Tag: consultancy (page 1 of 2)

You can chain a knowledge worker to a desk, but you can’t make them think

This month marks two years since I left my post at the Mozilla Foundation and became an independent consultant as founder of Dynamic Skillset Ltd.

Now then, I’m aware that in sitting down to write this post, there’s is an expectation for me to follow certain conventions. One example is that last sentence: I’ve just used the phrase ‘sitting down’ when I’m actually standing at my standing desk.

Tired phrases and worn out cliches aren’t what I’m about. They’re of no use. I don’t deal in dead metaphors, but in lived experience. As a result, and having never been a fan of convention, I’m going to attempt to turn the usual tropes upside down. Here goes…

1. “I should have made the leap years ago”

Well, no actually. I remember being promoted straight into senior management straight from being a classroom teacher. It was an extraordinarily steep learning curve and, coming at a time when we had a young son and I was writing my doctoral thesis, I wasn’t ready for it.

This time, I was ready for it, having worked at two organisations that gave me progressively more responsibility for managing my own time. Had I not spent two years working on projects at Jisc, and then three years working remotely for Mozilla, it would indeed have been a ‘leap’ instead of a fairly smooth transition.

2. “It’s been a rollercoaster ride”

Yes and no. Mostly, it’s been about finding a sustainable rhythm that allows me to do work I enjoy with people that I like.

I can remember meeting a freelancer at a Nesta event just after I’d become a consultant. That old cynic’s words of encouragement? “Welcome to being skint”. In actual fact, it hasn’t been like that. There’s certainly been months where I’ve earned more and months where I’ve earned less, but I try not to measure my life solely on profit.

Instead, I measure it at how successful I’m being in removing from my life what the Ancient Greeks termed ‘akrasia‘. My aim is to live, as much as is in my power, a simple, upright, and moral existence. To do that, I have to be in control – of myself and my working conditions.

3. “It’s been really hard work”

Hang on, walking up a mountain in a blizzard is ‘hard work’. While I certainly haven’t slacked off, I wouldn’t say I worked any harder than I did while employed. I definitely work differently, and more flexibly, though. I’d already cut out my commute, but not having to attend meetings unless I really want to is pretty awesome. I’ve definitely applied Derek Sivers’ philosophy in that respect.

About six months in, I increased my day rate and went down to working four days per week. After all, I’m the boss, right? So now, most Fridays you’ll find me reading the things that I never used to get around to reading or, better yet, clocking up the Quality Mountain Days as part of my training for the Mountain Leader award.

4. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been”

I think a certain utilitarian philosopher said it best:

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.

(John Stuart Mill)

Yes, we still have all of the creature comforts, but my attitude towards them has changed. I’ve stepped off the hedonic treadmill. When you’ve got more time on your own, and time to think, you realise that you’re not in competition with anyone.

That being said, the time alone also means you have to exercise greater self-care. That’s physical – making time to walk, swim, and go to the gym – but also mental. In fact, learning to live comfortably within your means (and your own skin) is an incredibly difficult thing when you don’t have as many things to distract you.

Am I ‘happier’ than I was when I was employed? Well, that’s an emotion that comes and goes. Do I feel like I’m more in control of my life? Yes. Do I feel like I’m flourishing more as a human being? Definitely. Happiness can be synthesised. Flourishing can’t.

5. “I couldn’t have done it without X”

In these kinds of posts or speeches, the individual thanks their family (usually) and their friends and colleagues (sometimes) in a quasi-apologetic way. Doing so in this way puts the focus back on the individual themselves, as they thank others for ‘putting up’ with them, or for looking after things (children, pets, other organisations) while they pursued their dream.

On the contrary, this has been a collaborative endeavour from the start. My wife gave up one of her positions in a Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ school to help me with admin and logistics. She’s supported me in very practical ways, suggesting things I never would have thought about, and developing a real head for business.

In addition, and I’ll perhaps expand upon this when we reach our one year anniversary next month, setting up We Are Open Co-op with friends and ex-colleagues has been a revelation. The work we do together is often different from the work I do by myself with my own clients. Both are enjoyable. What the co-op brings, however, is camaraderie and collegiality.

