From single acorns...

Hey there everyone,

Welcome. This is a blog about #AcceleratorSchemes, #TEDTalks, #InstaVideos, #Why, #YesWhy, #StartWithWhy, #BeMoreConstructiveWithYourFeedbackWhy, #TechnologyAndTrees, #LovelyTrees, #Pilots, #EastLondon, #Women, #TheEnvironment, #EastLondonWomenForTheEnvironment and #surveys. If any of those things float your boat… read on.

Hmmm, so, where should I start?…

How about starting with ‘why’…

Yes, why. This is some of the advice I’ve taken on board since starting the Resurgo Ventures Social Impact Accelerator Scheme. Reading Simon Sinek’s Start with Why was some of our recommended course prep and because I am a #keen student, I ordered a copy (from Foyles, not Amazon!) and got #StuckIn.

Luckily, Farzad and I are also keen on #staycations, #beaches and #campervans, so said #GettingStuckIn, was done to a backdrop of the above. See right.

Having oscillated my way through the book in a kind of ‘oh ffs / ahh that’s so true’ pendulum, I actually found my (good old) subconscious mind doing some great work in the background based on this text. Sinek writes fast, in a kind of ‘TED talk on paper fashion’, and occasionally I really baulked against his casual presentation of some pretty complex ideas as simple ‘facts’, but on my journey into Ventures on the second day, my brain tapped on the inside of my skull and went ‘isn’t your ‘why’ the belief that: you can make a difference and you are not alone'. Not bad as a starter, not bad at all.

[Watch this space for how I actually integrate that into the Our Pledge (Good) Strategy (not Bad Strategy) (this week’s book was Good Strategy Bad Strategy) (stop saying the word strategy).]

If you don’t fancy reading the book, you can watch Simon’s TED Talk here.


Begin Anywhere…

Begin Anywhere.jpg

All of the above said, to the left is one of my favourite quotes. It sits propped against my bathroom mirror so I can see it every morning and remember that each moment is a #beginning.

For me, starting with why feels like the constant background mind and soul work, and beginning anywhere speaks to the actions we have to take to live those values.

We can percolate the why in the background and plan plan plan, but really the work is in beginning, and there’s no day like today and no time like #now.

Just begin.


Take the plunge!?

[God sorry, I was trying to think of another way of saying ‘start or begin’.]

Yeah sooo… on that whole ‘#BeginAnywhere’ tip. Just FYI, it’s hard! Let’s not pretend. There’s a lot on the line when you start anything new, especially if it’s your own start-up and you’re doing it alone (she says as if she’s not just speaking about herself. I am. I’m scared). And hey, nothing in the Twenty-first century exists if it’s not online, right. So I made myself the goal of making an intro video to Our Pledge and putting it online.

MAN ALIVE I put it off. And then #girl I put it off some more. It suddenly seemed so scary! I kept making weekly resolutions to do it, and then #OhNo SomethingElseGotInTheWay.

But finally, I ran out of excuses. AND I had a little read about some climate science… and I remembered that our potential future was far more scary than making a video of myself so I went and bloody did it and it went ok and so now I’ve put it on the homepage.

[Actually after I wrote the above I realised that taking the plunge was ‘on theme’ for Resurgo as on day 1 we had to select an item in our workshop room that represented how we felt. I chose a photo of a woman diving into a pool. It was elegant and simple and spoke to that feeling of exhilaration and release that comes with finally doing the thing you’re scared of. I don’t have a photo of that picture, so I chose the image below as another representation of how this all feels. #Resurgo and my colleagues there are the lifevest. I’m the flailing woman - but less toned and nimble]

jumping in .jpg

Focus focus plant a tree

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Also on the course last week we were asked to read a handy guide to healthier mental space called ‘Make Time’. Interestingly, it details a range of techniques that I’ve already implemented over the course of my working life, to laser in on the task at hand, including:

  • doing one thing at a time until it’s finished

  • starting to say no to things

  • starting each day with a reasonable to do list that probably only really has 3 things on it at most, with one ‘highlight at the top’

It reminded me of how I was letting some of these things slip though, including looking away from my phone, so I reactivated a lovely little app called #Forest. Forest works by growing virtual trees whilst you ignore your phone and killing them when you pick it up! You give yourself a 25 minute window and focus to grow trees. It really helps! Thanks forest. Thanks forests.

