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nc:connectinglondoners [2017/05/18 05:35] (current)
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 +# Prototyping Connecting Londoners for a Networked City
 +
 +Draft blog post David Wilcox
 +
 +_Here’s my suggestion on how [London Voluntary Service Council](http://​www.lvsc.org.uk) might announce next steps in The Way Ahead initiative to reframe civil society, and in developing the London Hub._ **
 +
 +Over the past few months we’ve explored how  to support citizens, community groups and organisations in the face of cuts in grants and services and the changing nature of London society.
 +
 +On the one hand we’ve looked at how to use technology, new ways of organising and network building to strengthen communities:​ how could we help make London a more [Networked City](http://​www.networkedcity.london/​Home),​ with greater cooperation and collaboration,​ building on the assets we have?
 +
 +On the other hand we’ve investigated how to carry through the idea of a resource Hub, proposed in [The Way Ahead](http://​thewayahead.london) report on the future of civil society. LVSC is a partner in The Way Ahead with London Funders and Greater London Volunteering.
 +
 +In a [report on options for the Hub](http://​www.lvsc.org.uk/​media/​282032/​the_way_ahead_march_2017_final.pdf),​ our consultant Steve Wyler set out two scenarios for London 2017, and  identified the common theme of Connecting Londoners as a banner for the initiative.
 +
 +## Two scenarios
 +> It is 2027, and cities across the UK and internationally are looking to London as an example of how to revitalise civic life....
 +In every neighbourhood across London we have our local community resource agency, an attractive, lively and out-going sharing space, where people from all walks of life come together to give and to get: to enjoy each other’s company, to share ideas and plan actions to help themselves and their neighbours and improve their neighbourhoods..... Health and social care have changed out of all recognition,​ Londoners are much more likely to get a social prescription in the community than a medical prescription or end up in hospital or in care, and people are better off as a result... More and more services are now designed and run by local people... Many people now own community shares, in projects they care about... Behind all this stands a well organised network of borough-wide resource agencies, stimulating volunteering,​ helping community action and organisations get going and run themselves well, bringing in additional expert help from the council, the NHS, businesses, specialists,​ linking communities of interest right across London .... Then there’s ‘Connecting Londoners’,​ gathering real-time intelligence from across London, co-ordinating London-wide efforts, helping to shape London-wide policy and investment, stimulating investment and innovation.... All of this makes up the ‘Connecting Londoners’ project, and we know that any agency or initiative that carries the ‘Connecting Londoners’ brand is good at what it does.... London’s community is being reborn and revitalised from the bottom up....
 +
 +Or ...
 +
 +> It is 2027, and cities across the UK and internationally are looking to London as an example of how to revitalise civic life...
 +A whole host of London agencies – voluntary groups, councils, the GLA, and business partners have created a powerful new ‘Connecting Londoners’ agency. Digital platforms have generated the ability for people, wherever they live or work in London, to find out what contribution they can play to London’s civic life, as volunteers, as social activists and campaigners,​ as donors, allowing them to meet virtually and in real time, and take action for themselves and for their community of choice.... Londoners have access to an amazing on-line compendium of resources, but also real people to speak to at the need of a phone, or experts who will come out and meet you and your group and help you get things going, for free or a very modest fee.... London’s business community has really bought into all this – incentivising their workforces to play their part, sponsoring a host of exciting activity, celebrating success in a big way.... ‘Connecting Londoners’ is producing compelling evidence about how people are connecting with each other as never before across boundaries of place, class, age, gender, race, and London is now acknowledged as the first truly socially cosmopolitan city...
 +
 +In offering these scenario Steve says they are only illustrative. We should take them as an inspiration and develop our own.
 +
 +## Lots of ideas - but how to move forward?
 +Six task groups have also reported to The Way Ahead, on co-production,​ connecting, campaigning,​ data, commissioning and equality.
