SI Camp wins even before it begins!
The first Social Innovation camp which is being held on 5-7 March has already generated a great deal of interest. Projects have been selected from a pool of ideas posted on the ASIX site, teams of people are getting ready to work on their ideas and there is a nice sense of anticipation. How will we measure the success of this first attempt to work with a new method for identifying and kick starting the development of promising social innovation proposals? For some, the test will be in the quality and impact of the ideas themselves. Which is fair enough, given that the whole focus is on finding and helping great new thinking around social change. The risk, of course, is that some will see the projects as they get developed and consider them to be less than compelling and not the kind of world-beating innovations they might have expected. Others might look at the ideas and wonder if they are sufficiently different or mould-breaking to really qualify as 'innovation'. My response to these understandable concerns is twofold. Firstly, don't be too quick to judge which of the ideas turn out to be 'world beating' and which might not. Let's just watch and learn as the ideas themselves start to take shape. But secondly, we should remember that at least part of the value of this first Camp is running it at all. What we're quite consciously trying to do here is experiment with a METHOD for social innovation just as much as we are interested in the substantive innovation ideas themselves. And given it's our first try, I suspect we're going to learn a lot about how to improve its value and impact as a way of finding, and then helping, embryonic ideas for social change in a way that hasn't been done before. In that sense, I'm inclined to declare the Camp a winner already, even though there are still two weeks to go until it actually happens! What ASIX has always been about is the development of a growing toolkit of models and methods that increase the options open to innovators and investors. I'm sure the Camp approach will change and evolve each time it is used or adapted. Which is just want we want. The important thing is to get started...and with the help of our supporters and sponsors, and the innovators themselves of course, that's exactly what we're doing.