Partly to illustrate hope, activities which cast forward and stimulate creativity – as a break from engagement with crisis. We recognise that not all newly arrived residents fit this category, of course.
The Arts can include any welcoming, inclusive creative activity that supports newly arrived or minority community members.
Enterprise/Business can be services, free at the point of delivery, which will add to the enterprise creation expertise and knowledge of our communities of interest.
If you have a group, or project, that welcomes any new arrivals or BME community members in these categories, drop us a line and we’ll add it to our community gazette.
If you write a 100 words or so to tell us what you do, that would be great too. We will support contributors by using our publication skills to develop and promote the work of groups.
Despite misconceptions in the popular press, Professor Rogoff, he is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, argues for the deletion of high value notes from a national currency, not, as is often quoted, the dramatic end of cash all together.
Drawing on his international experiences, Rogoff served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, he argued for the removal of high value notes from circulation as a methodology to reduce criminality and tax evasion.
Rogoff recognised, in passing, the recent currency changes in India, remarking that his advice to Prime Minister Modi would have been to move at a much slower pace, although India’s fiscal motives are not totally clear at present. Cessation of high value notes is now, he argued, a recognisably legitimate lever in the economic tool box, although ideally pursued over a period of perhaps two years, with currency withdrawn in batches of maximum value over that time.
Using the U.S. as an example, evidence was offered regarding the size of bank note holdings in a population – nearly always much, much higher than any official Treasury forecast, he argued.
In theory, in the U.S., every person should be holding about $4,200 dollars in $100 bills for example. However, we were told, current research indicated that only 5% of U.S. citizens ever saw bills of this denomination, and only once a year at that.
A simple show of hands in The Great Room at John Adam Street, saw only four members of the audience having used a £50 note in the last month. This exposition led on to an assessment of the underground economy in Europe. Undeclared transactions making up 16% of the German economy annually, with up to 25% in Italy and Greece. In the U.S., we were informed, this currently runs at about 8%. But in all cases these hidden economic transactions represent vast sums in the tax ‘neutral’ take of businesses, whatever their ethical make-up.
Cash and culture:
Rogoff referenced the U.S. economist, Neil Wallace, whom he argued failed to see the rise of electronic currency during his seminal economic work in the 1970’s. Now, Rogoff argued, there has been a step change, in young people particularly, for whom electronic banking and cash movements may have become the norm.
This could have resonating consequences for world economies. Governments make large cash transfers and could, he argued use free, subsidised debit cards for members of society and deliver benefits, refunds and payments to individuals without the repetitious ‘cost of cash’.
In his lecture Professor Rogoff appeared to be a strong proponent of the use of negative interest rates, to stimulate cash investment in business infrastructure, citing Sweden as an example where this policy had energised the real economy.
In rounding off his talk Professor Rogoff, cited the work of U.S. economist Robert Eisner, arguing that Central Banks could also have a role to play in the ‘new attitude’ to cash. The use of technical devices, such as deploying currency held in banking systems using a distinct and different exchange rate.
This was a quietly and elegantly delivered short lecture, drawn from a very telling book, The Curse of Cash, which provoked and underscored an interesting number of new ways of thinking about cash, banking and the cultural and fiscal exchanges between us all.
We recommend it.
The final exortation, light heartedly, was for us to remember that the Rogoff thesis is not about the abandonment of cash, rather its perpetuation in ‘smaller ‘ form.
The North as a digital, innovative powerhouse for change and growth…
The great Northern Powerhouse concept has it’s detractors, as well as those who warmly embrace vast spendiing on infrastructure projects betwixt North and South. The whole designed to energise a swathe of our country, and its economic and social infrastructure, at a stroke.
Larry Elliot, writing recently in The Guardian, declares that the Centre for Cities think tank has the right view and that George Osborne is wrong. Namely that investment is needed in cities and conurbations ‘North of Watford’ in order to achieve the right mix of enterprise, social energy and innovation.
In his article Elliot looks at the productivity and infrastructure links between several Randstadt and Rhine-Ruhr cities. Already much more productive than similar cities in the North of England, he argues, the real difference is that investment has been made in the cities, not between them.
Whether transport, high speed internet or enterprise culture are stimulated, the key difference on the Ruhr/Randstat axis is the level of skills available to feed growth in research, output and market identification, he argues.
