Good For Nothing ?


Now over the years it’s true to say that I’ve often been labelled as good for nothing but the weekend just gone is the first time I’ve actually worn an actual label advertising the fact.  I had the label as I was attending the first ever gathering of Good For Nothing Leeds (@GFNLeeds).  The whole approach of the Good For Nothing crew caught my attention as they aim to simply bring talented people together to fashion creative solutions to good causes and they do this by chucking everyone together for a weekend and seeing what happens at the end of it.  The get together happened at Duke Studios in Leeds which was a great place, perfectly suited to the occasion.

So what, I hear you ask was I doing amongst these creative movers and shakers, well I was actually pitching one of the good causes #GFNRecovery which you can read more about here if you are interested but this post isn’t about that really as that starts straying into work type stuff but if you keep your eyes on the sociable organisation blog I’ll write something up on the idea and the reaction / development there in due course.  This post is more about the concept of Good For Nothing and my experience of it.  What I will say is that it felt a bit weird taking an idea that I’ve had mulling over in my head and suddenly standing in front of people talking about it and seeing if they thought it was a good idea and whether they fancied helping.  Was this work, not work, I wasn’t really sure and perhaps it was an introduction into a different way of working (and if it is then it’s definitely a future I want to be a part of).  Now I’m not a coder, designer or anything like that but if you’ll indulge me for just a second I do think that I’m a creative thinker.  As pompous as that may sound I have, and always have had lots of ideas but I don’t really do anything with them because at the end of the day I’m perhaps inherently a thinker not a doer or just plain lazy – good for nothing even as this post explains.  I have an inherent distrust of hierarchies, structures, organisations and to be honest people but as I didn’t know anything about the Good For Nothing crew I just acted on impulse and though what the heck.

I’ve often felt that the way we structure and divide our society with regard to work – those in work, those not, perceived status given to certain things, third sector v statutory v private creates an unhealthy environment that is not conducive to actually solving societal problems.  There are great people in all of the situations and sectors I describe but it is often never the twain shall meet.  The brilliantly simple idea behind Good For Nothing is that it provides the space where barriers and egos and status and sector are left behind.  Get in a room and come up with solutions.

So after I did my pitch I sat at a table and people came around and worked on looking at solutions, they were genuinely interested and had lots of varied perspectives to offer and they came from all different sectors with mutual respect being shown.  I can’t recall many instances in my life where I’ve actually seen that happen.  Throughout the weekend people just pitched in and helped on any of the three ideas; you might need a website building, no problem someone would help you on that, same with app development, or funding or business planning or copy writing or blog development of filming or content strategy etc etc or and this should never be underestimated, getting tea, coffee and toast.  How refreshing and this photo series by Lisa Jeffries gives a good flavour of the atmosphere.

This was the first one to happen in Leeds but this could be the future, an ideas lab, bringing people together who are interested in making a difference in the city, breaking down barriers across sectors and enabling good people to do good stuff.  I felt honoured to have been allowed in.  Maybe my old teachers were right I am Good For Nothing.  See you at the next gig.


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