Remote work: towards a concept note


At the time of writing, we have decided not to offer EIT Climate-KIC any trainings, or anything like that. Instead, we decided to use our role in the project to produce open source resources that everyone, not just C-KIC, can use.


The project has five components.

  1. A knowledge base.
  2. A free MOOC that organizes that knowledge base in narrative form.
  3. A help desk for people who want to adopt the practices.
  4. A social engineering component: for example, a pledge to replace at least two trips a year with remote work, connected to a simple tool to count the people who take the pledge and the amount of CO2 saved.
  5. A handholding component, reserved to C-KIC.

1. Knowledge base

The idea was suggested by @matthias:

I can write down our knowledge of remote collaboration into a manual (of the type I create on and host a Q&A on Zoom with them after they studied it.



Can show some tools live via screensharing as well. Not going to Amsterdam for just a presentation.

It might be worth it to expand this in a proper MOOC. More work, but its impact is more scalable. Also revives

3. A help desk


If they want, I can also operate a remote collaboration helpdesk in our Discourse forum for them for some time. That would not be about the everyday tech issues but about tool choice and how to make the best out of the tools they use.

This is a great idea, though I would not necessarily deploy Matt for this. I am curious to see if having a human to talk to increases adoption. Of course it would be temporary.

4. A social engineering component

@augusto has come up with this idea in a different context. We could roll out some simple tools to have a rough quantitative estimate of the impact. Counters for the MOOC and the help desk, of course; but maybe also, like Augusto suggested, a kind of pledge system: “I pledge to replace at least two trips a year with remote work”. Each person taking the pledge would result in the website displaying the total amount of CO2 saved by replacing business travel with remote work.

5. A handholding component

C-KIC pays for all this, so they get the perk of some exclusive human attention from us. I propose to do it in the form of having the help desk operate out of their premises in Amsterdam. A small team of two (@noemi observed that we should always have teams of two people going out whenever possible, for better learning and more sociality) could borrow a room in C-KIC’s office for a while and operate from there, reserving some time for the help desk, and maybe also offering a live demo of tools to C-KIC staff. Additional benefit: we embed ourselves better into C-KIC, get to understand them better etc.

6. Add-on: greening business travel

Both the knowledge base and the MOOC could have a final section about what to do when remote work does not cut it and you really have to travel, on the model of our own guide but much better, of course. It seems there is a thirst for this.

Added value

  • Scalable impact: instead of greening C-KIC, we green C-KIC plus a number of other orgs. That number could well be in the hundreds, because Flygskam (hat tip: @nadia).
  • Increased visibility for C-KIC and their top management.
  • Introduces good practice of “impact before profit” in the C-KIC community.
  • We also lead by example, and also get, I think, some visibility. “We are masters at remote work, and yes, we could make a business plan about it and sell it as consulting, but you know what? The climate can’t wait. So the hell with that, we just give the knowledge away, just adopt it fast, every little thing counts!” We could ask C-KIC’s comms people to push this out – it is in their best interest. It also puts everyone else on the defensive: if Edgeryders open-sources for the planet, why can’t you people do it too?



Make them take a pledge in a tangible way - i.e dedicate a point person who will act as an in -org advocate with CEO’s blessing. Maybe also have them post events etc on platform - so that we can help nudge organisers toways better behaviour through comments etc? Behaviour change comes from proximity and being embedded in a culture.

Noted, @nadia. I was thinking of something super simple, no admin at all: someone clicks on “I take the pledge”, and the counter adds +1 person, +2 trips a year saved, +N tonnes of CO2 saved. Your model is more community-oriented, so stronger. The two are not incompatible.

This project is small (about 13K I think), so we need to keep the first iteration manageable. Maybe we pitch the whole thing, but then deploy only some parts now and some parts we add in 2020 with some other grant.

yes yes : just make it a signup and look good thing like for the festival site. Download kit and then self-manage yourself. if you want to be held accountable - sign up on the platform and post stuff/learn by doing our way in close proximity. if not - pax vobis

Update: @ilaria and I just now pitched the concept to C-KIC, and got the green light. Next step is to propose a concept note, with the budget.

The main constraints seem to be:

  • Money needs to be spent in 2019
  • Needs to produce a “management guide by December 2019”. No one knows what that is (we asked). I think it’s the knowledge base. :slight_smile:

Ila, can you add your notes if any?

For example: they want us to cover cultural change, etc. Do we have their project document?

Set up a push (series of webinars/video calls ) within the context of the festival and add KIC as a partner to it?

Wow, that’s a great idea. But I am afraid we will not be ready in time…

meh, make a video call is not a big deal - it can be a short intro, maybe @hugi can do the dense networks talk to make clear where we are going and a q&a/group discussion after?

Side note: as noted with @alberto at this call and from previous feedback from C-KIC and partners in other projects, we should be more “didactic” in our proposals. Very often people struggle to understand what we mean with some of our sayings because they’re not (still) in Edgeryders culture.


Video calls might help since you can do shared screens and walk people through stuff

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The separation between a knowledge base and a MOOC makes sense to me: We need one place where to drop our knowledge, and updating that as we learn more has to be comfortable and cheap. And then we can have various presentations items with parts of that knowledge, in more polished form, where the accepted trade-off is that it’s harder and more expensive to create and update this kind of content.

Part 1 is my thing (technical writing, I kinda love it …). Part 2 is not, not at all. My mind needs good structure but very little beautification to enjoy information … and adding additional beauty to it to me feels just … meaningless. Please keep that in mind when developing a concept note :slight_smile:

For the technical writing part I’d like to see some resources allocated to improve our tooling:

  1. An extension to Discourse that creates a numbered table of contents in the output when just placing a BBCode-like tag such as [toc] into the editor.

  2. A pipeline that can take a Discourse URL of one of our manuals (example), collect and embed linked content from the other manuals, and convert it all from Markdown to a proper, well-formatted e-book in standard EPUB and PDF forms, with table of contents and all.

    I’d use the same tool for the green building conversion manual that is due to be created for The Reef 2.0 project, and may use some of the budget assigned to that task to contribute to development of this tool.

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Noted, but I already knew that. :slight_smile:

OK, budgeting time. And we might not be able to do everything with the budget we have. I would say the priorities are: 1 > 5 > 3 > 2 > 4.

Started a Magic Budget. Matt, can you fill in what you propose to do?

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Done. The writing effort can of course be extended at will, but given the scope of the project and the available budget I think 70 hrs of writing is adequate and will give a good first (but not complete or perfect) version of the knowledge base.

Thanks Matt. Is that negotiable? We have about 9K + 20% to do the whole thing. Of course, we will not do the whole thing, and ask for more money in the future to finish the job, but just in case.

The Discourse plugin part is revised down now as I got the quote from Daniel. The technical writing part sure it’s negotiable. I don’t mind less money for less work :slight_smile: (In fact it is hard to squeeze all the work in as it is.) Even 35 hours will yield useful content, but below that it will be difficult I think.

Ahaha ok, right, that was the budget. I got confused because you left in the example revenue number in the Magic Budget, which then seemed reasonable to me (14250 EUR to be invoiced end of the year).

No, no, sorry, you are right! We have about 12K + 20% to do the job. 14,250 is the correct number, not the example revenue. :blush:

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Guys, I am working on the concept note for this project. It will be sent off later today. If you want to have a look (not required, but welcome), do so now… ping @ilaria @augusto @matthias .

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Wow, the proposal is super good, they should be crazy not to pursue it.

We already have the Task Confirmation Letter (kind of contract). This is just for us to go concrete.