What is it?
The Ideas Bank is a collaboration between Jonathan Eldridge and Louise Rennie. Our aim is to translate ideas into action by offering people practical advice, connections and opportunities. Think of a Citizens Advice Bureau for creative, community-focused ideas.
We want to support ideas that will help communities to thrive. We develop relationships with local organisations, which form our pool of partners. We then run in-person engagements, working with participants to identify the organisations that are most relevant to the ideas they wish to pursue. After this, we create connections between our participants and those organisations. Our way of working is simple, but we believe it can have radical results.
We are skilled in working face-to-face with people in specific locations, and bring together experience in theatrical entertainment, audience engagement, place-based research, campaigning and writing.
A brief explainer
The Ideas Bank is not a new concept, and has been trialled in various ways by companies, community organisations, and global networks. It has been used to stimulate and encourage innovative ideas that can offer solutions to problems, improve the performance and communication of an organisation, or generate new ways of thinking about a particular issue.
On 25th February 2023 we ran an in-person engagement at Creative Twerton in Bath, inviting local community members to come and share their ideas with us. We ran The Ideas Bank in a structured, but informal way, taking participants through several stages – think of a board game – and breaking down the process so people could see where they were going and imagine what they needed to get there.
We recently published a report about our experience. If you’re interested in hearing about our conclusions you can read and download the report below.
The research angle
Another of our aims was to connect community members with researchers at Bath Spa to work on projects together. We’re working closely with the university research team to identify ways to connect people up. Are you a researcher at Bath Spa wanting to collaborate on co-produced research with the local community? Please email Ideasbank22@gmail.com.
For more information on Bath Spa’s Knowledge Exchange Dialogues programme, please click here.
Most ideas hit a few obstacles along the way, and whenever you’re doing something new you’re bound to make a few mistakes. We originally prototyped The Ideas Bank at the EMERGE Showcase week in 2021. We were experimenting and learning, but with other commitments we didn’t have the time or resources to carry things on.
We then got a small pot of funding through Bath Spa’s knowledge exchange programme, and were able to put a bit more time into the project, developing connections with organisations in and around Twerton, speaking to local people about their concerns and marketing our in-person engagement.
We are keen to take what we have learned forward and continue to develop our collaborative practice. There are many areas in which our process could be deployed, from community consultation to workplace culture. If you are interested in working together, please connect with us by emailing Ideasbank22@gmail.com. Or, you can connect with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.