So thank you, Hannah, Bryan, Laura, and John. Not for supporting me on some ‘crazy dream’, but for the everyday comments, advice, and guidance that you give me to help things tick along.

Final thoughts

I still get several people per year emailing me to ask whether I think they should pursue a PhD. It’s always a difficult one to answer. Likewise, I know there’ll be a lot of people reading this post thinking that they quite like the idea of being self-employed. So, given I don’t know your situation, I’m going to point you in the direction of Epictetus for some advice:

In every act observe the things which come first, and those which follow it; and so proceed to the act… A man wishes to conquer at the Olympic games. I also wish indeed, for it is a fine thing. But observe both the things which come first, and the things which follow; and then begin the act. You must do everything according to rule, eat according to strict orders, abstain from delicacies, exercise yourself as you are bid at appointed times, in heat, in cold, you must not drink cold water, nor wine as you choose; in a word, you must deliver yourself up to the exercise master as you do to the physician, and then proceed to the contest. And sometimes you will strain the hand, put the ankle out of joint, swallow much dust, sometimes be flogged, and after all this be defeated. When you have considered all this, if you still choose, go to the contest: if you do not, you will behave like children, who at one time play at wrestlers, another time as flute players, again as gladiators, then as trumpeters, then as tragic actors: so you also will be at one time an athlete, at another a gladiator, then a rhetorician, then a philosopher, but with your whole soul you will be nothing at all; but like an ape you imitate everything that you see, and one thing after another pleases you. For you have not undertaken anything with consideration, nor have you surveyed it well; but carelessly and with cold desire.”

(Epictetus, Enchiridion, XXIX)

Given that Epictetus was writing 1,900 years ago, I’m going to add ten very practical points to the above. Some of this is advice I was given to me before I started out, and some I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Get an accountant — preferably via a recommendation.
  2. Use online bookkeeping software — the same one as your accountant!
  3. Backchannel like crazy — reach out to people who may be able to help you, call in favours.
  4. Sort out your first six months — get contracts in place, verbal agreements don’t pay your mortgage.
  5. Create productive routines — as any creative person will tell you, it’s extremely difficult working in an environment without any constraints!
  6. Update people often — create something (newsletter, podcast, etc.) that makes it easy for those interested in your work to keep tabs on you and remind them that you’re available for hire.
  7. Build a realistic pricing model — otherwise you’re just licking your finger and putting it in the air.
  8. Share your work — it’s the best form of marketing.
  9. Meet with people often — both online and in-person, to build solidarity and to stave off loneliness.
  10. Book your own professional development — think of conferences and events you can go to, podcasts you can listen to, and books you can read to develop your practice.

I could go on, but for the sake of brevity I will stop there. Questions? I’ll happily answer them!

3 quick updates

Just a few things to share, briefly:

  1. Workshops — I’m going to be running  at least one workshop on Wednesday 7th December at London Connected Learning Centre. Save the date! More details soon, but the focus will be on digital skills / badges / working open.
  2. Consultancy — One of my clients hasn’t managed to secure the funding to do some work we’d planned before Christmas. That means I’ve got more availability that I expected in the next few weeks. Let me know if I can help! My consultancy site: dynamicskillset.com
  3. Audiobook — I’ve been working on Chapter 2 of #uppingyourgame: a practical guide to personal productivity. Thanks to those who have given me positive feedback after being an ‘early adopter’ and listening to the first chapter on sleep.

Image by Jungwoo Hong

How to be an effective knowledge worker and ‘manage yourself’

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, at the moment I’m reading eight books on repeat every morning. One of these is Peter Drucker’s magnificent Managing Oneself. I’ve actually gifted it to a couple of Critical Friend clients as it’s so good.

There’s some great insights in there, and some sections in particular I’d like to share here. First off, it’s worth defining terms. Thomas Davenport, in his book Thinking for a Living defines knowledge workers in the following way:

Knowledge workers have high degrees of expertise, education, or experience, and the primary purpose of their jobs involves the creation, distribution or application of knowledge.

