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February 16, 2012

Nokia Social Innovation Lab: the highlights

Social Media Week events have been making waves in London this week, and none more so than the Nokia Social Innovation Lab at the Design Council yesterday.  Here’s a summary of the inspirational talks given by the four young entrepreneurs. And stay tuned for a video of the event coming soon!

Within the packed room, tensions were running high (and so was the air conditioning) as Becky Straw took to the podium. Despite having flown in from New York that very morning, she delivered a passionate and inspiring presentation about her non-profit organisation The Adventure Project.

She explained how social media is “absolutely integral” to her business, not just in terms of spreading the word around the world, but even the simple logistical tasks of keeping up with her team – her business partner, Jody Landers, lives more than 1,000 miles away in Iowa!

Social media was also a huge part of The Adventure Project’s “Coal for Christmas” mission. By selling special “festive” lumps of coal, Becky and Jody helped pay for more than 1,000 charcoal-efficient stoves for families in Africa and Haiti. Now, that’s what I call ethical social media!

*The Adventure Project Holiday Stove Campaign from The Adventure Project on Vimeo.

Our second inspirational speaker was Jess Ratcliffe, founder of GaBoom, a video game swapping website.

After taking time out of university to pursue the dream she had as a 15-year-old game addict, Jess has had many ups and downs in her quest to launch GaBoom. She even appeared on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, securing some high praise – though not an investment – from the Dragons.

Since then, Jess has re-launched GaBoom to huge success. She is also a firm believer in social media being a “means to breaking down barriers” between individuals, using examples from her own experience to show how making connections on social networks can have tangible results in the physical world.

Tricia Bertero also spoke passionately about how the “spirit of conversation” prevalent in social media is crucial to the ongoing success of her start-up, TextPlus.


Being the last speaker up on stage was never going to stop award-winning “soultrepreneur” Andre Campbell, whose community project Enfuse Youth is all about empowering young people with the passion and drive to achieve their goals. His energetic and interactive speech was, for me, the highlight of the day. One lucky audience member even got to win a pair of Nokia Lumia Headphones!

Phew! All in all it was a fantastic event, and the four speakers really imparted some nuggets of wisdom to all present about how to use social media and mobile devices to help drive your business and entrepreneurial dreams.

Inspired? Want to find out more about the Nokia Social Innovation Lab? Tweet us @Nokia_Connects or simply comment below. What are you waiting for?!