Bees, trees, solid and liquid churches

      The bees and trees description has long been used to explain how social innovation flourishes. This is unfortunate because I'm terrified of bees (though they only stung me when I was pre-pubescent, for some reason). It refers to a  symbiosis between  highly resourced, stable institutions and mobile, flexible entrepreneurs. On the one hand, institutions … Continue reading Bees, trees, solid and liquid churches

Civility vs conviviality: phone numbers, unmarked Christmas cards & Big Societies

Mumbai brings out the night owl in me. Of course my night owl might not resemble yours, or most people's for that matter. I do an uncanny impression of a baby sloth during most times of the day and in most conditions, but in Mumbai I regularly managed the near impossible task of staying awake … Continue reading Civility vs conviviality: phone numbers, unmarked Christmas cards & Big Societies

David Cameron’s postsecular Big Society

I didn't get wind of David Cameron's annual assault on diversity until early this afternoon. Last year it was multiculturalism. This year it's secularism. As with last year's speech on multiculturalism this was  strident, unapologetic and unerringly blunt.  It strikes me, though, that it actually makes life harder for a government that is actively seeking to … Continue reading David Cameron’s postsecular Big Society

Down with Margaret Mead: evaluating the Big Society

When I hear the inanity of Margaret Mead's "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world...." leave someone's mouth, I want to clobber them over the head with an oversized banana. When they smugly conclude with it, like it's the truism to end all arguments,  I want to stitch … Continue reading Down with Margaret Mead: evaluating the Big Society

The People’s Library: low-tech social innovation & optimism of the will

I've been reading about the brilliant People's Library at New Cross on the RSA blogs courtesy of Sam Thomas. On the face of it, this is a Big Society triumph. In the face of swingeing public funding cuts of £88 million, 5 libraries in Lewisham faced closure. Funded by no more than £2,000 from the RSA's … Continue reading The People’s Library: low-tech social innovation & optimism of the will