So I’m guessing that almost everyone reading this fits into the category ‘knowledge worker’. I certainly identify as one, as my hands are much better suited touch-typing the thoughts that come out of my head, sparked by the things that I’m reading, than building walls and moving things around!

Drucker says that we knowledge workers are in a unique position in history:

Knowledge workers in particular have to learn to ask a question that has not been asked before: What should my contribution be? To answer it, they must address three distinct elements: What does the situation require? Given my strengths, my way of performing, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done? And finally, What results have to be achieved to make a difference?

This is a difficult thing to do and, to my mind, one that hierarchies are not great at solving. Every time I’m re-immersed in an organisation with a strict hierarchy, I’m always struck by how much time is wasted by the friction and griping that they cause. You have to be much more of a ‘grown-up’ to flourish in a non-paternalistic culture.

Drucker explains that knowledge workers who much ‘manage themselves’ need to take control of their relationships. This has two elements:

The first is to accept the fact that other people are as much individuals as you yourself are. They perversely insist on behaving like human beings. This means that they too have their strengths; they too have their ways of getting things done; they too have their values. To be effective, therefore, you have to know the strengths, the performance modes, and the values of your coworkers.
[…]
The second part of relationship responsibility is taking responsibility for communication. Whenever I, or any other consultant, start to work with an organization, the first thing I hear about are all the personality conflicts. Most of these arise from the fact that people do not know what other people are doing and how they do their work, or what contribution the other people are concentrating on and what results they expect. And the reason they do not know is that they have not asked and therefore have not been told.

The answer, of course, is to become a much more transparent organisation. Although The Open Organization is a book I’d happily recommend to everyone, I do feel that it conflates the notion of ‘transparency’ (which I’d define as something internal to the organisation) and ‘openness’ (which I see as the approach it takes externally).  For me, every organisation can and should become more transparent — and most will find that openness lends significant business advantages.

Transparency means that you can see the ‘audit trail’ for decisions, that there’s a way of plugging your ideas into others, that there’s a place where you can, as an individual ‘pull’ information down (rather than have it ‘pushed’ upon you). In short, transparency means nowhere to hide, and a ruthless, determined focus on the core mission of the organisation.

Hierarchies are the default way in which we organise people, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the best way of doing so. Part of the reason I’m so excited to be part of a co-operative is that, for the first time in history, I can work as effectively with colleagues  I consider my equals, without a defined hierarchy, and across continents and timezones. It’s incredible.

What this does mean, of course, is that you have to know what it is that you do, where your strengths lie, and how you best interact with others. Just as not everyone is a ‘morning person’, so some people prefer talking on the phone to a video conference, or via instant message than by email.

Drucker again:

Even people who understand the importance of taking responsibility for relationships often do not communicate sufficiently with their associates. They are afraid of being thought presumptuous or inquisitive or stupid. They are wrong. Whenever someone goes to his or her associates and says, “This is what I am good at. This is how I work. These are my values. This is the contribution I plan to concentrate on and the results I should be expected to deliver,” the response is always, “This is most helpful. But why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

[…]

Organizations are no longer built on force but on trust. The existence of trust between people does not necessarily mean that they like one another. It means that they understand one another. Taking responsibility for relationships is therefore an absolute necessity. It is a duty. Whether one is a member of the organization, a consultant to it, a supplier, or a distributor, one owes that responsibility to all one’s coworkers: those whose work one depends on as well as those who depend on one’s own work.

Reflecting on the way you work best means that you can deal confidently with others who may have a different style to you. It means it won’t take them weeks, months, or even years to figure out that you really aren’t  going to read an email longer than a couple of paragraphs.

[This] enables a person to say to an opportunity, an offer, or an assignment, “Yes, I will do that. But this is the way I should be doing it. This is the way it should be structured. This is the way the relationships should be. These are the kind of results you should expect from me, and in this time frame, because this is who I am.”

It’s a great book and, reading it at the same time as The Concise Mastery by Robert Greene is, I have to say, a revelation.

Image CC BY-NC gaftels

Beyond ‘low-hanging fruit’: why I’m no longer an Open Badges evangelist

TL;DR: Open Badges have hit a tipping point and no longer need my ‘evangelism’. This is to be celebrated. What’s needed now is the dynamic and differentiated use of the technology to effect real change. This is why I’m continuing my work with organisations as an Open Badges strategist and change-maker.

