Sunday, 28 June 2009

Printed Bag Shop win 'The Pitch' Scotland!

Congratulations to Craig Smith, founder of The Printed Bag Shop, who was named winner of the Scottish heat of The Pitch 2009 !

We'll be keeping you posted to his progress.
Read the full article on The Business Zone site!

"Judged by a panel of experts including Jennifer Cheyne, Edinburgh entrepreneur and star of Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire, Smith fought off tough competition from five other small business owners to take the title.

After being made redundant and hit by spiralling debts, Smith set up the The Printed Bag Shop in 2007 with help from the Prince's Trust.

In just two years, the company, which supplies environmentally friendly printed carrier bags, has achieved impressive growth and attracted high profile clients including Coca Cola, Boots, The London Stock Exchange and Virgin Money."

Saturday, 27 June 2009

SICamp Scotland ... Blogpost 2/2 - James' Take

The third Social Innovation Camp (SICamp) was held last month at Glasgow Caledonian University. 60 people from across the UK (and Europe) gathered to help turn ideas into reality. Six back-of-the-envelope ideas for web tools that would make a positive difference to the real world had been previously chosen out of 133 applicants. The six chosen ideas, which included an online public planning tool (think google maps meets sim city!) and a website which enables flash-mobbing for social good, were taken on by a group of people with an amazingly diverse range of skills, from hardcore coders to services designers and interaction specialists.

Diversity, in fact, proved to be the aspect of this gathering that made it such an enjoyable and productive experience. Without exception all the ideas started off as rough concepts at 9am on Saturday and by the time we presented to the judging panel at 2pm the next day, every site was online. But not just that, one team who were working on a web tool which gives live bus information via txt message had a fully functioning demo. And the flash mob team (FlockLocal) actually arranged for a group of people to turn up to a communal garden in Glasgow and spend an hour fixing it up! Its incredible what can happen when a group of motivated people with a wide skill set focus on a defined problem, in fact the whole weekend had the feel of a FlockLocal-style flash mob, with lunch and dinner announced on twitter and the fantastic support crew from Gladserve running from team to team with the latest server news.

Each team was not only tasked with building a site, but also with defining the need, creating a sustainable business model, designing the site to work within the user’s needs and then putting together a presentation to show it off.MyPolice Logo

I worked with a fantastic group of people on a website which fosters and supports meaningful dialogue between local communities and the police which serve them. Named MyPolice, the site allows the public to share their experiences of the Police and allows the Police to respond, either individually or on more general topics. By encouraging people to talk more openly about both good and bad aspects of the policing service they receive we hope the site will be of true value to the Police, the public and support services.

At the end of the weekend MyPolice was awarded the idea with the most potential by the panel of judges and we have been given a range of business and technical support as prizes so keep an eye out for!

* Cross posted from Social Design Entrepreneur RBD Design Director, James Brown's, personal blog

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Day at "The Pitch"

Spent today tucked away in a breakout room within the Aurora building in Glasgow, alongside representatives from 5 other business all shortlisted for the Scottish heat of The Pitch 2009

The pitch is a Dragons' Den style business competition where 'business owners from across the nation pitch to a panel of top industry experts to demonstrate the innovation, market knowledge, customer engagement and financial viability of their business, competing to win a massive £50,000 worth of business related goods and services.'

I have to confess the day didn't start off as well as it concluded. There was some initial confusion as to the format of "The Pitch" including whether powerpoint was permitted, with some participants having been told it wasn't allowed and some (myself included) turning up with presentations prepared. In the end it emerged that while powerpoint was technically permitted, they had no projector or means of displaying it (*g*) So we all did without. Which was nice actually, I almost wish I was forced to present without it more often... (almost).

Also there was no schedule (or at least not one that was circulated amongst the participants) so we all turned up expecting a much shorter day than the crew had planned. For some this meant that meetings had to be jigged & trains home were missed, though no problem for us as we split up and James left to go about 'business as usual' periodically returning to check on progress and dropping off care packages while I stayed put at Aurora

So we went last, which gave me plenty of time to chat with the other shortlisted businesses: some new to me, and some entrepreneurs I am aware of and have admired for a while. SO, without further ado, lets introduce the competition!

The other pitchers in the Scottish heat were (in chronological order):

Russell Young - Proguard Plus:
Protective paint for Yachts and Jets

Craig Smith - Printed Bag Shop:
Suppliers of eco friendly printed carrier bags (@printedbagshop)

Andy Smith - Agenor Technology:
IT project implementation management software

Richard Burton - HoodEasy:
Suppliers of eco friendly printed carrier bags (@hoodeasy)

Alan Powell - Energy Mechanics:
Renewable energy services

And us. I was Pitching with James on hand to address any specifically technical or design orientated questions.

