What Is the Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust?

The Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust is a small movement of people looking for positive change in their local community, initiated in the Garw Valley of South Wales. Their focus is on regeneration: to help maintain and build on the positive aspects of the local area.

Bro Garw believes that the key to reinvigorate the area, and create solid regeneration, is through the heritage and history of the Garw. If a local community remembers and respects its unique heritage and history, it provides a firm foundation for continued development to maintaining that area. Another key factor in continued develop is active citizenship, which means that local residents getting actively involved in generating and sometimes delivering new ideas.

Currently, much of the physical heritage of the Garw Valley is becoming forgotten. For example, many of the shops along Oxford Street (in Pontycymer) have gradually closed over the years with some buildings becoming run down.

The community has also seen empty, unattractive buildings with no use, such as the old soldier factory.

The Garw used to be a main community hub of places to shop, eat and drink, and generally to socialise, and we can learn from other communities experiences that a group of persistent and keen local people can make that a possibility again.

Local residents are proud of their environment which has experienced transformation through an excellent reclamation scheme that moved the spoil left from the coal mines that once operated there. Local people now have access to mountain walks, mountain biking tracks, lakes and waterfalls. However, without continual development, the environment will deteriorate. As council cutbacks take hold, the people of the Garw Valley are taking on the challenge, and taking responsibility for their own community.

The Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust is looking to assist local residents to maintain and improve the area creating positive impacts. They want to generate good ideas from locals who want to make the difference in their community.

Many other towns, cities and villages have experienced regeneration across the country, and even worldwide. It is possible to recreate a thriving local economy and bring wealth back into a community that needs it, especially if a community works together to accomplish this regeneration.

The Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust consists of a board of members, who live locally and want to contribute to the positive change and regeneration of the area. This change has been initiated recently, and they are still in the early stages of making the difference needed. Presently, Bro Garw have been utilising an online platform and digital ideas and rating tool, VocalEyes, to kickstart the generation of new ideas.

They have a group on VocalEyes, which allows people from the local community and Garw Valley area to contribute new ideas, as well as to rate other peoples’ thoughts. It is easy for local residents to join the platform; all you need to do is register with an email address and chosen password. Then locals will have full access to the VocalEyes platform, and particularly to the online Bro Garw community.

Through this VocalEyes ideas-generating platform, the Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust intends to find the top rated ideas from local residents – to find out the best way that people believe transformation can be accomplished in the area. Then, when local residents have nominated the distinct, top idea, the Trust intends to take this idea on and make it happen in the local area.

The main goal of the Bro Garw is to kickstart positive change, starting one idea at a time. Once the top rated idea has been accomplished, and has achieved improvement in the Garw Valley, they will move on to the next highly rated idea… and so on. There are many devoted people that want to see change happen, and will help to initiate it.

Open Innovation in the B2B Marketplace

Innovation in the Business-2-Business (B2B) world has generally been challenging and with the faster cycles of innovation and new business models, this market of the B2B, has been facing the pressure to innovate faster, cheaper and more valuably. A large section of the market feels that B2B companies typically do not innovate enough, or are slow, or don’t take alternative routes to innovation. This is more a misconception on the first point (innovation not being sufficient) than the truth, perhaps because B2C companies have a larger reach and “face” in the market to make news public ‘aloud’. But B2B typically, has longer development cycles as compared to a B2C company, which means they inherently are risk averse or are slower to move toward open innovation.

The value of open innovation and crowdsourcing have been mentioned earlier but often noticed in B2B companies is that these concepts are shrugged off as ‘easier for B2C since it’s about consumers talking about you’. In truth, this is clearly not the case. It is about gathering ideas from anyone in the ecosystem and integrating it with your capabilities – a thinking more B2B companies are realising. B2B companies are less aggressive in selling or coming up with radically new products, and hence the buy-in from executives, a clear innovation strategy and engagement of internal and external environment are some key points any B2B company should solve.

B2B’s have an advantage – they already have “communities”, hence the marriage between current and potential partners becomes much simpler. Breaking it down further, modularising challenges and finding the right platform will actually open the marketplace wide open. The rise of social media alongside new technologies puts B2B companies concerns to rest here! Looking at technology, human intervention as well as outscoring, B2B companies can help not reinvent the wheel and look at more cross-pollination solutions for higher success. Harnessing creativity and keeping the team engaged with tasks significantly helps productivity. However, the real advantage lies in Intellectual Property (IP) and co-development or New Product Development (NPD) due to open innovation thereby positively impacting the top-line and bottom-line revenues.

Benefits and need for Open Innovation and crowdsourcing in the B2B marketplace are many. The points above are only a fraction. We have seen multiple B2B players with open-innovation initiatives available.

Companies have other open-innovation-like initiatives and although some are smaller than the rest, it’s a positive sign on the momentum in this topic. Open Innovation in the B2B space has work going on, but there’s an untapped potential still to be explored and filled. It’s time to reap the benefits before others join the bandwagon.

Using the Crowd for Open Innovation

One of the objectives of any company is to find a fundamentally new approach to reach and serve its customers better. And a novel approach by several successful companies is the recognition that the world is filled with brilliant people, with brilliant ideas – outside their organisation! Hence, they are constantly looking for ways to work with potential partners and Crowdsourcing is one such approach. Companies are now sharing their complexities and problems to a large group of people (a crowd), through an open innovation approach in order to solve them.

There are several benefits of leveraging the crowd and one of them is bringing the feeling and a sense of community. Communities of individuals encourages innovative problem solving. There is a continuous flow of information and provides a platform for exchange of new ideas.

The crowd in crowdsourcing can comprise of several categories of people. Some can be difficult and almost irrational. Helping distinguish the members in the crowd is important. In an interesting article which showcased how crowdsourcing can help but if not used right, can lead to problems. Using crowdsourcing as a system’s approach to show the whole is more than the sum of the parts can help formulate how a challenge is articulated. Experts have their use, but are only as useful as the number of tricks present in their bag. To break the walls, fresh and different insights are needed. I guess in this post, we played devil’s advocate. To the skeptical we showcase the benefits; to the trend-runners we gave possible pitfalls. But with our Open Innovation Platform we have proven experience of the power of crowdsourcing and open innovation to help you find the right answers to all the innovation roadblocks.

Companies often resist open innovation since most managers and teams are unaware or scared about protecting company intellectual property. They also fear the outcome of trying to integrate a crowdsourced solution into corporate operations. Also the uncertainty of getting the right solution and the overall cost causes barriers and doubts into the mind of managers who are risk averse.

Crowds with funding help launch ideas, through lower individual investment; and by sourcing garner ideas and solutions resulting in faster development of new products / services. Using the crowd for open innovation can actually be the game changer to increase brand value and get the next big breakthrough your company is looking for.
Are you ready for it?