Barry ideas bank shares its story with Royal Society for Arts

Valuable insights and lessons on how to manage and resource community innovation by ‘Blended Creativity’ – using offline and online resources in tandem – were highlighted when I told the story of the Barry IdeasBank – believed to be the UK’s longest running community idea resource – at the annual conference of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturing & Commerce (RSA) Annual Conference in Cardiff.

I am the IdeasBank founder and a RSA Fellow. I demonstrated the potential for open source innovation and crowdsourcing and how it can transform the engagement and delivery of local public services while inspiring the creative potential of local communities.

The Barry IdeasBank has three elements:
• a web site using pro bono beta crowdsourcing software provided by leading opensource innovation specialists Crowdicity
• a Twitter account @BarryIdeasBank
• a format of public events based on Pecha Kucha called ‘BarryKucha’

I shared the trials and tribulations of the project which in September was 10 months old. Its outputs include:
• over 84 ideas submitted
• 100 registered users on the site and 1,000 Twitter followers.
• 2 successful Barry Kucha events attracting over 70 people at each event
• the beginnings of a local partnership with social enterprise charity UNLTd
• an unintended consequence of numerous examples of capacity building, with new connections made by the BarryKucha events bringing different people together.

Key lessons learnt from the BarryIdeasBank include:
• technology offers a valuable tool but not a magic wand – so the need to blend offline as well as online activity
• creativity is not just about ideas but starts with the capacity and confidence to take action. Blended creative programmes can build community capacity to innovate and take responsibility for changes in their communities.
• an ideas bank serves as both a repository for creative activity and engagement and a totem to promote and celebrate community innovation
• the facility to engage, connect and inspire activity through crowdsourcing is a valuable resource currently overlooked by local public agencies.

Commenting on the evidence and experience of the BarryIdeasBank I believe public organizations cannot afford to ignore the untapped creative potential of their local communities. They need to adopt a new mantra that prebuttal is the new rebuttal!

The BarryIdeasBank is at and can be followed on Twitter at @BarryIdeasBank

Check out my powerpoint presentation on Slideshare here


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