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CreativeCoffee Club

CreativeCoffee Club

08 Jan, 2009

CreativeCoffee Club London Evolution

Posted by: DT In: events| london

We’re shaking things up a little with the CreativeCoffee Club London meetings in 2009. Rather than continue with the cosy, weekly free for all conversations of last year we’ll be doing less regular meet-ups, but will begin to have larger and more themed conversations.

Our first one is in conjunction with Amplified09 and the ICA. You can read the details here, but in a nutshell we’ll be discussing the future of online video:

After a conversation with the fine folk at the ICA (now on Twitter) they offered to let us have the run of the place on the morning of the 21st. We’re going to be chewing over the future of online video - be that in the form of television programming, film or original web content. @freecloud already ran a bolt-on event for this subject at the Social Media Cafe last year which formed the basis for his session at Amplified08. We’d now like to keep the conversation going and expand upon it. It’s a wide subject and depending on how many people turn up we can dissolve into a few groups to try and work out where online media is taking us.

We hope the regulars can make it and are looking forward to seeing some new faces.

This will not affect the very successful regular CreativeCoffee Club Leicester events and CCC London will continue to have strong ties there and indeed with the other CreativeCoffee Club meet-ups wherever they may be.

An admin oversight means we still haven’t consoldated this new website with the old one. We’ll be blogging from a single URL very soon - thanks for your patience and Happy New Year!

For some time we’ve planned to hook CreativeCoffee Club up with a University in London, as well as wanting to get away fro the Height’s Bar at the St. Georges. The Heights Bar has a great view, and means you can regularly rub shoulders with BBC luminaries and producers, but the coffee is lousy and the service even worse. Open Coffee and Seedcamp just hooked up with UCL, and since this is my old university I made contact with UCL Advances. This is the department with a stated aim to stimulate collaboration among researchers, business and investors with an aim to drive innovations that benefit society and the economy - a perfect fit for what CCC is trying to achieve, and with their help we hope to connect with some interesting people. They’ll be promoting what we do in their e newsletter.

UCL Print Room cafeI’ve checked out the two places they offered us as a venue, and I’ve decided we’ll start at the relatively new Print Room Café, run by the UCL Union. It’s in the centre of the campus, but easy to find, with good coffee and food, some comfortable sofas and even tables outside in the courtyard if we’re still there next spring. We’ll move there from tomorrow, 12 November from 10:00 to 12:00 and will be there every other week alternating with CCC Leicester as usual.

From the South side of UCL’s campus, which runs along Torrington Place opposite Waterstones, go along Malet Place, passing the new engineering building on your left and under some construction. Carry on to the end of Malet Place, through the arch in to a courtyard. As you walk down Malet Place, you’ll see the Print Room Café through the arch on the other side of the courtyard. You won’t need to go through any security to get in to the campus or the café, and the natives are friendly. If you really need it, here is their map, but I have to say it’s confusing. The café is in the South Wing marked by a coffee cup near the South Junction entrance. In any case, I’ll be there with my mobile switched on (07715 159423) for anyone who gets lost.

07 Nov, 2008

Ain’t that a kick in the head

Posted by: Sizemore In: creativity| ideas

When people ask me why I’m so keen on pulling random people together and breaking down as many barriers as I can I’m always a little taken aback. Then again people also think I’m mad for trying to keep up with all the people I follow on Twitter too. The thing is I have no idea where the next interesting project or idea is coming from. I have certain people in my circle who generate some fascinating concepts and sticking close to them means it’s a safe bet my life won’t get too dull anytime soon. But I’m also interested in the stuff that seemingly comes out of nowhere. The Black Swans if you like.

Like everyone else I have no clue as to where the next one is coming from, but I do know that it’s vital to keep as many routes in and out of my own echo chamber open as possible. My favourite example of the benefits of this is, like all the best stories, perhaps not entirely factually correct.

But it should be.

In 1966 Robert Wise shot a movie called The Sand Pebbles partially in Hong Kong. It’s a movie well worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. Now the story goes that this was the first chance for local stuntmen to see up close how the Hollywood crew put together fight sequences. Wise also left behind the Panavision cameras he’d used there and his Chinese assistants went on to start up their own film companies once the Americans had moved on.

