Biblio took part in the recent RSA Bounce event organised by RSA London and hosted by Mark Hall the Regional Manager for London. Described as the “Anti-Dragon’s Den” it’s a chance to pitch your idea and ask for guidance and specific types of help in a supportive and collaborative environment.
There were 13 pitches, each 3 minutes long followed by 5 minutes for questions and comments and we’ve written them up below.
Nick Heap was first up with Eye-Opening Conversations – He proposes the benefits of better, more positive conversations with people through the simple idea of sharing with others a time you were happy and a time you made someone else happy.
Adam Boxer and Bradley Heslop from Wessex Social Ventures described their venture as '"Ikea" for social enterprises' – micro businesses in a box for international charities to take and implement on the ground. They told us about those they already have including a sanitary towel business, sanitation enterprise (eco-style toilets in schools) and a solar lamp rental business.
Solomon Elliott told us about The Student View, an online publication written by the students for the students through which underprivileged secondary school children get the chance to improve their confidence and publish high quality articles and blog posts. Interestingly, they have found that their ethically journalistic publication tends to have a more positive outlook than traditional media.
Anne Marie Thomas from the Musical Theatre Academy talked about the need for better mental health support and awareness in the arts sector where it’s estimated that 1 in 3 people experience mental health issues. They’re proposing a mental health charter to promote training & awareness, making training and other support provision a required part of student support.
Rob Lee at Lifetreat is developing the world’s first online marketplace dedicated to lifting people out of poverty where anyone can become an entrepreneur in less than one minute. They’ve developed a prototype in the form of an app that allows people to buy and sell anything via messaging. Lifetreat focus on building technology for those who need it most and making it easy to buy from disadvantaged individuals.
Rosie Wilby has performed as a comedian and written extensively about relationships and ‘conscious uncouplings’ and is interested in talking to more people about ideas about how to bring compassion and empathy into modern dating. Friendship and other type of connections are increasingly devalued and Rosie is interested in designing a new dating app that invokes a spirit of connection and community rather than superficial connection.
Andrea Campbell has drawn on her own experiences of her daughter having Autism & Down’s Syndrome to develop Pocket Learner – a book containing pockets and cards that can be flipped over to teach language and association. Learners can see pictures without words at first on different themes (for example, animals and fruits) and then introduce the words gradually – learning by stealth.
Mehmood Khan from biblio.life told us about their online reading for wellbeing service. He argued that reading - and in particular reading fiction - is generally good for you and can be therapeutic. Connecting with others empathetically also improves wellbeing. Biblio offers users personalised literary prescriptions based on what’s going on in your life and your reading tastes. All of this is done by their network of volunteer curators.
Luisa Spina described her social sculpture project, Small Gatherings for Big Thoughts. She invites strangers to come together, share responsibilities and create a meal together. The project is envisaged as a space that focuses on memories and stories related to food and bringing food to the table and she is keen to find a community venue for her project.
Joseph Heavey, founder of Great Green Gooseberry Club, described the goal of the project to be reaching the people who ‘aren’t green’ and empowering people to build something positive, to enable people to do something about climate change. They’re working in partnership with and the Green Party to provide, among other things, 'Green' insurance and Eco-cards – electronic greetings cards with carbon offset attached to them. They are launching in two weeks time.
James Turner founder of Glimpse was up next and told us about their aim to use the power of the advertising industry to tackle the challenges of social change to create a positive impact. They organise hack days to connect those from the communications and advertising industries to take on these challenges. What if we replaced advertising with something that has no commercial value, e.g. replacing every single picture in a london tube station with a picture of a cat? Their current crowdfunding campaign aims to do just this and has recently launched on Kickstarter.
Emma Dyer talked about how children learn to read at school, drawing on her PhD research, looking at educational paradoxes and how to solve them with design. It’s often the children who are struggling to read that are taken out of the main classroom into a different space to learn to read and she is working to change that. She has worked with local architects to design reading nooks which can be fitted into classrooms.
In the final session, Celia Cummings talked about the benefits of systems thinking to address societal challenges in a more complex and multi-faceted way. She’s currently seeking people who are interested in problem solving and have a problem that they would like to bring to a group that can approach it in a systemic way and would benefit from some ‘sharing time’.