Entrepreneur’s Workshop With LOCA

Creative Connections

Date:          Wednesday 21 July

Time:          6.30 – 8.30 pm

Venue: 51b Holme Bank Mills, Station Road, Mirfield, WF14 8NA

(From Mirfield go under the bridge for Mirfield railway station and turn left following the road with the large sign for James Walker Properties.

From Hopton turn right just before the Mirfield railway station bridge and following the road with the large sign for James Walker Properties).

Creative Connections are quarterly events for artists and creative businesses in and around North Kirklees, run by Loca as part of its Creative Business Support Programme.

As well as encouraging the development of a supportive and well connected community of creative people within North Kirklees we are also encouraging people to look at their businesses more professionally and with more of a critical eye. With this in mind we have a very motivational and thought provoking presentation to offer to you.

Mike Chitty is a writer, trainer, coach and adviser on enterprise and entrepreneurship.  Despite having a background in physics his work strikes a chord with creative people and artists of all kinds.  In this 30 minute session Mike will provide a fast paced, honest and highly practical introduction to The Entrepreneur’s Workshop and introduce us to 10 powerful tools that can help us make sure that our creative enterprises serve us rather than the other way round.

Twitter: @mikechitty
Facebook: mikechitty

As an extra bonus, we are holding the evening’s event at the new studio of Andrew Warburton, Area Rugs and Carpets where you be able to view inspirational work by Andrew, Dylan Edwards and Amazed Rugs.  Andrew will once again demonstrate the production methods he uses to create his bespoke, high quality rugs and there will be the opportunity to have a go for the more adventurous among you.

Creative Connections is a chance to meet informally with other creative people to pick up ideas, information and contacts which may be useful in your work.  It’s also a great opportunity to promote your own work and what’s going on creatively in the local area, so please do use it as a platform to let people know about events or projects that you are involved in, or to sound out interest in an idea you’re developing, or to request information.  Why not bring along your portfolio, brochures or other visual material to show your work to others and help develop your contacts?

The Loca team looks forward to seeing you at Creative Connections.  Please contact us if you have any particular access needs.

Please park in the free car park. Andrews studio is under the barriers to the right. There are three small steps up to the workshop with handrails.

The evening is free and light refreshments will be provided.

RSVP to Loca on 01924 488844 or email: loca.admin@loca.co.uk

Dead Badger Does not Inconvenience Taxpayer…honest Guv’

Every now and again news breaks of yet another ‘council gaffe’.

This mornings delight features a crew sub-contracted to Hampshire Council to paint white lines on the road.  The decaying carcass of a dead badger meant they had to avoid painting about a metre of road.

These things happen.  The street cleaning crew did not get there before the line painters.  No great outrage, just a mildy amusing article and accompanying picture.

No outrage until you get to the piece where the council spokesman said that the carcass would be cleared away and the crew would return to complete the white lines at ‘no extra cost to the taxpayer‘ because the contractor was working to a fixed price.  Now we can split hairs over the meaning of  ‘extra cost to the taxpayer’ but of course this sort of thing incurs extra cost and in most cases these will be built into the tendering price for the job.

I am not sure what it costs to get one of those crews out to paint just a metre of white line where a badger once lay dead – but my guess is it is not cheap.  The cost needs to be understood and feedback into the system so that it understands the costs associated with getting simple things wrong.  If fixed cost contracts mean that councils believe they can be less efficient because the consequences will not revert to the taxpayer we are in a very mixed up world.

Arts Funding in a Web 2.0 World

I tend to agree with JG Ballard when he said:

The funds disbursed by the Arts Council over the decades have created a dependent client class of poets, novelists and weekend publishers whose chief mission in life is to get their grants renewed….

The trouble is the alternatives to pursuing public funding are so damned hard.  They traditionally rely on someone liking your art enough (or believing it to be a decent investment proposition), to want to actually buy it at a price that does not lose the artist money and that values their time and skill reasonably.

But what if we set up a site where artists could pitch their projects at the ‘drawing board’ stage, including the budget necessary to create the work, and then donations were crowd sourced from the web?

It could look a bit like this from the US.

  • Does such a platform exist here in the UK?
  • Could it?
  • Should it?

Kurt Cobain and MC Hammer as Enterprise Gurus

In a week when Dragon’s Den has returned to our screen portraying a particular take on entrepreneurship I htink that we can get fresh inspiration for entrepreneurial good practice from less mainstream reference points.  Here are a couple of examples from the music industry.