This combination of new ideas, skills and technology lead to a new martial arts boom in the late sixties and early seventies. It lead to Bruce Lee.

Before that Akira Kurosawa was influencing Sergio Leone who in turn gave us Clint Eastwood who gave us Unforgiven. Go back before that and you can pencil in the Westerns of John Ford as one of the main influences on Kurosawa. And if he’d never have made Hidden Fortress I doubt Star Wars would be around today.

So would Uma Thurman have kicked so much ass in Kill Bill if Robert Wise had chosen to film The Sand Pebbles in a more controlled and less risky studio environment thirty seven years earlier?

We’re still experiencing those ripples today and that’s what I love about mixing things up. The potential is huge. Risks, failure and looking foolish are all part of the same game, but pass quickly. Without others taking those risks maybe I’d have never got to see a Jackie Chan movie. Imagine that.

I think risks are worth taking and looking foolish is simply part of being human. The exciting thing is none of us knows how we’ll influence each other in the next 18 months. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

Cross posted on Amplified08 and Sizemore

07 Nov, 2008

Relaunching in 5, 4, 3…

Posted by: Sizemore In: website

The Creative Coffee Club website has been inactive for a little while now, partly because the Facebook group has proved to be so effective. But looking back over the last year or so of posts underlines how important an additional resource the blog has been. So in line with the new season of Creative Coffee Club both in London and Leicester we’ve moved the old blog to a new home.

This has created a couple of admin headaches such as fixing the old URLs on Facebook and elsewhere and because I copied over the old posts manually they’re still not attributed to the correct authors in WordPress. Both problems are easily fixed and having a WP blog will mean we can pull in widgets to help not only with the organising of the events, but also to help promote the cool stuff that we archive here.

I’m hoping the blog will once again become as lively and as interesting as the actual meet ups.

We’ll probably change the theme too and strengthen our links to other networks and of course Amplified 08. We also have plans to run a Creative Coffee Flickr group and add more rich media to the site so keep bringing your cameras and smart phones along.

I’d love to see everyone who has posted on Creative Coffee in the past back in action here and of course new blood is not only welcome but craved.

Just drop me a line at mikesizemore @ and I’ll sort out blogging access to anyone who wants to chip in.

And of course feel free to link us up and spread the word…

Photo credit: Save your cortex by *MAH7 (CC license)

16 Oct, 2008

Moving to WordPress

Posted by: admin In: website

Waking soon…

27 Aug, 2008

Success Factors for CreativeCoffee Club

Posted by: admin In: Leicester| meetup

x-posted from NLab

CreativeCoffee Club has been going for about a year now. Local groups have met in London, Leicester, Liverpool, Bangor, Palo Alto and New York. The Leicester group has been especially successful, meeting consistently over the year with steady participation from local small businesses and visitors from further afield.

One of the great things about CreativeCoffee Club is that it doesn’t cost any money. It’s about finding a convivial, accessible spot in a local coffee bar or similar, arranging a time and date and letting people know about it – and Facebook has worked really well for that. I like the variation of the different groups – some meeting now and then, others, like Leicester, meeting more frequently.

I guess that, ideally, CreativeCoffee Clubs need to meet fairly regularly to enable relationships to grow over time, and to provide frequent opportunities for members to engage – not everyone is going to be able to make every time. Here are some of the factors that have influenced the success of the Leicester CreativeCoffee Club:

  • Pre-posted events going forward for 2-3 months

We’ve gone further this year, and planned events for the whole season. My reasoning is that people know just where they are and can plan CreativeCoffee Club around other things. Posting the events well in advance means that members can add themselves to the guest list for a later event, even if they can’t make this one.

  • Invites sent out at least 2 weeks before

This has probably been the most complex aspect of organising local chapters of a global Facebook group. Even with the introduction of mailing lists, we still haven’t got this quite right. However, what does seem to be important is the regular rhythm of invites for people to take or leave as they wish.

  • Close proximity to/links with a large institution (De Montfort University)

Meeting within the DMU campus has certainly brought added value for CreativeCoffee Club Leicester. Members become aware of other resources available through DMU, and project managers have an informal, easily accessible way of connecting with local small businesses.

