Nick Temple: Ideas man

Ever thought, 'what the world needs is...' Well, contact Nick Temple at the Global Ideas Bank and he just might make it happen. Peter Stanford learns how

Some of these are happening already, others are today taking the first tentative steps into what promises to be a bright future, and what all three forward-looking projects have in common is that they have emerged from the Global Ideas Bank, a web-based forum that encourages individuals with innovative social solutions to share them with an international audience. "We are first and foremost a worldwide, democratic channel for change," says the Bank's enthusiastic coordinator, Nick Temple.

Brought up on the south-coast of England near Chichester, 28-year-old Temple worked in publishing before his desire to "get involved in something charitable" attracted him to the Global Ideas Bank, whose base is in London's East End, attached to the School of Social Entrepreneurs in Bethnal Green. "I've always thought of myself as a creative person," he says, "and this is a job where that creativity is about helping others to use their ideas, being the person who doesn't say, 'yes, but...' when they come up with an idea but rather 'yes, and...'"

It is a shared passion for a better tomorrow that links Temple with the 5,000 regular international subscribers who receive the Global Ideas Bank's weekly newsletter and the many thousands more who contribute to its popular website. But he realises that such are the ways of the world that good ideas need a practical underpinning if they are to translate from paper to practice. So in his five years at the Bank, this pioneering social entrepreneur has worked to develop it from a suggestion box into a real instrument for change.

"It had started back in the late 1990s just as the web was getting going," he says, "but it had developed slightly organically - which is a diplomatic way of saying that it was a bit chaotic."

So Temple has brought in a robust method of working, based on the seed-plant-tree concept. So he takes the best suggestions posted on the website and then works with the people who dreamt them up to provide the skills and contacts to make them into reality.

There are also annual prizes to highlight the potential of the sort of non-technological ideas that the Global Ideas Bank specialises in. One winner was Kerry Channing, an IT consultant from Brighton who came up with the environmental IQ scheme which has now been taken up by commercial organisations. Another was a village in Bhutan where the community got together to use wind and solar power to connect to the internet and so import new ideas to their isolated mountain community.

"For me, it is all about having a vision of the future," says Temple. "And central to that vision is the concept that many changes must be made by individuals. The Global Ideas Bank is part of that. It belongs to everyone wherever they are and has the potential to facilitate lasting, sustainable, real change that is driven by people like you and me."

If you would like to find out more about the work of Nick Temple, visit www.globalideasbank.org

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