Low-hanging fruit

Almost exactly five years ago, I stumbled across a pilot being carried out as a collaboration between the nascent Mozilla Learning team and P2PU around Open Badges. It’s fair to say that this discovery, made while I was doing some research in my role for Jisc, altered the course of my professional life.

As an educator, I realised immediately the immense power that a web-native, decentralised, alternative accreditation system could have. I carried out more research, talking about Open Badges with anyone who would listen. This led to me being invited to judge the DML Competition that seed-funded the badges ecosystem and, ultimately, to being asked to work for Mozilla.

I’m not going to turn this post into a blow-by-blow account of the last few years. This is a time for looking forward. That’s why I’m happy to say that, as of today, I no longer consider myself merely an Open Badges evangelist, but an Open Badges strategist. I’m interested in working with people and organisations who are looking to implement Open Badges in new and interesting ways.

What do I mean by that? Well, here’s a few examples:

  • Building badge-based ‘playlists’ for learning (with an emphasis on diversity and co-creation)
  • Developing new extensions and ways of using the standard in informal learning contexts
  • Scaffolding participation and activism through badges that ‘nudge’ positive behaviours in individuals and groups

One way of looking at this is to use Ruben Puentadura’s SAMR model, which I cite in my book The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies:

SAMR model

There’s some interesting preliminary work I do with clients around ‘Augmentation’ but, as quickly as I’m able, I try to get them to think about the top two tiers of the pyramid.

If you’re an organisation looking for mere ‘Substitution’, then Open Badges ecosystem is now developed enough for you to do this by yourself. It’s never been easier to use one of the many badge issuing platforms to simply digitise your existing credentials. There’s documentation around how to get started all over the web, including the Open Badges 101 course that Bryan Mathers and I have curated during our time working with City & Guilds.

I’d challenge organisations and, in particular, universities, to go beyond what they’ve been able to do for the last few hundred years, and think about how to do true 21st-century credentialing. This is a situation where forward-thinking businesses, charities, non-profits, and institutions are in a strong position to drive not only organisational change, but societal change. The nature of hiring and onboarding, for example, can be entirely changed and revolutionised through a fresh look at how we demonstrate knowledge, skills, and behaviours to others.

Over the next few months, I’m looking to build on my doctoral thesis and the work I’ve done over the last few years, to help clients identify, develop, and credential digital skills. If you think I may be able to help you, then please do get in touch: hello@nulldynamicskillset.com

Image CC BY Ian Carroll

Developing my offer: what I’m planning for the next few months

Time horizons are funny things. For example, I don’t know about you, but I like to plan a few months ahead. However, there’s a couple of times of year when this feels more difficult. The most obvious of these is Christmas; in December I still find it hard to make plans for January of the next year!

Another of these times is thinking about beyond the ‘summer holidays’ This is partly because I’ve been conditioned all my life to think in terms of the academic year. This year, we’re planning to go away as a family for a good chunk of the summer, but as a consultant I obviously need to think about business continuity and paid work that I’m going to be coming back to afterwards.

Hence this post! I like to think out loud and show my work.

Since setting up by myself, as well as shorter-term work for other clients, I’ve had a steady stream of work with City & Guilds. That’s tapered off from initially working on a full-time basis with them, down to two days at the moment. It’s been great and, as all good teachers do, I’ve greatly enjoyed making myself progressively redundant. So from the end of August I’ll be working with City & Guilds on a per-project basis.

This, of course, means I’m looking for ways to make myself useful to other organisations. I’ve got a few things scheduled but, right now, lots more availability from September onwards than I’ve had previously. Given that so far all of my consultancy work has been ‘inbound’ (i.e. people and organisations have approached me, instead of me approaching them) I’m thinking about ways of packaging up what I do in ways that make immediate sense to people.

One such way that I’ve highlighted before is an approach developed by Bryan Mathers and the good people at wapisasa: the Thinkathon.

