Nat Wei (@natwei), is a social entrepreneur and adviser to the UK Government on their “Big Society” project. As one of the youngest people ever to have been made a Life Peer of the House of Lords, Lord Wei is the founding and former lead partner of the Shaftesbury Partnership, and a member of the founding team of Teach First. As “Baron Wei of Shoreditch” he is intensely interested in the emergence of the cluster of startup technology companies in the Shoreditch/Hoxton area of London which has come to be known as Silicon Roundabout and which has informed the UK government’s new “East London Tech City” initiative. This week will be the first in a series of guest posts on the use of technology in re-building civic society.
The Big Society is an approach being championed inside and outside of the government in the UK and increasingly in other countries to enable citizens to take more control over their lives, based on the belief that people often know how to solve the problems they care about and improve their communities better than anyone else. Whilst built on centuries old principles, it is also optimistic about the power of technology, and has been inspired by the more open, inclusive, and effective ways of working expressed through the internet, social media, and crowd sourcing.