This morning I had the great pleasure and honor to present at Amplified Leicester about Community-Driven Social Impact, and run a short strategy-building workshop.

Amplified Leicester is managed by the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University in partnership with the DMU Centre for Social Action and Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre. The project is commissioned and supported by NESTA, an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment designed to grow the innovation capacity of Leicester by networking key connectors across the city’s disparate and diverse communities in an incentivised participatory project enabled by social media.

Project objectives:
• To develop a transferable model for amplifying a diverse city’s grassroots innovation capacity through connecting diverse communities through key individuals
• To provide practical examples of how collaborative technologies can be exploited in a city context

The group is in an interesting position, preparing to move from the incubated group that it has been thus far to a more open group meeting less often (moving from every other week to once a month) in collaboration with CreativeCoffee. They are also hoping to learn from and document their experiences to share as a model with the larger global community looking to do something similar. Be sure to watch their space for more!

Presentation

There were two key elements that emerged in group discussion that I think are really important to note: A community-driven approach relies on two assumptions.

  • That you know your community. You can communicate with, build programs or content together, and operate in collaboration with a community that you don’t know. Who are they, what do they do, where do they do it, what do they like, what do they have in common with you, and what would they be interested in doing together?
  • That you and your community trust each other.  Even if you know who your community is, chances are that you won’t get very far trying to work/build/collaborate together if the community doesn’t trust you. And (don’t forget this bit) if you don’t trust the community. This point underlies all of the best practices and organizational culture required for successful community-driven social impact work.

Workshop

I facilitated a modified version of the Social by Social game, created to focus on the 4 strategic points highlighted int he presentation: Who’s the community, where’s the sweet spot, what tools could help, which roles are needed.  Ideally, you’d run this workshop with your team, organization, community group, etc. But, in this case, as participants represented all different groups, I asked them to think about each question from their own perspective and then share with the table some of their ideas to spark conversation.

Get the game pieces here:

You Examples

Are you working on a community-driven project or looking to start one? What questions do you have? What lessons can you share? Or, if you’re underway, tell us about your project!

Community-Driven Social Impact: Presentation & Workshop at Amplified Leicester