Observations from Open Space

I spent the weekend at Facilitation Camp. An ‘unconference’ built on the principles of Open Space. This means the agenda is designed by participants on the day and a structure emerges built on the energy and interests of the people who are there.


NEF at TEDGlobal


Should policymakers care about well-being?

Although I would probably, if asked, describe my work at nef as being part of the ‘battle of ideas’, it’s not all that often that I would use the phrase to describe a day in the office. But last week I found myself truly in the thick of it, subjecting my ideas about well-being research to the scrutiny of a conversation with a dedicated opponent. More

We’ve gone into the ecological red

At the weekend, Saturday 21 August to be precise, the world as a whole went into "ecological debt".


Policy changes will worsen the housing crisis

The Big Society project seeks to “give increased power to people to solve problems closer to where they live”. Under the current economic climate, meeting housing needs is increasingly difficult for people and  governments. More

Finding the Big Society – on the streets

When you picture the Big Society, what do you think of? The great and the good descending on Downing Street for an exclusive launch party? People planting vegetables in public parks?


Spending cuts threaten the best of children’s services

Following an assessment of children’s services departments in England in 2009, Ofsted has recently reported  that one of the defining features of the ten local authorities who were awarded an ‘excellent’ rating – the highest of the four ratings available - was their focus on early intervention and prevention; ‘emerging concerns are identified at an early stage, leading to properly targeted support from a range More

Opportunity cost of growth

Economics is about counting costs, and the cost to be counted is “opportunity cost,” arguably the most basic concept in economics. It is defined as the next best alternative to the one chosen, in other words, as the best of the sacrificed alternatives. You chose the best alternative, the opportunity cost is the second best, the alternative that you would choose if the best were unavailable. If there were no scarcity, choice would not be necessary, there would be no opportunity cost, and economics would not exist. More

Dispatches from the Great Re-skilling

Something is going on out there.  More than 80 people have signed up for various training projects for my local Transition Town project in Brixton, which is known in the Transition world as ‘re-skilling’.

In the Great Re-skilling of Lewes project, a whole list of courses at the local library from now until the autumn cover basket-making, quilting and bike maintenance.


Plugging the Leaks in Mozambique

They came in unmanageably large numbers; at one point we’d counted more than 90 young people who had made their way from their scattered houses around the village to the meeting place. More

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