On 4th June, Ethos held its first Ethos Connect networking event outside London with a model that all involved hoped could be replicated more widely, as a mechanism for informing interested parties and, ultimately, recruiting new partners.
Over the past year, my first at Ethos, I have encountered a lot of people who have expressed interest in the values and modus operandi of Ethos and I wanted them to find out more in an accessible and engaging way. As I and most of my business network are Devon-based, Exeter was the ideal venue to test a local approach.
With the input with Mike Davis- Marks, Andy Fryer and Rob Pye, I developed an event format that allowed the attendees to find out more about the values of Ethos, how it worked in practice and what the collaborative opportunities in Exeter were. We invited 14 potential partners and 12 turned up – and over half are now seriously considering joining Ethos. On top of that, we also had a waiting list of people who had heard of the event through social media or through me and wanted to get involved. I am hopeful that in a year’s time, once we have developed a head of steam, we can repeat the process.
The range of attendees varied widely from technologists, police super-intendants, business people, educationalists, local authority officers, environmentalists and social entrepreneurs. Everyone had a common interest in the “collaboration, trust, moderation” mindset and this made the discussions and questions more diverse and rich.
So what’s so special about Exeter? Everyone who came also shares a passion for Exeter, Devon and the South West, and, when it comes down to it, I think that the sense of place is the crucial element in arranging these kind of events. Exeter is a vibrant regional capital, that has great businesses, innovative employers, such as the Met Office, great educational organisations, and locaI authorities that are battling against shrinking budgets – the perfect place for Ethos to make an impact!