Nirvana are not the usual reference point when considering characteristics of the successful entrepreneurial start up, but this post teaches some valuable lessons:

http://lateralaction.com/articles/kurt-cobain-startup-success/

I also love this podcast where rappers and other ‘street’ musicians talk with Stanford University about the impact of the internet on their business models – featuring 80s legend MC Hammer and Quincy Jones III

http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2047

Thanks to Hope&Social’s own @edhombre for pointing me at the Cobain piece. Hope & Social are finding their own ways to build customer loyalty and make a living (and fun lives) from the music industry without having to sell tons of bytes.

Why we shouldn’t worry about LEPS

As someone who remembers the Small Firms Service, Manpower Services Commission, The Training Agency, TECS, Business Links and the establishment of RDAs, I refuse to be overly exercised by the development of Local Economic Partnerships.

We know that they will have significantly reduced budgets.  We know that they will be led by some concoction of ‘private’ and ‘public’ sector with a seasoning of social enterprise for good measure.

We can be relatively sure that they will have considerable bureaucratic overheads – necessary to ensure openness, accountability and probity and that they will tie themselves up in the same debates about economic development policy that have raged with sterility for decades; picking winners, encouraging start-ups, clusters, sectors, creative classes, beautification, yada, yada, yada.

We know that they will be very heavily influenced by professions allied to construction and engineering. Planners, place-makers, architects, developers who can throw big money at making sure they retain the lion’s share of public spending even as the spending pie shrinks.  One just needs to look at the key ‘Partners’of the currentRegeneration and Renewal National Summit to see the evidence.

We can also be sure that they will embrace a strategic, top down approach to economic development that pretends that economic development happens in a bubble that is disconnected from cultural and social development.  No doubt these too will get their own shrivelled strategic bodies.  The paradigm of economic growth as an unmitigated good will hold sway in the strange world of economic development.  Ideas of sustainability and steady state will not be seriously entertained (unless of course they paradoxically provide opportunities for growth).  Visions will be developed by the anointed, and most of us will see the world of economic development at best, ‘through a glass darkly’.

We must choose our engagements with the strategists, and the terms of our engagement very carefully.  We are currently paying the price for allowing our strategies to be far too dependent on continued and unsustainable state funding.  We must make sure that we don’t give the state such power and control over our futures again.  Over-reliance on the state has proven to be just ‘bad strategy’  We must not sell ourselves to the funders while we call ourselves community development workers – unless they fully embrace the principles of community led regeneration – whether they are convenient to the politicians and bureaucrats or not.

Facilitation is unlikely to get a look in.  Whole person approaches will be ignored (economic development will continue to speak to homo econimicus), co-creation is as close as we will get to responsiveness and bottom-up. And let’s be clear, co-creation as conceived by the state is nowhere near responsive and bottom up.  It still asks ‘how do we engage people in the agenda of the state’ and not ‘how do we engage the state in the agendas of the people’.  For me this is the ultimate deceit that lies at the heart of ‘Big Society’ and that needs to be carefully and thoroughly outed.

We can also be sure that those who actually live in the communities and give their time and skills to help make things better will be expected to do so for free as budgets for community development shrink and are increasingly targeted at problems (obesity, crime, drugs etc) that see humans as essentially degenerate instead of at the development of aspiration, hopes and dreams which see people as essentially good and progressive.

So I refuse to be exercised.  LEPs will evolve.  They will be largely ineffective in spite of the fact that they will be stuffed to the ginnels with good, committed, well meaning people.  And in a decade they will evolve again.  The sign-makers, website developers and letterhead printers will rub their hands with glee.

I will put my energies into supporting bottom up, responsive approaches that honour peoples humanity, that build social capital, that value the contributions of all, regardless of sector, ambition or potential.  And I will keep looking for genuinely innovative approaches to the thorny question of progress?

In practice this means helping others to develop initiatives like BettkultchaCultural ConversationsTEDx Leeds etc (we are blessed with a resurgence of such civic endeavour in Leeds) that holds real promise to nurture something very exciting.

But I will also endeavour to provide some contributions of my own.  For me this means trying to develop Progress School and Innovation Lab as places to foster radical personal and organisational transformation.

And just perhaps we might be able to persuade those in authority to trust us, to support us, to help us.

Who knows?

Fiddling while Rome Burns…Again?

As someone who remembers the Small Firms Service, Manpower Services Commission, The Training Agency, TECS, Business Links and the establishment of RDAs, I refuse to be overly exercised by the development of Local Economic Partnerships.

We know that they will have significantly reduced budgets.  We know that they will be led by some concoction of ‘private’ and ‘public’ sector with a seasoning of social enterprise for good measure.

