on getting out, learning and sharing, unconference style

As I plan another ‘benchmarkwalk’ for tomorrow in the English Lake District, I realise I haven’t described my benchmarkwalks approach here on the blog.

In some ways I now realise this approach is very much like an outdoor unconference – delegates choose the themes for discussion and, rather than standing in a lecture hall, or hotel room to present, people can talk on their topic in a way that engages very differently to the more traditional front of room or around the table discussion.

The following is the original concept from my website, (which has now been long overtaken by using this blog as my main presence).

Benchmark Walks talk the walk in landscapes to fire inspire

Aimed at improvement individuals and teams, Benchmarkwalks has been compared to doing business on the golf course but more stimulating and rewarding by far. Many leading organisations are beginning to realise the benefits of outdoor or walking-based meetings as a way of encouraging open discussion and getting away from office environments.

From the Benchmarkwalks home base within the Forest Of Bowland, itself an area of outstanding natural beauty, we organize and facilitate your business or improvement team away day. We make use of a local inspiring venue within the Forest of Bowland for events and as a base for a local benchmarkwalks

Benchmarkwalks can be tailored to suite individuals looking to improve business improvement knowledge on a unique one to one arrangementâ

You set the topics – Benchmarkwalks assembles the experts, so you can learn from improvement experts in inspirational landscapes. Find out what works and what hasnt worked from leading UK benchmarking experts.

Choose from easy, low-level valley and woodland walks through to challenging mountain days, whatever; the chance to talk the walk and learn cannot be bettered. Walks can range from an hour stroll as part of a days facilitated event through to whole days on the hill.

Benchmarkwalks have formed partnerships with leading walking and guiding organisations to arrange and lead our mountain walks

Business Improvement has often been compared to a journey where the journey itself is the reward as well as the destination. With Benchmarkwalks you will reap benefits from both the physical journey and discussions on business improvement topics

Benchmarkwalks can cover any business improvement topic, for example: benchmarking, sustainability, quality management, value management, customer relations, excellence and EFQM, collaborative working, supply chain management… Any, all or none just ramble and learn.


more information @ benchmarkwalks

isite in second life

To enable the second life discussions around isite themes of built environment sustainability, isite now has a new meeting facility within second life courtesy of the Public Works Island.

In addition to adhoc discussions with second life friends from around the world, it is planned to hold structured, but still informal events, exchanging ideas and approaches to sustainability in its very widest sense.

Join us in second life – we are here

To join Second Life through the Public Works Group

isite news and update

Media Partner

Delighted that isite has been invited to become media blog partner to the Eco City 2008 World Summit and West Coast Green conferences.  Watch out for live feeds.

Feeds

Bright Green: looking for that new job in sustainability or CSR? then the latest positions from the London and San Fransisco offices of Bright Green can be found on the right hand sidebar

Twitter – still getting to grips with the potential of this, my tweets are, again, on the right hand sidebar.

Blogs added to blogroll:

Transition Culture the tranistion town movement blog from Rob Hopkins

WICE: a small community enterprise in my own home community

Second Life

isite now has a presence in second life – more on this very soon

Where

Two gadgets that fascinate me – where in the world and cluster maps show the locations of isite readers.

Next

Watch out for live blogging from upcoming events – from local to regional and national to international

I also intend to replace the flickr feed with photos of buildings in use, representing the users experience of facilities – watch this space.

sustainable connectivity

A new look for isite with a new image on the top banner(*). I like this design as it includes a RSS button – to get isite delivered to your desktop, and a search facility to search back through isite items.

But a little more too. After reflection on this blogs contents and direction, I have slightly amended the purpose of isite.

Yes it will continue to be a news views and comments blog for the built environment, poking here and there when things dont seem quite right or dubious, or indeed covered with greenwash. It will continue to be a voice to the online world for the Lancashire Best Practice Construction Club and to a lesser degree the CKE, and will continue to focus on collaborative working, integrated working, facilities management, futures and improvement towards excellence. The emerging web2.0 or even 3.0, and I include second life here, is an important theme that links and enables allot of what we, what I do, so will remain a key element of the posts and comments.

isite is also of course the outlet to the world for my business – fairsnape.  (the name was taken from the local hill in the Forest of Bowland visible from my base here)

However, more importantly I see isite starting to look at connectivity with the natural environment. A number of activities I have been involved with lately has made me realise we may be where we are today because we have lost, and struggling to regain connectivity with our impact on ecology in its widest sense.

What does this mean? – Ecological footprints more than carbon footprints – as John Muir said when we tug on a single thing in nature we find it attached to everything else . – natural materials rather than harmful – renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, community based FM rather than endless target driven fm, about responsible sourcing rather than supply chain bullying, all putting a new direction to CSR.

I have long used the triptych of fit for people purpose and planet (before it became enshrined into the triple bottom line concept I like to think) . It is what Patrick Geddes would call folk, work and place, nearly a century ago, and reading Satish Kumar over the weekend – he described our modern trinity as needing soil, soul and society. Soil for the environment. soul for a spiritual dimension and society for justice.

Kumar a great walker – now based at the Schumacher college in Dartmoor, that incidentally run courses on Zen and Construction, talks about never trusting ideas that you never worked through whilst walking. “when you walk you are connected with nature, when in a car or a building your are disconnected, you walk to connect yourself”.

A while ago I started a benchmark walking programme to do just this – getting workshops and learning sharing events out of a training room or hotel into the countryside. With a loose agenda that emerges to deal with peoples real improvement needs, benchmarkwalks allows real learning and sharing, I likened it to doing business on a golf course – but this is business improving on a walk.

So all this as a preamble to a new thread for isite – connectivity – one I hope that will give it more scope, depth and importance as we address the sustainability issues, the soil, soul and society issues facing the built environment.

(* taken at Beacon Fell, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire recently – a location for many benchmarkwalks)

using isite as a bid tool

I received interesting feedback from two individuals last week who mentioned they use isite as a knowledge base when answering bid questions for new work, to ensure they are up to date with current thinking. One of these was local, ie in the North West UK, the other in the USA.
I now regularly use the blog as a bookmarked, knowledge base, to easily recall items to develop work with clients, but I am really pleased to hear that others find value in the site as an archive source of information and knowledge.

Its another powerful plus for blogs.

Carbon management, route to zero and waste management event

Over 70 people from the regional construction, fm and energy sector attended last nights Lancashire Best Practice Club event at the Solarus Center in Blackpool.  The event , in two parts, covered sustainability, targets for the built environment  and carbon issues from Martin Brown and in the second half site waste management plans from Colin Woods

Presentation and links will be available on the events page for downloading.

For more information, or for those present, to discuss any of the issues raised in the evening email Martin or Colin – or both!