When I was asked to host a workshop on U.Lab for the Unusual Suspects Festival starting next week, I felt honoured and more than a little scared. The voice of judgement in my head came out in force – am I really the right person to do this? What will I say? Will anyone come?!
If you don’t know, here’s a little blurb on what the Unusual Suspects Festival is about:
Three days of ideas, solutions and debate all exploring what happens when social innovation meets collaboration and how, by working with different people, we can meet some of society’s most pressing challenges, together.
The Festival brings together the ‘unusual suspects’ from across Scotland and the world- from youth clubs to ex-footballers to think tanks and governments- all to explore how we can work together in new and different ways to create real social change. We want to hear from the ‘unusual suspects’ because we think that talking with someone with a different perspective helps us to imagine new possibilities and develop different outcomes.
All events aim to connect people doing social innovation, but who don’t necessarily identify as ‘innovators’ – our Unusual Suspect – with the social innovation community, facilitating collaboration across silos and traditional boundaries.
Sound familiar? It fits really well with what we are trying to do in ulabscot – bringing together different people to have different kinds of conversation to self-organise and make the changes they want to make. So, I reached out to our amazing ulabscot community to find someone to host with me as my Unusual Suspect and to help find a venue and Gavin Paterson of the ALLIANCE kindly offered both. As I was planning what this workshop might be it occurred to me that it isn’t Gavin that’s the unusual suspect – actually it’s me!
As a social researcher in the Scottish Government, I’m not sure I class myself as an “innovator” but I am very interested in how we can work together differently to take on the complex challenges we have in our country. One of the striking things for me when we starts promoting U.Lab in Scotland over the summer was the feeling that the Scottish Government were engaging in a different way – convening not leading, hands off but supportive (see the Storify of the 1 June ulabscot prep event). I hope you’re still feeling that sentiment, as we enter week three of U.Lab.
If you are in Glasgow next Friday morning, why not come say hello – get yourself a free ticket to our session about U.Lab in Scotland. There are lots of really interesting things going on over the three days (7th to 9th Oct) including the Death Ting, which is hosted by YoungScot, CHAS and the Scottish Government. Have a look at the full schedule here.