Thursday, 27 October 2011

5 Tech Breakthroughs Bringing Clean Water to the Developing World

Mashable (y'know: "the largest independent online news site dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology"..) are currently highlighting "five innovations that are bringing sanitary and safe drinking water to people in the developing world" and, I'm happy to say, we feature at number 3!

Though we get our fair share of publicity, as a bit of a geek myself I'm disproportionately excited by this one. Or maybe it's not out of proportion at all, with more than 20 million unique monthly visitors Mashable is one of the most engaged online news communities out there.. either way I'm thrilled. Check it out!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

So long from Sophie!

In a way it feels like yesterday that I was sitting in Rich Mix cafĂ©, writing my ‘meet Sophie’ blog with all the zeal and cockiness of a newly-hired recent graduate. In another way it feels like far longer than a year and a bit ago. It’s really only now, as I prepare to move on to new employment, that I realise how far we’ve come as a company since July 2010.

When I started at Red Button Design, there was a Midomo prototype, secured investment, and some pretty impressive awards in the bag. As I leave, there is a deployment of actual Midomo units in Mwingi, Kenya, a designer jewellery collaboration in place that funded them, some exciting high-profile charity partnerships in the pipeline, and the dawning realisation that we may actually succeed in both making money and effecting vital impact to people’s lives.

I’m certainly not saying this was all down to me. I may be cocky and zealous but I’m not delusional! Obviously there is also a long way for Red Button Design still to go. But grant me if you will a small moment to marvel at what Amanda and James have achieved in little over a year, with some help from me, and some from Esme.

And wow, have I learned a lot. I learned that business is difficult, but it’s certainly do-able, with an ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ spirit. I am no longer a ‘networking novice,’ hiding behind my glass and not wanting to disrupt people’s conversations, but instead, I have thrust cards into the hands of Matthew Pinsent, Baroness Butler-Sloss, Doug Richard, and yes, Peter Jones (all of whom were gracious). I can just about get in front of a camera now without being completely trashed.

I’ve also realised the simple fact that good business is all about good relationships. We’re social animals and all, so the trick to getting press, sales, collaborations and stuff done seems to be to just talk to people and be decent and direct. And that can be by email, twitter or even the scary old phone. Getting on with your colleagues also helps the day along and I know this won’t be the last I’ll see of Amanda or James. I owe them much.

And that’s quite enough precocious musing from me for now[1]. If you want me, I’m moving to Knowledge Peers to work with directors of businesses and charities, challenging them to work better. I’ll also be working with Esme, in a new #marcomms team that will never forget its RBD roots.

Thanks everyone,

Stay in touch.

Sophie, FRSA x

(Enthusiasm and idealism still intact)

[1] Save for the job spec to follow...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Winner of the ICADF Raffle is…

At the Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair this weekend, we ran a raffle to win a Midomo Bracelet.

The raffle tickets bought by those who entered have funded a Midomo unit, which will be donated to a family in Mwingi and provide an independent supply of safe drinking water.

There could only be one winner of the Midomo Bracelet itself though, and that person is…. Emily Whitesmith!

We hope Emily enjoys wearing her Alex Monroe bracelet, and using the hand-engraved ID number to track the difference that the donated Midomo is making. If you would like your own Midomo Bracelet, remember you can still get one right here!

Huge thank-yous to everybody who entered; your contribution has made a real and traceable difference to a community.

All the best,

The RBD team

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair

Attention Please! This Fri/Sat/Sun the Midomo Bracelet will be on sale at the fabulous Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair!

Our bracelet is designed by the well-established Alex Monroe, and so well suited to being exhibited at one of the largest contemporary art spaces in London.

Most importantly, every piece we sell will of course fund the donation of a Midomo water-purifier to a family in sub-Saharan Africa. If you type in the unique serial number into our website, you can track your donated unit and see where it is helping.

Catch us at CANDID ARTS TRUST, 3 Torrens St, London, EC1V 1NQ
between 21-23 October and at the preview evening Thursday 20 Oct (6.30-9pm)

Download the ICADF Flyer

Monday, 17 October 2011

Art for Freedom

Last Tuesday the Red Button Design team attended the very glamorous Art 4 Freedom auction at Notting Hill’s 20th Century Theatre in our capacity as ‘Gold Sponsors’ of the Row for Freedom. The art auction was put on by the Row for Freedom girls as another opportunity to raise money for charities campaigning to end human trafficking, and they did themselves proud; raising thousands of pounds with this enjoyable evening.

We have explained in a previous post why human trafficking is a cause closely linked to Red Button Design, as it is often the long and arduous walk to collect potentially unsafe drinking water that leaves young African girls vulnerable to abduction by sex traffickers. Julia Immonen, Debbie Beadle and the rest of the Row team recognise this connection too, and along with star presenter Sky Sport’s Charlotte Jackson, they were proudly showing off their Midomo Bracelets, knowing that each one provides a family in the developing world with safe drinking water for a year.

The auction itself was conducted by Anthony Weld Forester, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Edinburgh, and included works from Michael Vaughan- former England cricket captain, Charlie Mackesy and Gerard Stamp. Christine Beddoe, director of benefiting charity ECPAT UK, also gave an insightful speech with staggering facts such as the hundreds of sex slaves being kept in secret brothels on our own doorstep. Consequently it wasn’t only the celebrity artworks that evening that were eye-opening.

We thank all the Row for Freedom girls for a fantastic and worthwhile evening, and continue to wish them all the best with the training for their December challenge.