  • Central location

It works in Leicester – people can travel into the City Centre easily, there’s local parking, and no one is making out of the way journeys. In a big city like London, I suspect it’s more complex and more difficult to find a focus. Wi-fi would be nice.

  • Core of 4-6 active local members

There are different roles that need to be shared: organising events, getting the word out, encouraging people to come, meeting and greeting, introducing people to each other, and having enough people around to engage in conversations. Four to six people can share the work nicely and, hey, you look like a group already!

I’d be really interested to hear other people’s ideas and experiences, and especially, how the members of CreativeCoffee Club globally could get more value from each other.

Originally posted by Shanni Lee with 270 views


21 Jun, 2008

NLab Social Networks Conference 19th June 2008

Posted by: admin In: events

Live-blogs of presentations (Steve Clayton - Microsoft, Roland Harwood - NESTA, Andrea Saveri, Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, Ken Thompson - Swarmteams, Jim Benson - Modus Co-operandi), flickr from the day, feedback from delegates on the conference website. Follow the nlabnetworks community at Twitter.

Originally posted by Shanni Lee with 368 views

21 Jun, 2008

CreativeCoffee Club Leicester - 18th June

Posted by: admin In: Leicester| meetup

The last CCC Leicester event before the summer break and it definitely had an end-of-term feel to it - or maybe that was just me. As usual, I was ridiculously excited by the prospect of seeing who turned up and enjoying the conversation. I wasn’t quite sure how this coffee club would go, as the hugely spectacular NLab Conference was due to take place the following day. Would that create too much demand on CCC member’s time?

As it was, we had a good crowd in, many were people who weren’t able to make it to the Conference, one way or another. Incidentally, I discovered that you can buy a hot breakfast in the food court next to the Graduate Bar, a vast improvement on sandwiches from the chiller, and as healthy or otherwise as you like (also very inexpensive). Toby Moores and I met over breakfast, which was an added bonus, and meant I didn’t get tomato juice all over the Guardian.

Steph Cornwall and Trevor Wood arrived and were soon engaged with Toby in a conversation about the shift in world economies (China and India produce more graduates each year than the total number of children born in Europe) and the implications for creativity in UK businesses. We were soon joined by Matt Saulsbury, Jake Fudge, Nur Yar Yare, Chris Cousin and George Ballentyne. Emma Craig-West popped along and we had an interesting conversation about tax inspections, and Mike Atherton visited from London. Mike, it seemed to me, had a long, long day planned. Hope he made it!

Originally posted by Shanni Lee with 356 views

I thoroughly recommend that you go and listen to Penny Jackson’s interview with Steve Lawson about finding audiences through social media. It can be found here.

I love the way Steve’s curiosity and a little help from his friends allowed him to build a career as a musician that is sustainable in the long term. Despite having gigged with some ‘Big Names’, it is through conversations with his fans that he is able to pay the bills and more

This is the second in a series of interviews about social media and its impact on creativity and the world around us. The first interview with Euan Semple and I (twitter) can be found here. It is a conversation about social media and its impact on business and life.

Originally posted by Toby Moores with 490 views.

The group was slightly smaller than usual, perhaps it was to do with the rather miserable weather.. or more likely they were probably just busy (as the weather usually is pretty dreary!!)

Conversation was very relaxed, and it is usually, because mostly (if not always) no agendas or topics are pre-decided. So everyone’s free to talk about pretty much anything! Which draws me on to mention a few things that arose..

New Zealand films.. Flight of the concords and Eagle Vs. shark.

‘Nurture and Nature’.

Some fascinating stories of peoples fathers and grandfathers war-time and general experiences. One particular stood out, in which included some very funny pranks organized with Spike Miligan!

The book: David Jennings, Net, Blogs and Rock n’ Roll- how people interact and exchange.

David explained to, those who asked about: the IOCT at DMU: Cross functional faculty, that brings together all the creative technologies, draws on all the creative faculties.

Originally posted by Tamsin Hatton with 970 views


CreativeCoffee Club is a meetup and networking event, after the style of the OpenCoffee Club. We aim to provide a place for business people, academics, teachers, public sector workers and managers to network, exchange ideas and discuss how to foster creativity and innovation in the workplace.