First call with Millie and co

I just got out of an impromptu skype call with Millie, Khatuna Sandroshvili from UNDP Georgia country office, and 3 people from Waag Society, the ones who will be running the Make the Future project, including Frank Kresin their research director. No need for another phone meeting with Arthur (re: email exchange with Millie). A couple of things:

  • Millie and Khatuna are sharing the overall project management responsibilities – Millie will be going into maternity leave starting June, while Khatuna is both representing the Georgia office and highly involved with Armenia and Egypt offices, so she’ll be wearing multiple hats. Both are up for being approached anytime, especially to help clear bottlenecks
  • About tentative commitment from the 3 country offices: Armenia is the most well established, with their Social Innovation Lab and therefore highly reliable; Georgia is about a year and a half late, but catching up quickly and with enthusiasm; And Egypt is the most tricky due to recent political events - senior management is committed though, and wants to see the office running this.
  • We don’t know how the 2 different projects: Spot the Future and Make the Future will come together, and where the intersection is exactly – but there’s a chance we could join forces for the final regional event, only in practice. We’ll do our own planning though with our own budget.
  • We have agreed on 2 different timelines to submit for Spot the Future: a first, rough one will be put together by Millie mainly by copy-pasting what’s already in our proposal. The reason for this is to allow for a first money installment. The second, more detailed one, we’ll have to put together in 2 weeks time and will be strongly based on our conversations with the 3 country offices which will start early next week. [Matthias] and [ArthurD], please make yourselves available next week in the calls/hangouts which will be proposed: we will need to make the move to find engagement managers and potentially ethnographers, and also re-estimate travel costs for the final event, all to be included in the detailed timeline.

Much appreciated

Noemi, thanks for the well-written summary and the professional handling of the negotiations :slight_smile: I’m available for calls next week at any time if I can get an invitation the day before. If there’s anything to prepare for this already, tell us.

Good you could make it, thanks.

I would advise that you send a writeup via email of what was agreed on with Millie and other client reresentatives, and ask them to confirm the information is correct to ensure everyone is on the same page with Alberto, Arthur and myself in cc.

FYi: I’ve interacted with the Waag in the past and know some of the senior people there, including Frank.

Good news, it seems!

Well done! We are becoming quite the team. Let me know if you need anything from me.


  1.  When can we go public with this? The nature of Edgeryders is that we need to operate in full daylight, to mobilize the community.
  2. When do they want this finished? Originally it was to be March, but now it is unrealistic to do this project in less than 45 days. We have a three month timeline... mid-May? End of May?

Re hirings: [Nadia] tells me Sultan Al Qassemi never got back to her, and he may also not be a perfect match for other reasons. So, we have no one to recommend at the moment, in any of the countries. I suggest

  1. going through the community. We might surface talent, and we would probably energize the community by letting people know we are hiring!
  2. definitely asking country offices for receommendations, but of course in the end we'll have to make the decision. George Hodge in Armenia will be the person we can probably communicate most smoothly with, other than Millie herself.
  3. as a last resort, do open calls for engagement managers (as we did for Edgeryders 1): it surfaces talent and creates engagement, but it costs time.

some answers


Thanks for your advice, noted! As far as I am aware, there were no discussions on renegotiating the duration of the contract. If week 1 is the week we sign the contract and our proposal has been approved for 12 weeks, than this should be it. Arthur will review the contract before signing it anyway, no?

About going public with an announcement, re-posting here what Millie answered :

1. Please don’t announce anything public before signing the contract (which we hope should be any day now). 

2. And once we do sign the contract, we/UNDP will announce the contractor and value of the contract- so you may refer to this information (I will make sure to share this info soon as we get it up on the website). <Noemi: I had asked whether the contract value can be made public, for the sake of our practice of radical transparency>

On the blogging about our joint work, we will add this as a part of deliverables- because of the type of work that we’re doing, we find it relevant and important to blog throughout the process and make sure that others can engage with us in this experience, share and learn but we need to actually specify it, so ill be writing you a subsequent email with the proposal on how to organize payment of different installments and the reference on blogging.


We have 2 skype calls proposed for next week, on Tuesday at 1 pm cet with Georgia and on Wednesday at 11 am cet with Armenia, once I hear from [ArthurD] availability as well, I will answer back to confirm and put everyone in cc.

Briefing for the call

Ok, I am going to sit this one out. Let’s try to coordinate in writing, so we don’t have to rely on good connectivity (can be a challenge in Thailand): it’s a good way to develop a common apporach anyway. So, whoever participates please then put together a post or wiki when you are done, I will react in writing. Good luck!

In my understanding, the purpose of the call is:

  1. spell out what the expectations are, what we want to achieve, and how to fit it in the context of each country. Assume Country Offices are completely unaware of what's in the proposal, and that they are unfamiliar with stuff like "collective intelligence", "distributed think tank" and the like. Prepare a 1-2 minute quick summary and offer to run it for the officers. 
  2. assess how much each CO is plugged into the kind of human resources we need to hire. Do we go with Rebecca or can we find some ethnographers on the ground? Can they suggest anyone for the roles of engagement managers in Armenia, Georgia, Egypt?
  3. introduce the issues of physical visits ("the tour" and the final event). What are the issues with visas? What facilities can we rely on (offices, meeting rooms, this sort of stuff). 
  4. ([ArthurD]) get from Millie administrative guidelines. What kind of paperwork will they need from us and when?