MKS Room – Tackling Food Waste – Looking back

On the 18th of May 2016 , the London community gathered for another inspiring MKS Room. This time we aimed to create meaningful conversations about food waste with the support of :

Martina Randles, Community Marketing Manager at OLIO, a free app that allows consumers, restaurants and supermarkets to share perfectly edible food that is due to be removed from the shelves. Their mission: to unlock the value of food that is wasted in the home and community.
For more information:

Keiran Whitaker, Founder of Entocycle, an innovative feed company that is developing one of the most advanced, efficient and sustainable systems to feed the world. They produce animal feed the way nature intended. They are utilising the power of Hermetia illucens (Black Soldier Fly) – to ‘up-cycle’ organic waste into a sustainable protein feed alternative for Aquaculture and Livestock. 
For more

James McGowan, Manager of the campaign « Love Food Hate Waste » which targets food-waste prevention and helps address the amount of food that is wasted in people’s homes. The campaign was launched following ground-breaking research, carried out by WRAP, illustrating the scale of the problem and the associated environmental and economic impacts. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is a private not for profit company that work with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency.
For more information: and

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With 1/3 of the food produced never eaten each year, the impacts of food waste are huge on all sides. Not only is it a colossal loss of money for business and households, but its consequences on the environment are disastrous.

According to the UN, if food waste were a country it would be the third global greenhouse gas emitter. And if we consider that 30% of the land is used to produce food that will go to waste, it gives us a good idea of all the resources, in terms of water or biodiversity, we are exploiting unnecessarily.

This situation is particularly alarming when we consider that in 2050, there will be 2 billion more people to feed while there are currently 1 billion people affected by hunger.

Yet, we are currently producing more than enough food to feed the entire planet, but most of this food is being wasted instead of being used to feed people in need. Our food system is in crisis and the current environmental pressure is more than our planet can bear over the long-term.

How can we contribute to reduce food waste and co-create a better future? Listen to the official podcast of our event.

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Enjoy below more picture from the night – (Credit Gianpietro Pucciariello)

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SenseFiction Part II – Food Sustainability Hackathon

FOOD HACKWe’ve all been there: wincing with guilt whilst scraping leftovers off dinner plates into the bin. Or loading up our basket with buy one get one free fruit and veg bargains, only to find a suspiciously green bag sitting soggy and dejected at the back of the fridge a week or two later. Or enthusiastically over-ordering at our favourite restaurant; having to face the realisation, half way through the meal, that our eyes were, in fact, bigger than our stomachs. Now we have the meat sweats. We’re about to be defeated by the extra sides we ordered or the indignity or undoing the top button of our jeans.

Food wastage is rife. Each year, 1.3bn tonnes of food, about a 1/3 of all that is produced, is wasted globally. On the flip side of food wastage, in the UK, the numbers of people resorting to emergency food supplies from food banks is at a record high. More than 1.1 million people, including 415,866 children, have received emergency food supplies in the past year. This rising trend is primarily driven by the impact of government welfare reform. The efforts of charities and food banks trying to meet the demand are compounded by large supermarkets, like Asda, withdrawing their previous donations amidst cost cutting strategies.

How can we intercept all that food headed for landfill and divert it to those that need it?

SenseFiction Part II was a 1-day mini-hackathon to further develop ideas generated from SenseFiction London in March. A group of social enterprise enthusiasts got busy evolving 2 design challenges to impact behaviour change around food sustainability.

Design challenge 1 – Too Good To Go



Too Good To Go is an app devised to tackle food wastage and poverty. Its objective is to make food surplus that restaurants, cafes and bakeries would otherwise throw away, available for buy at significantly reduced prices at the end of the trading day.

Users can search for food outlets in their local area and receive alerts when food will be available to pick up at the reduced price. Not only will users get low-cost meals but TGTG also donates food to the homeless.

During the mini hack we were joined by UK lead, Jamie Crummie, who shared some challenges around launching the app for widespread adoption throughout the UK cities:

Questions we worked through were:

  1. How to reach out to key target audiences.

Persona identities were created to come up with an effective communications campaign online and offline.

  1. How to recruit new restaurants into the network.

We identified it was essential to get clear on the benefits food outlets would gain by participating in the scheme. It was also important to support them streamline their internal communication, enabling orders and collections of surplus food to go smoothly.

  1. What features to include on the app to make the user experience seamless.

This required plotting out the customer journey from app discovery to that first order. It was important to get clear about the steps the user would follow and the mindset they would be in when trying access low-cost food. How could the process be made as simple and quick as possible?

