If you bought The Sunday Times last week you would have found a supplement called ‘Transforming business, transforming communities’ – in association with BITC (Business in the Community) and Fujitsu which discussed how corporate organisations should and have been recently investing in their local community. BrightLemon has been appointed as the digital agency to work with Fujitsu and BiTC to deliver this powerful and wide reaching online community / social network.
The eleven page spread went into fine detail about how community engagement is a smart move for organisations who have the resources available and how businesses, communities and society can benefit from their involvement and support of the local people.
The concept is something which expands upon the government's recent policy – The Big Society. This focuses on the idea that more power and opportunity should be in the hands of the people and not central government – something which can be achieved through community support and engagement.
Business in the Community
This project is an initiative which is being led by the business-based charity Business in the Community (BITC). BiTC have a network of over 850 companies, including multinational corporations, smaller local businesses and public sector organisations which have enabled them to encourage companies to work with communities for over 30 years.
Their main aim as a charity is supporting business practices that help benefit employees and the wider community as well as minimise environmental impact. It is their experience and company network which has enabled them to connect the community with large corporate organisations and develop the promotion of responsible business practice worldwide.
BITC are now turning this idea into a long term collaborative approach by bringing together business connections to economically disadvantaged areas.
Bringing in a dedicated individual who can act as an agent will heighten the ease of which organisations can communicate with local communities. It was the lack of this dedicated individual which the BITC found as being a major factor in stopping organisations understanding their communities’ needs.
Working to support the Big Society policy, the new program will start running in Summer 2011 and will see 20 agents from BITC member companies operate in deprived areas across the UK, helping the local community connect with businesses, find jobs and provide general improvement opportunities.
“Tens of thousands of small businesses don’t know what their local social and economic issues are... it’s about matching needs – a business may have a spare room and a local charity may need some extra space” – Matt Cooke, Business in the Community (The Sunday Times)
For more information on the BITC view www.bitc.org.uk
Top 3 facts on the BITC
- BITC is one of The Princes Charities making The Prince of Wales president
- BITC was set up in 1982 and its current CEO is Stephen Howard
- BITC have their own awards for business innovation, creativity and sustained commitment
The Big Connect
The idea is to create a ‘Big Society’ which empowers local people and communities to take power and reduce the influence of high level decision makers – giving the people more control.
We want to give citizens, communities and local government the power and information they need to come together, solve the problems they face and build the Britain they want. We want society – the families, networks, neighbourhoods and communities that form the fabric of so much of our everyday lives – to be bigger and stronger than ever before. Only when people and communities are given more power and take more responsibility can we achieve fairness and opportunity for all. – The Big Society, programme policy
- Building the Big Society by Cabinet Office in PDF Format
- Watch David Cameron explain The Big Society here
Top 3 aims of The Big Connect
- Give communities more power
- Encourage people to take an active role in their communities
- Transfer power from central to local government
The Online Community, BrightLemon and Fujitsu
Fujitsu Siemens and Business in the Community have chosen BrightLemon to build their online community for the Big Society.
In support of this new program BrightLemon and Fujitsu will be developing an online social network. Being a cross between LinkedIn and a Facebook, the online community will aim to connect with, communicate with and maintain the connections with a set of organisations and individuals.
BrightLemon’s experience in developing online communities for similar national projects has given us a strong understanding on how to develop an online community which employs key social networking functionality.
Although the online activity will be significant – its main objective is to facilitate projects in the real world and demonstrate tangible, measurable change offline.
“This will operate as a virtual office, linking all the Business Connectors across the country. How we measure the impact of the scheme and report it back to the companies involved is incredibly important to its overall success” – Matt Cooke, Business in the Community (The Sunday Times)
Fujitsu will be working alongside BrightLemon and providing a flexible and scalable web infrastructure based on their cloud computing technology, this solution will grow from supporting a few users to entire communities across the UK seamlessly.
“As a company, we have always believed that technology can bring real benefits to the way society develops, so this was an ideal opportunity for us” – Duncan Tait, Chief Executive of Fujitsu UK and Ireland (The Sunday Times)
For more information on cloud computing view – www.uk.fujitsu.com/cloud
- Transforming Business, Transforming Communities (BITC): www.bitc.org.uk/business_and_the_big_society
- Fujitsu cloud computing: www.fujitsu.com/uk/solutions/cloud/
- About Business in the Community (BITC): www.bitc.org.uk/about_bitc/index.html
- Big Society: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/big-society
- The Big Society: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Society
- Consultation on Government’s ‘Big Society’ vision - http://www.bitc.org.uk/business_and_the_big_society/consultation/index.html
- Transforming Business, Transforming Communities (BITC) - http://www.bitc.org.uk/resources/publications/transforming.html