A new RSA report argues ‘… for a departure from the usual way of ‘doing tech’, where digital businesses operate in siloes, often untethered from the places in which they operate. It is within the North’s gift to forge a different path…’
It is this focus on the sub-region, on the drivers of city based innovation, that when aggregated as evidence creates a new paradigm of achievement for the wider region. The sweeping gesture, the Osborneian grand statement, is proven only by examining the microeconomic context of the city regions as an ensemble, we would argue.
In this new report from the RSA (.pdf), Benedict Dellot et al approach the North of England with this city hinterland and regional sectoral analysis in mind.
The new work, Digital Powerhouse (.pdf), uses the digital economy of the north of England as both metaphor and research instance to examine and make suggestions for development. The findings are striking…
‘…the North’s digital economy is creating jobs at ten time the rate of the region’s non-digital sectors. In the last five years the productivity of the digital economy grew by 11.3%. The figure was 2.5% for the non-digital economy’. Source: Infographic, p.2 of Digital Powerhouse
The DIgital Powerhouse report makes fourteen profound recommendations to capitalise on the digital premium recognised in the North of England.
These range from the creation of a ‘Procurement Powerhouse’ social enterprise to link tech businesses with public sector procurement processes. An adjunct to this suggestion is a move to persuade public sector commissioners and buyers to declare a ‘problem based’ commissioning approach, affording opportunities for innovators and researchers in the tech sphere to be just that, innovative, in order to get a seat at the table of ‘government spend’.
Similarly Dellot et al call for a new ‘contract portal’, suggested to bring together opportunities to supply both the public and private sectors with tech innovation. Also on the supply side, the report suggests the championing of ‘tech co-operatives’ in the North. Striving to achieve critical mass and drive to market by tech innovators in the North, through closer co-operation and affiliation.
The regional recommendation aspect of the report make it easy to argue that this research could be the basis of a meta-development framework of policy and practice for any region with growing technology sectors. North or South.
As Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech City UK says in the report ‘…this report shines a brilliant light on all the assets and opportunities already underway which serve as a foundation for the growth of the new Digital Northern Powerhouse‘. Source: Burbidge, introduction: p.5 Digital Powerhouse
Can you help create business builders for the next generation?
Linking Education and Business – A New Approach
Continuing our thematic coverage of new ways to support young people and the education and training sector, we were very pleased to see the emerging detail of the Enterprise Adviser Network for schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. Members of the business community volunteering some time to support schools in developing their enterprise agenda.
Contact the project in our region here: CareersEnterpriseCompany@suffolk.gov.uk
A new national programme is taking shape across Norfolk and Suffolk that aims to adopt an innovative approach to bringing business and education closer together. The New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network aims to connects local high profile business leaders with senior leaders in local secondary schools, academies, colleges in order to helping to motivate and inspire young peoples’ career aspirations, to make a major impact on their work prospects.
Enterprise Advisers will be volunteer leaders from the Suffolk and Norfolk business community. Their role will be to provide strategic consultancy and advice to schools and colleges to improve employer engagement and careers guidance provision and thereby help bridge the gap between education and business, raise young peoples’ aspirations and enhance enterprise and employability skills.
Suffolk County Councillor Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills said: “We do need to increase the interaction between the education and the business community, making sure Suffolk school children have the skill set required to find work and prove themselves valuable assets to commercial companies”.
Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, commented: “If we want to compete and win on a world stage we need to deliver a higher skilled workforce for our growing economy and for the all the thousands of outstanding companies, innovators and entrepreneurs that are already based here and for the many more we want to attract. We can help do that by placing business leaders at the heart of the education system, to inspire young minds when they are seeking out their future paths and looking to match their talents and aspirations with a high value and rewarding career.”
The New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network is supported by five Enterprise Coordinators who will provide business leaders, schools and colleges with a professional service which includes high quality training, matching Enterprise Advisers to schools and colleges and extensive, ongoing support.
The project is looking for enthusiastic business people across Norfolk and Suffolk to work with schools to help our young people understand the connection between their education and the world of work.
If you have the motivation and dedication to help young people find out more about the opportunities for their future career please get in touch…
Content for this article courtesy of Suffolk County Council.
We think there is a new energy abroad in education and training, sweeping the landscape to create new opportunities and outcome for a range of young people. Discover a couple of examples of this new delivery below…the horizon may have just go a bit nearer for young people who don’t seem to quite ‘fit the traditional bill’.
Swarm can offer young people Level 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeship framework options, with the added zest of ‘…innovative enterprise training workshops which develop the mindset and commercial awareness of apprentices’.
