This is more of a diary than a blog. So beware!

Today, I’m writing up my ideas for a multiplayer video game to eliminate waste. Our CounterCoin project is going extremely well with my friends down in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and it’s time to think about our next big push.

Mission – find new ways to inspire people of all ages to participate in the quest to eliminate waste, and encourage the community to support them.

CounterCoin the game will be earned for participating in activities that eliminate waste – 5 per hour.

CounterCoin will be used to measure our progress and enable players to purchase the rewards that the business community makes available. Community and voluntary groups will organise all the activities, and validate player participation.

The game starts with four missions.

Mission #1. Create your digital identity and CounterCoin wallet. You’re an agent of change in this adventure and the point of Mission #1 is simply to join the quest to eliminate waste.

Mission #2. Recruit your allies. You will have an inner circle of friends who can help make your work more fun. Get them organised. Pick the people you want to count on most, and invite them to participate in an activity – or create your own and get it validated by your community group. Ask each one to play a specific part: Batman needs a Robin while Bond needs an M a Q and a Moneypenny.  Give each a specific mission, related to his or her character. Use your imagination and feel free to ask for anything you need! You mustn’t be shy about asking for help. Reaching out and really asking for what you need will make a huge difference. It will give people who want to help you, but don’t know how, something specific and actionable to do.

Mission #3. Map the wasters. To win this battle you need to know who and what a waster looks like. Waste is an enemy that can be hard to spot. So pay attention all day to any ‘organised’ activity that wastes your time, drains energy or saps your enthusiasm, and map the organisation. (Think pointless tasks doled about by the job centre!) Also keep an eye out for other forms of waste, and map those too. It doesn’t have to be an activity that wastes your time…waste can be as simple as an empty seat on the bus. Map the route, service, time and operator. Quiet times at the gym? Vacant shops in the town – map them. Save the map before publishing.

Mission #4. Eliminate waste. Call out the wasters. Provide evidence of the waste – photos or videos of empty cinemas or buses are powerful weapons of propaganda. The bosses in charge are the zombie wasters. They need help to see the waste that we see but be warned, they might be in complete denial and lacking in any form of objective reality. Which most likely means you will be ignored. You therefore need to get creative – to work with your allies to send a powerful message – using whatever medium you have at your disposal so that ignoring becomes tougher than listening. Remember that this is a numbers game so the stronger your numbers the stronger the message.  And also don’t underestimate the power of creative messaging. Become an artist, a poet, a singer, a coder – play to your strengths to eliminate waste. You’ll know you’ve won when the waster lets you pay with CounterCoin.

But they’ll have won too! They will now be a more sustainable business on the back of all your hard work! Congratulations – you are an inspiration!

So there you have it. I’ve committed the very first draft of my multiplayer video game to writing for future reference and I now need to go walk my dog, Inca!

 

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Sonya Farrell and I from BabaBoon Marketing had a very interesting day yesterday with a large charity and a significant local authority.

There is no doubt that these organisations are ready to make change happen.

What’s exciting about it is the process of co-creation.

They know that we need their help, and they need our help.

That’s why Sonya persuaded us to make CounterCoin’s strap-line “Help Me 2 Help You”.

Very fitting.

Thanks Sonya!

Let’s be honest, there’s very little disposable income in places like Stoke.

It’s the same the north over, more or less.

But a new mindset is emerging.

One that is more sharing and more caring.

As Narina and Fee might say, “more #BeKind”.

Turning that philosophy into a business model and technology platform, will be a good export for somewhere like Stoke.

Who’s ready to get behind a mindset that values acts of kindness?

We’ve nothing to lose by backing CounterCoin.

The currency of kindness.

One man’s story, as a working class male.

“It was what, a couple a three weeks after I went off on the sick; with what? Mental health, my head finally went. And my mate, the guy they’d moved across the production line to stand in for me while I was off had his pelvis crushed by one of the machines he was working on. Yeah, it could’ve quite easily been me, he was doing my job. He wasn’t the first and i doubt he’d have been the last; occupational hazard you might say.

 

I mean, in the time I was employed by them there were at least 2 fatalities. I was always aware it could be dangerous working on a factory floor. I never worked in an office or owt like that… I can’t imagine that level of comfort; doing one of them bullshit jobs where I’m pushing papers round, or juggling numbers on a spreadsheet to fill 40 hours of a week. You find yourself rattling with someone down the pub, and they’re moaning about being sat in some office all day, how it’s “hard work”, and after they’ve told you what he actually do, you’re like “and you get paid for that!”

