A really exciting week of place and systemic thinking before a much needed week off.

Coop HQ Manchester. Photo Credit BuroHappold Engineering.
Coop HQ, Manchester.

Oldham and the new economy

I went up to Oldham for the Growing the New Economy conference. It was nice to go out for dinner with some social enterprise friends on Tuesday night in Manchester, and then be with a brilliant mix of attendees in Oldham on Wednesday.

It’s not often you get the trust and foundation world, the local government and NHS world and the social enterprise and social economy world all at the same event. The different jargons and languages of those groups were cut through, and it was great to talk about shared interests in real change. I went away determined to work more collaboratively with others on the issues that matter to us.

Places in places

Lots of interesting Hackney conversations this week, both at the borough-wide, anchor institution level, and then at the hyper local and neighbourhood level. I’m really intrigued about the prospect of bringing those conversations meaningfully together in our work in the coming months.


I pitched, with a couple of colleagues, for a piece of work this week. I really want it, but I’m not quite sure if we landed our pitch. It was an interesting, but challenging interview, and I walked away thinking that we’d got some points across, but left some important stuff unsaid. Later in the week I met somebody who I really admire who went for the same piece of work, and that both raised my anxiety and relaxed me. Those of us with consultancy business models working in the social sector are all under the same financial pressures. You want to win interesting work because it’s interesting, but also because it’s your business to do so! It’s nice to be reminded that there are several great organisations in our space doing good work on hard things. That diversity is, hopefully, a strength for the sector.

Reading, listening and watching

I’m re-reading Raymond Chandler’s ‘What we talk about when we talk about love’, and I’ve also been getting into the poetry of Denise Riley. I wasn’t expecting her to be so funny (amidst all the other emotions).