As I mentioned here, I was in London last week. While there I spent time with with Mary McKenna (Chair of the Digital Circle Steering Group and Co-Founder/Owner of Learning Pool from Derry) and Ryan Adams (BBC Project Manager in their Media/Online arm and also on the Digital Circle Steering Group).
So, to get to London at 9 am, I needed to be up and about at 3 am. It was going to be a long day.
My schedule included the following:
- Quick visit to a Learning Pool event at the Kings Fund. To see what they do and also soak up some coffee.
- Visit the RSA building at Charing Cross to finally check if I want to join and also what facilities are there.
- Visit to the Technology Strategy Board at the BIS building on Victoria St.
- Attending CityCampLDN
- Turn up and see what goes on at the Social Entrepreneurs Network monthly meeting at the RSA.
- Meet folk at the Tuttle Club, held at the Centre for Creative Collaboration.
London is one of those cities where everyone seems to be up to something; not necessarily a nefarious thing but everyone seems involved in something to a greater or lesser degree.
So what is a Learning Pool?
This was the first surprise of my visit. I’d considered that Learning Pool was a good name for a company that sold e-learning content. That’s not exactly what I discovered. Learning Pool work with the public sector (and voluntary sector) mainly and the “pool” in their name is their process of pooling all of the content and resources they have developed in co-operation with their public-sector clients and sharing it among the other clients. It really was a bit of a revelation that something so simple and sensible can actually work – ideal for the Age of Austerity. It made me wonder why we don’t do more of this in education (at all levels) and also how it could work well in a private sector environment. Learning Pool recently launched a SME product as well which builds on this: MyLearningPool. The event itself was a gathering of nearly 20 individuals from different councils around London. This group is usually much larger but half-term conspired to make it a lot more intimate.
The enthusiasm of the group was a real eye-opener. Some of these council project managers were encyclopaedic in their knowledge of the product and in the content not only developed for their own region but that of other regions. Considering that Learning Pool works with nearly every council in Great Britain (but oddly none in Northern Ireland), that’s a considerable amount of shared content and knowledge.
I’ve posted about this organisation before so I’ll just include some photos now.
The Technology Strategy Board
A meeting was planned with Iain Gray, CE of the Technology Strategy Board and his colleague, Paul Mason (Head of Development), regarding the future of Digital Circle and also our interest in pursuing a Technology and Innovation Centre for Digital Media and Software in Northern Ireland.
The meeting was originally scheduled to be in a prison cell office within the BIS building but after reviewing (and the late hour) we retired to the pub to talk.
We covered the _CONNECT social network, created by the TSB to encourage collaboration and open innovation. Everyone agreed on the importance of networks of networks and I took away the action to encourage people to join the TSBs network in order to access their competitions and contacts.
Organised by Dominic Campbell and sponsored by FutureGov, CityCampLDN, it was hosted at The Hub, Kings Cross. There were some great pitches from folk with ideas looking for collaborators. The original pitch was “CityCamp LDN brings together city leaders at all levels from government, business and community organisations to reimagine the way in which technology can help to reshape the future of London.” which sounds like something needed in Belfast.
Later that night, I met up with Ryan and Mary and went to a chinese restaurant in Chinatown. The food was tasty though the ordering process left a lot to be desired.
At about 11 pm, bone-weary I arrived at the hotel and barely made it to my room before falling unconscious.
Early next morning: RSA Social Entrepreneurs Network
After breakfast, Mary and I wandered down to the RSA and met with some of the local social entrepreneurs who are Fellows of the RSA. We stayed for about an hour and spoke about both Digital Circle and Learning Pool to the collected group.
The Tuttle Club
The Tuttle Club is named after Harry Tuttle (a renegade air conditioning specialist) from Brazil:
The Tuttle Club is a loose association of people finding a way of working better together both online and off-
There’s no need to sign up – everyone’s welcome at our Friday morning meetups. They run from 10am to midday at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, 16 Acton St, London WC1X 9NG.
The last picture is of Lloyd Davis, founder of the Tuttle Club. He’s about to head off across the US as part of his Please Look After This Englishman (PLATE) project. So anyone in the US who wants to help a funny, charismatic do-gooder should probably get in touch.
And then home…
I finished off the trip to London hoping to catch a meeting with Steve Moore, to talk about some of the BigSociety and BetterSociety ideas we have in the Northern Ireland. Steve is originally from Northern Ireland only timing and short notice conspired against us to prevent us meeting.
I arrived home around 9 pm, exhausted but mind abuzz with ideas and things to do. So I went out and registered a domain for a new social enterprise based around taking small positive actions to an overall better society. But that’s fodder for another blog post.