Future Makers case studies and the book

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#1

So, during yesterday’s community call  it was clear that we haven’t yet agreed on a principle by which we would choose the case studies to be included in the book. During @Alberto’s visit to Armenia we have met some projects which work mostly with grants or have large sponsors(Tumo center for one) and still they were considered as interesting case studies.

@Hegazy already brought up this subject here but it was not addressed, so my questions are:

  1. Which stories qualify as “case studies”

  2. Which stories from the case studies will be included in the book?

  3. What is the selection criteria for the case studies to be included in the book?

  4. How many stories are we including in the book?

  5. Will we have the printed version of the book?

I need this answers to know how to formulate my reasoning for interviewing people here in Armenia, as in the beginning we agreed on having 10 stories per country(yesterday I heard from some country managers that it is not feasible due to longer time required to complete each case study) thus the book was supposed to consist of 60 case studies in total. However later on we decided to have 14 stories in the book, so I do not want to misinform people by promising them their story will end up in the book, while this might not be the case.

Please, feel free to comment and give your feedback. I think we need to decide on this asap.

On my part I already have 4-5 stories almost ready(some posted, some coming up real soon) and another 4-5 stories coming up as soon as I finish working on the current stories. So I guess I will manage to provide at least around 6 quality case studies by the end of the deadline(beginning of August).


#2

A Future Makers Who’s who and a collaboration network?

Ok, so here’s what I’m thinking.

Writing a book is no joke: I wrote one myself, and it was the hardest thing I ever did. I suggest an easy preliminary step, that

  1. takes at most a few hours to do
  2. might clarify your ideas
  3. makes sense in and of itself, even without the book
  4. I need for the Future Makers project anyway.

This step would consist in two things.

The first: a Who’s who of FutureMakers across all six countries. During this project we came into contact with very many initiatives and people (including civil servants, UNDP employees, etc.). Many were interviewed; many more were not. A Who’s who would simply be a list: name, contact info, description in maximum three-four lines of text. If we want to get sophisticated we can add some categorization (“environmental group”, “civic hackers” or so).

The second: a web of collaboration across the people/orgs in the Who’s who. This would be a graph that uses the Who’s who as a database. To a first approximation it can just be you guys to say “I know X works with Y” and we draw an edge connecting X with Y. In doubt, we can simply get back to them and ask “who do you work with?”. As you know, I am quite experienced in looking at social graphs and interpreting them: for example, if in one country everyone we talk to links back to UNDP… we are in trouble. It means we did not manage to get out of the usual suspects space. Most edges will be within-country, but we will pay special attention to cross-country collaboration, which are very precious. There are at least a couple, that go through Edgeryders, so Edgeryders will also be a node in the network.

What do people think?


#3

I totally love your idea @Alberto, this solves all the above mentioned questions concerning the book format. We will also save time and resources as we will not need anyone else to edit and format the stories.

What do others think? @Inge @Driss @Hegazy @nataliegryvnyak @Mikhail Volchak


#4

Problems with hard & fast criteria

If you say something like “no public financing” - this may mean very different things in different places because a) the level of publicly available infrastructure can be very different, and b) the money flows may just be structured differently in the background (e.g. some people get a location for free, while others get public financing - even though it is less than the rent they have to pay). It may be difficult to find apples to find straight “apples to apples” categories on that basis, never mind the myriad of things you need to put up with in far away places I wouldn’t even know about.

I like Alberto’s ideas. Could we do a collaborative mind-map to get close to the web-style representation? Does someone know of a tool for this?


#5

Ontology is overrated

… as the great Zen Master Shirky-san famously said. So, we stay away from hard-and-fast, and instead try to think in terms of a diverse system that could gain traction in FMG. Diversity is to be the max that the system can take without breaking down (yes, it’s a recursive criteria, but we now know how to deal with that): all the way from government through UNDP, NGOs and private sector over to the completely emergent networks. What brings them together is the attitude towards (1) building (2) sharing knowledge.

Any format will do. I think the easiest representation is the node-link one. It works like this:

<nodes>

<node>

<nodeID = “1”><name = “someOrg”><country = “Armenia”>//

<characteristic = “characteristicValue”>

</node>

<node>

<nodeID = “2”> […]

</node>

[more nodes]

</nodes>

<edges>

<edge>

<source = “1”> <target = “2”>

</edge>

[more edges…]

</edges>

These could simply be tables, built in Google Spreadsheets, exported as CSV and visualized in any network analysis software.


#6

list

Like this but then more extended/filled out, @Alberto?


#7

Yes. We have some previous lists from Futurespotters, if someone sets up the shared spreadsheet/doc I can add the data I have into it.


#8

This?

Something like this?


#9

updated

thanks for putting together first version, have modified it.


#10

Answers and cut off points.

Answering your questions. Hope this helps.

