Smarta @ SHINE Unconference

Death by powerpoint might be one of the few things that come to mind when you hear the word ‘conference’. We can add a lot more to the list but that’s not the point of this post. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Take all the things you hate about conferences, turn them around, mash them up, and apparently what you get is an ‘unconference’.

Trendy term or something that reflects a real change in the way events could be conducted? We decided to put the SHINE unconference to the test. SHINE was instigated by four dynamic organisations (Ashoka, UnLtd, School for Social Entrepreneurs, The Hub) and aimed to ‘connect, inform, and inspire people interested in social change’.

The usual suspects of the Social Enterprise world were there in full attendance, accompanied by hundreds of fresh faces with admirable passion for creating positive change in the world and hungry to get the support they need to make their ideas happen.

SHINE certainly passed the test and was successful in breaking down the old conventions. The sessions were varied, informative, and in most cases organised for its attendees to solve problems and create real opportunities. The space used (the Bargehouse on London’s Southbank) broke down barriers and offered an ideal setting to create partnerships and friendships.

Next year’s NESTA conference has a few things to learn from it. Attendees are an event’s most valuable resource and should be the engine that drives it. Less lavishness, higher interaction, and more substance is just what the people are shouting for.

We leave you with our usual video taster of the event...

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