Go on, get involved.
What do you do when your government won’t address the pressing issue of urban air quality? You fly kites. Kites that are kitted out to measure air pollution. This is precisely what Float Beijing does.
Kite flying is a very traditional activity amongst the Chinese and serves as the perfect medium to get residents involved in something quite worthwhile. Float aims to empower residents and equip them with the knowledge and skills to fly kites and collect data on air quality levels.
Sometimes things need to get shaken up. Switched around. Reinvented.
The energy sector happens to be one of these things. For too long many people have accepted their provision of energy as something that’s untouchable and something that must remain the way it is. The type of energy we use is another aspect of the sector that people don’t really think twice about. We’re so dependent on oil for fuel that we forget that there is or can be a better way.
There are of course, a few pioneers, setting off on their journey of disruption. Places like 1bog and the Carbon Co-op help neighbourhoods purchase renewables collectively, lowering the cost of the technology but also allowing for the communities to control their own energy creation and monitor the demand. There are many more ideas like this out there and this is why I’m very excited to be helping Forum For The Future out with their new project: Gatecrash the energy sector.
Here’s some more info:
Gatecrashing the energy sector is about creating a sustainable energy system and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. We need to urgently develop radically different ways of generating, distributing, storing and using energy.
History shows us that real disruption rarely comes from within a system and the energy sector in the UK is currently dominated by powerful incumbents, the majority of whom are wedded to the current system. So, we are embarking on an exciting new project to invite people to ‘gatecrash’ the energy sector and create disruption by bringing expertise and ideas from outside.
Over the next 5 months we will be bringing together people from a range of disciplines and organisations to generate new ideas and prototype alternatives to current systems. We are reaching out to anyone with an interest in creating disruption in the energy sector; from multinational ICT companies and home tinkerers to social entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Through a series of events and prototyping workshops we hope to generate and support alternatives.Our aim is to produce 3-4 projects that we can showcase in 2011 – these might be working prototypes or detailed business plans but will be at a stage where they can been seen as genuine alternatives to current systems. The conversations have begun with people wanting to get involved and we will hold the first of a series of events in September.
If you’d like to be a part of it, please contact Gemma Adams g [dot] adams (AT) forumforthefuture [dot] org or Hugh Knowles h [dot] knowles (AT) forumforthefuture [dot] org. More information can be found on Forum’s website and you can keep up to date with the project @lightbulbmoment on Twitter.
Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment in social media. The project began as a network of 100 small local businesses and how now grown to include anyone wishing to be a part. An amplified indivdual is described as someone that ‘uses social media and the web to enhance their abilities to sense their world, create shared resources and act collaboratively’.
Today I was fortunate to meet the group and give a chat called DIY Community. It’s a horrible name for a talk if I’m being honest, but I couldn’t come up with a better name.
There are a lot of places now trying to identify connectors; community builders; fans; networkers, whatever term you’d like to call them. Malcolm Gladwell in his novel the tipping point talked about social connectors and there is also the 1,000 true fans. Kevin Kelly wrote about how having 1,000 true fans to make a living. The thinking behind both Gladwell’s social connector theory and Kelly’s true fan model is that having a community around a project, or a artist or a company contribute to its livelihood and success. The more people you have who act as nodes and spread the word, the better your chances for making it.
Today at amplified Leicester, I got thinking a lot about how communities are able to rally around something and was really inspired having met the group. While there are many different types of communities, Amplified Leicester are working very hard at creating theirs and maintaining it both online and offline.
Get Wired is a little project I’ve been helping the Young Foundation and Social Innovation Camp with. It’s a experiment in getting young people to effectively tell their local council, King’s Lynn, what they think would make the Downham Market area a better place to live.
Here’s a bit about the project:
‘Get Wired is about finding new ideas to make your local area better by using simple web and mobile tools. We’ll be bringing young people from the Downham Market area together with students and professional web developers and designers to make new projects that use the web and mobile tools to make Downham better for everyone.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be hunting down some of the best ideas that could change something that matters in the local area. Ideas may be about finding sports teams, getting people together to share lifts to school or cleaning up a local park.
3 ideas will be selected to get developed over a day long workshop at Downham Highschool on June 4th from 10am-6pm. Young people will be matched with teams of software developers, designers and many more who can help get the ideas off the ground.’
I love the fact that the ideas are coming from the young people. I had the chance to meet some of the young people who will be involved. When one girl was asked if she remembered like before facebook, her response was ‘Oh, yes. Before facebook there was Bebo’. These young people put most people I know to shame when it comes to web technology. I’m excited to see what ideas and projects they come up with.
It’s a really interesting project and Downham Market is quite a pretty place- it reminds me of Canada. If you’d like to get involved do get in touch. You can also join the facebook group.