The Opencare engagement strategy at a glance

This document lists the components of the OpenCare engagement strategy and maps them onto the Grant Agreement. It is based on section 3 of the proposal, especially the Gantt Chart, as implemented so far. Edit and expand as needed.

The OpenCare engagement strategy is grounded in the Grant Agreement, specifically WP1. It requires inputs from all other WPs except WP6. The main idea is that we do not do communication as a standalone activity, we “frame communication and dissemination as a structural part of research rather than an add-on”. So, we engage people by involving them onto addressing the research questions (in the lab or through discussion); we make sure that the result of those activities is always documented online; and we re-share that documentation to create even more engagement.

The activities involved are the following:

  1. Onboarding structure (task 1.2, milestone M1, end of March). This in turn consists of three items: the structure by challenges we decided to give to the online conversation [EDGE]; the Fellowship program [EDGE]; and the offline onboarding workshops (like those already held in Brussels, London and Milano [WEMAKE, SF, MILANO, EDGE]). The structure by challenges means that, as new interesting issues arise, we turn them into challenges and ask the community to respond by sharing input or knowledge. The Fellowship program is an evolution of task T2.1 and deliverable D2.2 (due at month 11): instead of "procuring" 20 high quality posts, we "reward" 20 high quality posts with a small amount of money in the form of an OpenCare fellowship. The offline workshops are meant to "reach out to the existing communities of ER, WeMake, Milano and SF" according to the grant agreement. 
  2. Open competition (task 1.2, launch at the end of June as milestone M2 [SF]). 
  3. Final event (task 1.3, to happen at month 21) [mostly EDGE].
  4. Deep games and simulations (task 1.4, to start already at month 1) [SF]. 
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List of things you can do to communicate for online engagement

Hi all,

After our latest calls and talking about how to onboard people from the local workshops, which OpenCare landing/ non-landing pages to point them to, I’d like to share some of the things we usually do in Edgeryders, maybe some will fit partners comms strategy and can be adopted/ adapted. It doesnt mean that these all work or that I know which works best, but altogether they make for consistent communication for engagement. Even if you are doing physical events, there needs to be interesting OpenCare content to come in handy once people at events look you up. Even if they are not digitally savvy, they might still be willing to interact with a good story if that’s one click away.

Let me know if this helps, and if we should have a call just to dig deeper. @Moushira are you still into this? Want to do some work together, and turn this into a plan that we can all use?

NB 1. It involves picking the most interesting things in the project for them. Don’t assume the project per se being interesting is enough for people to find their way in.

  1. It involves writing.

1. Personally invite and welcome new people in the online community. This can be a way to follow up online events and email people who were in the room and showed interest.

Example: "I thought a good way for you to get a sense of what people are talking about lately is to point you to some interesting threads. Go ahead and leave a comment with your experience or a piece of advice. This way you’ll dive right into the community and be notified when opportunities come up. Here they are, take your pick :slight_smile:

a) When it comes to accepting newcomers in society, how do we transform fear into trust? “I once helped supplying refugees with clothes. Our group of volunteers carried box after box and it would happen that some of the refugees ask to help us. We would refuse their offers and told them that it’s okay to go rest and let us do the work. I didn’t realise at that time that we treated them like children, belittling them, taking their integrity and giving them the feeling of uselessness. Out of arrogant goodwill." Dennis:

b) When life is not about ticking off to-do lists and becoming “successful”, how do we cope? “I think sharing our vulnerabilities and insecurities around failing, missing out and not wanting anymore is crucial at this point. Although there are already some great projects bringing these issues into awareness it seems that for a majority of people the stigma around for example mental illness, burnout etc. is still too big to cope with on their own.” Offer Nele a piece of advice?

2. Share on social media consistently. We all have communities following our organisations/ individual accounts.

An easy way is to share the CountOnMe headlines and ping people on social media who could be interested in one of the pieces. A story is always more engaging than linking to an organisation page, an event page, or broadcasting news.

3. Blog about OpenCare or related topics. NB Especially in your own languages!

Over time we keep finding new angles to OpenCare, or new ways of framing the project, without sticking to the jargon in the initial proposal. This is about experimenting with new language, package it with existing project materials or work in our own organisation, and about trying new channels. An example is posts on LinkedIn, but there is also Medium, there are personal websites some of us have, even Facebook notes and so on.

4. Publish calls for participation with immediate, concrete rewards for contributors

These are the meaty opportunities and it’s also why OpenCare Fellowships were designed. People are more likely to engage if there is something that answers these questions: What makes it so special? Why should I get involved NOW not later? What are key ways for me to get involved? An example of call for participation: Submit a story of care to become one of the first OpenCare Research Fellows

Ideally all posts should answer all questions, but we’re learning…

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The engagement strategy in the Grant Agreement

In the Commission’s language, this is called the Communication Plan. You will find it on page 29 of the proposal, as attached to the GA.

