Friday the 16th July saw 30 invited guests gather at Saltdish cafe for Pollinator’s first event. Guests were treated to an introduction to social innovation and entrepreurship followed by the opportunity to write their ideas and suggestions on the walls. In the end it wasn’t just the honey dessert that left a sweet taste in everyone’s mouth – it was the fresh connections and cross-pollination of ideas that will continue online, and at the next event.
The invitation was to explore the future of innovation and entrepreneurship for one hour on a Friday afternoon. The venue was chosen to be conducive to inspired conversation, and the invitees were chosen to represent a wide range of entrepreneurs and innovators. We had people from food charities, consulting, health, social research, visual arts, government, training, finance, renewable energy, agriculture, permaculture, and more. As many commented, this was not the same crowd, it was a unique mix of people, but what they all shared at least one thing in common: an unreasonable drive to applying new ideas and methods to solving our communities’ most pressing social challenges. That is, they are all social entrepreneurs.
In the light of the setting sun, and following an IndieAir film about the ‘potential’ latent in Geraldton, Andrew presented three potential answers to three questions, and three assumptions. This opening had heads nodding, and as one participant put it ‘minds expanding’. You can download the presentation here: 20100716 Pollinators Presentation v3_compressed_ao.
Rather than focus on the theory, the business model or the need, this opening sought to illustrate how our shared intentions could manifest in three distinct projects. These three projects were a response to the overarching question of ‘How can we create the future?’ The three ideas are:
- Hub for social innovation, incubating social entrepreneurs. This inspiring space could be the centre for the creative and innovative culture we all want.
- Coaching to provide structure support for people with ideas that could lead to radical change in the our community
- Market to unleash creativity in solving our toughest challenges, and increasing the efficiency with which ideas, people and resources (esp. money) get connected.
After the presentation, participants were invited to gather at different locations around the space to further explore these ideas, or add their own. And rather than just throw ideas out there, everyone was invited to ‘throw their hat in the ring’ by depositing business cards in jars located adjacent to each idea.
After gathering together again, a ‘crazing dance’ video prompted joint consideration of what we can we learn about how to catalyse the same sort of ‘movement’ in Geraldton. Insights included ‘someone has to start‘, ‘it’s the first 4 or 5 guys that join, because they are what show it’s gaining momentum‘, and also the point I wanted to emphasise. I think it’s the environment and context that creates the opportunity to dance, the reason to dance, and the potential for a movement to grow: the music is great, the sun’s out, the crowd is diverse and energised. I think it’s the same for social innovation, and it’s exactly what the Pollinators is capitalising on: in Geraldton right now, the physical, cultural, economic and social space in which innovation for social good is starting to emerge, it just needs to be fostered to grow into a movement.
The final phase of the evening was some street art, accompanied by saffron pear & red wine spiced strawberries with cardamom crème and ‘Bee Sting’ honey. Sweet!
The buzz at the end of the evening was incredibly positive (and it wasn’t just the ‘Afagatto’). A survey of the boards, walls and jars also showed that the support wasn’t just polite – dozens of people had indicated they wanted to swarm again, cross-pollinate ideas and produce something sweet ; ).
As many people asked ‘When is the next event?’….If you want to participate in the next event, specific projects and share other ideas, you can stay in touch through LinkedIn, Facebook , or joining the email list.