In September 2015 we launched Open Project Night (OPN) at Impact Hub Birmingham. As we approach the second year of the weekly open night, we are partnering with our friends at UnLtd on an exciting research project that aims to understand how OPN works, lay out its methodology, find out who attends, how we are supporting them, and more.
In the spirit of our founding principles, we decided to make the whole process open and work with the Impact Hub Birmingham and Open Project Night community to complete the research in the most authentic, honest and open way possible. We hope the research will lead to improving the offer for citizens of Birmingham, support other groups hoping to start their own OPN, and to capture its value for further long term investment.
Why Open Project Night?
The whole journey of Impact Hub Birmingham was focused on transparency and openess, so we couldn’t just close the doors as soon as we were officially open.
Many people know that TEDxBrum was one of the inspirations behind Impact Hub Birmingham’s conception, and subsequently the open process of building it led to one of the Birmingham’s largest civic crowdfunding campaigns. Over 685 people invested in the campaign with their hard earned money, meaning we collectively smashed the target of £50,000. Not only was a powerful movement beginning to grow in the city, but #EpicBrum went viral and was picked up around the world. Upon opening Impact Hub Birmingham, with the support of so many people, we started to think about and ask the community what do we need to do next?
Our experiences over the last few years have made us think about what conditions are required for a large group of people to go on this journey, i.e. what is required in building a platform, convening a community and creating the spaces to allow people to flourish. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we do know that trust, empathy, collective investment, enlightened generosity and embracing the open-ended is at the core of these processes. It’s easy to invest in single ideas, but what we are interested in investing in is collective purpose. So, after an open building process, crowdfunder, and the citizen-curated festival that kicked off our official grand opening, we knew that it was just not okay to close our doors and become an exclusive membership community, even though this was also a key element of our prospective sustainability.
We knew it was crucial to create space that was truly open to Birmingham, with the resources, support and bigger mission that meant everyone who has supported us – who had an idea, passion or interest in building a better Birmingham – could make use of it.
We knew it needed to be as generous as we could make it; open to anyone, an abundance of space, resources, people and inspiration.
We knew it needed to be embedded within a bold, creative and courageous visio,n supporting people to take that next step to make their dreams and visions a reality.
What is Open Project Night?
Every Monday at Impact Hub Birmingham is Open Project Night, 6.30pm – 10.30pm.
Once a week we fling open the doors of Impact Hub Birmingham extra wide and invite any imagineers working on projects, ventures and ideas focused on unleashing a better us – a better Birmingham – to all come together in the same space. Creatives, activists, entrepreneurs, dreamers, scientists, makers and doers, everyone is welcome to come along to add their vision of a better Birmingham.
What can people find at Open Project Night?
Resources, people, space, dreamers, doers, inspiring events & more…
- A dynamic community of thinkers, doers and dreamers to bounce your ideas and thoughts off.
- Vibrant & inspiring spaces to meet / organise / plan / do.
- Audio Visual, WiFi & Printing Services.
Impact Hub Birmingham will host your meet-ups, workshops, mini talks, plotting and planning sessions, or you can simply come and hang out with a dynamic community of doers. Impact Hub Birmingham was born in coffee shops, bars, libraries and parks, basically anywhere we could get together and work on their vision. In the same way, Open Project Night allows the space to be opened up to as many people as possible to help them get their project, group or venture off the ground.
You can find a users guide to Open Project Night here.
What have we achieved in our first year of Open Project Night?
Check our this handy visual to see what has happened in the first year of Open Project Night, and read more here. We also open sourced the OPN methodology to the global Impact Hub network and have already seen OPNs start up in Impact Hub Brixton, Minneapolis, Ottawa and Seattle with more on their way.
We are starting a 12 week project research project in partnership with UnLtd. Every Monday starting from Monday 5th September, a member of the Impact Hub Birmingham will greet you with an introduction to some of the questions, data and support we need to find out more about your experience with OPN.
If you have used OPN before please fill in the following form to tell us more about why. This will crucial in helping us to continue the offer, improve OPN and continue to thrive and grow in the future, together.
If you are just intrigued, or have a project, venture or idea to take forward turn up on monday at 6.30pm!
To get involved more deeply in the Open Project Night research we are doing with UnLtd, please contact Immy Kaur (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dan Zastawny (email@example.com) for further information.
Open Project Night: A Users Guide
Making Things in the Open
Our 1st Year in Data: