Hubbub is celebrating its fourth birthday. We began with a mere £25,000 grant and we have since built a £2 million charity, winning 14 awards for our campaigns. Along the way we have set up a social enterprise, sold 1,400 Ballot Bins, commissioned 3 recycled plastic boats, acquired a horse box and built a pun database. It has been exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding. As we enter our fifth year the question is how do we keep innovating? Here are the five steps we will take.

Clear the decks

It is in the nature of people and organisations to stick to what they have done before. For a small charity this fills up time removing space for innovation. We are scrutinising all campaigns exploring what we can give away and what can stop.

We need to have confidence that if an idea is sufficiently strong it will build its own momentum. This year our #PumpkinRescue campaign, highlighting food waste at Halloween, secured more coverage than ever even though we did little promotional work. We have proved the concept of Community Fridges and will be looking to hand this vibrant network onto another organisation with the expertise to develop if further.

Insight, insight, insight

Our best ideas have been built around listening to the concerns of people and organisations. Whether it is supporting Oldham residents to fight fly-tipping or helping build IKEA’s Live Lagom campaign we have found that spending time listening to people without having any pre-conceived ideas or agenda provides us with the stimulus for campaigns.

It is our role to build positive campaigns using the insight we have gathered, our knowledge of proven behaviour change approaches and creative communication techniques. We will be looking to do more of this in the year ahead.


As our confidence and reputation has grown we have sought to create more collaborative approaches to address stubborn problems. Although complex to establish and manage we are convinced that this approach is the most effective way to deal with the scale of challenges we face.

#LeedsByExample has united 24 major companies to explore new ways to boost recycling on the High Street. We have given them a safe space to experiment and they have provided us with the resources, reach and credibility to enable us to test and measure a range of initiatives in Leeds. We are confident that this campaign will provide evidence and knowledge that will help shape thinking nationally.

Be bolder

The world has had a stark wake-up call from the IPCC that we only have 12 years to restrict runaway climate change. Fundamental change is required across all sections of society and Hubbub needs to see this as permission to be bolder and more experimental. We have identified some radically different campaigns we want to develop next year tackling climate change, plastic pollution, recycling and the disruption on our High Streets. Hopefully there are sufficient investors who are willing to take a leap of faith alongside us.


Social media has created echo chambers where it is too easy to listen to the same voices and views. Environmental charities have constantly faced legitimate concerns that they are constituted from a narrow group of society. Hubbub falls into this category limiting our ability to talk to the mainstream. Over the coming year we will make a concerted effort to diversify our team starting with our Board of trustees and then moving onto intern appointments and recruitment.

Our birthday is a time to reflect and we are using it to reinvigorate our thinking and are heading into the next year with renewed energy and enthusiasm.