Socialising Social Enterprise

At the Catalyst awards Dan Mcquillan asked “what next?” for the Catalyst Awards and Social Enterprises.

He suggested a mash up of all the events together to bring them all under one roof. I suggest taking it a stage further.

Why don’t we look in more detail at the collaboration opportunities that exist within these separate social enterprises, the shared needs, the shared resource. In short why don’t we apply our own thinking to our ventures and tap into the power that this community represents.

Below are some examples of how we can support each other further using existing social resources and some of the shared problems/issues we face.

Research

Currently the data garden that is google, my del.icio.us feeds, my twitter recommendations, google reader, etc. is fast becoming a jungle. It’s too much information for any one person to sift through, as a result we miss out. Why don’t we share the work and distil and disseminate the information. Or pay someone to do so? A shared knowledge treatment policy could incorporate the following thinking?

Tools/APIs

We can all benefit from sharing our information, and there is some information and tools we would all benefit from. We have common, yet loosely affiliated goals. Certain tools could assist with these goals. If we represent a common market, we represent a common opportunity. We should work together to identify these needs.

For example, both http://www.localeyes.org and http://www.schoolofeverything.com would benefit from a community space tool, that allowed for the identification and easy booking of freely available local spaces. Why not take it a step further and apply it to underused spaces (ie. night clubs at certain times, churches, etc.)

Users

By nature of their engagement in community based projects, largely the users that most sites draw will be the same, why not allow them to easily migrate from one to the other and form their own independent communities. Our sites are merely tools, set the communities free.

Vision, publicity and representation

I believe that social enterprise sites represent a series of shared goals, and shared vision. A shared identity and manifesto, and a movement that the public can identify with can only serve to further enhance public awareness for us all (and therefore traffic and funding). We need a collective banner that distinguishes us from the likes of facebook and myspace.


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