Category Archives: Set-up


I graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs in London earlier in the Spring.  I spent 28 productive days in the last year learning from social entrepreneurs and would-be social entrepreneurs.  When I am back from my holiday I’ll blog my graduation presentation but the lessons are all sinking in. … and a whole new year of students has started their journey.


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normal service resumes!

Due to unforeseen difficulties with the previous blog platform,we have migrated over to a blog. The new blog url is – however you will be automatically redirected over to the new blog from Also, your feedreader should detect the redirection too – however the new feed can be found at

I’ll be giving the blog pages and posts a big update over the weekend..and look forward to reconnecting.

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Mentoring Worldwide in Business Week

Bruno Giussani came to London and had lunch with me a few months ago now. He didn’t take notes. This great article was published last week on his blog and in Business Week. Now I know why his blog is called Lunch Over IP. You take him to lunch , he gets the IP! No, seriously….I can see why he won a prize. It’s well written, illuminating, and truly European.

It made me think though. Time is passing. It’s six months this weekend since the pledge was successfully closed on January 15th. I am writing a six month report for myself and for the two people who have funded some of my activities to date (and for any of the pledgers who might want it!). My thanks as ever to Chris Anderson and Jan Leeman.

I’m trying to use the blog to tell the story of the project as well as linking to people and ideas we are in touch with during the research.

But there are some next steps to announce! We are going to run a trial. I will be fundraising for a project manager to join me for six months or so. You can do a lot on top of a full time job, BUT we want to move on and we need someone excellent on the case full time for the next phase. Watch this space and the mailing list for details.

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Don’t speak! Point! (thanks to Ethan)

So, NetSquared. Lots of good posts and commentary here. Great gathering by Compumentor of clans from charity, ngo, philanthropy, funders, technology partners and activisits to discuss where next for remixing the web of social change. This is something we don’t do yet in the UK, I wonder why..I feel a plan coming on.

Highlights for me were meeting Beth Kanter, Anne Marie Bellavance and Marshall Kirkpatrick all of whom signed the original pledge, all of whome I had been talking to online for a while. I remet Kim Spencer from Link TV whom I met 20 years ago in London when I was a fledgling producer. He’s now President of his own station it seems and filmed the whole event!

Amongst the speakers Howard Rheingold and Paul Saffo put the politics back in the mix for which I was grateful. The whole issue of network neutrality was bubbling under the two day event and it looks set to become something of daily concern. Amy Goodman was a revelation to me and a breath of fresh US air as we don’t get Democracy Now in the UK. Ethan Zuckerman (sharing a platform with Dan Gillmor and Hong Euan Tek) seemed to be blogging and presenting from his session on Citizen Journalism Nonprofit organisations and Social Change.

Ethan was primarily speaking about how the role of the advocate is changing and reflecting on the evolution of Global Voices but when the panel was asked at the end of the session by a bright spark in the audience whether Editors were still relevant these days of citizens media managed to summarise in one nifty line ” Don’t speak. Point!” everything the WE MEDIA conference didn’t manage to say in two days. “Point to People and get out of the way!” The old days of advocay as speaking on “behalf of people” are so over.

The way I see the role of the Mainstream Media in the debate about user-generated content and the blogosphere is to be a decent facilitator or moderator. It’s hard for an editor to change herself/himeself into a facilitator the skills come from different mindsets …but some are having a go. We talk about this a lot at the BBC where I work and now it’s time for the walk.

Beth Kantor’s presentation was a gift to anyone who saw it not only those in the world of the non-profit as were her great slides.

I can’t believe that my desire to meet Tara Hunt led me to her session where I finally had to confront the whole snakesonaplane thing – and on a big screen! I am seriously phobic and I don’t even like the idea being in my head. Having said that it was a great session and we talked later about barcamp, winecamp , geeks and mentoring – something to follow up if ever I catch her again, now her whole life has changed!

But the two sessions that were eyeopening for me re Mentoring Worldwide (the reason I came to the conference ) were the ones on new tools and the developing world and on what business models are good for not-for-profits …so I’ll post separately on those.

The worst session for me – run by good guys but whatever possessed them only to take questions via email and laptops? People had come a long way to be in a real room wih one another …they set up a digital divide in the room itself assuming every table had a laptop and that every laptop was connected. When I put my hand up to speak , they thought I was calling the five minute warning. By far the worst real life conference behaviour I have ever seen – is this to do with Silicon Valley? Did the speakers from Cisco and Microsoft ask for the questions to be pre-moderated? What on earth was going on…(actually I’d really like to know).

It’s possible here that a fear of potential hostility actually led to conference management behaviour which engendered hostility…and we all had stuff to say even though that was the session with the biggest gap in understanding between the panel and the floor. Why am I bovvered? Because I go to and organise conferences and this is a new one on me!

And since it would be deeply churlish to end on this note – I’ll mention instead a couple of people I found inspirational when I bumped into them at tables, in the lift – wherever. First Ginny Hunt of America’s Impact – you’d have no idea what she does from that org name however they are campaining to get candidates elected on the basis of their interest in a progressive foreign policy – now there’s a thing.

America’s Impact is a new political action committee that helps concerned Americans elect good candidates with a global commitment to support policies that improve people’s lives.

I wish her and the team all the best – it’s a great idea. And last but not at all least Lee Davis co-founder and CEO of Nesst who gets my vote for best business card and who kindly took some time to hear about mentoring worldwide, share thoughts and get me running for my notebook (yes , pen and paper).

Ok – pesonal disclaimer time.this post contains my personal views – any views expressed here are my own and not my employer’s. I am so never going to be a live blogger. Thanks Ethan how do you do it? Blogging and presenting at the same time, that is!


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hello technorati!

This post is so that we can link up to Technorati

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pledgers are doing it for themselves…

I’m getting emails from pledgers offering ideas and thoughts for us. Russell Davies is a man of many sites. He has found that many planners around the world in small agencies never get any good training and just have to make stuff up on their own – so he started the Account Planning School Of The Web. He sets an assignment a month and anyone who wants to can send in an entry. He and his visiting planning gurus offer advice and thoughts and everyone gets a change to see what everyone else has submitted…

Most of Russell’s participants are from Eastern Europe and Latin America. I am definately going to find out more. We’re thinking about what we should and should not publish from our mentoring conversations. But setting assignments online for large groups to see could be one way or doing some of it in public. What do you think?


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knock! knock! who’s there?…random approaches.

When we asked where all the mentees would come from on the pledge list we got lots of great suggestions..more later. One though was refeshingly simple from pledger Ian. He thought there would be people out there who would jump at the chance so experiemented with a random approach like the one he (already a practising life coach) had had that morning from Senegal via Skype.

When I got back from the US and asked him how it went. “Not so good in the end ~ turned out to be scam! After exchanging a few emails she mentioned a large sum of money that needed to be transferred and to give her a ring etc etc. Needless to say the emails/Skype chats have now stopped” .

So of course noone wants to be bogged down by process, but we do need to make sure that all mentors and all mentees are safe and secure, in the simplest possible way. All ideas, as ever, very welcome!


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