REconomy update - June 2011
(for the ten participating Transition Initiatives, and anyone else interested in our project!)
Over the last couple of months the project team have been busy completing our research stage. This included the online survey that most of you responded to, along with about 60 other Transition Initiatives. This has give us good insight into what’s going on in terms of business engagement and starting new enterprises, and some good ideas about what works well. We’ll post a summary of this survey here within the next few weeks.
We’ve also been looking at what’s going on outside of the Transition Network e.g. what other organisations are offering that might help us, and all the current thinking about how local economies might best operate.
While we’ve been doing our research, a number of you have been doing some work on your vision for your own local economy, and planning what you might do in the next 12 months to start to achieve this. Manchester, Finsbury Park, Totnes and Thornbury have all kindly sent us their work on this, we’re just giving some feedback as requested, and then we’ll be sharing this with everyone as soon as these TIs are happy we do so. Hereford and Leicester have done workshops around the vision/planning and are now writing up the sessions, hopefully to share these more widely soon.
If your TI hasn’t yet done this work, which appears to be useful to help unite a local group behind your vision and plan, then don’t worry as we can still help you with this. We’ll be calling you in the next couple of weeks to talk more.
Now that the research is done, and the vision/planning activities are underway, we are moving into our development stage. This is where we will build a set of resources that we hope will be useful to you. Some we will develop, some will be offered via partners as we don't want to duplicate what's already out there. They will be made available through this project website, and we’ll let you know as soon as we start to post them.
In a nutshell, these resources aim to help you:
- Explain to people in your TI and the wider community why Transition is interested in business and the economy, and get them involved in the process
- Create a vision for your own local economy, ideally together with the key organisations and people responsible for this kind of work today
- Estimate the economic potential of this new economy (see info below on Economic Evaluation)
- Come up with a practical plan to start to deliver your vision
- Start a conversation with your local businesses/organisations, and potentially influence them to review their enery use and even their business model, support your TI etc.
- Motivate local people to start new enterprises, and support them as they do so
- Start your own new enterprises
- Evaluate your progress
Each resource we provide can be rated by you, the users, so we can find out what’s helpful and what isn’t. As you can appreciate, you or we can’t yet say with too much certainty exactly what support is needed, so it’s a learning experience for all of us. This is our first attempt to try to provide what's most needed, based on our research and consultation so far. Most of the resources will be available by early September (with some available before then as we go). Whatever we post here will be available for everyone to use, not just the 10 TIs in this project.
In addition we can develop workshops or online training materials, or other things that might support you, but we’ll only do this once we have more clarity about what you most need. One way to get this clarity, we suggest, is to have a 1 day session for all of us to get together to look at what we’ve done so far (including the resources) and where the gaps are. This could be in Oct/Nov time, if you all feel this would be a good use of your time. Else we can speak individually of course.
Meanwhile we will call you once a month or so just to catch up with what you’re doing, and make sure you know what we’ve produced so far in terms of resources. Please do post a news item here on the REconomy webspace whenever you have something to share with us all.
Based on additional funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, we have been able to add an extra piece of work to our REconomy project.
The aim of this is create a generic, replicable process that can be used to estimate the potential of any new, local ‘Transition’ economy*, primarily in terms of quantitative economic value, but also exploring social and environmental outcomes. This will, we believe, make it easier to unite local strategic partners in delivery of this potential, and help provide a strategic framework for action.
We’re working with 3 TIs from the REconomy group – Manchester (city - tbc), Hereford (rural) and Totnes (market town) to pilot this process, and with a data provider who can, we hope, provide most of the economic data we need. These 3 were selected as they are representative, and for practical reasons such as previous expertise in this area, and one of our project team lives in each place and has capacity to support the work on the ground and without the need to travel. This is just getting started, and we will post more updates here over the next month or so. We hope to have a proven process that you can all use, if you want, from early 2012.
Find out more here.