Looking back, 2011 was really a bit bonkers wasn’t it?
For us last year was mainly about learning by doing, collaborating and experimenting…
As a small, and unperfectly formed gang living in a topsy turvy world of disruptive change, we’ve been trying to ‘lean into uncertainty’ - it’s been an exhilarating ride.
Our mission is to help others and ourselves innovate with purpose – connecting networks for profit with networks for purpose. And hopefully have a bit of a laugh doing it….
As we set our sights on 2012, we’ve looked back at the 10 things we challenged ourselves to do in 2011. Some stuff worked really well, others less so. Some stuff just didn’t happen.
Wishful thinking or optimistic idealism – whatever you call it, these challenges are becoming our version of a business plan.
So, in no particular order here’s what we got up to…
1. Do more Good for Something 8/10
We love it that we’re increasingly being asked more challenging questions. Tackling the hard stuff is about being brave enough to take leaps – so a massive thanks to everyone who’s supported and challenged us with those on our journey to date.
All of our projects have involved helping pioneering individuals and teams build deeper purpose, meaning and empathy into their organisations and brands. Highlights include missions into community energy innovation, student engagement, sustainable fashion innovation, purposeful travel and lingerie (yep!), sustainable banking and booze R&D.
Oh, and we also did our first ever Good for Something project which was ace – the first Good for Nothing gig inside an organsiation – more on that below.
2. Do more Good for Nothing 9/10
2011 was a big year for Good for Nothing.
We put on 7 ‘gigs’, supported 19 social and environmental causes, had 6 ‘socials’ which involved ale and collaboration in that order, made a newspaper and a stack of films and were chuffed that over 500 great people have got involved in the community via our online platform - Good for Noth-Ning.
We had a pop at a 4 hr gig with 50+ design students at the D&AD New Blood Festival which rocked. And buddied up with Innocent’s creative team do a a 24 hour blast of Good for Nothing for Brixton social enterprise – The Remakery. And challenged the St Bride Library Critical Tensions conference to do Good for Nothing resulting in a 4 hr gig for the Hackney Yoga Project.
Then there’s 50/50 Make or Break – a collaborative digital fundraising effort for the famine in East Africa. In the aftermath of the London riots, we put on a 2 day gig touted as a ‘Creative Love Riot’ with an emphasis on “making stuff, not breaking stuff”. Kicked off by us and the awesome team over at Made by Many, the project ended up involving hundreds of very talented people across 9 countries. Together this international network created 43 internet-based projects in 50 days (hence 50/50) to increase donations and awareness for the famine. To date 50/50 has been featured on BBC Click, Good, PSFK, Adage, AdWeek, Common/Fearless, Eye Magazine, Protein, Creativity Online, MTV, Mashable and on Mexican TV! The Chemical Brothers made a bespoke audio-visual mix as a project, and as a ‘platform’, it won a bronze Lovie award!
Oh, and it’s raised nearly £250,000 which is amazing…
3. Make something useful 6/10
We set out to create a thing that we (and anyone else) can use to innovate with purpose.
50/50 is really just a lightweight platform + payment gateway. We learnt tons about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to collaborative digital fundraising.
Next job is to package it up into a “product” to share openly with others to find lots more new uses for it…
4. Share our Manifesto for Innovation with Purpose 5/10
This is ongoing and we’ve not nailed it yet. It will never be perfect.
2011 was about building a new set of questions and practices - many of which we’re learning from our Good for Nothing and 50/50 experiences. We wrote about what’s needed and what’s possible which frames much of our work. We’ve also been capturing and developing a toolkit of stuff that works (and doesn’t) from Good for Nothing so we can get more people doing GFN in more places this year.
The thing about innovation is that we know that process sucks compared to practice. Especially when you want to do shit that matters. So, this has to be a constantly evolving toolkit which will continue to be updated and shared as we learn more and more, by doing.
5. Meet more diverse people to open up new avenues of innovation 8/10
Doing Good for Nothing and 50/50 has introduced us to so many amazing, soulful and purposeful people
We’ve started working with quite a few of them more regularly, and it’s changing how we approach our projects.
6. Move into a new basecamp 0/10
Er. A massive #fail. Must do a LOT better…
We’re feeling the need to get nomadic so if you know of any space in Central London with like-minded makers and doers and room for 4 or 5, please shout!
7. Finding porpoise 6/10
We love our friendly little porpoise – he scouts the world for the latest, neatest ideas with purpose and shares them here. He’s been pretty active this year seeking out new stuff to the tune of 37 ideas.
8. Make more movies 9/10
We’ve had a lot of fun with this…
Check out our vimeo to see the kind of stuff we’ve been making…but perhaps the best film we’ve been involved in was this launch film for 50/50 – animated by Max Brown from Hypernaked and illustrated by Loz Ives of Because Studio.
9. Link up big business with social enterprise 8/10
By luck more than design, we’ve had a go at this twice by doing Good for Nothing gigs with both Ecclesiastical and Innocent Drinks…
In the late summer, we piloted the first ‘Good for Something’ gig in partnership with Ecclesiastical – an ethical insurer who works a lot with charity and the 3rd sector. In essence, we help them to do Good for Nothing and it was pretty amazing. The film below tells the story…
10. Get out and get active 7/10
A big highlight of the year was our team trip to the Lake District to walk, talk and plot for 2012 – we’ll post those plans up next, but in the meantime here’s a little film we made of the fun and games…
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