Ordinarily, Thinkathons last from 10am until about 4pm, with a break for lunch. The facilitators will have done some preparation beforehand, then on the day they meet with three or four people from the organisation who has requested the Thinkathon. Afterwards, the facilitators package up what was captured during the day into actionable next steps.

The great thing about Thinkathons is that they’re simultaneously ‘off-the-shelf’ (i.e. they’re a fixed price, you know the format of the day, and there’s an output) and bespoke (i.e. what we discuss and sort out is entirely dependent on your organisation and context). They’re also a great way to provide value in a ‘bounded’ way. The Thinkathon by itself could be all that’s needed, or it lead to further work. It’s up to the organisation.

Rocket (CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers)As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently revving-up weareopen.coop, a co-operative consortium of limited companies including mine and those controlled by John Bevan, Laura Hilliger, and Bryan Mathers. The deal is that anything we do individually goes through our respective businesses, but anything we do that requires more than one of us goes through the co-op. That means Thinkathons are something you should approach the co-op about: thinkathons@nullweareopen.coop.

For the avoidance of doubt, the things you’re likely to hire me individually for as Dynamic Skillset are things relating to education, technology, and productivity. For example:

  • Digital skills/literacies keynotes, workshops, and curriculum development
  • Open Badges keynotes, workshops, and system design
  • Productivity and workflow analysis, coaching, and report-writing
  • Critical Friend services
  • Analysis (desk research and in-person) around use of technology in learning and training contexts.
  • Desk research, synthesis, and report-writing relating to anything I tend to talk about here or elsewhere.

In terms of weareopen.coop, it’s a case of ‘watch this space’ to some extent as our first planning meeting is next week). However, as our name indicates, we’re interested in all elements of openness, including Open Badges, but also helping organisations work more openly and transparently.

The Essential Elements of Digital LiteraciesThere’s plenty of other things I want to start offering as well as the above. One of these is a short email-based course based on my ebook The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. This would be a paid addition to the ebook, which (in line with my ‘OpenBeta’ approach) will decrease in price next month to ‘pay what you want’. Do let me know if you’d be willing to be a guinea pig for that. I’d like to do some testing before it goes live for everyone.

Another thing I’d like to offer is the kind of five-day sprint as outlined in the recent book from Google Ventures entitled Sprint: how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. This would be an a large undertaking for an organisation, but likely to be hugely valuable. I’d be willing to do this at a 50% for my first one, in return for detailed feedback.

And finally (although I’ve got plenty more ideas in my notebook) I’m wondering if it might be worthwhile to build an extremely lightweight badging platform. I’ve had this idea with the codename ‘Self-Badger’ which would provide a much-needed antidote to some of the unimaginative approaches to Open Badges I’ve seen recently. I’ll may need some funding for that, however…

In terms of upcoming speaking engagements, I was supposed to be in South Africa this week speaking about badges and blockchain at the Groningen Declaration conference. However, having withdrawn from the BadgeChain group I felt that my presence there would have been somewhat disingenuous. Instead, I’m planning to use my Badge Summit keynote next month in Aurora, Colorado to ask some hard questions about all of this.

So, if you think I can help you and your organisation, get in touch! I respond to emails sent to hello@nulldynamicskillset.com within 24 hours, and I have a discounted rate for charities, non-profits, and educational institutions.

Images CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers (originally developed for the Community Alignment model)


Doug is a very creative, motivated and talented individual, who inspires others around him to think from different angles and to challenge constructively. — Patrick Bellis (Deputy Director, Jisc group customer services)

Always quick with a witty riposte—usually in animated gif form—or willing to dive into a philosophical conversation, Doug excels at his work. — Carla Casilli (Consultant & former Mozilla colleague)

Doug’s deep expertise in digital technologies for learning, productivity, change and teamwork together with his ability to coach and challenge, has really helped us develop as an education organisation. — Sarah Horrocks (Director, London CLC)

Weeknote 14/2015

Update: I forgot to mention my activity as part of #lookjustphone, an experiment in creating a business or product solely using a smartphone. I introduced the concept to others, then created a pay-to-email me service followed by a hi-res wallpaper pack.


