Weeknotes for March 27th, 2020

I reached capacity this week. I don’t think I have ever worked so hard. And the remarkable bit was that I did it all from home.

Monday started with an online discussion with UK Grantmaker Data Champions on ‘Getting and Finding Quality Data‘ for 360 Giving. A significant point of the discussion focused on how hard it is to measure impact particularly: when postcodes of grantees don’t reflect the postcodes of beneficiaries and your grantees see you more as an investor rather than researchers who want to learn what makes outcomes happen.

Monday was also the first day of a series of three virtual final strategy workshops for the Center for Economics and Social Rights (CESR) at three hours each. I would have guessed a face to face meeting like this would take a full three days. But we did it, and they seemed to get further than they thought. By Wednesday, most of the significant decisions on the strategy were made. They are now poised to start translating it all into robust outcomes and implementation planning. Thrilled not to have to transcribe all the post-it notes and flip chart papers as we used a google doc to capture group work and large group discussions.

Tuesday had a catch up with Chloe from the Restart Project. The EU has just confirmed that they will put in place regulations to make smartphones easier to repair after the right to repair campaign had collected over 25,000 signatures. Been supporting Chloe in developing a broader right to repair toolkit and she is capturing learnings from partners on what worked and what didn’t on the smartphone toolkit. One significant learning was to distribute materials that are easy for partners to adapt and modify themselves.

Wednesday started with co-hosting a virtual workshop with Heather Leson and Shaun Hazeldine for the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies to discuss learnings for innovation on COVID-19 responses. We had over 90 people on the call and broke them into 15 small breakout groups. But Friday, I faced the biggest challenge yet in running a virtual meeting: breaking 130 participants into groups of 6 that contained either Spanish or English speakers with an even distribution of secretariat and national society staff. The big challenge was that we had people who had RSVP’d but didn’t show OR their screen name was different to the name RSVP’d with and a large number who came that didn’t RSVP. We discovered Zoom’s pre-registration system a tad too late but will be putting it to good use next time also that you can set up separate audio channels for different languages. Regardless of the chaos, the participants were incredibly patient and stuck with us. I was humbled by the enthusiasm for the opportunity to compare notes with their peers.

Thursday was a particularly special day as it was devoted to running the first (Virtual Workshop) Lab, an iteration of a Training of Trainers workshop I developed years back. We did a deep dive on how adult learning happens and translating process into a workshop format called ADIDS. Participants then practice with their session design and then break into small groups and compare them. The breakouts where participants compared session designs seemed to be of the most significant value. Of course, I learned loads from the participants. I’m trying to understand best how to support individuals on their journeys running sessions focused on participants learning, so I asked them. Great suggestions I got back that I am trying to figure out how to implement:

  • Setting up a dating agency – so people can review each other’s plans.
  • Having a follow-up call in 3-6 months to see how people have got on.
  • Offering mentoring sessions
  • Develop a case study format to be completed after a session about what went well

Starting to plan the next one – thinking I will make it an hour longer and focus a bit more on participant engagement pre and post-session.