it with valueless tweets, get-rich-quick-advice and porn links in misguided attempts to increase their Audiences and Website Footfall. Now given these latest announcements from Google and Bing I feel its probable that the problem will get worse before it gets better – every Breakfast-Cereal-Entrepreneur and Zig Ziglar wannabe will perceive twitter.com as the latest ‘cost-free’ search-engine-optimization (SEO) and keyword pipeline towards Top 10 search listings on Google.

With this in mind, I think its safe to say that Google.com, Bing.com or any other real-time search organizations will already be looking beyond simple keyword algorithms and twitter trends, towards the reliability and associated networks and conversations of user accounts and tweets, and drilling down further still into the profiles, links, analytics and assets. I only wish they’d announce the complexities of their search methodologies to the mindless Breakfast-Cereal-Entrepreneur, Joe Public and Social Media Marketeer, as to put an instant stop to a large percentage of useless keyword attempts and valueless content creation.

I’ve spoken my mind enough and hopefully planted a Climate Change related seed of thought. I’ll leave you with one final ‘announcement from this week‘ that in some way relates to the above:

The American Government, specifically the CIA (already rumored to own parts of Facebook) have just invested heavily in real-time search and social media monitoring technologies – put short, this means its likely that global governments will soon be monitoring more than CCTV, Bank Statements and Credit Card Transactions (if they aren’t already doing so that is). I’m personally not paranoid about such things but I can see why people do have privacy concerns, especially if they are up to no good. With this said, I live in hope that such governments and authorities might at some point in the future be using such monitoring technologies and tools to Criminalize, Prosecute and Carbon Tax the individuals and businesses that consciously waste and SPAM our powerful digital resources – beware anyone thinking of short-term SEO and Keyword gain!

Additional notations for future pondering:
Top 10 Best Green Social Networks

BarCamp, Coworking (no hypen!), Empty Buildings
and Innovation in (Medway) Kent

The post below explores the beginning of a journey – its probably still worth reading! but please note we’ve now grown into the coFWD coworking community and workspace (Rochester, Kent, UK).

Disclaimer: the following post is in draft format, much of the information needs clarification and my thoughts fell from my fingers into the keyboard without much consideration for the good work already being done – the following is not meant to be taken literally and it is not meant to dis-colour any local, government or academic authorities and initiatives – its simply my honest opinion and open thinking because that’s what blogs are for right? …

This post is long (2000+ wordcount) but its hopefully worth a read – for those who’d prefer the short version, here it is:

Inspired by the great work, creative community and positive impact of The Skiff in Brighton, The Werks in Hove and the vision of Tuttle on Tour, I’m currently investigating the creation of Kent’s first open coworking space for Creatives and Digital freelancers – perhaps a space like this!

BarCamp Brighton #emptybuildings

Photo: BarCamp Brighton #emptybuildings
Original photo taken and licensed under creative commons by Josh Russell

Video: Walkaround BarcampBrighton 4 (2009)

Original footage filmed and uploaded by Chris Keene

The long version will be here (still writing and adding to it):

Nine weeks ago, whilst delivering some Creative Midwifery to a new client, they randomly and unexpectedly offered me a 2400 sq.ft. open-plan studio space in a currently derelict yet commercially licensed building that is approximately 4 minutes walk from Rochester train station, 3 minutes walk from a large public car park, a stones throw away from a large block of creative student housing, and 6 minutes walk from the Rochester campus of the UK’s first Creative Arts University (UCA). [The building in question was the disused art-deco fronted factory, formerly housing Spemco Printed Circuitboards].

I’ve seen growing numbers of derelict and vacated buildings in my local area, and stumbled across a variety of Creative Community Initiatives from twitter folk such as @artistsmakers and @p45Camp – this got me thinking…

Now I have *an idea* rather than a clear thought out plan but I have had some interesting conversations already, combined with the fact I’ve been pondering a ‘BarCamp Kent‘ for about 5 months now after finding a potential venue in Canterbury – I’d love your thoughts and input on the following please =)

The vision… 2400 sq.ft (including toilets, two self contained offices, a kitchen area and a large open plan space)… it could be the perfect coworking space for freelancers, start-ups and students to relax, work, drink coffee and hopefully collaborate and innovate 24hrs a day; the building in question has two additional floors which could be developed over time to support the wider creative community and the buildings basement is already perfect for local-band/musician practice area. I’d simply like to help the creative and digital folk of Kent by connecting them with each other and the wider *vibrant* communities such as Brighton (many of whom seem to originate from Medway) and introduce them to what I see as ‘perfectly logical yet seemingly innovative community philosophies’ such as BarCamp, Tuttle and FREE & Unlocked Wi-Fi (as yet overlooked by local creatives, business communities, local academic institutions and even Medway coffee shops – *please note that since writing this original article I have been informed that the NUCLEUS Cafe does in fact supply WiFi to paying customers via a login code upon placing an order* – but this still isn’t Unlocked Wifi). Given the current economic climate and societies growing lack of employment, self-esteem and self-worth I view this approach as a must.

