The Power of Collaboration

Despite having kept up my pledge to blog more, I realised it’s time for a more thoughtful, reflective and informational post.

Did you enjoy the Spain posts and hot air balloon video by the way?

Anyway, it hit me today that its already July! Unbelievable. Since getting back from Spain in April; there’s been great family times, some swimming and general fun. I’ve also been gearing up to move house, change my council care provider and everything else this entails. I’m excited and scared of how this will go, and will keep you posted when things begin.

Workwise the #dhsummit13 went well, I’m still working for Lero in Tenerife and have done some great collaborative project work, which is what I wanted to share with you today!

Visit Britain

Back in November, following some summer meetings with Maddy from GeoCast TV, I worked on an access video in the Birmingham area for Visit Britain. The experience was exhilarating, tiring, challenging and memorable. We visited 6 tourist venues, filmed a great deal and had a lot of fun. Thanks to Dan and Rob from GeoCast TV for helping me learn as a presenter.

Here’s the outcome:

VisitEngland

During the turn of the year, just before Spain, I was also involved in a project with some accessibility tourism colleagues. We collaborated in a project tender for VisitEngland, under the umbrella of ‘Access New Business‘.

After being successful for the tender we met Ross Calladine from VisitEngland at their London HQ. Our charge was to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) not to become more accessible, but to market how accessible they already are.

Having studied my Masters in Marketing and worked in the disability field for years; it was great to truly combine these elements on a large scale. You can imagine how it will boost accessible businesses, but more so it will offer disabled people better information and choices for their homeland tourism.

Here’s the link to the toolkit we created, called ‘Speak up’.

Realife Trust and Vodafone

Having spoken to Lou Shackleton and Mel Findlater from @youcanhub on Twitter and at Ann Hawkins Cambridge meet ups; we were searching for collaborative projects too. At last, an opportunity arose in January to apply for a Vodafone award. The idea is to partner as an individual with a charity, to do a specific role. If selected, Vodafone pay your salary to do the work.

The collaboration came through Tony at the Realife Trust. He needed Lou to develop an elearning version of his brokerage training. Meanwhile asking me to develop strategy and technology to enable people to upload videos.

After us both winning, Lou has been working hard on the training, whilst I filmed some demo videos and chatted with Misfit Inc about technology. In October, in partnership with Disability Horizons, we will have a cool piece of software to enable the uploading of peer-to-peer informational videos, world wide!

The moral of the story…

Only this week I’ve confirmed my role as an ambassador for @britainsPB, with a huge personal challenge, high profile media work, charity fundraising for Scope and much more. Keep a watch on the 23rd July.

This has all shown me that despite having personal needs (such as income for shelter and food), personal wants (such as running high impact social change projects and world travel) and personal doubts (of if I can achieve these attributes); I learnt that interdependency is healthy!

There is no way I could have done these projects alone, even if I’d wanted to. Furthermore if I did, the outcome would be smaller and the impact would be rubbish. Not because of my limitations, but because of the synergy of collaboration.

With all of the above; the mixture of people, their experiences, skills, knowledge, and differences; it created a great outcome and huge impact for society. I’m proud to say politically, economically, technologically and most importantly socially; things have been shaken up and improved that tiny bit more by these collaborative efforts.

So, get out there, stop thinking, start doing and when appropriate get collaborating!

Big thanks to Kasia and my friends/family for always being there. Huge respect to Srin, Liz, Filipe, Mark and Zubee for making DH what it is 🙂

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