Since inception, we have prided ourselves on making introductions and connecting people across the city. These connections are vital. Understanding how and why people do the amazing things they do, what makes them tick, and what frustrates them about the systems in which they operate.
This insight creates role models, inspires others, and attracts support.
Some of my favourite moments over the last 5 years have been seeing people from across our networks sharing ideas. The two social entrepreneurs huddled in a corner at one of our events, formulating a new innovation. Or an email thanking us for introducing two competing services who have decided to pool resources, collaborate and treble the number of beneficiaries they can now support.
But Coronavirus has kind of killed that hasn’t it?
Zoom just isn’t the same. Spontaneity has almost disappeared. Innovation doesn’t arrive on schedule. It turns up uninvited at 4am (or 3.19am to be precise, for me!). It appears when a small group of creative minds hustle in the corner of a bar, with energy and ideas sparking and bouncing around.
No matter how much I try to love and use them – Zoom, Slack & Teams just cannot replace this organic process.
With this in mind, I want to focus my team on a collaborative 2021. Our products and services this year will find new ways to showcase what people across York are doing, creating connections and sparking innovation.
We touched on this with our INTRODUCING…. series in Social Vision News towards the end of 2020, and we had feedback from contributors that new connections were made and even a few new pieces of work were developed, which is hugely exciting!
My only problem with written content though, is that that passion and energy does not always come across. We always try to write as succinctly as possible – it’s how we’ve been conditioned to write for the web. In a busy world where brevity is king, it’s hard to retain people’s attention.
So we are going to launch two key products for the sector in 2021 – a new podcast and our Social Directory.
In our podcast I will be interviewing people across York who are doing amazing things to support vulnerable, marginalised and isolated communities. I know all of these people professionally, but I’m interested in their story – why do they do what they do, what inspires them and makes them tick, what are their fears and hopes for the future, what mistakes have they made, and what would they change about our city?
I’ve got a list of around 100 people I’d like to speak to, so we’ll be busy getting people scheduled in post-lockdown!
Our Social Directory will allow everyone in York to see who is doing what across the city’s social sector.
This will allow us to support and promote all of our city’s amazing organisations, especially those that go under the radar. It will also introduce freelancers and consultants to the sector – people in my network who are desperate to support our sector, but don’t really know who’s out there.
Following that we will be adding venues and jobs to the Directory – making it a real one stop shop for anyone with a social conscience in York. But the first step will be to get every social purpose organisation in York registered.
We’ve got over 600 so far, and will send out the link for you to check your entry (and add yourself if we’ve missed you) in a forthcoming newsletter.
Thanks for your support over the last five years, and we look forward to working alongside you in the future to keep York a safe, fun, equitable and inspiring city.