Over the years, and within existing and future strategy, Medway authorities and Kent focused development agencies have spent (and will continue to spend) £millions investing government funds and tax payers money into renovating and building minimalist glass-filled office spaces (that try to look like The Hub), calling them Innovation Centers, and charging start-ups and freelancers a minimum of £300 per month for a serviced office space that has no real value or encouraged/flourishing *sense of community* (except a canteen like break-out space and a meeting room which can only be rented by the hour provided they can afford £15+ a time, and providing a host of monthly *traditional* corporate run networking events that are focused on the short-term bottom line and Return on Investment [ROI] rather that long-term Inspiration, Innovation and Social Return on Investment [SROI]).

I’d like to provide a space (nothing flash but clean, dry, secure, with kitchen and toilet) that houses some comfy weathered sofas, a few beanbags, some chairs and desks, book shelf, free Wi-Fi, some power sockets and a decent coffee machine (with an available free meeting room and projector for anyone who needs it). I’d then like to focus efforts on what I believe would truly help support and develop a sense of *creatively inspired community* within Medway’s (Kent’s) creative/digital freelance and student community (encouragement, inspiration, play and conversation).

Remember, 2400 sq.ft is a big space, and given that other floors are potentially available, I’m thinking BarCamp Kent and other fun stuff, including after hours social media workshops, portfolio discussions, and creative sessions for students and businesses – bring on your ideas! =) Given the seemingly low rates I’ve currently been offered (about £800 – £1000 per month +rates +bills) and a likely required upfront investment of £5000-8000 to fit and furnish the space, I think we’re looking for approximately 8-10 freelancers who’d be willing to commit approximately £100-150 per month for a full time coworking desk (with full access and priority to free meeting spaces and facilities). Then I’d look to fund the rest of the space in other ways such as Workshop footfall (Social Media is just one growing area where I know many a professional who could do a talk or skill-swap). I of course understand they’ll be legal requirements and processes to abide by but I’ll be looking to avoid traditional funders and authorities who’ll clog everything up with red tape, middle men and ownership issues – in my view, the space should be owned and run by the community with the freedom to do what they want in it (within reason of course).

I haven’t agreed or really planned anything yet! *please note that nothing is confirmed and I have no idea how to realise it yet*, but as with anyone with a concrete vision *not* I do have some ideas on names =) “Space – The 1st Floor”, ‘The 1st Floor’, ‘Level 2.0.1’ “Space – as yet indefinable…” Or we could simply run with ” Floor 1984″ – an interesting name for an open space that’s community focused and free (ask @documentally on twitter if you need an explanation for the #1984 reference but don’t tell him about the potential use of a community webcam =)
I’m currently running my thinking under the operation name ‘Floor101.org’ but this is likely to change – I’m also hoping to organize a Medway based Tuttle to see if the ‘Digital Creative’ (and broader creative community) community does indeed exist – lookout for tuttle.101.

Now I’m not saying that any such space will be realised quickly (or ever), this thinking (and your input) may simply help visualise a journey – Eg. it may lead to starting a Medway Tuttle to see if the right community players do exist for such a space to be sustainable long-term. As I type this I’m sat in Café Nucleus which doesn’t have FREE Unlocked WiFi (it does have WiFi for paying customers) but with very little investment and a few phonecalls – ‘anything is possible’ and they do serve a good latté for £1.75 =? I look forward to hearing your thoughts (more details, references and research below).

As some of you may be aware I live in Medway (Kent, UK) but have spent much of my past 3 years travelling in a triangle – between Kent, London and Brighton – mostly on public transport and mainly for client work, attending events, collaborating with creative/digital thinkers and fellow coffee drinkers (with the occasional pint of Guinness thrown in for good measure). In mid 2008, in addition to my Kent studio commitments, I made a decision to support the opening of a new Brighton based coworking space by taking on the rent for two full-time desks at TheSkiff; a space founded by my friend and colleague @JonMarkwell at Inuda (the company who developed my original SustainableWidget.com prototype). My intention at the time was to move my professional and personal life from Medway to Brighton (the additional desk being available to freelancers I work with, or simply available to the wider community when vacant) – a life-changing decision to move away from my long standing friends and family, a financial gamble with a good cause, but a decision based on a comparative fact:

“Compared to Medway (where I have lived, studied, teach occasionally, and have started two businesses during the past 8 years) Brighton has proven itself to have a *better* vibrant, creative and digital *sense of community* populated by some truly wonderful folk.”

