inCONVERSATION with Daniel Hollands at Worcester Source
Worcester Source is a local meetup group hosted on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the backroom of the Paul Pry pub in central Worcester, bringing together developers and other technical professionals from across the region.
Each session features time for networking and refreshments, a presentation, and a round table discussion which extends the themes of the talk. ‘What I learnt’ discussions are then held in the following days on the group’s online messaging channel, Worcester Space.
We spoke to Daniel Hollands, the organiser of Worcester Source, to find out more about the group and why this type of movement is key to grassroots innovation.
Worcester Source was originally set up by a local business for recruitment purposes. Meetings ran for about a year before they stopped, the business was then subject to a buy-out from a larger company and funding for the sessions was pulled.
So, as Daniel explains, the current format of the group was revived from the brink of extinction:
‘I returned to Worcester having been based in Birmingham where I was very involved in the tech scene. I was interested in meeting other developers and other people, so I looked on meetup.com to find suitable groups.
‘A year later and no groups seemed to be active, then a message was sent out to say that Worcester Source had been effectively abandoned. A call was put out for someone to take over in the next month or the group would be closed for good.
‘As I had a bit of experience in community building and no one wanted to look after the group, I decided to take over!’.
A year on and Daniel’s hard work has certainly paid off. Meetings are held each month and the group has grown both in terms of physical attendance and those engaging online through the recently established Slack chat channel, ‘Worcester Space’.
Presentations made by nominated speakers tie the meetings together, with industry professionals such as Jim Bennett, a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, amongst the invited guests and meeting regulars who have spoken to the group in recent times.
Asked about the key objectives of Worcester Source in its new form, Daniel explains concisely: ‘Two words: connecting people.’
‘The vision, or mission, is about providing somewhere that local developers and technical professionals can meet and share ideas.
‘This extends to those working in related industries and with different skills. Developers, Graphic Designers, UX specialists, Product Managers, Project Managers – bring these people together and you can create a concept or make a business.
‘So, the aim has always been to provide a platform where those people can come together each month. It’s a great excuse to get together and have a social event with a theme.’
Communities and innovation
In terms of innovation, Daniel feels that communities such as Worcester Source are essential.
‘It’s all about making connections. One of the key ideas or philosophies is that of ‘collisions’. If the right two people are brought together at a meeting or event, great things can happen.
‘Even an organisation as big and influential as Google became a thing because two people met and formed an idea. Worcester Source is providing somewhere where these collisions can happen.
‘That’s what makes these meetings important. Because they help to nurture innovation, because they encourage these collisions and because they lead to exciting conversations and collaborations.’
Hooking into the network
One blossoming collaboration for Worcester Source is their interaction with WINN (Worcestershire Innovation), a partnership that, as Daniel explains, was itself born from a chance meeting:
‘My girlfriend works for Worcestershire County Council and she happened to have some training with Jess Antley. They somehow came to discussing Worcester Source and Jess passed on her business card.
‘I got in touch and we’ve held meetings since and discussed the ways we can collaborate. WINN have been keen to help out as we look for sponsorship and promotion so it will be interesting to see what happens next.
‘Again, it’s all about hooking into the network and collaboration.’
If you would like to learn more about Worcester Source, attend their meetings or are interested in offering support or sponsorship, please visit their website at www.worcestersource.club, or join the conversation at www.worcester.space.
WINN brings innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.
Our belief is that great things can happen when people get together.
WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP