I was roped into attending a workshop this afternoon representing Defra but what an amazing experience it was. It was entitled ‘Building resilient communities: from idea to sustainable action‘ and it was run by the Risk and Regulation Advisory Council. The subject was very familiar territory for me but the way it was done (by Innovationarts) was brilliant and there were some very influential people there (including Dame Julia Cleverdon). During the plenaries the discussion was captured by a cartoonist and as you can see above, ColaLife made it into the final plenary discussion.
I am always very careful not to mix ColaLife into my working day but it was dragged out of me! I was in a break-out group with a friend and ColaLife fan, Lola Barrett of Grenfell Housing Association. We were talking about the future and the role on technology and she said, “Go on Simon tell them. Tell them about ColaLife.” I refused but the protest was overwhelming(!) and it was a relevant example of the role of new technology. So I explained. Another member of our group then brought it into the plenary and it was captured by the cartoonist. And it got an applause!
I spent Wednesday night writing up revised objectives for ColaLife based on the experience of the trip to Tanzania and I posted these to the ColaLife Google Group for comments. The modifications I suggested came mainly from one thing and that is that what is carried in the crates should be locally determined by health professionals. This means that we move away from ORS and educational materials on health and hygiene to ‘social products’ (a term used during the Tanzania meeting) of any sort. So we move towards the idea of a ‘colalife pod’ that can contain anything (within reason).
Anyway, this set ColaLife supporter Magedlena Serpa off on a mission as it made the proposition of interest to the organisation she works for. This resulted in an interrupted conference call to Washington on the 18:57 from Euston to Rugby! This was not entirely successful (the mobile signal was not good) but established contact with Peter Johnson of AED, a nonprofit organisation working globally to improve education, health, civil society and economic development – “the foundation of thriving societies”. AED have a turnover of more than $400 million and employ some 2,000 staff in more than 150 countries. Peter handles corporate relations for AED who have an existing relationship with Coca-Cola . . . are AED the multi-national NGO we are looking for? Well they may be. Watch this space.
All in all, a very exciting day! Have we reached a tipping point?