It made me think of a couple of other #TechHacks that I use to plant trees including:

  • Ecoisa, the search engine that uses ad revenue to plant trees. It’s ace. And it’s real. Get the plugin! I only did it yesterday and I’ve done 19 searches so far. It takes 45 to grow one tree!

  • Give as you Live, an online fundraising platform allowing users to shop at over 4,300 top stores and raise free funds for charity. The store pays Give as you Live a percentage of your total purchase price in commission and of this, 50% is passed on to charity. My nominated charity is the International Tree Foundation! The ITF works with communities in Africa and the UK to carry out sustainable community forestry projects which protect, regenerate and cultivate trees and forests to conserve habitats rich in biodiversity and to enhance human and environmental well-being. Wahoo!

It’s these kinds of things that remind me of why I’m pursuing Our Pledge. It’s for me! I love easy ways to make a difference. I love when tech is so seamless and usefully designed and embraces how we already live so that we are reminded to be mindful whilst also doing all the things we usually do without thinking. Like shop or search online.


Speaking of Our Pledge… What’s happening?!

So, as you know, we’re building up to our first campaign: our pilot with the stellar Stone Mini Market. The platform is being built, we’re cutting the video together, Adrienne and I are pricing up the refill station and we’re designing the smooth tech to make it all possible.

Within a month (all being well) customers should be able to start buying refill products in advance and getting some #SweetSavings for doing it through Our Pledge. See above for tech making life easy and rewarding!

We’re still gathering feedback on our survey too, so if you live in the area and want to offer your insights to what you’d like to see SMM stock in the new premises, please fill in this survey.

Also, if you’d be up for giving the platform a whirl once it’s ready, I’ll definitely be looking out for #WillingFocusGroup members to give us some critical feedback in return for a #beer or the like.

Also, if you know any great designer-makers who could build the refill station out of reclaimed or recycled materials.. let us know! We’d love to get them involved.


East London Women for the Environment


No fancy title needed here. This heading tells it like it is.

Alongside my gals from Transition Leytonstone (Diana is the one on the right in the video photo above!), I went to an event featuring some badass East London Women all speaking and sharing information in support of the Environment. Arranged by the Labour party of Leyton and Wansted (of which I am not a member but obviously that didn’t matter), it was an overall positive evening.

The ace Sakina Sheikh was a particular highlight, talking about the Green New Deal and how Labour is increasingly embracing this policy. Although the concept started here, you’re probably more familiar with it due to the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the States. It’s a revolutionary concept, despite being wholly obvious, as it points out that there can’t be a discrete climate policy in a world where the climate emergency affects every single element of society: healthcare, education, housing, finance, farming, sport! A green new deal is designed to elevate the Climate Emergency to the top of every agenda as in need of urgent attention and I endorse this.

We also heard from local MP John Cryer (not currently identifying as a woman, as far as I know), who gave a warm welcome and an interesting insight as to some more potential solutions to a few current and topical affairs. He pointed out the missed opportunity laid out across the country in our dormant rail networks that were decommissioned decades ago but would cost a fraction of HS2 money to reignite and solve some transport issues. He also discussed the necessity of committing to a UK Hydrogen network to decarbonise our heating, something I’d not heard of but would like to learn more about. This article is about as far as I’ve got, but I’d love to hear more if anyone knows where else I should look.


And finally…

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Here’s something quite lovely. In one of my Resurgo interviews, I told the story of the Hummingbird that I’m sure you’re all sick of me banging on about.

Well from tiny acorns, short stories, and active little birds … trees, movements and blog posts can grow! Gordon Eichhorst (who runs the accelerator scheme, and the person to whom I was directing the story at the time) wrote about it on Medium! You can read his article and my response… here.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but remember folks, all you can control is yourself. Let’s choose to #BeTheHummingbird

Take care out there. And remember, you can make a difference and you are not alone.