 Design Challenge 2 – BCause


From farm to fork, food sustainability covers everything from; making healthy, nutritious food accessible through fair distribution; treating all producers and employees within the supply chain fairly; ensuring animals and the environment within the food chain are treated ethically to being sensitive to the cultural and diversity needs of different communities, urban and rural.

As well as tackling key issues like food wastage, the second design challenge at the SenseFiction Part II looked at the wider ecosystem. How can we effectively support the growing network of social enterprise food businesses within local communities?

Bcause is an app concept that aims to put a spotlight on social enterprise cafes and restaurants enabling consumers to experience, enjoy and financially support ethical approaches to business within their local area. It was inspired by the realisation that often, people are unaware of the alternatives to mainstream chains within their local communities; the high-quality food, and customer service they can enjoy there and of course the long-term benefits these organisations provide in response to local community social impact issues.

Outcomes from this challenge were:

  • The development of two persona types with different motivations for using the app.

How would we design a communications plan to engage an early adopter, social enterprise enthusiast versus engaging someone with little knowledge and awareness of the benefits of visiting alternatives to mainstream chains?

  • We had an insights and ideas sharing Skype session with fellow MakeSenser Marle Mot who had previously, independently been exploring similar ideas over in Berlin.
  • We were able to create draft wireframes for what the BCause app user experience could look like based on needs and gains of users e.g. reviews of restaurants and cafes, google maps search integration, details of what their social enterprise activities involve.

Key takeaways:

On both design challenges, creating an empathy map was an invaluable tool to get into the heads and hearts of target users. Our insights revealed that while users may enjoy the halo effect of positively engaging in social enterprise activities; quality, price and seamless user experience remain fundamental motivating factors behind behaviour change.

Learn more about Too Good To Go or join the community that will bring the BCause app to life.

Belinda Boakye Guest Author – Belinda Boakye contributed this post on behalf of  Belinda is the founder & business consultant at Cultural Agency Collective, supporting social impact & creative projects/organisations with income generation, marketing & business planning.

Photo Credit: Gianpietro Pucciariello

MKS Room – Tackling Food Waste

Learn the story of food waste through the life of a strawberry

Do you want to learn more about food waste?

Follow the journey of a strawberry from the farm to the refrigerator to understand all that it takes to bring your food to you.

Did you know that 40% of our food ends up wasted? Wasted food is the single largest contributor to landfills in the US.

Follow us mobilizing people around the issue of food waste and food security and helping social entrepreneurs finding concrete solutions.

Do you want to join the cause? Contact us here

food security



How to Participate at the Startup Europe Week



Are you interested in Social Enterprise or looking to becoming a Social Entrepreneur?  

My friend, you are in luck!

February 5th is your chance to put your thinking hat on to help solve the struggles of Beneficent. Beneficent have been selected by the European Commission in Brussels to organise this event.  Join us along with fellow panel members from OuiShare UK, European Alternatives, MakeSense and Lambeth Council, and explore the tools and support available in the local ecosystem for social entrepreneurs. This event is a blend event: half debate/half workshop(following the Hold-Up methodology). At this Startup Europe Week’s event, Beneficent wants social entrepreneurs bringing their “Idea to reality and build their community”.

How do I participate?

The answer is MakeSense Problem Solving Workshop, called Hold-Up.


Everyone is welcome to participate


Help solve the challenge of Beneficent by joining a problem solving workshop designed by MakeSense.  It uses design thinking and creativity techniques to help the participants give and share many ideas at first and turn them into 3 to 4 applicable solutions at the end.

What is the challenge?

One of our biggest obstacles is building a strong community. This hold up will focus on coming up with strategy and action plan on building a community for Beneficent.  


IDEALondon – 69 Wilson St, London EC2A 2BB


February 5th from 2pm – 6pm.  Registration starts at 1:45pm


Register for the event – Social Entrepreneurship: Idea to reality, build your community


You get to network with the pros and participate in a workshop to help a social enterprise solve concrete challenge.

What better way is there to solve the challenge of community building but to use the power of community via this event?  See you on February 5th, and be part of Beneficent.

Are you up for the challenge? Subscribe here!

About MakeSense:

Makesense is trying to invent a new world by helping impact-driven startups to create self-sustainable solutions for social and environmental problems. So far, the MakeSense community is spread in 46 countries, with 1500 active members around the globe and got 20.000 citizen involved in building solutions.

