From the outset we wanted to keep a small team driven by a desire to be flexible, innovative and fleet-footed. How though, can a small team deliver a big impact? Solving this has been central to our first year.

We settled on a five step change methodology:

  1. We aim to deliver innovative projects in targeted areas. These social experiments test the latest thinking using solid academic evidence to underpin concepts.
  2. Each experiment has to be scalable. It is pointless trying something too expensive or too difficult to be taken elsewhere.
  3. We aim to independently measure the impact of our activities and openly share findings - good and bad. There is surprisingly little robust impact data freely available, something we want to change.
  4. We give away findings so that they could be freely replicated by others in subsequent years. 
  5. We shout loudly about our work using all forms of media as well as ‘amplifier’ voices from respected individuals and organisations.

So has it worked? Results have been encouraging although further refinement is needed.

Food waste

Pumpkin Rescue
 used the fact that 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are ditched each Halloween to raise the issue of food waste. We partnered with community groups in Oxford to create a local Pumpkin Festival. Budget wasn't available to independently measure impact but data was collected enabling us to create an infographic highlighting impact. A short video captured the spirit of the Festival.

The Oxford campaign allowed us to complete an extensive guide for other organisations to learn from our experience. Halloween provided a natural hook to see if others wanted to follow the same approach. We aimed to persuade 15 communities to copy our idea and are delighted that there are currently 21 Pumpkin Rescue events taking place across the UK this October, plus one in the United States!

Most festivals have been created by local communities who have interpreted our approach making it relevant to their area. The North West London Waste Authority has invested in Hubbub to run a more intensive campaign from which we will be able to share findings in subsequent years. We will use #PumpkinRescue to promote the festival and hope we can create a new culture creating less food waste at this festive time of year.

Litter

Neat Streets
 is a 5 month social experiment in one of the busiest streets in London, seeking to cut litter. The impact is independently measured by Keep Britain Tidy. We have been somewhat taken aback by the level of interest in the techniques being used in the street. The Ronaldo vs Messi cigarette voting bin has been particularly popular.

Independent results won’t be available until December - although initial findings are encouraging. Already Neat Streets has:

  • Acted as a catalyst bringing organisations together to create a more coherent approach to litter campaigns in the UK.
  • Raised litter up the political agenda mainly thanks to influential media coverage.
  • Created a delivery model and techniques that other organisations are asking to use.





What's next?

Initial indications are that if the original idea is sufficiently strong our change model can work. Encouragingly major companies, such as IKEA and Sainsbury’s are keen to explore further with us enabling us to create more sophistication and deliver greater impact. We will keep you informed as our model evolves.


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