You can discover a comprehensive list of the integrated Swarm developmental workshops here. This impressive cast list is designed to sensitise and energise apprentices into an entrepreneurial, developmental and goals achieving mindset.
The Swarm team’s key focus qualification is the Level 3 Diploma in Enterprising Skills in a Business Environment, although the company does offer other opportunities too.
What we liked most is how this entrepreneurial flavour and admixture is seamlessly blended into the training programme for the individual, combining both the needs of the apprentice to perform well to his or her employer’s satisfaction, whilst at the same time creating the building blocks for a mind-changing mentality about what it is possible to achieve.
You can see how the next generation of mainstream Oxbridge business and political leaders are seeking to develop a social good from their careers, for example, in the 80,000 Hours programme. This Ashton led initiative caters for bright young people, we think, who may have fallen through the educational cracks or who are seeking a very practical, resource driven approach to learning and skills uptake to the benefit of business, society and the individual.
We highly commend the Swarm Apprenticeship approach to our readers. See more here.
This new, innovative scheme seeks to engage schools and suitably qualified businesses in a new form of partnership, where the school benefits from the insights and experience of the employer in a ‘… network to create powerful, lasting connections between local businesses and the schools and colleges in an area‘.
It is an idea designed to see businesses helping school senior management teams to develop strategies which link the world of work to the curriculum and energetic adaptability of schools, maximising their local contacts and accelerating the context of their educational outcomes to the benefit of both pupils and employers.
Lord Young has described the Adviser role in this way…
“I propose that Enterprise Advisers would advise head teachers and teachers on the ways employers can engage with the school, drawing on advice from key local partners, including those that offer careers advice. I would envisage that the Advisers are drawn from all sectors of the economy and not only restricted to entrepreneurs‘.
The one is not designed to swamp the other, but to add a richer texture to the offer of all. RSA Fellows can also add a powerful contribution to the development of the Enterprise Adviser network too, we are sure.
In simple marketing and recruitment terms, if I’m building a trusted network or list of individuals dedicated to social good, then lets share some of that trust and fellowship with others in the public sector, striving for the same aim.
We were putting together some training material for social enterprise development at the office, doing the day job, and rediscovered this Ted Talk by Jason Fried, founder of 37 Signals and the author of Rework.
It’s been a useful tool in the past to get groups to think about the nature of work, their place in it and how to react to the pressure of meetings and interruptions.
Fried makes some telling points about the quality of the interrupted process when we gather in the office. It is, of course, a gentle trumpet for the remote worker and the internet connected working life.
None the less, the argument about how offices are ‘factories for interruption’ and only real work takes place when individuals are ‘remote’ is telling. He also looks at the need for creatives – authors, designers, engineers etc., to access quiet space. As well as debunking the old management myth ‘…if I can’t see you, you can’t be working‘. More often sounded in the 21st Century than you might think.
We like his summary points at the end. Go on, cancel that meeting today!
This is a stunning piece of work, encapsulating business modelling, ideas curation and potentiality for delivery , route mapping and success measurement – all through the meta-filter of the arts and culture agenda.
The toolkit is not a complex piece, nor is it exhaustive, but it does contain processes which any arts focused project can use to identify new opportunities, to plan the business case for the digital work, focus on audience and user value, collaborate, design, build and engage, then evaluate and share.
Simple and effective solutions to arts project planning and delivery in the digital domain.
‘The arts sector is fizzing with ideas and creative ambition. Large and small organisations are using digital technologies to deliver dazzling online experiences linked to live events, useful services for learners, interactive displays in physical spaces and so much more’. Source: The Concept – Digital Toolkit
Whether developing the concept in mind with the Six Hats methodology or taking a more mainstream approach to idea development by using the Business Model Canvas, then the toolkit from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts offers plenty of opportunity to use the techniques best suited to your management team, volunteers or funders.
Using it here, in the arts and culture context, the main headings have been adjusted to include clarity of thought in the project overview, sales and marketing, operations and resources, staff and management…and finance too.
Contemplating a digital arts or cultural project then the web lends itself to testing, data collection, evaluation and storytelling derived from a completed project. The digital toolkit contains much that is useful in using and shaping output from new media and new technology, within the context of arts delivery.