As citizens, YOU and everybody can get involved in supporting concrete solutions developed by social entrepreneurs and to reinforce their impact by helping solving challenges they face.

In fact, citizens have a key role in MakeSense ecosystem, for without them, social innovation and change will not go forward. MakeSense is the empowerment of social entrepreneurship with sustained social and environmental impact powered by a solid and passionate movement of citizens.

31 facts that will help you to learn more about Refugees

This is content series powered by Chayn & Make Sense presented during the last MKS Room in London

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The Role of the Media in Europe’s Refugee Crisis

The media serves an important role in society insofar as it helps bring important issues to the attention of the community (Fourie, 2007: 202).  In the case of the ongoing European refugee crisis, the media reporting has given the public insight into the refugees fleeing the Assad regime in Syria.  Media coverage of the issue has, however, been mixed.

There has been some excellent coverage focussing on the harsh reality of the struggles faced by men and women, traversing Syria then Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and beyond, in search of safety in Western Europe, often with young children in tow.  While publications such as The Guardian and The Independent have, predictably, focussed on the human element of the crisis, the right-wing media have in general responded rather differently, focussing on national security.  Publications such as The Daily Mail, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror received widespread criticism on social media for their use of dehumanising language when reporting on the refugee crisis. Instead of referring to the Syrians fleeing Assad as ‘refugees’ the right-wing media invariably referred to them as ‘migrants’. Al Jazeera even went as far as to make the editorial decision to not refer to those fleeing Syria as ‘migrants’.  The difference in these two terms is crucial and the editorial decision to use one term over the other necessarily impacts on the tone of the article or feature that it relates to and therefore on how the public may respond to the report. The United Nations defines refugees as ‘persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution’. In contrast, migrants are defined as people;

who choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death but mainly to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons.

The distinction is critical. If the media frame those fleeing Syria as migrants then it follows that the public and politicians is likely to be less inclined to offer their support, financial or otherwise, as they believe that people are moving not out of fear for their lives but rather for better paid work or an easier life.

The Syria crisis is not the only circumstance where the UK’s media has portrayed migrants and refugees in a negative light, so much so that earlier in 2015 the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement calling on British authorities, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb hate speech against these groups in British tabloids. In contrast, the media in France and Germany have been leading the calls for their countries to do more and criticising the British government for doing so little to help those in dire need.


An example of the contrast in language used in newspaper coverage of the refugee crisis

 Nevertheless, a turning point in the UK tabloid media’s reporting of the refugee crisis followed the death of Aylan Kurdi. The image of the three-year-old Syrian boy pictured lifeless and face-down in the sand in Turkey while fleeing Syria with his family was seen as a turning point in the response to the crisis. Tabloids stopped referring to refugees as ‘cockroaches’ and a ‘swarm’ and began to focus on the human cost of the crisis. Their dramatic u-turn did not go unnoticed with many comparing the coverage conducted only weeks apart.  However, this change of heart has not lasted long and, following the terrorist attacks in Paris in recent days and reports that one of the attackers passed through Greece after disguising themselves as a Syrian refugee. While this naturally raises genuine questions surrounding the refugee policy that ought to be debated openly, the tabloid newspapers reverting to what they know best – fear-mongering – is unhelpful.

The media have provided a wide variety of coverage on the ongoing refugee crisis. Some has been balanced, others not so much. However, what is clear is the privileged position that the media inhabit and that they have a responsibility to provide, clear and unbiased information to the public. A failure to do this is very serious indeed and can have wide-ranging consequences, impacting on public opinion and therefore on our willingness to support those fleeing for their lives.

What is the future of Media and how can they help to deliver solution for the refugee crisis?
Join the conversation at #refugeefdw on Twitter and join us at Refugee Forward event in London on the 26th of November at 7.30 pm


Refugee Forward - Visuals (5)

Picture source : European Movement Ireland

5 things i have learned at MKS Room (from Impact Hub KX Blog)

The London community of MakeSense organized a MKS Room on September, 5th at the Impact Hub King’s Cross. It was a first event kicking off a series of events on Female Homelessness running until mid-October.

MKS Room are recorded events blending live performance and talks connecting art and social entrepreneurship. Similar performances have been hosted in over 80 cities since it started in Paris around 2 years ago.

With the support of the Impact Hub and Sound Advice UK, over 40 people gathered to meet Sharon Poon of the Marylebone Project, the Birmingham-based artist Allisha Kadir and Ben Tannahill, a London-based acoustic guitarist.


