Cancer Research UK – Open research challenge

I’ve just returned from a NESTA event with Cancer Research UK, where a bunch of corporates, creatives, advocates and passionate networkers got together to see how we could bring about 3 new ventures to raise £10million for cancer research in the UK.  It was a fantastic event, facilitated by the wonderful Steve Moore, and bringing together some great ideas and some good plans for the future. But unlike most of these thinkfests it wasn’t about walking away.  We are all planning on coming back together to make these ideas become realities, with business plans, performance criteria, media strategies and review targets.  It’s always fabulous to be at an event where passion and the sharing of ideas is so readily entered in to, but I’m noticing that among the business and corporate community in this country, there’s a willingness to offer that precious asset – time – with a generosity I have not before experienced.  I’m not saying Australian businesses are not generous – far from it.  Indeed Oz businesses are extraordinarily supportive of public charities.  It’s just that the opportunity to have such an hands-on approach to the way in which these charities behave, are run and managed and augmented is limited and perhaps even resisted in my experience.  Here, it’s just a matter of course, that when you bring good minds together, and allow each other the space to articulate ideas, then good things will emerge.

I suppose my chief contribution to the night was to turn the argument a little on its head and focus on how the community itself can help aid the research and better facilitate positive outcomes – this being a way of generating a sense of ownership of the issue of cancer research, and ultimately facilitating greater willingness to donate funds, too.

I look forward to being part of this productive community in months and years ahead.  What better way to contribute to the community than help beat an illness that affects one in three people in the UK.

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