“That was a gorilla I missed…” Have heard a few public sector/third sector leaders in Belfast use this coded phrase this since they were at Dave’s Masterclass on the 15th. Gorillas in many guises. Right under our noses. At least people now know they are there.

A really hectic day yesterday. Started in Armagh in the morning with the Pathclearing project I have been dong for Invest NI – the business and enterprise development agency for N.Ireland. The aim of Pathclearing is to stimulate the business support network in N. Ireland to become more integrated and differentiated in regard to how it supports and signposts female enterpreneurs to the right sources of help and assistance. We know from research that the business support system here is fragmented and difficult for potential users to navigate. We also know that many women tend to develop deep ties of friendship and family networks rather than the weak ties necesary to sustain extensive and diverse business opportunity networks. I was presenting the results of a NI wide social network survey analsysis we have been doing on the business support system. We worked with Flemming Madson (a cool Dane) from Onalytica, London (http://www.onalytica.com) who provided the online social network survey design, analysis and support. Excellent work. We did a baseline survey in January 2007 and have repeated it in Janaury 2008 to see how the network has developed or changed – which of course it has. We have been stimulating network development during the last 12 months using a range of techniques including the set up of the Pathclearing Google Group which now has 200 members from business support organisations. They create value and mutual business benefits by the regular exchange of ideas, information, services, knowledge and questions. The report of the work will be available in April and I will be presenting it at a conference on the 30th April in Belfast.

Spent the afternoon in Belfast running an The Idea Innovation workshop for female entreprenerus which is great fun. The design is based partly on the core prinicples of innovation which Dave taught me: starvation of resources, pressure of time and access to alternative perspectives. We are running these for women entrepreneurs across N.Ireland who want to find new business ideas.

Left at 5pm to find 7 missed calls on my mobile and discovered that my other innovation and female entrepreneur programme – No Limits – which involves mentors from Babson College in Boston USA video conferencing (to provide alternative perspectives) with NI business women had hit a few snags on the first run due to time zone differences. Got it resolved and evening sessions went very well. Isn’t SKYPE fantastic.

Finished the day at a church leaders meeting where among the agenda items was an important one for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to do with ensuring that the validity of women’s ordination and their leadership is not undermined by the use (or in my view abuse) of the “conscience clause” by some male ministers…Time to sort it.

Still standing up.

Anne

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