On Friday 7th July Impact Hub Birmingham had the pleasure of hosting the first beyond (un)employment ambassador meeting as we welcomed guests from Impact Hub Company, Robert Bosch Stiftung and members of our fellow cohorts in Florence, Moscow, Yerevan and Zagreb to our fair city. It was a wonderful chance to catch up on the different journeys the cities experienced so far, zoom in on some shared learnings and look ahead to the solution development phase of the programme.

Once the group had enjoyed a tour of our Impact Hub and met some of the community, we settled down to our first activity – show and tell. All of the different Hubs took the opportunity to share a little bit about their city, the local (un)employment problems their cohorts are working on and their personal experiences of the journey so far. This gave an interesting insight into the commonalities of the journeys, gave us a good overview of the local contexts and provided some challenges and provocations for the group to dive further into in the afternoon.

Following a delightful lunch at the oldest pub in Birmingham (fish and chips was a firm favourite!) where the group built good connections we heard from Markus Lux, Deputy Head of the Civil Society and Good Governance Department of Robert Bosch Stiftung, who explained the vision and purpose of the programme, and that he was encouraged by the audacity and depth of the work of all of the cohorts and excited to see the future results.

We then launched into some chatting, hacking and solving of the issues raised in the morning. The conversation was challenging, friendly and at times confusing! Some of the main insights which emerged were:

  • The solutions phase will need to account for the humanity of the participants and the beneficiaries – we are working with and for each other and so reciprocity and kindness must be guiding principles.
  • The objective is to create practical and implementable ideas at the end – the tools we use to get there will vary (hacks, jams, site visits, etc) but it is important to remember starting small is still starting.
  • The learnings and friendships of the the local participants discovered in the first phase will need to be the foundations for the second phase.
  • An easier way for international collaboration would be helpful – as a record, as a place for problem solving and as a source of strength.


The final activity the ambassadors engaged in was creating a toolkit and learning summaries which they would take back to their home cohorts and explore in more detail. This ensured the learning would be shared intra- and inter- cohorts and the opening up of the beyond (un)employment slack channel now offers a convening point for all stakeholders and participants in the programme, enabling collaboration and interactions to continue.

The evening closed with a shared dinner with the rest of the Birmingham cohort, where our international guests each hosted a table and cohort members shared learnings and experiences from the programme and their cities with each other. This important session created a good sense of familiarity and friendship between the different cities and setting the group up strongly for the solution development phase of the programme.

To hear about this session there is a video below capturing the thoughts of Brian, Ksenia, Ivanna and Markus at the end of the first Beyond (un)employment Ambassador Meeting here in Brum. Huge thank you to everyone who joined us (particularly those who travelled further than Brian).


To follow along with updates from the programme visit: birmingham.impacthub.net/mission/beyond-unemployment/
or drop your comments, ideas or links into the form below to have your say, and feed into the conversations started in this session.

Photography & videography by Paul Stringer.