Yesterday I was invited to help Axis and the ever wonderful Culture Vulture to run a ‘Cultural Conversation’ to help a group of around 60 artists, project managers, collectors and gallery managers to explore the role of social media in supporting their work. The group included some social media users and ‘experts’ (I use that word cautiously) and one or two technical types. Peopl trsavelled from all over the north of England to take part and the venue at Project Space Leeds was rammed!
Instead of using the default setting of finding some experts to explain it all to the numpties we went with an open space meeting. In this format groups of people meet to explore as peers the issues and topics they wish to explore. They set the agenda, in real time on the day, and learn by exchanging experiences, insights and challenges. They talk to each other, like human beings, in conversations.
In under four hours the group of 60 were each able to attend 4 conversations chosen from a schedule of 18 or so. The topics included:
- ‘What is Twitter and How Do I Use It’
- Social Media Dialogue as Artwork’
- I am Completely Overwhelmed! Where Do I Start?
- Using Social Media for Critique
and many more.
Despite the fact that there are no experts holding forth, no lectures and no exhibitions the feedback from those who attended was excellent. They enjoyed the process, they learned a lot, and most (perhaps all?) went away enthused about increasing or changing the way they use social media either to produce or attract and audience to their work.
This kind of open space conversation that builds relationships amongst participants and fosters enquiry and peer learning, rather than sitting passively while an expert holds forth, seem to me to be consistently effective ways to both build the social capital that forms the bedrock of an enterprising community and enable them to access the insights that they need to know, right now. Indeed as the afternoon wore on a few new conversations were added as people though ‘Right, know I need to find out about….’
60 people smiling, laughing, talking, challenging, enquiring and advocating. In short being human and exploring the implications of social media for something that they love.
A low cost, high value and extremely productive contribution to the enterprising ecosystem. At a time when we need to be creating more value for less cash I can’t help that the world of enterprise development needs to embrace this type of peer to peer learning event. We not be able to do much to improve the transport infrastructure in the city without a great big dollop of cash from government, but we can surely improve the enterprising infrastructure for next to nothing!
Some more thoughts were captured on the day in this audioboo – Why Open Space Works for Artists
This practical workshop will introduce you to the theory and practice of social marketing – how to use marketing techniques to achieve specific behavioural goals designed to lead to social good.
Whether you are trying to promote healthy lifestyles, encourage people back into work or to start a business, get back into education, or engage in a campaign, an understanding of social marketing can help you to:
- find new people who want to work on your agenda
- support them on their journey to make real change happen
- get the right people at the right events at the right time
What Will You Learn?
You will learn how to:
- Develop marketing collateral (leaflets, posters and websites) that might just work
- Use the media effectively – PR and role models that work
- Build ‘Word of Mouth’ strategies and referral networks
- Work with ‘gatekeepers’ to ‘gain entry‘
- Manage introductions in the community
The day will involve some theory and explore a number of examples of good and not so good social marketing campaigns. Participants will have the opportunity to apply what they learn to a real campaign of their own.
What is social marketing and how can I use it?
What behaviours are we trying to promote?
Using Segmentation to Increase Impact
Eating an Elephant – bite sized chunks….
Social Marketing Tools – with a focus on emerging social media (twitter, facebook, wikis etc)
The Role of Traditional Marketing and PR
Developing a Social Marketing Campaign (making a start)
Marketing through Relationships and Networks
Find out more and book your space – http://socialmarketingworks.eventbrite.com
On Friday afternoon @culturevultures convened one of the best business support/development sessions I have witnessed in the last 30 years.
Some 30 creatives came together in a room donated by a local managed workspace to provide peer to peer support on a range of topics related to marketing, branding, writing and social media. Lots of expertise in the room, lots of desire to explore and learn. No-one labelled as an adviser – no-one labelled as a client. Just lots of people willing to share what they knew and ask for help with what they didn’t.
No public funding at all. Just people donating whatever they thought it was worth. Donations were used to help pay for cupcakes and cocktails and an afternoon of fun.
Business development as it should be.
This is what the public sector could be paying for.
A pal of mine recently asked for some recommendations for academics worth following for a would be lecturer in start-up and enterprise.
I put out a quick shout on twitter and here is what I got back within minutes:
- Kauffman Foundation (always worth a follow – even though they are US-based) http://www.kauffman.org/
- Centre for Small & Medium sized business at Warwick business school – http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/research/csme/ (Storey, Mole etc)
- Andrew Atherton at Lincoln http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/vc/coreexec/andrew_atherton.htm
- ‘Best papers’ that have been presented at ISBE in recent years – http://www.isbe.org.uk/BestPapers
- And of course Alan Gibb http://www.allangibb.com/
I also find lots of interesting stuff by following the #enterprise tag on twitter (yes, I do see it as a serious if serendipitous research tool!)
Please let me know if you find any of this useful, or any other good stuff that the twitterverse has missed!