Newhaverin Leith and life


The things you can accomplish spending a weekend with a lot of people called James- Social Innovation Camp 2011

I'm only now coming down after my weekend at Social Innovation Camp last weekend. It was kind of an emotional experience for me because it's the first time I have spent time with people outside of my work who have a common interest in something that is relatively new to me- engagement through technology. I don't really have any technical skills-my background is dealing with people on the margins of society- but more recently, I've been managing web content and facilitating a social media presence for Edinburgh Council. It's also been a little bit emotional because my work colleague, Catherine, who came up with our idea for SI Camp, invited me along for the ride making me feel somehow valuable in the process even though my skills really are soft. While my emotions were overflowing I did learn some really valuable things that will stick with me:

  • Don't look to a technical solution for something that should be happening in real life, with real human relationships. We got to a point where we were tired and over-discussing our idea and we started creeping into the area of trying to build all solutions into the technical aspect of our project. The overwhelmingly brilliant James (one of four men called James on our team- @jarofgreen) shut us down to say that systems should not replace human interaction. James is a master geek- he knows best and pointed something out that, to me, only shone through as common sense after he said it.
  • 'Service design' is the term for what I want to do for a living. Who knew it had a name?
  • I am not alone in my struggle to communicate the purpose and benefits of web and social media to middle management. I pull my hair out on a weekly basis about this but I was so glad to find common frustration with fellow campers. It's a good feeling to vent about the lack of awareness of the impact on an organisation's customer services by communicating through¬† web and social media. Solidarity!
  • Eatalia's makes a fan-bloody-tastic pizza.
  • People who offer care and support to family members are hugely overtaxed,¬† stressed, sometimes lonely and could use some help from their close networks. Tackling this is the core of our idea, currently called Share Care Club. We hope to find a way that people can organise and connect their existing trusted circles of friends and family and thanks to our work last weekend and the understanding of the Social Innovation Camp judges we have an opportunity to work with IRISS to develop the business behind the idea. I'm truly excited and I really believe this idea will positively impact many lives.

Read my fellow camper, James's (another James) take on our weekend on his Pretty Simple blog.

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  1. Leah, you brought your boundless encouragement and enthusiasm to the team and that was great for me. One of the reasons I wanted you to be there was to help us stick to my original idea and you did exactly that. You are a star!

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