Our turn rolled around a little after 4:15. Previous 'pitchers' had alluded to problems with tech but the teething problems must have resolved themselves somewhere down the line as we had no such difficulties. The pitch went smoothly, technology behaved, and I timed in at an impressive 3m 58s.

The Judges ( Nick Price, Michael Canon, Jennifer Cheyne, Graeme Scott, Craig Patterson & Bill Morrow ) were great. I was impressed with how engaged they all still were having spent a long and unbelievably warm day stuck in a glass room under many lights.

Also, the folk running the day were really helpful and nice, as were the tech crew. Previous gripes aside, it is hard not to have fun, even under stressful circumstances, when you're surrounded by such enthusiastic people so my thanks and gratitude to them all for arranging the day.

So, what to say?
On the whole i'm pretty happy with the way my Pitch went, I got some lovely comments from the judges on my presentation style, some of which I am pleased to say made it onto the Twitter Stream. Other than that, however, I will withhold further judgement as the video will make it onto "The Pitch" website very soon allowing you to make up your own minds, and speaking of making up minds ...
the announcement of who is to progress to the finals of "The Pitch" is due to be made tomorrow.

Watch this space I guess??

Monday, 22 June 2009

SICamp Scotland ... Blogpost 1/?

I spent the last 48 hours completely immersed in Social Innovation Camp-ness .. no wait, that didn't come out quite right ;) Still, the sentiment holds if not the expression. Unless it was Twittered to #sicamp I have no idea what happened outside of The Saltire Centre for the last 2 days.

Like the most convoluted of film plots I am going to start with the end, skip to the beginning and see if the middle sorts itself out in the interim, so bearing that in mind ... let me introduce FlockLocal.

FlockLocal was born in the spirit of the SICamp pseudo-mantra "using the online world to change the offline world." Using this idea we elected to create ClusterFlock...,. FlockYourCommunity... FlockLocal, which is a website and collection of associated apps & plugins to allow people to flash mob for social good. That is, to allow people who identify a social need to quickly mobilise volunteers to fill it.

Let me illustrate. We started to think about this idea in the pub on Friday night. By Saturday morning we had a fairly good idea of the user scenario. By 11am we decided we'd like to aim to actually hold a flash mob (henceforth to be known as 'organising a flock') 2 hours later (now 1pm) we had found the wonderful Glasgow Wood Recycling who were due to be reclaiming wood from a theatre set at Gilmorehill which needed loading into a van, driving across town and unloading into their community garden (which itself needed some painting and weeding). By 12noon the next day we'd assembled 15 people, done the job, and headed off for the afternoon.

Hence our tagline FlockLocal "Do Good. Fast"

But it wasn't just us!
The 5 other fabulous teams created the following:

Wee Day Out - A mapping tool for locating & rating disabled toilet facilities.

Fix the Freakin Buses (a.k.a "Hitch 'n' Bitch !!) – A SMS text platform for accessing live bus data.

AngelFish - Hyperlocal Micro-finace for community startups and business growth. – Allowing the public to give positive and negative feedback on the police.

Citipedia-An online public town planning tool.

.....and we'll hear more about them shortly.. in part 2 ... after I get some sleep!

but just before the zzZ 's hit, let me say a massive thanks to all at SICamp for working so hard to support all our hard work. We all really appreciate it!

Stay tuned for part 2.

Footnote: Glasgow Wood Recycling is an amazing organisation run by Peter Levelle to whom FlockLocal are very grateful and I will be blogging more about Glasgow Wood Recycling very shortly!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thought for the Day..

Today I was wondering.. how do you know when you've got a "good deal"?
What makes a deal desirable and how does it differ in different types of business?

These are my instinctive thoughts on the matter...

In traditional enterprise the definition is both parties thinking they got the better deal.

In ethical enterprise it's both parties thinking each got a fair deal.

In social enterprise it's both parties thinking each received non-financial benefit from the deal.

So, think i've nailed it? .. Needs work?
Or am I talking utter rubbish again?
Feel free to discuss, below or on Twitter

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Shell LIVEwire "Grand Idea" voting open!

Red Button Design are up for public vote as part of Shell LIVEwire's "Grand Idea". You need to register but you can vote for us to receive the £1,000 funding by visiting the LIVEwire website.

For this part of the award we were required to make a 60 second video, which would ordinarily have been a fun activity. However, email problems on Shell's end meant that I missed receiving this information until a stressed out researcher called to apologise. Anyway, I ended up doing our video pitch at about 5am in my pyjamas in order to meet the 9am next-morning deadline. Accordingly my hands are all of me that actually feature ;) Still, it's not too shabby an effort in our opinion.

Curious yet? Good good..
Now simply log in to view the 8 competing videos displayed on the home page. The voting buttons are just under each video and you only get one vote, so choose wisely!*

Voting is open until June 30th.

Pass the message on!

*well, choose us!