Monthly Archives: January 2013

Awesome Brightoneers launch, now it’s time for the real work

Let's make shit happen people

It was incredible to see over 100 people coming together last night for the Brightoneer’s first event. Dave and I thought it would just be a small gathering, but with 150 people registered it had grown to something much bigger than expected. I was getting nervous when just a couple of hours before the start, some people were saying that they wanted something with more structure, and at the same time I was getting messages from other people saying that they wanted to keep it very free-form. I guess you can’t please all the people all the time! Then someone wise said to me that the people who come will be right people, and that’s exactly what happened. I’m glad to say that included some of the ‘structure-seekers’ who I had some great chats with and who brought a positive energy to help with more focussed events in the future.

It was a truly inspirational group of people and many I’d never met before. Here are just a few examples of Brightoneering in action:

  • The Happy Startup School – a fantastic idea to bring more meaning to entrepreneurship
  • Conscious Business UK – spreading the word about Conscious Business and other related initiatives
  • Undiscussables – how to out the elephant in the room
  • hiSbe Food CIC – the ethical supermarket opening this year
  • Brighton Energy Coop – helping people in the city generate their own sustainable energy
  • BHESCo – a social enterprise bulk buying energy for people in Brighton
  • Wired Sussex – launching the amazing Fusebox project
  • Stay Up Late – promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities to live the lifestyle of their choosing
  • Exeter Street Hall – the campaign to secure an important community space into community ownership
  • The Bevy – a community owned pub
  • Drop – a coop that exists to help web developers
  • The People Who Share – a social enterprise dedicated to building a Sharing Economy
  • purple dot – a non-profit organisation that supports and connects people, businesses and organisations who are helping to create a better economy
  • NixonMcInnes – my good friends working to make large organisations more social, and moving towards employee-ownership
  • Feel free to add others in the comments.

It was also great to have our MP Caroline Lucas there, engaging with people, listening and supporting as well as Thurstan Crockett from Economic Development at the council. There are people in government that care as much as we do, which gives me a lot of hope.

So we’re off to a great start. We need to make Brightoneering projects like these the main thing in our economy, not just a small ethical sector. We need to grow this economy to provide everything that local people need from energy to food to transport as well as exporting the things that Brighton is best at – like the creative and digital sectors – to the rest of the world. We need to build this pioneering new economy by collaborating and working together. We now have a community of almost 200 people and growing who want to be a part of this. Let’s make stuff happen.

After a nice informal start, let’s plan some more events where we can working on things together. There’s already a lot of energy around a focussed event for coops which I’m very excited about. If you have other ideas, remember that this is OUR community – it’s not ‘a Tom Nixon thing’ – so you can instigate whatever you like. You can discuss ideas on the message board.

There is also CityCamp 2013 coming up on 22-24 March. This is a fantastic opportunity to kick off new Brightoneering projects. I will be there and so should you.

So THANK YOU again to everyone who has helped to kick off the Brightoneers movement. We have purpose, people and energy. Everything we need to make Brighton better.

thank you

Good For Nothing

Monday morning blues?  Looking to do something cool this weekend?  The 2nd Brighton Good For Nothing might be the answer.

Good For Nothing is a community of thinkers, do’ers, makers and tinkerers, applying their skills and energy to accelerate the work of cause-led innovators and change makers.  It started in London a couple of years ago and we decided to bring it to Brighton running our first gig in June 2012 where 30 people came together to super-accelerate the work of three great social innovations.

Our next Brighton gig is this weekend, kicking off on Friday evening at 630pm and we’re really excited that the lovely people at Nixon McInnes are going to host us.

A Good For Nothing gig brings together diverse groups of people collaborating together to work faster and better.  We aim to get the crap out of the way so everyone can get loads done in a really short space of time placing the emphasis on doing not just talking. If you are passionate about making Brighton a better place we’d love you to be a part of it.

We’ve selected three great causes doing awesome things in our city and we’ll create the kind of working environment that allows magic to happen, with great local food and beer at the end of the day.  There will be music, a party vibe and most of all we’ll do, make, create and turbo-charge things to make our city a better place.  We want Good For Nothing to be a lasting part of the flourishing Brighton economy of pioneers that Brightoneers is creating.

You can get a flavour of how we like to get stuff done in this video.

If you can design, code or make films we’ve got a few more slots available for the weekend and we’d love to have you there.  You can find out more about the causes we’ll be supporting and sign up HERE.

If you want more information get in touch with Mark from the Brighton Good For Nothing crew on

5 Brightoneering things I’m excited about for 2013

2013 is set to be a year of practical action to develop a pioneering new local economy in Brighton. Here are five seven things I’m excited about:

1. The Brightoneers networking event and launch party

With well over 100 people registered, this might well be the largest gathering in the city’s history that brings together people who want to build a new local economy that creates greater wellbeing for everyone in the city. If you haven’t registered yet then grab a spot before it has filled up.

2. The launch of hisBe

For me, hisBe perfectly embodies the Brightoneer spirit. hiSbe stands for how it Should be and it’s a new ethical supermarket that will bring healthy, affordable, local and sustainable food to people in the city. I can’t wait to start shopping there and I hope hisBe inspires other entrepreneurs to be as ambitious in setting a higher purpose for their businesses.

3. CityCamp 2013

CityCamp already has a fantastic track record for creating innovative new ideas that make life better in the city. This is the first year that I’ve been able to go, and I can’t wait. What I love about CityCamp is that it’s focussed on generating ideas and actually making things happen. It’s a huge opportunity for Brightoneers to get together to kick off new projects. Save the date now: 22-24 March.

4. Brightoneers Summer Fair

Just a seed of an idea right now, but I’m excited about the prospect of getting pioneering businesses that are working towards the Brightoneers vision for a better local economy to be showcased in a fun public event during the summer. If you’re interested in this idea too then add a note to this thread on the discussion board.

5. New legislation for coops and employee ownership

It’s not often that I get excited about a government report, but the Nuttall Review into employee ownership is one that has the potential to pave the way towards big changes in how businesses are owned. Don’t confuse this with George Osbourne’s Rights for Shares plan which is an unrelated (and terrible) policy. The Nuttall report has been embraced by the cooperative and employee ownership communities and the early signs are that many of his recommendations will be implemented by the government. I hope this will make it much easier to set up cooperative and employee-owned businesses, and incentivise owners to transition ownership of businesses into cooperatives rather than the traditional sell-out. It’s exciting to think how thing could change the world of work and the economy if we make employee ownership the default.

[UPDATE] Had to add two more things to this list:

6. The Fusebox

This was announced last week. It’s an incredibly disruptive and exciting project – a physical space where Brighton’s creative and digital industries will be re-writing the rules of business. I’m particularly excited about the incorporation of co-operative and mutual ownership models in this.

7. Good For Nothing

Kicking off this Friday, 18 Jan. What excites me about this project is the intense, high speed help that it will provide to pioneering businesses in Brighton. Over the course of a long weekend, specialists in a variety of fields immerse themselves in helping three businesses.

So that’s my list. What are you excited about for 2013?