Viewing posts from: April 2017
27Apr
Putting Plans into Action, Edventure Week 3
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Business strategy and user research in Week 3 of Edventure Frome’s Start-Up Repair Course. Advertisements, Making money and making a difference

Written by Student blogger Abigail with contributions from poet Van Wajsblum.

We began the week with business planning. Johannes and Adam introduced us to three different social enterprise models;

External: When business and social activities are separate. The business may or may not be related to the social enterprise.

Integrated: When a business is created as a funding mechanism to expand and enhance a social mission.

Embedded: When a business and social programme are one and the same, i.e. the business was created for a social purpose.

Johannes also presented ‘The Ladder of Social Engagement’, a way of visualising the interest of your target audience.

Van perfectly summed up the first thought-filled day with the following poem;

Monday

Sunshine beams goals we dream

Tantalizing future visions

Fixing ourselves, through expressive creation

Conversations and well informed talking

Form restless and sleepsome minds

Seeking the clarity of whatever we can achieve

Potential

Harmonious, Contemplative, Potential.

By Van Wajsblum

Meeting with Gavin Eddy

Gavin is a local entrepreneur who has launched many successful businesses including Forward Space (a series of creative ‘workhubs’ for entrepreneurs) and the Frome Independent Market. We met him on Tuesday to discuss ideas at Forward Space, Frome. It was great to get feedback from someone with such a wealth of local experience and ‘Start-Up’ expertise. He advised us to clearly define our target audience and to consider ways of maintaining interest in our project long-term.

Speaking with Ugo Vallauri

Ugo is the co-founder of The Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics for longer in order to reduce waste. Ugo kindly agreed to discuss the Restart model and our project ambitions with me over the phone. He explained how ‘Restart Parties’ (community based, free electronic repair sessions) reduce the barriers to learning and help people recognise the value in repair. During the conversation he gave me many insights into running successful repair events. He also mentioned the importance of recreating trustworthy relationships with existing repair providers. Read more about Restart’s research on the matter here.

Talking to the public

Throughout the week we developed a questionnaire to ascertain what kind of repair service people would most benefit from. You can read our full questionnaire here and if you are from the local area please take a moment to fill it out. Your input is much appreciated!

Presenting pitch 2

Informed by the week’s findings we presented a preliminary business plan to the Edventure team on Thursday.

Our mission is to launch a socially inclusive workshop space together with an online platform/mobile app focusing on ethical repair. By empowering people through creative skill-shares, we hope to strengthen social bonds, increase practical skills and reduce the amount of perfectly reusable household waste.

Guided by the initial response to our questionnaire we aim to concentrate on 3 avenues;

Regular affordable, themed fixing sessions.
Weekly, reasonably priced workshop-based classes.
An online directory to connect professional and amateur fixers, makers and doers.
Something to take away…

A poem from Van written on Tuesday when it was his turn to make lunch for us all.

The Sushi Situation

Best laid plans mislead big dreams

Unexpected time frames

Not bad for a first try

Saved by an angel and enjoyed by All

Earlier formation of pitch perfect questions

An air of arrival at what we can be

Morning information from a man

With proven know how

Big ideas on a small scale

We must know who they are

The providers, users and sustainers

Of our world

Cater, nurture and help them succeed.

By Van Wajsblum

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11Apr
‘How might we…?’ Generating ideas in the second week of Edventure Frome’s Start-Up Course.
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Written by Abigail – Student Blogger (Abi’s Lost Threads – ethical fashion blog)

What makes a good question?

The week began with a communications workshop led by Amelia and Judy Barber (Author of the book – ‘Good Question’). We learnt how to use an open questioning method to quickly develop ideas. By asking ‘clean’ questions, which focus on the person you are talking to Amelia and Judy demonstrated how we can enable others to see their goals more clearly, simply by reflecting their ideas back to them.

3 day design challenge:

Start an enterprise which…

  • Works with the theme of repair and repurposing
  • Utilises the workshop space at the Welsh Mill Hub
  • Generates revenue and helps to grow a repairing economy in Frome

We began by considering the problems related to repair and then asked the question ‘how might we…?’ address them.
On the second day we began to visualise the workshop with expert carpenter Thomas who helped us define our ideas by asking the questions;

  • Why do we need it?
  • What is it’s purpose?
  • Who is going to use it?

After a final session with Dominic (fellow Hub user and owner of a Tech Start-Up) on user stories we were ready to present.

Our Vision

On the third day we presented our initial vision for the project to a team of local entrepreneurs.

To create an open and accessible workspace and online network which enables skill sharing, engages the community and fosters an ethic of creative repair.

The presentation went well (Josh even managed to fix our flip chart during the pitch!) and we received valuable feedback to work on next week.

Who holds the power?

The week ended with a session on group dynamics led by Lauren and Joana (past Edventure participants). The day began with a team challenge, which we then analysed together. Lauren and Joana encouraged us to think about how engaged we felt, how much we contributed and whether we felt we had power and influence within the group. This brought up a lot of interesting questions that allowed us to be more honest with each other. Louis summed up the feeling of the day by reminding us…

We all hold the influence and power when we feel empowered as individuals. 

Something to take away…

Our six tools for developing ideas;

  • Start with the problem
  • Find Experts
  • Be open to creative chaos
  • Fail Often
  • Stick to time restraints
  • Have Fun!

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06Apr
Fix That Thing; A students story of week one at Edventure Frome
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What is Edventure?

Edventure is a social enterprise designed to combine education with community-based projects that work for all. As students, over the next ten weeks we will design and launch a repair enterprise that responds to the needs of the local community. With the help of Edventure’s team of expert entrepreneurs, communicators and educators we will learn first hand how to turn an idea into reality.

Why Repair?

Consumer culture has taught us that it is often cheaper and easier to replace broken items than it is to fix them. This throw away mentality has led to an increase in unnecessary waste and a decrease in practical skills.

Extending a products life through repair helps to embed values such as ownership, creativity and problem solving in our material culture. From an environmental perspective it is also more efficient than recycling. For example, 20-30% of the material content of electronic items like phones is currently lost in the recycling process. As well as being ecological, a repair-based culture has the social benefit of connecting members of the local community and encouraging the sharing of skills. Our aim is to create a meaningful repair service that will contribute to a sustainable economy in Frome.

 What we have learnt so far…

 ‘A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow’

We began the week by sharing our personal stories, a common theme was the sense of being uninspired or let down by the current education system. The prospect of self directed, experiential learning felt exciting and new. During the week we explored where ideas come from and what makes them successful with Johannes and Adam. We met with Cara the Resilience Officer from Frome Town Council and Biz to discuss repair, learnt about communication with Neil and witnessed social enterprise in action at The Men’s Shed.

 Something to take away…

As team we came up with these 6 key ideas for effective teamwork;

  • Let ideas flow
  • Delegate
  • Offer advice
  • Get stuck in
  • Bring an open mind
  • Put things to the test!

Post written by Abigail, an edventure student with a background in fashion design. Check out her sustainable fashion blog: LOST THREADS

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