Hi @BoST, this is a bit of a long read, my notes are a little all-over-the-place, sorry! We had more of a meandering catch-up conversation rather than a point-by-point agenda, but I think some clear themes emerged by the end.
Participants in the call:
How was OSCEdays for each of us?
Silvia feels supercharged! she’s very happy about the Indianapolis event - it took place at an organisation that tries to empower young african-american men - a social enterprise for training and support. She worked with Kyle, who runs an engineering/prototyping business, so 3d printing was a focus of the event (applying OSCE ideas to the technology). This meant introducing notions of biodegradable hemp-based filament and having a critical eye on what is being 3d printed and why.
For more, see the full documentation of OSCEdays Indianapolis 2016.
Silvia was very happy that the event planted seeds at the grass-roots level - it influenced people not yet corrupted by the ‘business as usual’ mindset who can make a difference in the future.
OSCEdays London/Reading was a series of events in different locations over 4 days. Erica said that the event at the Machine Room was partly about trying to advance last year’s event, as there were many returning participants. This was a useful activity but it took some time to get new people on board.
The team spent a lot of time making an action plan - to try to help people in makerspaces to make good decisions. Kind of like a checklist to evaluate the reasons to make something and then how to do so in a sustainable way.
There was also a really interested and enthusiatic crowd at Greenfest in Reading.
One nice connection was that Chris (who helped with openLCA analysis in London last year) was in Sibiu this year, and he joined in with the local OSCEdays event, and was able to compare and contrast London and Sibiu - a nice example of the knowledge transfer, and hopefully we can get some documentation of his experience online soon…?
On Sunday there was an OSCEdays event with MakeSense, which included writing a letter to the new Mayor of London.
For Sharon, OSCEdays was a surprising success - there was a lot of buzz internationally, it felt much bigger than last year.
I suggested that this ‘surprise’ may be due to the relative decrease in activity on the forum, i.e. last year we had fewer events but more of them were active online leadingup to the event - this year we had no word from many events until we suddenly discovered a whole lot of activity on facebook/twitter etc. But maybe that’s just my impression?
Sharon pointed out an unanticipated aspect of the community calls - there seemed to be two separate motivations to take part, and we only supported one of them. The local organizers came to share what was happening at their events, but other people came wanting a general discussion of OSCE and its implications. We should keep this in mind and provide a space for this in the future.
I shared my experience from Berlin - unfortunately I could only be there for 2 days due to other work commitments - but I was generally impressed with the amazing work the local team had done to fit out the space and assemble such a large, broad and enthusiastic crowd. However, I felt the open source concept was not that well explained, supported or practised, and there were some struggles in maintaining the ‘zero waste’ ethos.
Some of this is just down to lack of resources - for example in my own area of interest, open source documentation, I felt held back by the fact that I did not have the time to set up an effective process this year - last year I had folders, links and QR codes for each challenge printed out and on each table, which helped to facilitate and encourage documentation (see below). This year I had no time available to do so.
To me this was an indication that we probably need to be better funded internationally so that we can better support local events to understand, communicate and live the values we stand for, and we also need a better process for filtering and supporting projects and challenges so that they are well aligned with the OSCE idea.
Some of us felt that we wouldn’t be prepared to do another OSCEdays in the same way again - it’s just too much work for insufficient real impact. It feels as if we need to have a much clearer purpose, and focus on specific, high-quality outputs.
At one point in her report from London, Erica said “I don’t actually want to be an event facilitator” which resonanted very strongly with the rest of us. She wants to work properly on this, on the actual topic - rather than just organizing events and running workshops, and rather than the work that she currently has to do to earn money.
This got all of our heads nodding.
There’s a real need to reconcile the work that we do for money with the work that we do because it’s meaningful/interesting/important.
For me personally, this means a change in my focus with OSCEdays - my main activity here over the coming months will be on organising, funding and facilitating an OSCE animation, because I feel that this activity is better aligned with my paid work than many of my previous OSCE activities, and I feel more enthusiastic and confident when I’m doing something I’m good at.
Erica mentioned an idea that she recently came across: when you’re spending too much time on something that you’re not good at, then it becomes stress.
In terms of the global team, especially if we are going to continue to expand it, we need poeple to put time into it and really deliver on projects - there is a lot of work to do and unfortunately it currently seems to be quite unevenly distributed across the team. Somehow we should try to make the work that goes into OSCEdays more explicit, so that people don’t take it for granted and so it can be valued and potentially funded. A time bank of some kind was suggested to aid with this.
Contributing to OSCEdays is still very confusing, so we need to improve our communication for collaboration as well.
OK, time to look at some of the possible next steps we discussed:
Disruptive Innovation Festival 2016
Erica met Joe Iles again, it seems that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are super keen for us to join the DIF again this year.
Silvia is a bit cautious about EMF - they work with a lot of dodgy corporations, eg Walmart, US chamber of commerce, so we need to be careful with how we engage.
Personally I am keen for us to have a presence so that we can authentically present OSCE, fight openwashing etc.
We will have a video call with Joe soon and discuss more - we’ll be clear about the fact that we can’t promise anything huge, and that we would likely need funding.
A Clearer Purpose
We discussed the issue of ‘a clearer purpose’ - are we an activist group, an educational group, a research or policy thinktank…?
Perhaps we can each specialize a bit more so that we don’t have all of us working across all these different fields?
Perhaps we could better curate our activities into different work streams (eg circular cities, food, materials) to provide a framework for our projects and better communicate our purpose. Maybe this could be something like the SDGs of OSCE?
It took a lot of effort to get the Impact topic on the website, and then it was taken away - but this is something that we need to be communicating more effectively.
Siliva suggested a showcase of work produced in OSCEdays '16 - this could be, for example, an online show-and-tell of hardware projects that takes place in a google hangout or something, with an accompanying blog that links to documentation.
The introduction of a regular newsletter has been a nice improvement over last year, and we would like to continue it. We would like to send out a quick newsletter to the local organizers very soon.
Content: 'thanks for taking part, check out cool things A, B and C, please document what happened, and send feedback! We’ll be in touch more with info on future plans…
We all agreed that we should not give up on developing a structure and organization, even if that is a mid- to long-term goal, rather than something we can put time and effort into right now.
We feel the need to be slow and steady over the next couple of months - let’s focus on strategy with the people who are really active and then decide on the next steps for OSCE.
Did I miss anything?
We didn’t discuss it in the call but it would be great to set up another call to talk about this with more of the BoST sometime soon, rather than waiting two more weeks - early next week perhaps?