We can be relatively sure that they will have considerable bureaucratic overheads – necessary to ensure openness, accountability and probity and that they will tie themselves up in the same debates about economic development policy that have raged with sterility for decades; picking winners, encouraging start-ups, clusters, sectors, creative classes, beautification, yada, yada, yada.

We know that they will be very heavily influenced by professions allied to construction and engineering. Planners, place-makers, architects, developers who can throw big money at making sure they retain the lion’s share of public spending even as the spending pie shrinks.  One just needs to look at the key ‘Partners’of the current Regeneration and Renewal National Summit to see the evidence.

We can also be sure that they will embrace a strategic, top down approach to economic development that pretends that economic development happens in a bubble that is disconnected from cultural and social development.  No doubt these too will get their own shrivelled strategic bodies.  The paradigm of economic growth as an unmitigated good will hold sway in the strange world of economic development.  Ideas of sustainability and steady state will not be seriously entertained (unless of course they paradoxically provide opportunities for growth).  Visions will be developed by the anointed, and most of us will see the world of economic development at best, ‘through a glass darkly’.

Facilitation is unlikely to get a look in.  Whole person approaches will be ignored (economic development will continue to speak to homo econimicus), co-creation is as close as we will get to responsiveness and bottom-up. And let’s be clear, co-creation as conceived by the state is nowhere near responsive and bottom up.  It still asks ‘how do we engage people in the agenda of the state’ and not ‘how do we engage the state in the agendas of the people’.  For me this is the ultimate deceit that lies at the heart of ‘Big Society’ and that needs to be carefully and thoroughly outed.

We can also be sure that those who actually live in the communities and give their time and skills to help make things better will be expected to do so for free as budgets for community development shrink and are increasingly targeted at problems (obesity, crime, drugs etc) that see humans as essentially degenerate instead of at the development of aspiration, hopes and dreams which see people as essentially good and progressive.

So I refuse to be exercised.  LEPs will evolve.  They will be largely ineffective in spite of the fact that they will be stuffed to the ginnels with good, committed, well meaning people.  And in a decade they will evolve again.  The sign-makers, website developers and letterhead printers will rub their hands with glee.

I will put my energies into supporting bottom up, responsive approaches that honour peoples humanity, that build social capital, that value the contributions of all, regardless of sector, ambition or potential.  And I will keep looking for genuinely innovative approaches to the thorny question of progress?

In practice this means helping others to develop initiatives like Bettkultcha, Cultural Conversations, TEDx Leeds etc (we are blessed with a resurgence of such civic endeavour in Leeds) that holds real promise to nurture something very exciting.

But I will also endeavour to provide some contributions of my own.  For me this means trying to develop Progress School and Innovation Lab as places to foster radical personal and organisational transformation.

And just perhaps we might be able to persuade those in authority to trust us, to support us, to help us.

Who knows?

Progress School in Leeds

Just about to embark on a new venture in Leeds called Progress School, providing pay what you can professional and personal development.  Progress School offers:

  • A confidential and supportive environment in which to plan your personal and professional development
  • Time to develop a vision for the ‘ideal you’ and to learn more about the ‘real you’ – how you are perceived by others
  • Recognition of strengths and gaps – those potentials that you have not yet fully realised
  • A learning agenda – identify what you need to learn and how you are going to learn it to bridge the gap between ‘real’ and ‘ideal’
  • Access to a network of fellow Progress School members who will commit to helping you learn
  • A chance to experiment – to try out new behaviours and skills – to see if they work for you
  • Develop new practices that help you make progress

Progress School is designed to offer you a flexible process to support your development.  The more you attend the more you are likely to get from it – but there is no curriculum to follow – just a process of reflection and action to engage with.

Interested?  Book Your Place…Now

Prices start from free….

Progress School…

Just about to embark on a new venture in Leeds called Progress School, providing ‘pay what you can’ professional and personal development.  Progress School offers:

  • A confidential and supportive environment in which to plan your personal and professional development
  • Time to develop a vision for the ‘ideal you’ and to learn more about the ‘real you’ – how you are perceived by others
  • Recognition of strengths and gaps – those potentials that you have not yet fully realised
  • A learning agenda – identify what you need to learn and how you are going to learn it to bridge the gap between ‘real’ and ‘ideal’
  • Access to a network of fellow Progress School members who will commit to helping you learn
  • A chance to experiment – to try out new behaviours and skills – to see if they work for you
  • Develop new practices that help you make progress

Progress School is designed to offer you a flexible process to support your development.  The more you attend the more you are likely to get from it – but there is no curriculum to follow – just a process of reflection and action to engage with.

Interested?  Book Your Place…Now

Prices start from free….