Tuesday 30 March 2010

"Plus energy"

A great conference laid on by the British Council on social enterprise for key policy makers and decision takers in government. There were 3 of us from the UK to share experience and views , myself, Allison and Simon Tucker of the Young Foundation.

It is clear the new Government is serious about expanding social enterprise and the general role of the third sector. The PM Hatoyama has apparently explicitly said they want to invest in the sector. They are looking to develop a Compact, have set targets for the numbers of social entreprenurs they expect to develop , set up a forum to bring together key players, investing in capacity building and even considering an OTS. One speaker said that they were specifically looking at the UK experience to learn rather than the US or Europe.

Again there was great interest in Full Cost Recovery- to the point that I feared they would want a detailed explanation of the FCR template at which point I would have had to do my CEO " I do strategy not detail speech" ! But it is a live issue here and we will work with JACEVO to translate the template. There is clearly a market here.

I began my speech with a talk about Will Adams, the first Englishman in Japan- arriving here 460 years ago on april 12th 1600! Will was born in Gillingham , Kent just as I was. I used to pass his Memorial on the way to school. This little anecdote seemed to go down well though I had some difficulty in tying it to a speech on social enterprise .

I talked about the work of the Social Investment Business and the exciting possibility of a Social Investment Bank. I said that in fact we needed a World SIB and made clear I was available to Chair it... this also seemed to go down well , especially with Allison who started tweeting furiously...

After a full on 6 hours it was off to the Embassy for a reception: greeted by the Ambassador with the news he had already read my Blog about my lunch trip on Sunday! Such is the power of the Blog! And we had a special guest , Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado. She spoke fluent English and was rather charming. In fact she gave a highly coherent speech about the need for a different approach to human advancment and the role of social movements and the growing interest in working for something more than just profit. She talked about the value of "energy plus" which people bring to social enterprise- a rather splendid expression instead of the mundane use of "value added". She used the analogy of how a tide flows more swiftly and powerfully when the waters flow together in the same direction and not colliding and competing .

We had an interesting chat and I told her about ACEVO and the new Japanese organisation JACEVO. In as far as one can tell with a royal she seemed interested. But then we moved on to a fascinating discussion on netsuke. She has one of the largest collections of contemporary netsuke in the world and has published a book on it. I'm afraid my own collection of 7 hardly counts!

Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado

The Better Banking campaign ( housed at ACEVO) has just launched a new movement – it’s called Move Your Money. If you think it’s only fair that in return for the privilege of a banking license, banks should meet the needs of everyone in society fairly, then you can send them a message to do something about it.

Click here to go to the Move Your Money page on Facebook.

By becoming a fan, you take the Move Your Money pledge. If you aren’t happy about the way banks are behaving, then the pledge is a way of telling them that you’re prepared to move your money to an alternative provider if things don’t improve. The Facebook page includes some guidance on choosing an ethical bank.

The government have clearly indicated they want to make the banks behave better; by insisting they make a bank account available to all citizens. This is a way that individuals can also make their voice heard.

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