Lloyd Davis on the birth of Tuttle

“In the future, organisations aren’t going to be the same. This is about different ways of organising. In fact, it’s not the ‘organisation’ we’re talking about any more, it’s the ‘collaboration’.”

So says Lloyd Davis, consultant, ukulele player and all-round good egg. Since January, Lloyd has been running what is now known as the Tuttle Club – a space where social media types in London can get together to chat, work and collaborate.

“This time last year, a few people were starting up coffee mornings, where everyone would meet in a café somewhere and chat. The mornings were popular, but it was all very ad hoc.

“I felt there was a need for something more permanent, outside of an organisation, where people working in social media could meet and talk on a regular basis, and hopefully go on to actually create projects and maybe work together.

“Ever since I saw the film Brazil, Harry Tuttle [the lowly engineer who is able to single-handedly challenge the system] has been a hero of mine. When I started up this ‘social media café’ it seemed to make sense to call it the ‘Tuttle Club’.

Lloyd clearly delights in the random nature of the group he has created.

“You get such a diverse mix of people and back-grounds – geeky start up types, social media consultants, advertising/digital agency people, classic media people (by that I mean BBC, Channel 4 etc), creative people – musicians, filmmakers, mobile geeks…

“It shifts – we get different dominant cliques from one week to the next. One week there a whole load of musicians turned up, the next there was a load of film scripts being passed around.”

“Anything could happen. People come with different perspectives and come up with creative solutions. I want to encourage that.

The model has proved so popular that ‘Tuttle Clubs’ are now spreading to other parts of the UK – Brighton and Birmingham are both starting up in the next few weeks.

With growth come calls for a more organised approach, but Lloyd is adamant that this type of gathering/collective can only thrive if the framework is loose.

In organising Tuttle, there are two golden rules:

1. Let go of control
2. Minimise structure

“I have to work very hard to stop it becoming more structured” he admits. “There is some structure, there is a ritual: every Friday, 10am, Coach and Horses. Step across the bar. That’s it.”

“The Tuttle Club is not about competing with Starbucks, One Alfred Place or The Hospital. It’s about the people you’ll meet there. It’s about talking, innovation, chatting, sharing. And the people who say I can’t come because I’m at work are missing the point – because this is work, just in a different way.”

5 replies on “Lloyd Davis on the birth of Tuttle”

Thanks Jemima, it was lovely talking to you. I think I wrongly attributed that “collaboration as a noun” idea to Clay Shirky – thinking about it I’m pretty sure it was John Varney, former CTO at the Beeb talking at the recent Wealth of Networks conference.

Looking forward to seeing more of these interviews as the work progresses :)

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