The original plan: first week, meet people; second week, do Action Cycles to help people in their companies and invite everyone to do an AC collectively regardless of the rate of adoption; third week reap the results of the Action Cycle, gather together for an Open meeting, and repeat another round of AC’s; fourth week Open Meeting and Action Cycles which emerge from growing network. Meanwhile, ask everyone in first meetings to do a Social Neuron. In an ideal world…
Real World Experience… doesn’t play out so well. Readjustment required.
Like soil that has undergone years of industrial farming, the social soil is thin. Trust has been externalised to institutions, organisations, companies, and so on. The tools of Open Business operate on high trust between individuals. And to build trust requires working together: from an initial meeting, to a group activity, to a collective ecosystem. Iterative Social Validation. Without experiment, no experience. Google has 20% google time for employees to experiment with their own initiative; a business network operating with something like 20-30% for social experimentation, for collaboration, for service to others, should constitute healthy social soil. Obviously Sqale is need to track results across organisations.
The Actual Experience
Meetings with: programme director of a multi-organisational initiative to improve numeracy in the region over the next ten years, Right to Succeed; senior business consultant executive and CEO of Blackpool Food Bank; business hub co-ordinator and business growth manager at Blackpool Council, Blackpool Unlimited and FYCreative; ex-community manager of an Effective Altruism centre in Blackpool; business development manager of the largest private business network in the north west, Shout!; artistic director of creative arts venue, The Old Electric; manager of Arts B&B; representatives of a local art community, Hive Arts; local business owner and cook, Jazz Cafe; young entrepreneur heading up multiple enterprises including, Little Blackpool Leisure.
A venue has been secured for the Open Meeting, or collective Action Cycle. We’ll push this back a week. Without previous experience of an AC within their own company, participants may be too tentative. Even an attempted AC will indicate the energy needed to achieve ‘beyond realistic’ objectives. To get results, requires commitment to action at least for an hour, even with people we don’t know well. Hence, Action Cycle.
In terms of possible £10k or £1m viral, I got in touch with a street performer and digital artist. I have also got to know the owner of the co-living space, Somewhere Different, as well as many of my fellows who range from coders and front-end web developers to a project manager, spiritualist, PhD student completing their last year on communication of global biodiversity metrics and a student changing career, as well as a civil service trainer, Brazilian cafe owner, and two Ukrainians, one a guitar teacher and the other an international law graduate. Nobody has been proactive about securing £10k.
Meeting with a ‘connector’, as recommended by one of the people in the first week, an individual who runs a successful digital design agency with London clients, chasing up journalists, and approaching local charities.
There are only two full weeks left in August, and given the throbbing number of holiday makers visiting Blackpool and August being a month where company owners go on holiday, the potential for seeding a minimal viable ecosystem before the end of August is extremely slim. It depends very much on how proactive the participants are. Given they are all paid by their own companies (or local government department), there is no great incentive to participate in the Open Business Experiment — unless they commit to doing an hour’s Action Cycle, or try a Social Neuron.
The objective, as a whole, is to bring money into Blackpool, regardless of the company or organisation any individual is in. The soil of inter-personal trust is thin. The first city to establish organic sharing, will change the course of history. That city may not be in the UK. Or Europe. We will see.
What’s clear is that for the next iteration: what’s needed are connectors — just one should be enough! Reach out and invite Open Business to your city!