This was my first week of consultancy. (o^_^)o

It was a three-day week: I took Monday off and then Friday was a public holiday. Despite that, it was a fairly intense and tiring week — mainly due to travelling and meeting new people!

After playing with my children on Monday and taking them to the inflatables session at the local swimming pool, I caught the train down to London. That night I stayed in the Z Hotel Shoreditch next to Old Street’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’. Despite the great ratings, I thought it was pretty average.

I headed over to the London College of Fashion on Tuesday, part of the University of the Arts. They’d asked me to give a keynote and facilitate a workshop around Open Badges. I took the opportunity to weave in some stuff around digital literacies and learning pathways, too. It was a great day. You can see curated tweets from the day, including a link to my slides, in this post.

On Wednesday and Thursday nights I stayed at a City Marque Clerkenwell serviced apartment, which was much better. Very spacious, more facilities, and pretty much brand new! It wasn’t far from there to walk to the City & Guilds offices in Giltspur Street. I met up with Bryan Mathers, one of the main reasons I’m working with them full-time for the next five months, for breakfast. They do great sausage sandwiches!

Most of Wednesday and Thursday was met meeting various people at City & Guilds and getting myself acquainted with their IT systems. They’re using Microsoft Office 365, which I haven’t used before. However, it’s pretty straightforward: I installed the mobile apps and then set my email autoresponder to say that I only check my email first and last thing during the day.

There’s plenty of interesting work to be getting on with at City & Guilds and, from what I’ve sensed this week, an appetite to do things differently. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with ways in which Open Badges can be used to think differently (and adjacently) about their qualifications and credentialing offer.

I’ve never seen Kings Cross train station as busy as it was on Thursday night. This was understandable, as it was the day before a four-day weekend. I had a ticket but no reservation so, instead of standing for almost four hours on the way home, I decided to upgrade to First Class. I got a seat, sat back, drank some free whisky, and watched Léon.

On Friday I took everything out of my office in preparation for a carpet being laid. I also upgraded to Bittorrent Sync Pro as I’ve been really happy with the way it enables cloud-like file syncing, but only between devices I own.

Today (Saturday) I’ve been putting everything back into my home office. I’ve now got a carpet in there! It’s so much nicer than having laminate. There’s still far too much stuff crammed in too small a space, but at least it’s cosy and warm.

Due to being so busy, the only things I wrote this week were Wednesday Wisdom #31: Context (on Thursday!) and a link to my DMLcentral post, Peering Deep into Future of Educational Credentialing.

Next week is also a shorter week due to Easter Monday. I’ll be working in London on Tuesday and Wednesday and then from home on Thursday/Friday. 🙂

Image CC BY-SA Susanne Nilsson

The Next Chapter

The week just gone was my last as a paid contributor to the Mozilla Foundation. I wrote about that here. It’s been a while coming — I set up Dynamic Skillset on 23rd December last year and had set myself the target of becoming fully independent by this September. In terms of planning, my brain still works in terms of academic years…

Happily, a couple of organisations almost bit my arm off when I approached them about doing some consultancy work. I’ve chosen to work with City & Guilds for five months (in the first instance) helping them with various things— including Open Badges. I’m really looking forward to catalysing meaningful change within organisations.

Although it’s perhaps not appropriate to name here all the people who have helped me over the past few months, you know who you are. I definitely couldn’t have taken this step without them. From encouragement before Christmas when I was considering a change, to practical advice on setting up as a limited company, I feel extremely fortunate to be connected to such a generous network. Thank you all.

As ever, I’ll be working as openly as possible and pushing others to do likewise. I’ve never been particularly driven by financial gain: it’s doing interesting and important stuff with awesome people that’s important to me. Life’s too short to spend doing things just for the sake of money.

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”
— Thomas Edison

Please do get in touch if you think I can help your organisation. I’m particularly interested in stuff around digital/web/new literacies, Open Badges, alternative accreditation, open education — you know the kind of things I do.

Remember: I’ve only got so much capacity, especially until September, so let me know sooner rather than later!

"change the world or go home"

Today is my last day at Mozilla

TL;DR: I’m leaving Mozilla as a paid contributor because, as of next week, I’ll be a full-time consultant! I’ll write about that in a separate blog post.