 

I still remember, clear as a bell, standing in the smoking shelter one morning break, discussing the guy from one of the other departments who’d picked up the wrong airline by mistake and as a consequence had ended up with a frisbee sized piece of steel removing most of the top of his head; he’d been dead less than 2-3 hours and we all joked about it, why? Because we all knew it could’ve been any one of us, maybe not the same accident but the same result and if you couldn’t laugh at it, how the hell were you going to go back inside and step back on to that production line?!

 

I’ve been out of employment now for just over 10 years because of my mental health and the government’s just getting nastier and nastier; paying private companies bonuses to find the most tenuous excuse to steal money from the sick and disabled; now there’s a sweet job if you can get it.

 

I do voluntary work now though, I try to do at least 2 or 3 days a week, mostly on the local Scout camp, helping look after the place. It’s my way of giving something back, not just to the Scouts for all the years I was involved as a kid but back to society in general for helping support me through my problems; it’s not like this breakdown was ever part of some grand life plan.

 

But even then, for all I get out of it for my health, I’ll still find myself talking about it as a way of justifying what meagre benefits I get. Left feeling as though society doesn’t really have any time for me any more and if they could get away with giving me nowt just to reduce their tax bill they would. You know, it’d be cheaper for them if I was just dead.

 

 

I’m a straight, white male; I’m the majority apparently, the patriarchy, that one group that seems to have caused all the problems for all these centuries. Sometimes I feel as though I’m part of the only group that isn’t told that they’re some sort of oppressed minority. But I’m a working class lad from Stoke, I only got the vote 100 years ago to, though I don’t remember the media making much of a song and dance about that centenary!

 

I don’t even know if working class man has the faintest idea what he is any more, what he’s supposed to do. What is my purpose? As a working class male, what is my function? We don’t make anything any more. We don’t need to go down the pits any more, we don’t have steelworks to go to, all the potbanks have gone and we’re no longer even in a constant state of war; at least I’d be cannon-fodder then. We don’t need him any more, let him rot.

 

We watched as they ripped the industry out of the country, sent it abroad so they could make more money for themselves and then we all saw how little of a shit they gave about the rest of us.

 

But I keep doing my volunteering; it gets me out of the flat, helps to keep me at least halfway sane and gives me time in the outdoors doing a bit of graft. And it’s no less physical and in some ways no less dangerous at times then previous jobs. But this is real “work”, this is for the passion, this isn’t just “job”!

 

And as well as the bit of grounds-keeping I help with, I’m now, after a vast amount of support from the manager, a fully qualified instructor for the site. No employer would’ve ever shown the patience or offered the level of support I get from them.

 

There may not be money in volunteering for charities but the heart felt thank you’s, the looks of achievement and joy on the kids faces, you can’t buy that shit.

 

Work, it’s good for you; for your mind, for your body, for your heart, for your soul, it’s good for, work is.

 

Jobs? Jobs are rotten! Jobs’ll crush you!”

Thanks Aitch. You speak for many.

Mike Riddell, August 2018.

If you’ve landed on this page then you might be wondering where to find me! If you need to get hold of me then: @mikeriddell62 on Twitter or mikeriddell62@gmail.com or 07711 667725.

#KeepTheFaith

#BeKind

#WeContinue

WiganPlus is getting rather excited about the prospects for CounterCoin! It’s only a plastic token that says thanks for volunteering, but boy are people interested in supporting the idea.

Take a quick look at this little video to get a feel for how we go about engaging young people. Give them a chance to design and develop their own system, and boy is it fun.

CounterCoin began in Newcastle under Lyme but its roots are in Wigan.

CounterCoin is being considered 5 other places – four in Greater Manchester and one in Merseyside.

More on all that sometime soon.

The large complex social, environmental and economic problems we face today are too big for any one organisation to tackle alone.

They require us to work together in new ways to address the root causes of problems and create new outcomes that benefit everyone.

So here is my manifesto for the sharing economy:

  1. Shared Ownership – stakeholders not shareholders
  2. Shared Profits – where contribution is linked to entitlement
  3. Shared Values & Principles – that increase trust, democracy and engagement
  4. Shared Purpose – to help all in need, and not just a few
  5. Shared Enterprise – so business learns to cooperate
  6. Shared Identity – where collective action and sharing is our renewable energy