This was yet another event pulled together by John Popham and inspired by the social media surgery format.
It was a great example of a peer to peer support mechanism with everyone getting something from the event. The Round Foundry who provided the room, got to showcase their wonderfully flexible building and to prove once again how great they are as people. Social media bods got richly entertained by musicians. Musicians learned a bit from social media bods. Event sponsors http://get-ctrl.com get to raise awareness for their service, local business Out of the Woods get to sell a few platters of wonderful canapés and it seems that everyone is a winner.
No evaluation forms, no sign in sheets, no evidence of GVA created, jobs retained or any of the usual nonsense to be sent to a funder for rubber stamping to release funds.
No event management teams handing out name badges and ticking lists.
No pop up banners reminding everyone how great we are in providing this service and ramming an expensive, publicly funded brand down their necks.
Just a great experience shared by people who might not otherwise have met, networks built and strengthened, opportunities uncovered, smiles on faces, tunes in hearts and I suspect some really talented people who now have ideas about how to get their music heard and perhaps some more revenue too. We have known for a long time that conviviality matters. But mainstream business support rarely manages to achieve it.
No ‘gurus’ or accredited advisers either! There is a debate about the future of business support in which I advocate for a greater emphasis on peer to peer networks and problem based learning as more cost effective ways to support enterprise than a model based on professional business advisers and brokerage. And the main criticism of what I am advocating is that ‘we can’t assure the quality of the advice given’. Well apart from not being entirely true (we use an informal peer review to check out the quality of our work in social media surgeries) it also shows a lack of faith in the ability of lay people to help other lay people make progress. Information is offered on a caveat emptor, or ‘you might want to think about…’ basis, and people are advised to talk with more than one surgeon to get a different perspective. In short, people are taught how to get value from ‘would be’ helpers.
And when we look at advisory regimes that are fully quality assured, supervised and regulated – like the finance industry – are we really supposed to think that this is a model that provides guarantees of quality?
Let’s just open every single event with a reminder from Buddha – “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”