Not content with being digital all week, I signed myself up to more of the same at Social Innovation Camp this weekend. Over 70 designers, developers, managers, entrepreneurs and students were thrown together and charged with creating something of social value in less than 48 hours.
By 2pm Sunday, each team needed to have an idea not just worked out, but built…even live. The winning team walks away with £2,000 whilst the runner up gets £1,000 to further their plans. Modest amounts of course, but money nevertheless to give worthwhile initiatives the start they need.
It was an extraordinary experience condensing a project life cycle from weeks or month, to a matter of hours. It really was a race against the clock. And especially challenging as most of us had never met one another before, let alone worked together as a team with a clear understanding of our roles and responsibilities. So we had to work it out, fast. Designers naturally fell in line as did Developers, primed and eager to get on with making.
The Managers among us put the brakes on early to insist we understood the problem before launching into a solution. The Producer in me tended to guide the process along, reinforcing what we’d learned along the way, and presenting what we made at the end – Rate Your Prison, a rate-me style application that collects and disseminates feedback about visitors’ experiences at UK prisons.
We were lucky – it could have been a shambles. But every person on the team turned out to be smart, articulate, considerate and helpful. Not what you might expect from a group of volunteers.
I leave the weekend with my faith in teamwork invigorated. Oh, and £1,000 as the runner up. We’re happy with that.