Please read this personal request from our friends over at the Dragonfly Blog
Over the last few months we’ve been thinking about the next steps for The Dragonfly Collective, and exploring our ideas as part of the Masters in Social Innovation.
There’s one idea in particular we’re interested in – it’s called Dragonfly Cafe. Here’s some background.
At The Dragonfly Collective we’ve seen first hand some of the challenges the world faces – poverty, discrimination, unemployment, climate change, disengagement with politics – just to name a few.
Take London for example. It’s the fifth richest city in the world, and 37% of its residents live in poverty. The top 20% of British people earn six times as much as the bottom 20%. British people are less engaged in the political process than the rest of the OECD – 34% don’t bother voting, and this is as high as 50% amongst those on the lowest incomes. And while this inequality exists, research shows that UK residents are becoming more individualistic, less supportive of redistribution of wealth and quicker to judge those who need support.
And while there are many projects that have made important steps in tackling challenges such as poverty and discrimination, they still remain firmly in place.
So how can we change this?
We believe that one of the most neglected factors in pushing for change is the set of values that motivate people. Engaging people’s hearts and changing what they care about by building intrinsic values like appreciation, tolerance and empathy.
We want to create a community gathering space focussed on building local networks and activating the intrinsic values that make people more likely to act to create a better world for others. It will be a café where people can stop by for some good food, coffee and wine, and at the same time access books, lectures, public forums, art exhibitions, music and poetry that provide a more human and empowering perspective on local challenges than the mainstream media. It will generate ideas for people to get involved in supporting their local community – if they choose – and offer an ideas incubator for those that have big (or small) social innovation ideas they want to test and develop.
It’s a space that will welcome everyone, from people who are passionate about social justice, to children, to people who just love a nice piece of cake and a cuppa.
We’ll start in one London neighbourhood. The café will be a social enterprise with a local and green supply chain. It will employ local people who are disadvantaged or discriminated against (for example homeless people, immigrants or older people), providing job opportunities and building community connections across races, ages and social classes.
The big idea is that if we can awaken a passion for social justice by strengthening intrinsic values, building local networks and empowering people to act in the interest of others, we could create communities that change the world (or even just a small part of it).
At this moment it’s just an idea, so we need your feedback to help develop the concept.
We would be really grateful if you could spend five minutes filling out the online survey below:
The survey is completely anonymous, so please give us your genuine and honest thoughts – the more questions/comments/suggestions the better!
Tara & Andrew