Open Thinkering


Weeknote 12/2021

Old-school square drainpipe with plants growing around it

This week was the second of two weeks that our two children have spent in school since lockdown. It’s now the Easter holidays, and I’m planning to take (the equivalent of) two days off each week for the next couple of weeks.

Last week was the last (funded) week of a project, a Catalyst-funded sector challenge that I’ve been leading for most of 2021 so far. We achieved a lot in a short amount of time (see participants’ thoughts here), and did a project retrospective on Wednesday and a digital team retro on Friday. The ‘playback’ for the funders is next Tuesday.

The other Catalyst project I’m involved with just finished Week 6 of 10. That one involves taking a cohort of charities through a ‘definition’ programme, leading them to prototype solutions for problems faced by the audience they serve.

In addition to some business development and catching up with a few people, I attended the RSA’s Cities of Learning Summit on Thursday afternoon. Back in 2013, my colleagues on the Mozilla Open Badges team helped with Chicago’s Summer of Learning. That morphed into a programme of ‘Cities of Learning’ across the US.

Here in the UK, the RSA did things slightly differently, and over a longer period of time, so the pilot projects have only just finished up. It’s been a success, particularly during the pandemic (oddly) so the programme is being rolled out to more places — and not just cities.

I’m keen to see this programme succeed, and in an open source way. I’d like to ensure that a diversity of badge platforms and providers are involved, to avoid vendor lock-ins and silos.

The thing that took up a lot of my curiosity and time this week was refactoring the site. I explain more about that process in this post, but suffice to say figuring out the technical side of things had me staying up past midnight for the first time for a long time…

Other than that, I haven’t published anything as I’ve switched Thought Shrapnel to a monthly newsletter. That allows me more time for other side projects.

As I’ve already mentioned, next week I’m taking some time off, which will be nice. I need to get back to doing more exercise as my back is slowly getting better. I really wish I could get back to the gym, but until all of the adults around me have been vaccinated, that’s probably not a great idea.

Image: a curious-looking drainpipe on the side of the Boys Brigade Hall, Morpeth, England

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