======= EXCERPT FOLLOWS ===============

OpenCare aims its communication activities at “deep engagement”. Due to the natural diversity across partners and their communities, it is important that project communications be tailored accordingly, favoring decentralization and ownership of content production by each, instead of a situation where one partner runs all OpenCare information through their own channels. Accordingly, WP0 - Learning, engagement and dissemination - involves all partners.

In addition to this, we adopt a “working out loud” culture for all project activities: public blogging of each step on the way. This has advantages in terms of better quality and more search-engine friendly documentation; it teaches the whole team to be better communicators, making all partners comfortable with sharing work in progress, not only results, online and in the open. This practice has an immediate consequence in interactive environments: once anything is published, it can be shared by anyone else, therefore making it easier to plan communication flows and coordinate across partners for maximum reach.

Our approach aims to birthe deep engagement rather than visibility for the sole sake of promotion: we communicate to invite people to participate in OpenCare, not to have them admire our work. “Engaging” in this context means taking part in discussion groups on the OpenCare platform and in participatory design workshops or hackathons. Everything that happens offline is carefully documented, and the documentation is fed back to the online conversation. Mainstream social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) are used to broadcast material from the conversation, and carry links for people who grow interested to head back onto the platform, where the conversation is continuously enriched and can be harvested. Communication channels are:

  • Open web and mainstream social networks. Throughout its duration, OpenCare leverages its approach of “working out loud” and carefully documenting all of its activities to generate content to be reshared on the open web and through the mainstream social networking services. This is greatly facilitated by our distributed approach to collective intelligence: any contribution to the debate can be re-shared simply by clicking on a “share this” button on the Edgeryders platform, and not just by the team but by anyone. Activities: narrative building (by ER): blog, design calls for participation, record videos, produce digital flyers to convey the nature of OpenCare and the values contained in the online conversation. Objectives: an average of 2000 visits a month to the project’s dedicated space throughout the 24 months of OpenCare. An average of 12 signups a week on the platform.
  • Community calls. OpenCare continues the Edgeryders tradition of periodic VOIP appointments, where new users are welcomed and onboarded and a team spirit amongst the most active community members is forged. Activities: schedule, promote and run community calls (by ER). Participate in them as appropriate (by all partners). Objective: “deep engagement” of 5-10 members present at each call (we normally use Google Hangouts, which has a limit of 10 participants). 
  • Workshops and hackathons. OpenCare will organize a series of open workshops events (roughly every three months) to share knowledge and skills with its community. For example, LaBRI will run hackathons on network science as a facilitator of collective intelligence, WeMake workshops on 3D printing and CNC milling for prototyping care helpers, and so on. Activities: events preparation & follow up (by ER, WeMake, MI): create concept notes for the events in collaboration with the community; send out invitations to mailing lists and other online and offline fora where existing partners are active; document and feed back. Objectives: “deep engagement” of 25 participants per event. Rich media documentation of each one (video, blog posts, software code etc.), to be reshared on social media.
  • Participation in events of other communities. The OpenCare endeavour feeds into a global debate about change for sustainability, of which care redesign is an important part. In a spirit of openness, we participate actively to events where existing communities gather around related issues. We already have ties with some of those communities. Examples include Chaos Communication Congress (hacker culture), OuiShareFest (sharing economy), INSNA Sunbelt AND IEEE/ACM Intern. Conf. Adv. in SNA and Mining (social network analysis), Makerfaire (rapid prototyping and maker culture), DrupalCon (encouraging adoption of Drupal-based tools for collective intelligence) Open Hardware Summit and more. This activity will continue after the project. Activities: network weaving (by ER, WeMake, MI, SF, LABRI): roll out engagement campaigns; spread out calls and project materials to communities of hackers, makers, designers, patients and citizens in general, with potential to contribute expertise in the prototyping phase. Objective: enhanced awareness of OpenCare in those communities, also through getting their most respected and active members to follow our social media channels.
  • Final conference. We will organize a conference in the final six months of the project’s life. This will be organized like a barcamp, with the program being assembled from community proposals (including those from the OpenCare team); and aimed at bringing the community together and putting it in contact with stakeholders in the care debate. Its ultimate goal is to share the project’s draft final outputs under Objectives 1 and 2; create demand and expectation for its final outputs; and foster a dialogue with more traditional stakeholders on care. The template for this type of conference is the Living On The Edge format, experimented by ER since 2012. Activities: conference preparation & follow up (by ER and SF): create concept notes in collaboration with the community; send out invitations to mailing lists and other online and offline fora where existing partners are active; Objectives: 150 participants, 24 sessions.
  • Followup. During and after the project, ER commits to bringing the OpenCare results to the conversations it is already involved in around change for sustainability. Such conversations happen typically around consulting for inter-governmental organizations or large non-governmental ones. At the time of writing, ER finds itself in dialogue with UNDP, UNESCO, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Shuttleworth Foundation. Activities: advocacy (ER, SF); dissemination of research results in academic fora (LaBRI, SSE). Objective: mainstreaming the OpenCare approach.