Around four years ago, I stumbled across a project that the Mozilla Foundation was running with P2PU. It was called ‘Open Badges’ and it really piqued my interest. I was working in Higher Education at the time and finishing off my doctoral thesis. The prospect of being able to change education by offering a different approach to credentialing really intrigued me.

I started investigating further, blogging about it, and started getting more people interested in the Open Badges project. A few months later, the people behind MacArthur’s Digital Media and Learning (DML) programme asked me to be a judge for the badges-focused DML Competition. While I was in San Francisco for the judging process I met Erin Knight, then Director of Learning at Mozilla, in person. She asked if I was interested in working on her team. I jumped at the chance!

During my time at Mozilla I’ve worked on Open Badges, speaking and running keynotes at almost as many events as there are weeks in the year. I’ve helped bring a Web Literacy Map (originally ‘Standard’) into existence, and I’ve worked on various projects and with people who have changed my outlook on life. I’ve never come across a community with such a can-do attitude.

This June would have marked three years as a paid contributor to the Mozilla project. It was time to move on so as not to let the grass grow under my feet. Happily, because Mozilla is a global non-profit with a strong community that works openly, I’ll still be a volunteer contributor. And because of the wonders of the internet, I’ll still have a strong connection to the network I built up over the last few years.

I plan to write more about the things I learned and the things I did at Mozilla over the coming weeks. For now, I just want to thank all of the people I worked with over the past few years, and wish them all the best for the future. As of next week I’ll be a full-time consultant. More about that in an upcoming post!

Your questions answered about Dynamic Skillset, my upcoming consultancy

I’ve mentioned in passing in a couple of posts so far this year that I’m launching an ‘artisanal’ consultancy in 2015. Dynamic Skillset Ltd. is already registered with Companies House, so (understandably) I’ve had many questions from friends, colleagues, readers and followers about what I’m planning to do with it.

To help answer these, I put together a short FAQ. Around 50 people have signed up for updates at dynamicskillset.com, so as part of Issue #1 of Dynamic Skillset’s monthly newsletter, I answered the following questions:

Why ‘Dynamic Skillset’?

It’s not enough these days to be merely ‘good’ in one field. To remain competitive, to integrate innovative techniques into your personal workflow or organisation’s system, a ‘dynamic skillset’ is required. Hence the name.

When do you launch?

We’ll be launching over the course of 2015 with a few select clients across the public, private and third sectors.

What relationship does Dynamic Skillset have to Mozilla?

While Doug will continue in a full-time capacity for Mozilla, there is no formal relationship or affiliation between Dynamic Skillset and the Mozilla Foundation. Doug will be working with clients at times outside the hours he is contracted with Mozilla.

What’s the best way to make an enquiry?

It all starts with a no-obligation email. You can hit reply to this first newsletter, or you can compose an email and send it to hello@nulldynamicskillset.com. More detail is better than less, but at a minimum it would be good to know:

  • Location
  • Organisation
  • Type of work
  • Timeframe

How much do you charge?

This is something we can work on that once you get in touch. Part of this being an ‘artisanal’ consultancy is that it is entirely bespoke to the organisation and context.

Note: for UK-based work (or that which doesn’t require travel) that Dynamic Skillset won’t charge for expenses such as travel and accommodation. There are also incentives for booking three or more days. This is to encourage meaningful individual/organisational change.

More questions?

Just ask! Again, hit reply to this email or compose one to hello@nulldynamicskillset.com.

In the next issue of the Dynamic Skillset newsletter I’m planning to link to research, interesting articles, etc. around open education and organisational change. Feel free to sign up on the Dynamic Skillset website.

Questions? Please do shoot me an email or simply add a comment to this post!

Shift up a gear: work with me from September 2011!

Gear stick

I’m still going to be at JISC infoNet but, given that I’ll be finished my Ed.D. thesis I’m looking for interesting side-projects and opportunities starting from next academic year.

Drop me a line if you’re interested in working with me on anything you’ve seen mentioned on this blog, including:

Check out more about me – I look forward to you getting in touch!

CC BY-NC-SA quimby

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