RSVP - mapping a creative community

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  • Between 2002 and 2010 I was co-founder of a design agency called Raw Nerve. We were inspired by the wealth of talent in our local area, and amazed at how little communication and knowledge sharing was actually going. Once we had identified the problem, we set ourselves to design a solution, The result social network for the creative industries called RSVP London

    As a team, we mapped out the creative community in our surrounding area of Deptford, London. We quickly established a series of regular events to bring creative people together in a relaxed setting with exhibitions of local talents, live music and food.

    The diverse membership consists of local freelancers, businesses and organisations that span the creative industries spectrum; from animation to architecture, design to drama, fashion to film and typography to textiles. In the true spirit of community, access to the platform was free and it is used to promote professional services and events, showcase new products, source work opportunities and exchange ideas. 

    The research and development involved in this project enabled me to cut my teeth in user experience design, information architecture and communication strategies for online communities of practice. Over the years I managed the evolution of the website from a simple custom build directory to an open source platform built with Drupal.

    RSVP London was recognised as being a significant factor in strengthening the competitive advantage of local creative services because it helped:

    The project received funding from
    London Development Agency who commissioned us to deliver a pilot business support network under the title 'Creative Clusters'. The Mayor of London also referenced RSVP London as a shining example in his cultural strategy report.

    Our attention on the platform began to wain as the recession kicked in and eventually we decided to call it a day. However, the experience we gained during the process has been second to none and has informed the strategy behind many other projects such as the London Design Festival.

    You may see some similarities in our concept to the Behance Network, which sprang up around the time in the USA. Congratulations to Scott Belsky and his team, they have really built a truly incredible platform which as grown at a phenomenal rate.
  • The very first invitations we hand delivered. Each one showed where invitee was in relation to other creative business and services in the area.
  • At events we invited attendees to put their name inside a circle, and draw connections between themselves and other people they met that evening.
  • The very first website in 2006, a simple hand-coded interactive directory
  • The website between 2007-2009. As the community expanded, we needed a full blown content management system so people could sign up and promote their portfolios and events. This version was a custom built php solution.
  • Each event had a different theme and took place in different venues in the area
  • The diverse membership consists of local freelancers, businesses and organisations that span the creative industries spectrum; from animation to architecture, design to drama, fashion to film and typography to textiles
  • Alongside events and the online community, we designed magazines and wrote editorial content to showcase local talents.
  • A selection of the work uploaded to the website.
  • The 2010 version of the website, built with Drupal