I spoke at an interesting seminar in Blaenau Gwent yesterday evening, organised by Southern Bloc. The seminar was titled "Quiet Revolution: Technology, Regeneration and Social Enterprise" (details here), so I was there with both a Global Ideas Bank and a School for Social Entrepreneurs hat on.
And very enjoyable it was too. As well as myself gibbering about actual/virtual communities, Alan Harris from KnowNet talked about the excitement of Web 2.0 and its new service-led applications. A provoking insight into how the web is changing, and how it will affect the way we use and interact with the internet in the future. And he had some great examples of the ways in which people are starting to use the new technologies in creative collaborations (aka mash-ups)...
Next up was Andrew Chainey, the Director of Tantrwm, a Welsh-based new media company. Andrew is an archetypal entrepreneur who, through a lot of hard graft and pragmatism (and never saying no: one of his tips to other entrepreneurs), has begun to make his dreams a reality. And he is not short on ambition, nor or opinion: it was refreshing to hear his honest and forthright views on the provision/quality of business support and advice, and on whether the category of 'social enterprise' is being used by some to gain an unfair advantage over "traditional" commercial enterprises.
The subsequent discussion (which was chaired by Shannon Robinson, CEO of Community Enterprise Wales) was also pretty thought-provoking, covering everything from how the council could help encourage technology entrepreneurs in the area to the merits (or otherwise) of the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Development Agency. Eye-opening for me as an English interloper, but hopefully also enlightening for those who came, both in how technology is developing and also in how communities (and the active citizens within them) can shape their own destinies.