Pete Anderson writes : Responding to an enquiry from Guardian Social Enterprise into what motivates us to work in a social enterprise , it’s quite simply this..
Almost all of the leading speakers at the conferences I’ve been to over the past decade have pointed to Social Justice being at the root of many of the world’s ills, including climate change, poverty and the financial crisis to name but a few.
These speakers confidently tell us that the solutions involve fairly vague concepts like empowering local communities, grassroots projects and democratic engagement.
So, when we look at democratic engagement and local empowerment in the UK we find : a) very little engagement within the hierarchy that exists in most organisations, and b) little or no engagement within our geographic communities (such as parishes, districts and wards). We rarely find residents self-organising, nor is there usually an effective dialogue between residents and governing councils.
To address this black hole of engagement and empowerment, we have been building a voting infrastructure called VocalEyes that enables people within any organisation to turn “Ideas into Action”. This works by first identifying popular ideas and then setting targets and trigger levels linked to voting proposals. Resourcing successful proposals through crowd funding and by other means, the organisation uses the VocalEyes process to bring the project into action and, potentially, to fruition.
Many of us are “putting the world to rights” all the time, down the pub, with friends, at work. Wherever the VocalEyes system is established, all those great ideas people have can find expression, using a SmartPhone or an iPad, a laptop or a pc or netbook or an interactive kiosk. The best and most popular ideas will likely make it through a voting process and into positive actions, which we believe will lead to self-perpetuating empowerment of the participating communities, and eventually of society as a whole.
We’re also told that we need to make a BIG change within the next 20 years to stand a chance of negating the looming mass extinction of humanity and other species. At VocalEyes we believe that mass empowerment of organisations and communities will facilitate mass enlightenment and that the model of positive change represented by VocalEyes could spread across the globe quickly through existing networks, in time to change behaviour fast enough to make a real difference.
In promoting use of VocalEyes and thereby the engagement of ordinary people in positive processes for social change, we believe we are helping to tackle issues of social justice and the root causes of the most serious problems we all face today.
So, what’s our motivation? It is to confidently attempt to create a world that can sustain us all, one where there is a positive and exciting future ahead for generations to come.
(This potential was also recognised in no.10’s social innovation awards in 2008 when it was runner up for the “Revolutionary Award”)