Open Thinkering


Tag: Open Recognition

Reimagining hiring with Open Recognition

Midjourney prompt: "diverse people being recognised for the full spectrum of who they are --no text words letters signatures"

It’s the first day of my three-week holiday so of course I woke up before 6am and I’m writing a work-related post. The reason for this is that on Hacker News just now, I saw a post entitled He who submits a resume has already lost. It’s not only a great title, but a thought-provoking post.

The author, an anonymous blogger who goes by ‘Resident Contrarian’, points out how sending out CVs and resumes is in no way to the benefit of job-seekers:

An [sic] group of 50 applicants submit resumes for a job. 10 or so of them are delusional, and get cut… Of the remaining 40, 35 are rejected… This leaves five candidates… Four of those candidates will eventually be rejected, leaving a best-of-50 candidate who will be paid as if he’s barely qualified.

Last week, I wrote that ‘hiring is broken’. I stand by that. However, we can at least partially solve this problem with Open Recognition based on Open Badges, and Verifiable Credentials. This approach allows us to not only foreground knowledge, skills, and understanding, but also behaviours, relationships, and experiences. I’ve written about this before, as has Laura, but here’s some additional reasons why we need a different approach to hiring, specifically:

  1. Levelling the playing field — by encompassing behaviours and experiences Open Recognition paints a fuller picture of candidates, ensuring that employers can unearth hidden gems — and not just those who went to the best universities.
  2. Trust, but verify — Open Badges offer transparency and authenticity, covering not just knowledge and skills, but also the relationships that underpin successful teamwork. For instance, a candidate might showcase their coding skills alongside their mentorship experience in a community coding club, offering proof of a well-rounded skillset.
  3. Bias reduction — by taking into account personal qualities, Open Recognition can help hiring managers make more equitable decisions. For example, a candidate’s demonstrated leadership in a volunteer organisation could be weighed-up with their formal education and work experience. This ensures that qualified candidates from all walks of life get their foot in the door.
  4. No more unpaid labour — “it’s a full time job to apply for a job” is a truism. Open Recognition using Open Badges and Verifiable Credentials streamlines the job-seeking process. It reduces the burden of unpaid labour, so instead of spending countless hours tailoring CVs/resumes and cover letters, candidates can focus on what matters. This includes forging meaningful relationships and engaging in valuable experiences rather than filling in online forms.
  5. Mutually-beneficial match — a more transparent hiring process accounting for the full spectrum of a candidate’s strengths works both for candidates and employers alike. For instance, a company seeking a project manager with proven leadership abilities and a history of successful collaborations might quickly identify a candidate who has earned Open Badges in project management methodologies and documented their team-building experiences.

I’d really like to fix hiring so that my own kids don’t have to deal with the soul-crushing reality of applying for jobs as it is in 2023. By embracing a holistic approach to hiring through Open Recognition, I really do think we can create a more equitable, transparent, and more human approach for everyone involved.

If you’re eager to explore this further and discover how you can get involved in the world of Open Badges and Open Recognition, head over to and join the movement!

Open Recognition + Critical Pedagogy = empowerment, dialogue, and inclusion

Midjourney prompt: "Paolo Freire in conversation | illustration | charcoal on white paper | balding | grey bushy beard | serious face | large retro spectacles --aspect 3:2"

At the crossroads of education, social justice, and personal development stands critical pedagogy, a concept associated with the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paolo Freire. His conviction was that education should be egalitarian, democratic, and transformative; his work has had an outsize impact on my educational philosophy. Critical pedagogy emphasises the significance of dialogue, critical thinking, and active participation. The further I delve into the world of of Open Recognition, the clearer the links with Freire, both in essence and practice.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire states that:

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

Open Recognition, like critical pedagogy, is about empowering individuals to take ownership of their personal and professional development. The approach not only foregrounds knowledge, skills, and understanding, but also behaviours, relationships, and experiences.

Freire believed that through open and honest conversations, individuals could challenge existing power structures, question assumptions, and engage in transformative learning experiences. Similarly, Open Recognition offers a way for individuals to engage in meaningful conversations about their skills, experiences, and aspirations — using language and approaches that make sense to them.

In facilitating dialogue over power dynamics, Open Recognition nurtures a sense of community and belonging. It empowers individuals to share their stories and learn from one another, and this exchange of ideas and experiences not only contributes to personal growth but also fosters a sense of collective responsibility and solidarity

Critical pedagogy is grounded in the belief that education should be a vehicle for social change and empowerment. Open Recognition aligns with this vision by providing ways for individuals make meaningful contributions to their communities, challenge the status quo, and actively participate in shaping their own futures.

So it’s fair to say that Open Recognition and critical pedagogy share a common goal: the empowerment and transformation of individuals through dialogue, inclusion, and active participation. By explicitly embracing the principles of critical pedagogy, it’s my belief that Open Recognition can help create a more inclusive and equitable world.

If you’re interested in Open Recognition, critical pedagogy, and doing something different than the status quo, I’d highly suggest joining!

Embracing the Full Spectrum: towards a new era of inclusive, open recognition

White light going through a prism and being refracted into the colours of the rainbow. Image from Pixabay.

Earlier this month, Don Presant published a post entitled The Case for Full Spectrum “Inclusive” Credentials in which he mentioned that “people want to work with people, not just collection of skills”.

We are humans, not machines.

Yesterday, on the KBW community call, Amy Daniels-Moehle expressed her appreciation for the story that Anne shared in our Open Education Talks presentation about her experiences. Amy mentioned that the Gen-Z kids she works with had been excited when watching it. They used the metaphor of showing the full electromagnetic spectrum of themselves — more than just the visible light that we usually see.

It’s a useful metaphor. Just as the electromagnetic spectrum extends far beyond the range of visible light, encompassing ultraviolet, infrared, and many other frequencies, the concept of Open Recognition encourages us to broaden our perspective. As I’ve said before, it allows us to recognising not only knowledge, skills, and understanding, but also behaviours, relationships, and experiences

I remember learning in my Physics lessons that, with the electromagnetic spectrum, each frequency band has its unique properties, applications, and value. Visible light allows us to perceive the world around us. Ultraviolet and infrared frequencies have their uses in areas such as medicine, communication, and security. Other creatures, such as bees, can actually see these parts of the spectrum, which means they see the world very differently to us.

Similarly, it’s time for us to see the world in a new light. Open Recognition acknowledges that individuals possess diverse skills, competencies, and experiences that might not be immediately apparent or visible. Like the ultraviolet and infrared frequencies, these hidden talents may hold immense value and potential. Instead of doubling-down on what went before, we should be encouraging environment that embraces and celebrates this diversity. We can unlock untapped potential, create new opportunities, and enable more human flourishing.

In the same way that harnessing the full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation has led to groundbreaking discoveries and advancements, I believe that embracing Open Recognition can lead to a more inclusive, equitable, and thriving society. By acknowledging and valuing the myriad skills and talents each person brings, we can better collaborate and learn from one another. What’s not to like about that?

Note: if you’re interested in this, there’s a community of like-minded people you can join!