MKS Room 26.08.15 – Looking Back

Almost 50 change makers gathered at Impact Hub King’s Cross to learn and discuss about the future of female homelessness. As usual MKS Room featured amazing stories from social entrepreneurs and music artists (thanks to Sounds Advice) that have helped the audience to get inspiration and stimulate valuable ideas regarding one of the most pressing problem of our City today , homelessness.

If you haven’t got the time to attend the event, you can listen to the official podcast below (click the image) :

Sound Cloud MKS Room

Thanks to Louise Thomson you can see the highlights of the event here :

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Below you can find other amazing pictures of the night (Thanks to Gianpietro Pucciariello and Sounds Advice)

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We hope to see you at the next event – check the agenda here

Challenging Five Myths About Homelessness


When it comes to the homeless many of us have preconceptions.  The general population tends to view the homeless in a negative light which can have a profound impact on the their ability to get back on their feet. This is ultimately costly to society. The Sense Cause is entering in the second week and these are five common myths held about the homeless that me and the community have learned.

Homeless people aren’t like you or I

It may be convenient for us to think that the homeless are inherently different from ourselves, lesser mortals somehow, perhaps less ambitious, willing to settle, the makers of the kind of bad choices that the rest of us are not be foolish enough to make ourselves.  Worryingly such attitudes are seemingly part of a wider trend of desensitisation towards the plight of the homeless.  We write cruel tweets about them, we design our cities in order to further alienate them, we barely bat an eyelid when we see them huddled in doorways. Perhaps we find it difficult to picture ourselves in their shoes.  However, the brutal reality is that 1 in 4 of us is only one paycheck away from losing our home.  With the number of people working on zero-hour and temporary contracts on the rise, many in society are living an increasingly precarious existence, waiting by the phone hoping they may get the chance to go into work in order to guarantee a roof over their head.  To think that it couldn’t happen to us is naive.

The majority of homeless people are drug addicts and/or alcoholics

It cannot be denied that the links between homeless and drug and alcohol abuse are well established.  Substance misusers may end up homeless because of their addictions and some homeless may end up turning to drink and drugs as a coping mechanism. Some may be hard drug users, others may simply drink alcohol to keep warm while sleeping rough. However, there are plenty of homeless people who remain sober.

Giving money is an act of kindness

It’s likely that people who have failed to be moved by the sight of a beggar–huddled in the cold, sleeping bag wrapped around, paper cup in hand and displaying a dog-eared sign declaring that they are ‘homeless and hungry’–are few and far between.  Many of us dip into our pockets for some spare change to throw into their cup, perhaps imagining that they will buy themselves a hot cup of tea or a warm meal later.  However, many homeless charities including Thames Reach now argue that to give money to the homeless is to kill them with kindness.  The evidence suggests that money is often used to buy alcohol and drugs rather than food.  While this is not the case for every homeless person begging on the streets, the money of kindly strangers would be better served being donating directly to homeless charities or shelters where it will have a greater impact.

All homeless people live on the streets

The homeless that we witness on high streets up and down the country, cold and hungry and laying on cardboard may lead us to assume that the majority of homeless find themselves in a similar predicament.  Research by the homeless charity Crisis estimates that 62% of homeless are classed as ‘hidden homeless’.  This means that they are not being counted in the official statistics.  They may be living in bedsits, bed and breakfasts or hostels.  They may be living on friends’ sofas.  In short, those who are sleeping rough on our streets represent just the tip of the iceberg.

The homeless wouldn’t be homeless if only they tried harder

The homeless find themselves caught in a vicious cycle – they almost certainly don’t want to continue sleeping rough or constantly moving from place to place. Indeed, who would want such an existence? However, in order to live a stable existence they need a regular income. However, applying for a job without a fixed address is hugely challenging, if not impossible. They may have a criminal record preventing them from getting a job. Even if they somehow manage to gain employment, their personal situation can be so precarious that they can’t keep it for long. Furthermore, the homeless often have physical and/or mental health issues that need to be addressed – the NHS estimates that in London, 64% of homeless people are affected by a physical health problem and 70% with issues with their mental health. The result is that no matter how much they want to break the cycle, homeless people are often trapped.


These five brief examples serve to demonstrate that, like the rest of us, the homeless are not all the same. There are many different reasons why they became homeless in the first place and they differ in their reasons for remaining without a permanent roof over their head. However, one thing’s for certain – by working together and raising awareness, the lot of the homeless has a much greater chance of being improved – to the benefit of the homeless themselves and to wider society.