Steven McCluskey, Bikes for Refugees (Scotland) wearing a cycle helmet and sunglasses at the Good Ideas Marketplace

The Melting Pot’s Good Ideas incubator programme is much more than just an incubator of ideas.

When I joined the programme I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first thing that struck me was the wide diversity of people –  different ages and backgrounds all with one thing in common, to make a difference in the world. The energy, enthusiasm, drive, and creativity in the room was clearly in abundance and was inspiring.

The many weeks and months that followed were planned and structured in a way that helped to nurture and grow both good ideas and the people coming up with them. This was achieved thanks to the expert organisation and facilitation of the programme. I arrived with a project that was already up and running and demonstrating some success and impact but had yet to realise it’s full potential. As a volunteer-led project Bikes for Refugees (Scotland) had become a victim of its own success and the ever-increasing demand for our support was starting to become overwhelming. With limited time and resources at our (my) disposal- a clear strategy and action plan for the upscaling and future development, and sustainability of the project was needed.

Although my professional background and day job are both very much concerned with turning unmet needs and good ideas into new community services and programmes, I was struggling to put all this into practice on behalf of BFR. The work-life balance was becoming a pressing challenge.

When I joined Good Ideas I thought that the solution to my problem was simple and required the development of a project strategy and action plan. I was to find out that even with all my skills and experience in this area the need was actually much greater and more fundamental and of human nature. There is no doubt that I have come away with many new ideas, tools, resources, links, and networks which will all go help BFR to grow and develop and better meet its aims, and finally getting that strategy written.

The experience has given me much more than that. My weekly routine for the last 6 months has been Monday evenings Good Ideas, Tuesday evenings Yoga class. Good Ideas had become just as important for me as my Tuesday evening Yoga- it had become a safe and nurturing space for personal growth and development. It had given me valuable space and time to take a step back and to breathe more slowly. To be held by the warmth, strength, encouragement, and humanity of everyone who was part of this journey together. The world at times can feel like a crappy place with its axis ever tilting to the right, but Good Ideas reminds me that there are more of us than them and that together we can make a difference. The Melting Pot is a valuable and important part of that social movement for change. I am also reminded of the importance of not only good leaders but also followers (google crazy guy dancing at festival- lessons in leadership and social movements) – a common theme between participants on Good Ideas was that feeling of being alone with your crazy idea – crazy guy dancing whilst the first person to stand up and take the risk was only ever able to create a movement because of the first follower who got up and joined him and who then paved the way for others to then follow and to create that movement for change.

From tackling environmental issues to inequality, discrimination, human rights issues, and supporting marginalized communities and groups – Good Ideas had it all. It was my privilege to be able to share in people’s hopes and aspirations for a better world. 

As someone once said ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’.

Thanks to Good Ideas and all my fellow dancing partners!

Steven McCluskey
Bikes for Refugees (Scotland)
Good Ideas Class of 2019

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