Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Field Logistics in Emergencies

Red Button DesignIn both the commercial and humanitarian sectors, logistics is the fine balance of procurement, transport & warehousing. In emergency aid and disaster response situations, getting the right materials, to the right place, at the right time, takes on a particular significance. Good logistics strategy is essential to efficient programme implementation, allowing the agency to maximise the human benefit from their budget.

We felt it would be hugely beneficial for Red Button Design to have in house understanding of the logistical processes triggered after our products are purchased, and so James accepted the challenge to spend last week away from RBD-HQ on a 5 day residential course held in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

The course, "Field Logistics in Emergencies", is part of a professional training programme run by RedR, (Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief) and is internationally recognised by humanitarian aid agencies, having been approved by the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport to provide appropriate logistics training for the humanitarian sector.

With pedigree like this, then, it is no surprise that James is one of the younger applicants to have successfully completed this intensive course.

So 'Congratulations' to James for this latest addition to his C.V! This is a fantastic personal achievement and yet another set of skills we can add to RBD's growing competencies in the aid and humanitarian sector.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Right and Wrong Ways to "Make Your Mark"!

The "Girls! Make Your Mark" Awards Ceremony took place last Friday at the Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, London. Though I was not crowned Female Social Entrepreneur of the Year, (This went to Carry Somers who founded Pachacuti*), I was treated to a goodie bag and an array of wonderful speakers including Carrie Grant and Gita Patel who, thankfully, were not overshadowed by John Bird (Big Issue) controversially expressing a passionate dislike for the late Anita Roddick (Body Shop), listing all of the finalists for the Female Social Entrepreneurship awards by their masculinised names ... (Alexander vs. Alexandra and Garry vs. Carry), mispronouncing finalists' companies .."pai..pa..oh whatever" (!) and committing award ceremony treason by announcing the winner mid-way through listing the finalists and spoiling the surprise! Still rather dazed and confused, I wonder if this was an intentional attempt at humour or a little overindulgence with the, kindly provided and free flowing, house red. Either way, it'd be a shame to dwell too long on a weak point of an otherwise lovely afternoon so please do check out some of the wonderful attendees and their businesses here.

* "Pachacuti, which means ‘world upside down' in Quechua, raises money through women's Panama hat co-operatives in Ecuador to fund social projects including paying the rent and food costs for Alcoholics Anonymous."

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Newsnight Now Available on BBC i>Player

Our contribution to Thursday's Newsnight can be watched here via BBC i>Player until 18/09/08.

So what is the way forward for Scottish Enterprise?

"More publicity around the fact that there is this support there and yes, maybe we need a better understanding of what that busineess support is there to do and the limitations of that, and maybe fill in some of those key holes."

- James Brown, Red Button Design

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Red Button Design On Newsnight, 11th Sept, 11pm

We've had an odd day today at RBD-HQ. We spent all morning pretending it was evening, promoting Scottish Innovation for tomorrow's edition of Newsnight Scotland. Tomorrow's show looks at the upcoming John Logie Baird Awards Programme and the shape of Scottish innovation and entrepreneurship as a whole, asking if, more than eighty years after John Logie Baird, there is enough support for young innovators.

We had the opportunity to present the ROSS to a panel including Isabell Majewsky, Gordon Brewer and Jackie McKenzie and though 'television' got in the way of any serious business networking being done, we left with a few more business cards to add to the collection. That aside, it is all fantastic publicity as we 'down tools' and start heading into the murky world of detailed design, and I can't imagine a more agreeable way to celebrate the John Logie Baird Awards than with a bit of televised innovation. Whats more, as it appears that despite being 18 times more lethal than death, CERN has not yet sucked the earth into a black hole, you'll all still be alive to tune in!

Thursday September 11th, 11pm, BBC 2 Scotland or all week on BBC i>Player

"Newsnight Scotland, presented by Gordon Brewer and Anne Mackenzie, looks in depth at topical news and current affairs from the Scottish perspective. The programme is broadcast from 2300 to 2320, Monday to Thursday."

Friday, 5 September 2008

If Not Trees - Where Does Money Grow?

Yes, after our brief hiatus we are back and blogging.

I feel like I owe you all an update and an explanation so lets start with the latter. Money.

For the last fortnight, RBD-HQ has been consumed by the activities surrounding raising finance. As many of you will know, and contrary to popular media, we have to date funded the company through competitions, grants, personal investment, in kind support and scrooge-like penny pinching. Not because it was our planned funding route, but because we were able to seize opportunities to access unconventional funds by being active in our network and on the internet. These opportunities enabled us to stave off the sale of equity until we felt the company had become sufficiently appealing and valuable. We are now feeling the benefits of that painful catch-22 "it takes money to grow money". This infinite regress is the bane of every start up but (to adopt the analogy) you need only one seed planted carefully to grow a tree full of your own seeds. Our tree started with £500, took root, and we're now trying get it to grow.
So we've been out.
Gardening ;o)

On to the update: aside from laps of the garden (literally this time, see above) we're arranged meetings for the next six weeks including representatives from EU External Aid Funding, UNHCR, The Red Cross, Asian Development Bank, and the World Health Organisation. We'll also be filming for "Newsnight Scotland" and the follow up for "The Dragons' Den", and on Friday I'll be back in London for the "Girls! Make Your Mark" Award Ceremony - if you voted, thank you, the results of the public vote and the prizes awarded by the judging panel will be announced live that afternoon.

And of course, we've been settling into our new website design. Isn’t it stunning? Just another couple of strings to James’ bow, not only did he do almost all the coding (I took what you might want to call a 'supervisory' role), but the photography is his handywork too.* If you're accessing this blog direct or from an RSS syndication I encourage you to take a peek at our new website at www.thisisredbutton.co.uk or our newly acquired and long awaited domain www.redbuttondesign.co.uk where this blog can also be accessed directly.

Needless to say with all the exciting things we've got lined up over the next month and a half, this blog will be buzzing. Make sure you don't miss anything by adding us to your syndication.

*If you want to see more of James’ Photography, or incidentally another website he authored, check out his personal photography and portfolio site www.james-elliot.co.uk