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Six Key Elements and Five Steps Of A Social Harvest Festival

A big part of social innovation involves connecting people with each other in ways that are inclusive, uncomplicated, inexpensive, and joyful. This pre-planning checklist draws on lessons we’ve learned doing live events over 20 years. It complements The Five Skills Of A Resilience Impresario

SPIRIT OF A FESTIVAL
Festival as a ‘hive’ to which the socially innovative bees take their (social) honey;
Meeting place for live solutions and services – not just concepts;
The place to discover micro-revolutions and encounter neighborhood micro-dynamism;
Projects at the centre; policy, business, and media round the edge;
A respectful attitude, open-ness, collaboration.

KEY ELEMENTS
A venue that is large, easy-to-reach – and, ideally, free;
A time and place that suits the existing rythms (and flows of people) of the city;
A media partner to help with the talent scouting and promotion;
An editorial/web team to make the projects visible;
A producer to pull the elements together;
A modest amount of money.

CONTENT AND ACTIVITIES
Artefacts/installations/events that trigger meaningful conversations;
Stories of social experiments embodied in real people;
Food, meals, encounters’
Rituals: keynote talk, prize-giving ceremonies, camp fires.

FIVE STEPS
a) explore resources – projects, places, individuals;
b) talent-spot emerging solutions and their innovators;
c) showcase projects – to each other, to citizens, to policy makers, to business;
d) determine in discussions what design can add, and how;
e) establish small lab to do this work continuously.

DESIGN FOR LEGACY
Shared perception of new opportunities;
Good idea of how to make them happen;
Commitment to take further action;
New connections between motivated and effective people.
Train and empower a cohort of future civic leaders.
Mentoring, Coaching, and Training.
Incubation to ensure development of sustainable social-cultural enterprises.

COMMUNICATION CHANNELS AND PLATFORMS
Media partner to make “Call for Projects” to neighbourhoods & communities;
Projects Web Portal;
Projects Finder (mobile phone app);
Films channel online.

PRODUCTION ROLES
Producer – delivers the event on time, on budget;
Chief Scout – identifies and invites the best projects;
Editor – helps people to tell their stories (narrative);
Designers – help people tell their stories (presentations);
Host/facilitator – helps people learn from each other;
An experienced person – to mentor the team.

PRODUCER’S ROLE
Develop event concept, theme, and format;
Ensure that the legacy of any future events is designed-in from the start (in the form of people with new skills, plans for further events, and so on;
Organize the search for regional projects;
Organize training of project presenters;
Programme talks and encounters;
Identify and pitch to media partner(s).

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