We recently wrote, on our Communications EAST Toolkit page about The Growthverse, a very useful web service that can help you decide upon and plan deployment of your new media, user relationships and feedback methodologies. We commend it to arts professionals too. Although it is intended for tech start-ups, there is insight to be gained from exploring it, we would argue.
In his detailed analysis Benedict informs us that the micro-business excels in sectors where relationships are the key to business and operational success. ‘Microbusinesses (excluding sole traders) are 4 percent more productive than the sector-wide average in human health activities, 20 percent in education and 38 percent in social work’.
In a well argued section of the report Benedict looks back at the proto-industrial period, pre-1750, when the notion of industry was tempered by the small, local producer – often the basis of what we might now call the ‘family firm’.
It is the Twentieth Century and The Age of Oilwhich reconditioned our thinking, the RSA Action and Research Centre argue, to believe that the large corporation is the sole standard bearer for commercial enterprise success. Writing in the 1970’s…
E. F. Schumacher, who, in his book Small is Beautiful,
lamented that his generation suffered from “an almost universal idolatry of gigantism”, and instead called for “production by the masses, rather than mass production”.
The data presented in this RSA Report underscores the importance of the micro-business to the welfare of the UK economy, as well as recognising that the small business is a driver of social welfare in the localities that they operate in. ‘There is also a geographical element to consider. Evidence shows that small firms are more beneficial than large firms for the local economies in which they operate’.
To those of us who work in the social business sector, helping charities and mainstream businesses to actively adopt sustainable business practices linked to social outcome, we clearly recognise the power of this observation.
1. The UK’s micro business population is booming
2. Many see this as a bad economic omen and a sign of a fragmented labour market
3. But our research finds that micro businesses may help to spur productivity
4. … and innovation
5. … and job creation
6. In any case, the value of micro businesses is not well captured by conventional measures
7. Five key factors help to explain why micro businesses have become more economically viable
8. Rather than be preoccupied with micro businesses we should pay more attention to the activities of oligopolies
9. We can shape our economy – the status quo is not predetermined nor inevitable
Each of them, in the report, is well argued and provides comfort to the small business owner, and should give the nascent micro-business entrepreneur confidence for the future. If you have spent years working for yourself, or have just joined the entrepreneurial drive to create socially minded businesses, then a high level of satisfaction to be gained awaits you.
Micro business employees are the most satisfied workers – Microbusiness employees score highest on most indicators of job satisfaction, including influence over their job, involvement in decision-making and good relations with management.
Detailed, thought provoking and telling in its analysis. We commend the latest Dellot opus to our readers.
The RSA, in partnership with Google and craft marketplace Etsy, recently held a Self Employment summit. Stimulating debate and reflection about the changing landscape of employment and the rise and condition of those ‘going it alone’.
The short film below offers insights into the various debates on the day and some of the original ideas and thoughts emerging from the discussion…
The debate ranges across some interesting data, movements in the economy and is awash with definitions. Data seems to show that since the year 2000, the self -employed as a recognisable economic cohort, have increased by 30%. With the self-employed now representing some 15% of the total active work force in the UK.
Between 2008 and 2013, we are told, the self-employed made up a staggering 90% of all jobs created. Even more seismic, in terms of paradigm shift, is the suggestion that by 2017/2018, the self employed numerically, may exceed the total number of individuals currently working in the Public Sector.
For those of us who work across the Public Sector/Charitable Sector divide, this is perhaps not so surprising. As Local Authorities continue to divest themselves of employed core professional expertise in a number of community support, education and housing sectors, the expertise is re-hired as consultants or contractors.
What does set this change in context, however, is not the numeric rise in self-employment, whatever the sector, professional or otherwise. It is the dramatic increase in diminution of turnover.
Steven Toft, who is the author of Flip Chart Fairy Tales, speaking at the one day RSA event, opines that between 2008 and 2013 aggregate income by the self-employed has fallen by a staggering 8 billion pounds.
However you define being self-employed, and there are multiple definitions, in the RSA research, by HMRC and in the national Labour Market Survey – it is clear that there is a re-structuring of the nature of employment wholly under way.
What this movement is not, however, is an attempt to create quality of life, sustainability of earnings or the increase in cultural and fiscal capital that this change might, given the right business environment, look to build over time.
Not all self-employed people strive to be the next Richard Branson, but that for the individual, given this data, the drive might be led by a belief, actual or not, in the achievement of a better work/life balance, access to culture and the arts and an exercise of choice regardless of cost, that corporatism or global capital does not offer. We do not know.
