I can never quite put my finger on how ideas emerge and take shape – for me they are usually through things I read on Twitter, an interesting blog, a serendipitous conversation, or mulling things over when ferrying my kids to and from various activities and friend’s houses (most of my ideas seem to crystallise when I’m driving).
The People Driven Digital unAwards are the culmination of all sorts of different conversations with many different people. They are the result of various ideas which the mHealthHabitat team has translated in to reality mostly on account of my inveterate desire to plan and organise.
My co-conspirators will no doubt have different ideas and starting points for the unAwards, but here are a five of mine that I’d like to share:
- The power of recognition – when myself and another team set up the Love Arts Festival awards in 2011, I hadn’t anticipated their impact on people doing amazing stuff in the field of arts, wellbeing and mental health, who often just don’t get recognised. I was very moved by what the awards meant to people and it brought home to me the value of public recognition, appreciation and validation
- Creating a community around digital – when we set up the mHealthHabitat programme we chose the metaphor of a habitat because we didn’t just want to build digital tools and services, we were also motivated by creating a community around digital, health and wellbeing. We’ve learnt that running events and activities which bring diverse groups of people are one of ways to create a thriving habitat – for me the unAwards are an extension of that approach.
- Removing the barriers – over the years I’ve applied for (and got and not got) awards. They can be great for getting external recognition and leveraging support for an innovation, but they are often daunting and expensive to apply for and attend. You can read a critique of corporate awards by George Julian here. We were keen to create something that was as accessible as possible, easy to apply for, and inexpensive to attend – I hope we’ve gone some way to achieving that.
- Fun and friendly – when Comms2point0 ran their unAwards in 2014 I was really impressed by their style in creating an inclusive, friendly and accessible way to celebrate communications and digital work going on around the country. We have shamelessly borrowed from their unAwards and a bit hat tip goes in Dan and Darren’s direction – fun and friendly is good and we don’t have enough of it I reckon.
- Connecting the ground up and the top down – I’ve always been interested in how you connect the ground-up with the top-down, people who have expertise through experience with the decision makers and the officials. #PdDigital15 and #PDDAwards are both about attempting to connect the two together to see if each can influence the other in ways which create a spark.
So #PdDigital15 and #PDDAwards are the result of lots of ideas and conversations which belong to many different people – most especially Mark Brown, Anne Cooper, Kat Cormack and Michael Seres, as well as the mHealthHabitat team who have put it all together.
I’m also super grateful to our sponsors who have taken a risk in supporting us and recognised the value of connecting with ground-up digital innovation. And lastly, we’re so pleased to have the indefatigable Roy Lilley as our compere at the unAwards on 3 July in Leeds.
Please do share the unAwards widely, encourage people to enter, or enter yourself for fun, recognition, community and connections.