*Warning, the following blog post contains gushing praise. Those with a disposition against repeated compliments, please leave now*. Yes folks at the weekend, after admiring fan-boyishly from afar, Good Design finally got to met Good For Nothing and I have to say in no uncertain terms I was quite simply blown away. Sometimes when you are a huge fan of an organization or project, meeting the people behind it can ultimately bring you back down to earth with a rather nasty bump as you realise they were not quite as nice as you had expected. And after blogging about Good For Nothing for some months, my expectations were high. But I have to say, on this occasion not only were my expectations met, they were exceeded. It’s official, Good For Nothing rocks!
Tom and Dan (Good For Nothing) and Victoria ( Naked Communications) could not have been nicer hosts on the day and talking to them it was instantly clear that they have a genuine passion and excitement for what they do and it seems with very good reason. Set in the stunning and aptly cool space of the Hub Westminster Make/Time was the latest instalment of the Good For Nothing weekenders. As I explained in my previous blog post ‘Sony’s new volunteering app +U‘, Make/Time’s aim was to bring together ’doers’ including coders, designers and strategists to use +U’s open source codes to solve three briefs using three teams. The first team I spoke to was team ‘Espace Benevolat’, their brief was to ‘create a mobile volunteering app’ and ‘develop creative tools to communicate to Espace Benevolat‘s users about the app’. For those unfamilliar with Espace Benevolat they are the primary French volunteering charity that links people with volunteering opportunities in their area.
The second team I spoke to was ‘Thames21‘ and their brief came in three parts. This was to hack the code for the Waterway Treasure Map concept, producing a working prototype for their fundraising pitch, to make +U work brilliantly for Thames21 and to develop engaging communication to get more people using the Thames 21 app. And last but not least was team ‘Freerange’, who had the awesome challenge to ‘take the +U code and create something magic that could get loads of people up for volunteering’. Talking to all the groups it was clear that everyone involved was behind Good For Nothing’s mission one hundred per cent and there was a real buzz in the air as everyone worked with dedicated efficiency towards their end of day presentations.
What really made my jaw drop though was just how much work was actually achieved in the space of forty eight hours. Due to work commitments I couldn’t make the Friday and so I felt slightly sheepish rocking up on the Saturday to then effectively, take pictures, chat a bit and then tweet about it! However I had a great time keeping a live feed of the days activity through Good Design’s twitter account and the #Maketime. Everyone was extremely friendly and the coders kindly made sure to take their time and speak slowly when explaining their work to me, although I still only understood minimal amounts. But you didn’t need a degree in computer science to understand how much hard work was being put in. In the second half of the day the pace (and the tunes!) really upped the anti with the comms teams proceeding to produce a film and stop motion animation in a matter of hours, admittedly with varying degrees of success but ten out ten for even taking on the challenge.
The day finished on a high with all three teams delivering fantastic presentations that included working prototype apps, slick branding design and and truly engaging strategies. There was even a last minute fourth presentation that had been prepared in the last half hour! A perfect example of the spirit of the occasion. It was as if four weeks worth of work had been condensed into forty eight hours. And it was all certainly not in vain, not only the did the teams leave with the satisfaction of having delivered top notch work for their chosen charities, there were also Sony goodies to be given away in the form of Sony tablets, Bloggies and a trip to meet the clever minds at Sony’s R&D department. As well as Good For Nothing manifestos and T-shirts.
I have to say that overall I found the whole experience hugely uplifting and genuinely inspirational. Too see creative people from all disciplines working together and sacrificing their weekend to use their talents for good really does leave you with a heartwarming feeling and a belief that projects like Good For Nothing are just what the creative industry needs. And with the great news that they have just been awarded Nesta funding, it seems that Good For Nothing are going to be around for the long term and I can only see them getting bigger and better.