Getting our collective heads around the ‘Big Society’

By Sue Wixley 7 September 2010

I see Nat Wei, the coalition government’s Mr Big Society, has just started a new blog.  He’ll be blogging alternately about the Big Society, his Shoreditch Group and other musings and he’ll be swapping between his own blog and Big Society Network’s blog.

In his inaugural blog, Baron Wei says: ‘I am going to try to help make sense of what is going on in and around this phenomenon called Big Society’. Good stuff. We could do with a bit more light being shed on this phenomenon, particularly from one of its architects.

Indeed, it looks like lots of people are looking for answers on the subject. I typed ‘big society’ into Google Insights for Search (a clever tool that allows you to compare search volume patterns across regions or other categories) and it showed that there has been a 120% rise in Google searches of this term. (It even beats searches for the terms ‘big brother society’ and ‘big cat society’).

At NPC, we too are trying to understand the Big Society agenda. We’ve written some ‘think pieces’ on it: Scaling up for the Big Society and Proving your worth to Whitehall. And we’re about to run a series of seminars on the subject.

There will be panel discussions on how charities can communicate impact (proving you’re making a difference is one of the themes of the Big Society) and how charities can scale up successfully (as is finding imaginative and bold solutions to society’s problems). We’ll also hear from community groups about their techniques to mobilise and engage local people (another strand of the Big Society idea).

We think there is a lot that charities are already doing that can help us understand this phenomenon.