Finally, we would have liked the debate to have extended fully across social enterprise/social business as a new model for the self employed and entrepreneurially minded. New financial markets and new business models are emerging in these two sectors. Perhaps that is where the real dynamism in the economy is, for those who go it alone?
Other good reads for context:
See our recent article featuring Every Day Employers, an RSA report from the end of last year – offering insights and suggestions to restructure traditional employer/employee relationships. See more here…
See also Salvation in a Start-up, a RSA/Etsy report, from last summer, on the emergence of new micro-businesses. The why and how. See more here…
During the summer of 2014 the Society sent out a survey to the Fellowship, seeking their responses on a number of issues and asking for their views and comments.
Below is a copy that analysis, garnered from the 29% of Fellows who responded, along with some thoughts from the conversationsEAST team as to how our contribution to the work of the Fellowship might be flexed, in response to the findings.
The summary findings from The House indicated the following…
“Overall responses to the survey were positive. Over two-thirds of Fellows join–at least partially–to support our mission, the quality of almost all of our outputs is seen as very high and by far the majority of Fellows are intending to renew their Fellowship. The Survey also generated a large amount of information that can be used to guide ongoing Fellowship development”.
Key findings included…
There is less satisfaction with local events compared to other areas of our work.
There are a large number of Fellows wanting to self- organise but are frustrated at being unable to do so.
There are a large number of Fellows wanting to self- organise but are frustrated at being unable to do so.
Some Fellows want to be more involved in the work we do.
There is a lack of knowledge about what we do. Across the seven RSA Projects included in the survey, `have not heard of it at all’ accounted for between a quarter and a half of all responses.
Younger people and females are less likely to recommend the Fellowship to suitable people than others
There are strong regional variations in how Fellows perceive the RSA.
(Key findings drawn from the RSA Fellowship summary report – Ed.)
Looking forward into 2015 we have recently published our ‘road-map’ as a journal, where we have been working with Tim, our new Fellowship Councillor in the East, to develop a series of gatherings to explore how Fellows can become more engaged with the Society.
We will, as stated, pivot these, supporting Tim directly in the delivery of a series of Fellowship Councillor Surgeries across the region. This might help inform and engage the interested Fellowship directly. Offering an informal setting, with refreshments, for the survey itself to be discussed and for Tim to explain and heighten awareness of the work and input of the Fellowship Council itself. One of the findings in the survey was that many Fellows were unaware of the function of the Fellowship Council, for example.
Another way forward, we would argue, would be to foster the engagement of female Fellows, either as new Fellows, or to develop some way to engage with the Fellowship on a gender basis. We have written before in this journal and in our regional annual reports about the gender imbalances, including in the Fellowship, in our region.
(We could start an Otrera Group in every region to foster the engagement and promotion of Fellowship skills by gender, for example? -Ed.)
If this imbalance in Fellowship is ‘normalised’ across all regions, we would look to develop a campaign/project to engage by gender across adjacent regions for example. Sharing both the information in the recent survey, but garnering explicit local knowledge on gender bias as part of the project initiation work.
(Having talked so long about the matter, it seems that a short burst of positive discrimination, in terms of engagement and resources, might go a long way? -Ed.)
In our publishing activities we will develop a ‘Fellows have their say!’ web journal page. Where the Fellowship can directly contribute to the regional debate in the East. This might be particularly useful in bolstering the regional events catalogue in terms of feedback or activity recommendation. All this information will be passed directly and securely to the Eastern Region Fellowship team, of course.
We will foster and web publish a set of ‘View from the Fellowship Council’ reports. Getting Tim to write a regular review of Council activity and debate, in a generalised way, which can feed into regional meetings and, more importantly, be immediately available to the wider regional Fellowship. Helping to support and deliver a clearer understanding of its work and role.
We think the new RSA web site, arriving this month, which will enable Fellows to contact each other directly if they wish, offers an important and effective mechanism for pan regional co-operation, as well as improving inter-region project and activity development. We look forward to reviewing it on our web pages.
Also useful, we believe, will be the launch of artSUFFUSION, our sister arts focused web journal. We are refining the publication manifesto this month.
We hope that by combining the arts, crafts and making into one energy stream in the region, whilst connecting new conversationsEAST social enterprise start-up projects, we can also help convert our Society’s brilliant research papers and mission into real world examples of sustainable community business and social outcome funded projects.
We look forward to 2015, hoping that our readers will come along with us?
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