(Massive thanks to folk including @stevepurkiss @thinkgareth @edevries @richtextformat and @jonmarkwell – you are all legends!). Many such folk have welcomed me on-board their creative projects and even offered up their sofas, spare beds and meeting-room floors as a place for me to work or sleep during random last minute trips South to commission or work with some really great Brighton based clients and to attend amazing events such as BarCamp. (Here’s just a few such events: BrightonBarCamp, BrightonTuttle, dConstruct, Full-Frontal…) The sense of *creative community* to which I refer is something I find hard to summarize in words (energy, buzz, enthusiasm, anything is possible, #tuttle-esq…), but it is certainly something I haven’t experienced in Kent apart from my early days studying at Kent Institute of Art & Design (KIAD) back in 1997.

After 25 years local experience I can say for certain that Kent (and specifically Medway) is home to many businesses (including many *traditional* design, marketing, technology and engineering companies) and it appears rife with industrial estates and enterprise hubs for start-ups and SMEs, as well as a newly opened Innovation Centre (which as far as I can tell is more focused on business rent than actual innovation). Over recent years (since at least 2006) Medway has become the focus of much Regional Investment and Regeneration and is viewed and written about by local councils and development agencies as a world class region for tourism and culture, and there appears to be a strategic plan of transformation into a city of learning, culture, tourism and enterprise by 2016 (and I’ve heard Academics, Strategists and Consultants talking publicly about Medway being at the heart of the South East Creative & Digital Economy). In support of the above thinking, Kent is home to three campus of the UK’s first Creative Arts University (one of which is in Medway, plus a host of other academic institutions including Canterbury Christ Church University and University of Greenwich). Medway is also home to funded initiatives such as The Joiners Workshop (a £3+million Space for Creative Businesses) and the NUCLEUS Arts Centre (formerly the New Art Centre – the largest artist’s studio complex in North Kent). There are also community initiatives such as Made In Medway founded by designer Steve Rowland (who as it happens used to be Brighton based).

Yet with all of the above in mind, and with my local network spanning Creatives, Developers, Academia/Learning, Training & Development and organizations such as MEBP I still feel a lacking sense of local ‘innovative energy’ and *creative community* – this frustrates me greatly. Partly because it doesn’t aid my personal creativity, but more importantly because I’m convinced that the area is full of passionate and creative musicians, artists, designers, sculptures, film-makers and technologists (including media folks and web-developers) who are spending their days working from their back bedrooms (or even in jobs they hate) because they lack the creative infrastructure they’d need to be a freelancer (or even feel that they could be). I believe that freelance creatives don’t need a full-time office or enterprise hub, nor can they afford one – I’m convinced that they do what they do because they love it, they don’t do it for the money (the truth is most would do it for free if they felt valued and could afford a roof over their head, a mug of warm coffee and the occasional pint of Guinness – and I’m referring to ladies too!). They do it because they want to communicate and express, some want feedback, exchange and conversation but most just need to know they are not alone – they don’t fit the traditional business plan model and most are allergic to filling in forms. Brighton has coffee shops with sofas, open Wi-Fi and a non-plastic, friendly atmosphere where developers and creative thinkers can go to talk, work from their laptop and moleskine notebooks, think and meet – its cheaper than an office but its probably more valuable. All of the enterprise hubs and £3m Innovation Centre’s in Medway are commercial, sure they have “break-out spaces” but sadly this term inevitably leads to a canteen like atmosphere with modern plastic furniture which should be replaced by weathered *old* comfy sofas where anyone can kick their shoes off and sit cross legged with a laptop, book or paintbrush. The only real thing I see in the way of such a simple idea are the complicated risk assessments of innovation and creativity!

The journey continues… on Monday 5th October 2009 I organized Tuttle.101… a year on (October 2010) there’s exciting things afoot! In November 2011 we opened the doors of http://coFWD.org

Exploring Sustainable Creative Practice

The following presentation was delivered to students at University of the Arts London on 7th May 2009.

An audio only version is available as part of the ECCA podcast series offered to creative students at University of the Arts London, it can also be downloaded for free via iTunes or viewed directly on SlideShare.