CreativeCoffee Club

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


4 Responses to "Success Factors for CreativeCoffee Club"

1 | Ken Thompson

August 28th, 2008 at 3:45 am


Hi Shani. Great post. Raises the critical issue of “Roles in Collectively-Led Voluntary Participation Enterprises” where the traditional do-it-all micro-manager leader simply does not work as you well know. In this kind of enterprise you need a leadership group one of whom has the role of Executive Leader which is mostly (perhaps only) concerned with recruiting and retaining members. Just like the Queen in the Ant Colony or BeeHive!

In collaborative business networks I have found these roles very useful and easy to remember as ABCDEFG.




Digital Technologist

Executive Leader

Finance/bid manager

Group Leader (for sub-groups eg sales, innovation and processes)

More here:

Best Regards

Ken Thompson

2 | Shani Lee

August 29th, 2008 at 12:24 am


Thanks for your comment, Ken. I like your ideas about the different sorts of roles that might be needed in a network, I guess they also provide the opportunity to play to people’s strengths.

3 | Sizemore

September 1st, 2008 at 8:15 am


Good stuff. I think that the Leicester and London Creative Coffee Clubs are slightly different animals, but it’s great to see the success of the Leicester chapter laid out in this way.

I’m one of the few people it seems that hates Facebook and actively avoids all contact with the damn thing. It’s interesting to note how vital its role has been here, but I’d like to suggest a static page someone on site (along the lines of the nlab page) that can be updated from time to time with locations and times just so we have some contact details for the wider world beyond FB’s little walled garden. I tend to update people via Twitter, which again is far from perfect, but a little more immediate. Worth looking at a presence on Upcoming I think.

Being one of the core members here in London and a frequent visitor to the Leicester chapter your post has reminded me to take that role a little more seriously. I’ve been chatting with some of the less regular members for their feedback too so I’ll pull a follow up post together this week.
Keeping in touch with the others groups as CCC grows I think is vital. It would be good to encourage cross-pollination where possible. I’ve already seen the benefits of flitting between two groups (as well as bringing people in from other networks) and would love to attend other groups as they pop up.

4 | Shani Lee

September 3rd, 2008 at 1:50 pm


Hello Mike, great to hear from you.

You’re right - there’s lots of issues around Facebook. As well as the things you raise, it is difficult and/or time consuming to segment the membership list so that you invite only people who do want (and are geographically able) to come to your local event.

Interestingly, we carried out a small piece of research earlier in the year: a case study of five businesses who have been regular contributors to CreativeCoffee Club Leicester. I was surprised by the pivotal role played by Facebook in their participation, it was far more pervasive than I had imagined. On the other hand, as CreativeCoffee Club was initiated through Facebook, perhaps it wasn’t surprising!

But it did bring home to me that Facebook is where a lot of people are, that people do find it easy to participate, and I became a lot more considered about diverting from it.

Your idea about a static, external page is a good one, and we have been using this site to list Leicester events etc. I guess people could add their events here, so there’s an idea of the spread of CCC groups; and Upcoming sounds good, too. We’re experimenting with Eventbrite this year, as well.

Be great to get feedback from other members, look forward to your post!

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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.