1. Which stories qualify as case studies:

Stories which are included which 

  • present novel approaches or solutions to problems in a community run by people working outside the institutional space/mainstream
  • are based on first hand accounts from project protagonists with a layer of interpretation/analysis which tells the reader about the bigger context within which they operate ( what do they say about local environment? How are they related to global problems and trends?)
  • describe clearly what methodology or approach is being used and it's results so far (as well as its limitations)
  • show clearly how the person or people have gone about building the project- the back story of how they got where they are
  • have some kind of critical/reflective distance and do not act as PR/sales pitches for the project

2. All stories which qualify as case studies will be mentioned in the book:

All stories will be included in the analysis, so they will be mentioned. Stories which are exceptionally high quality (high quality content from which others can learn and engaging storytelling/writing style) will be highlighted as featured stories with some nice graphics/photos. These will also be presented in various contexts are projects to watch/support because they will have, through their openness and quality of contribution to the book, demonstrated a collaborative attitude towards 1) building future together with others 2) generosity in sharing knowledge.

3. Selection criteria for the case studies to be included in the book:

A. Content: Story must 

  • present novel approaches or solutions to problems in a community run by people working outside the institutional space/mainstream
  • are based on first hand accounts from project protagonists with a layer of interpretation/analysis which tells the reader about the bigger context within which they operate ( what do they say about local environment? How are they related to global problems and trends?)
  • describe clearly what methodology or approach is being used and it's results so far (as well as its limitations)
  • show clearly how the person or people have gone about building the project- the back story of how they got where they are
  • have some kind of critical/reflective distance and do not act as PR/sales pitches for the project

B. Location: Story must involve activities in  Armenia, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Ukraine, Morocco and or Nepal

C. Protagonist involvement: Person or people featured in story must be signed up on edgeryders.eu and open to answer follow up questions submitted by readers in comments on the edgeryders platform

4. Number of stories included in book: 8-10 case studies from each country. The deadline for engagement managers to submit minimum 8 case studies/ country is: July 30. Please proceed to submit first drafts of all the case studies you have in various stages of completion this and next week or else we cannot consider them.

5. Will there be a printed version of the book: Yes, a print on demand solution will be set up. An e-book will be produced and sent out to people and organisations relevant for supporting the kinds of work mentioned in the case studies. This will be done in the form of an online PR campaign (twitterstorm involving protagonists ahead of next lote event) and one on one contacts with various organisations in the broader Edgeryders network.


#11

Thanks @Nadia, this is helpful indeed! I need to hurry up with my case studies, but need first to work on the report from @Alberto’s visit and create a contact list for all the people we met during those days.


#12

Please use the form supplied by Inge

and modified by myself here. Ping @Inge, @Hegazy, @Driss, @SamarAli, @Mikhail_Volchak, @nataliegryvnyak, and @Noemi.


#13

!

Great! Let’s add info asap guys?


#14

Semi-public?

Good idea @Alberto. Since the spreadsheet contains people’s public info - emails and even phone no., I would set it to private and release a public version with orgs and names.


#15

Oh by the way, just realised I will not manage to post all my stories by July 30, as I still have several interviews scheduled for next week and besides it is holiday season and people are really slow in getting back to me to approve the stories I have already transcribed, I’m waiting for 2 stories to be confirmed to post them +  5 interviews coming up this weekend + beginning of next week. @Alberto mentioned the deadline is beginning of August, can I still hope to make it if I have the stories posted after July 30?


#16

Re: the web of collaboration. Final document.

@Hegazy, @Iriedawta, @Inge, @nataliegryvnyak, @Mikhail_Volchak, @Driss for the web of collaboration which Alberto suggested I’ve created a spreadsheet with almost all projects we’ve come across last year and this year.

See the spreadsheet here.

Please go to the tab with your country’s name and help finalize the list by looking at column H titled “Collaborates with/ Talks to / Is funded by/” . That’s where it would be great if you added any connections you know the project has with other organisations or people so we can map it somehow…

Ping me whenever tomorrow (Tuesday) to go through the list together. Maybe I missed something and more projects can be added. Thanks :slight_smile:


#17

!

Ugh, sorry! We went to our summerhouse this week and we’ve had shitty internet (stealing from the neighbor right now). It should be fixed in the next few days. Will take a look at it!


#18

Question: If we add more case studies by now, will they be considered and included into the book? How do we proceed? When is the project officially over? @Nadia @Noemi @Alberto


#19

Project timeline

We should have made this clearer, apologies. In our defense, UNDP extended the contract twice already, so we also were caught wrong-footed.

The book is not a contract deliverable for me. It is a cool idea, and if we have good reports of inspiring cases and we have enough energy (“we” meaning Edgeryders LBG + engagement managers) we could do a book as an investment. But: not a deliverable, so there is no deadline.

A list of cases (“Who’s who of grassroots initiatives”) is a deliverable, and the time is now. Please finish this ASAP. We are already late. I asked @Noemi to coordinate a mapping of collaboration links across them, possibly with a final community call with all of you – this can come a bit later in the month, maybe around August 20-25.


#20

I added all the links and contact information known to me for Egypt.

I’d recommend removing some entries though, as we have too little information on them to categorise them. @Noemi