Anne Diamond on why selling bright ideas online could make dreams come true

PUBLISHED: 15:51 27 June 2014


The latest online trend of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing could prove to be revolutionary - and great news for small local charities, says Anne Diamond

Have you heard of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding? It’s a phenomenon already known well to those in the digital know. But I reckon it’s going to utterly change, even revolutionise, the way things – everything from theatrical productions to book publishing, running a charity to getting sponsorship for a marathon. Basically, it’s about going online to sell yourself or your idea to as many people as possible, asking each one of them to invest in you with just a small amount of money. But of course, because of the internet, you can reach millions of individuals and so it all adds up. In many cases, it comes to millions.

Just recently I met a product designer from Marlow who’s used the idea to get his idea off the ground – it’s a reinvention of the humble electrical plug. It’s called the Mu, and watch this space because I reckon it’s going to go global. And it got me thinking – why couldn’t a charity sell itself along the crowdfunding line? There’s a wonderful charity in this area called Rosie’s Rainbow,, set up by mum Carolyn after her daughter died at the age of just 11. As a family they spent many excruciating months in hospital where Rosie herself was well looked after by the hospital professionals, but the family lacked support and care. And that got them thinking about how they could make the hospital both more child friendly and more loving and supportive of the parents and siblings, who were often just left pacing up and down hospital corridors.

So Rosie’s Rainbow Fund now funds support workers, aromatherapy sessions, music therapists and more, who work in children’s wards in our local hospitals. But the general mood of austerity has hit Rosie’s Rainbow hard as they have to raise at least a hundred thousand pounds a year. So what do you think of my crowdfunding suggestion for such a charity? I reckon it’s a great idea.

The big boys of architecture

I was talking on my radio show about why there aren’t more women in architecture. Apparently, according to my guest (a female architect) , the industry is hugely male dominated and the biggest showpiece projects are almost invariably awarded to men. “Just look at London’s skyline,” she said knowingly. “All of the big modern buildings, the huge headline grabbers, are very obviously designed by men. They’re utterly phallic!” And she’s right, isn’t she? Just look at them all from the Gherkin to the Shard…

Well, I was having a moan about this to one of my sons the other day and his reaction was – well, just look at what happens when you get a female architect in charge of a big building project. And he pointed me towards the work of the renowned Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid, known as the Vagina Designa.

I’m not going to even try and describe her work, including the Al-Wakrah stadium in Qatar, because I’d just be to embarrassed to make an attempt. But go online and have a look and you may find yourself agreeing with me that the Gherkin isn’t so bad after all.

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