I have always been interested in new ways of working together. Now that so many people are asking why I want to do this, I have had to have a big think about everything that got me here.
Many years ago I helped form a youth community campaign, which campaigned to get young people to register to vote. It was a pop culture campaign driven by the cool musicians of the day. But what I did was to set up a form of peer to peer file sharing system of video production working with six film and video coops all over the UK who literally swapped tapes of their part of the production , mixed and mashed and came up with something bigger and better than the sum of its parts. At that time it had only been done once before in the UK, and now it is vanished from TV, but alive and kicking on web 2.0
I was a documentary filmmaker and journalist before all of this and made a few films in South Africa, during the State of Emergency and subsequently with groups of people going through massive change.
Apart from media projects and programmes, I have been involved in innovation projects in a large hospital-based health charity foundation. My remit as the only lay person on their development committee was to bring the principles of user-led design – or in that case, patient-led design and experience to all the projects they developed. They worked with everyone from the cleaners to the surgeons to find the solutions they all needed to make the services better.
Most of my projects have involved giving a voice to people who do not ordinarily get heard, but as technologies evolve while that is still important it is up to us all, not just a few media and other professionals. The promise of these tools is immense.
This project comes from a belief that the tools and technologies will deliver, and that people not only want to come together to cooperate and collaborate but also to make a difference.
I would hope our founding group of pledgers are not only going to be the people who are the first group of mentors, but also the people that make this project turn from action research into a reality.
I recently left my job at the BBC in London where I lead Innovation projects . The department I worked in was running two open innovation projects, the Labs project and Backstage. I’m pleased to say much of my work is in the background but does burst out – this work led to the BBC’s first and rapidly-growing blog presence.
My other blog is where I have my own personal thoughts about the innovation work I do during the day.
I left to take up a newly-created post as Director of Digital Media and Innovation at Warwick University’s new International Digital Laboratory. I star ted mid-November 2008 and am currently working out our programme of research and work for the future.