When I joined the British Science Association I introduced a new internal initiative called Lunchtime Seminars. The idea was to enable us to look at external organisations and see how we can learn from peers within and outside of our sector.
The idea is simple, during a lunch hour, an external person will come in and deliver a short presentation and discussion on their organisation, project or a particular topic. Through this we were able to share and learn best practice, hear about what is working and not, and more importantly keep up to date with the sector and all the innovations that are taking place around that.
The beauty of the Lunchtime Seminars was that everyone from the organisation could get involved and learn or share something. It wasn’t just programme teams or just the communications team, it was everyone who felt engaged with the sector they were working in or the topic at hand.
Throughout my time at the British Science Association we had some fantastic people visit us, attendees included; CelebYouth, Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (Cast), Maths on Toast, National Autistic Society, Parkinsons UK, SMASHfest, Fun Palaces and vInspired and to top it all off on my penultimate day at the British Science Association we will be joined by Bhavani Esapathi from The Invisible Labs.
Through these Lunchtime Seminars, I learnt everything from stealth science to engaging with young volunteers to how brilliant Dave the Worm is and finally to see the amazing relationship that the British Science Association and Fun Palaces now has!
I want to thank all of the people who took time out of their day to visit the British Science Association offices and share with us their successes and failures, their hopes and fears and more importantly gave us a little more insight into how they develop and continue their work.
I think that Lunchtime Seminars are a great way to stop the sector being so insular; we need to not just share best practice and successes we also need to share more about when we fail. We need to help others not make the same mistake we did because after all, as charities, it’s not the best use of donor’s money, if we’re all making mistakes that we didn’t need to make.
I encourage openness and honesty within the charity sector, we can be competitors but we can also be partners and friends; all fighting to make the world a better place whether that’s through medical research, human rights or social justice.