There isn’t any money in a lot of these ideas, so they don’t get aggressively promoted and are often ignored by the media. I want to see those ideas coming out into the open to be tried and tested and improved.
Following my meeting at Brian Eno's studio recently, we plan to offer an award for the best new ideas across the broad spectrum of social innovation.
Here is Eno's copy, describing what what we think Campfire can contribute as part of its Pioneers project.
Everybody knows we’re at a turning point. The old order has become unstable and is breaking down around us. That process is conspicuous, but what is not so obvious is that new shoots are starting to emerge too. The future is being born, but nobody’s paying much attention to it. Disaster sells newspapers, but hope generally doesn’t. The end of an old order is the beginning of a new one. How it turns out depends on us, and what we dare to hope for.
Nicholas Albery was a man who peddled hope. He founded and ran an organisation called THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL INVENTIONS but unfortunately died in a car accident in 2001. Every year he published one or two or even three books in which he collected together any good social ideas he’d picked up…and the books were bursting with them. For me, it was the best read available.
The ideas ranged from the microcosmic - how to prevent slugs eating your strawberries, for example - to the cosmic - how solve global warming by moving the Earth into a slightly different orbit.
Nick’s death left a great hole: ever since then I’ve been wanting to see an organisation that would do the same job - act as a place for the sharing of new social ideas. There isn’t any money in a lot of these ideas, so they don’t get aggressively promoted and are often ignored by the media. I want to see those ideas coming out into the open to be tried and tested and improved.
Is that something we could do at Campfire?
Albery's books are a delight to dip into, with their compendium of creative ideas for transforming the world we live in. 'Creative Speculations' Social Innovation Awards 1997 highlights show how ahead of the curve the ideas of times were, such as the eerily prophetic 'speaking circles', 'automatic copyright for inventions', a 'school for social entrepreneurs' 'basic income for local service' and 'transforming a bad school through pupil empowerment' .
This is certainly something we could do very well at Campfire, a potentially fertile environment which has already spawned fledgling creative Projects such as Urban Renewal through Street Art, Volunteering With Refugees, The Campfire Storytelling Circle, The Happiness Project, Vegan and Vegetarian Resources, The Thinking Environment, Gardening From Scratch, A Diverse World, An Inclusive Life, Infrastructure as a Shared Resource and Self-Build Passive Eco Home. Check the Projects pages out now and if you'd like to join as a collaborator for any of these send the owner an email from the front page button on each Project.