Last night Steve Moore asked me to speak briefly about ideas for a Big Society Commons or Store, which I wrote about here, and here. I said we need space with different levels … information, conversation, exchange, products and services. Maybe it is a mall plus a market, some high tech, some low. It is absolutely not created by government, but by those with something to offer.
Then I started to wonder about the role of the skilled, creative, passionate people at the Open Night. Perhaps one analogy for part of the store is an Apps store, where you can download smart ways of doing things to your mobile phone. Some are free, some you pay for. The fee goes to the developer, with a percentage to the store owner.
It works because there is a framework for the way apps are developed – tight in the case of Apple, more flexible in open sources stores.
So perhaps some of the people at the Open Night were potential developers for the Social Apps Store. If the Network can help to create the store, it will provide a much bigger market for those with social action products and services to sell – or offer free.
The Apps Store offers one metaphor to help us think how we bring good stuff together, what’s in it for the different interests involved, what rules and frameworks we need to make sure things work together.
The idea of a Apps - or is it just App? store - got some attention on Twitter, and among the Network team. It has led to a couple of invitations to discussions in Government, so I have developed it in more detail over here on the wiki.
As I explain there, although I'm using a mobile phone app store as an analogy, the content should not be just tech. For example, I really like the offline Social Spaces that Tessy Britton and collaborators will be launching this autumn through the Travelling Pantry.
There's lots of possible threads for discussion on Big Society ... so this is just an open invitation to suggest some that you might wish to follow here.
I'm hoping I'll continue to do some work with the Network, so I can put some effort into providing support by updating on what's happening. Just to provide some balance, it would be great to have some other facilitator/reporters whether enthusiastic or sceptical.
Anyone up for that? Key issues? Questions?