 +
 +There’s an enormous range of ideas. The challenge for the next stage is to connect the high-level ideas in the reports to plans and practical support that make sense for citizens and local groups and organisations - who so far haven’t had a say.
 +
 +Any Hub, or support system, has to relate to the sort of scenarios that Steve has produced as illustrations,​ or others we develop.
 +
 +To address that top-down/​bottom-up challenge we are going to start prototyping some solutions at two levels under the theme of Connecting Londoners. We hope this will both engage London citizens, groups and organisations,​ and provide practical insights for the continuing Way Ahead process.
 +
 +## Prototyping Connecting Londoners locally
 +First, we are going to explore in more detail local scenarios and what is involved in connecting at local level, both now and in the future. We will:
 +* Consult with [London Futurists](https://​londonfuturists.com) to gain a better understanding of the forces shaping London’s economy, society and environment. That will create a context for the scenarios.
 +* Run workshops using the [Living Lab simulation](https://​docs.google.com/​document/​d/​1WzoLklqBftRbexeIqVRhWMEqCjNYpwC1nV8TQqokXdk/​edit) of a fictitious neighbourhood that we have developed as part of Networked City. That will test some scenarios.
 +* Work with activists and organisations in several localities to see how we can in future blend experience of community and organisational development with new approaches like network mapping, digital communications and citizen-led self-organising. That will make it real.
 +
 +## Prototyping Connecting London strategically
 +The challenge in designing a Hub that connects and supports action across London is to understand and build on existing structures, and then add new methods for communication,​ cooperation and collaboration. To do that we will:
 +* Map existing networks and resources that could form the basis for a distributed Hub
 +* Identify gaps in support, drawing on insights from our local work and the recommendations of The Way Ahead groups
 +* Prototype communication systems that will connect London-wide networks, and help support local initiatives
 +
 +Steve Wyler remarks in his report:
 +
 +> There is some feeling that to date the Way Ahead report has been designed and promoted by a relatively small alliance of London-wide agencies, and has not engaged in depth with front-line experience and debates within London’s civil society – in other words, it has not been co- produced with Londoners and London civil society organisations in a meaningful way.
 +
 +The next stage development gives us the chance to adopt a different approach.
 +
 +## Co-producing solutions
 +We believe that our prototyping phase can be co-produced,​ self-organised,​ and treated as a learning process for everyone involved. We’ll do that by:
 +* Creating a development and learning network. We invite those actively involved in The Way Ahead to join us, together with the [Community Development Network London](http://​www.cdnl.co.uk) and others we’ve worked with over the past four years of [London for All](http://​www.lvsc.org.uk/​programmes/​london-for-all.aspx). We’ll identify other interests from our mapping, and aim to engage private sector interests.
 +* Running a series of co-design workshops, some on London-wide issues, others locally. Wherever possible we’ll encourage local groups or London organisations to host and facilitate these, using frameworks we’ll offer.
 +* Setting up online systems to support conversations and developments between events
 +* Documenting insights, ideas, stories and projects in a wiki: Connecting Londoners - Guide for a Networked City. We'll invite members of the network to contribute their ideas and resources.
 +
 +The first phase of The Way Ahead led to a broad scoping report by consultants. The [main idea was that of co-production](http://​mediablends.org.uk/​twa/​twapc) and collaboration across sectors, with development driven by the interests of local communities and citizens. The next stage involved detailed work by six groups on themes identified in the report.
 +
 +We believe that the next stage should integrate these ideas by putting co-production into practice, both locally and strategically. This is essential because we need a shared vision and sense of joint ownership to carry the ambitious proposals forward.
 +
 +To get things going we are inviting people to join us in crowdsourcing ideas for Connecting Londoners. There'​s some starter ideas here.
 +
 +** _Disclosure:​ together with Drew Mackie I worked as a consultant with LVSC on the Networked City exploration from January to April 2017._
  
nc/connectinglondoners.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/18 05:35 (external edit)