02 July 2010

Just a recap: the what and why of this blog

The Small Creative Ideas news blog has a simple core idea: people have creative ideas about improvement all the time but far too many organisations are very good at making sure these ideas never see the light of day. My blog aims to shine a light on those ideas that have been made to happen and so support, and celebrate these, and stimulate more. My hope is that more people and more organisations will tap into their own seam of small creative ideas.

The focus is mainly on the public and third sectors since more than ever before, as austere budgets are being set, we need these agencies to be using every ounce of their resources as well as possible. But many of the ideas can equally be applied to many commercial organisations too.

And that is it really. Over the last year and bit since the blog was established, there are now well over 300 ideas on there and nearly 15,000 pages have been downloaded. There is much to browse (there is a Google search button for the site) and to get people’s creative juices flowing.

Some of my favourite ideas include the one from Lewisham concerning garden sharing. The council faced a problem: they had far more people wanting allotments than they had allotments to spare. Age Concern approached them saying that many older people had been in touch with them wanting help with managing their gardens. They put the two groups together and everyone won. You can read more here: http://smallcreativeideas.blogspot.com/2009/06/unique-garden-share-scheme-cuts.html

Another favourite have been the succession of postings about customer journey mapping from Stoke City Council. This began with an early post from them advertising the fact that they had developed a tool for mapping such journeys. Partly as a result of the interest in this tool generated by the blog, they decided to host a workshop which was advertised on the blog. At least another workshop has now also been run. This is all documented here: http://smallcreativeideas.blogspot.com/2010/04/customer-journey-mapping-new-workshop.html

Sometimes I go out and find examples to put on the blog that I stumble across elsewhere such as this one about a website created for people with learning disabilities. I first heard about this on another bulletin board that I subscribe to for ideas and conversations. http://smallcreativeideas.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-home-my-say.html is the blog post that will link you to what seems to me to be a most remarkable site that will help to empower people in thinking about their housing needs.

Other times people write back to me, in response to my emails requesting information, with details of ideas they want to share. Sometimes this may just be a list of lots of ideas as with this cornucopia: http://smallcreativeideas.blogspot.com/2009/03/regular-cornucopia.html

And indeed sometimes people write out of the blue offering information such as this one where a contributor told me they had placed the blog in their list of top fifty best blogs for creative thinking: http://smallcreativeideas.blogspot.com/2010/07/creative-thinking-some-excellent-blogs.html

Developing the blog has been enormous fun and I delight in each new idea that comes my way. In the end, I hope that the blog will help to inspire more managers and leaders to spend more time creating the conditions in which all stakeholders come forward with their small and creative improvement ideas.

(This has been submitted to the http://creativistsociety.tumblr.com/ website - but I thought I would place it here too - as it is a useful signpost to this blog and expresses again my hopes for this space...)


  1. Jon
    Just come across the blog for the first time and I really like the idea of what you are trying to do.

    We had a staff away day last week and I wish I had seen this before as we were asked for suggestions of how we might help members get through difficult times. My suggestion was that we crowdsource innovative ideas that either make savings or improve services for the same level of expenditure - which you've done already. Could this be built upon by asking users to rate ideas according to some criteria - eg amount saved, or just for being so unexpected? And could we then try and encourage some funders to put back the equivalent of the x-prize, so that the best ideas get funded (and propagated?) COuld these ideas' utility be verified by someone like New Philanthropy Capital, so that we know they offer real solutions?

    I sometimes think that in the voluntary sector, our only solution is fundraising/more funding. We need as much professional development on costsaving and service improvement.

    (Please note these are my personal views)

  2. Thank you Karl. Sounds like a great idea to me. When you make it happen - please report back! Thanks.