Helen Milner on open processes

I was delighted when UK online centres decided to make their bid for the Digital Mentor fund from CLG, inspired by the community initiative to take a policy initiative by the scruff of the neck over at DigitalMentor.org.

Now the bids are in, all that those who are involved can do is sit and wait. In the meantime, though, Helen has provided us with her learning points from the process. I have summarised them below – to read the detail you need to visit the post, where you’ll also find a nice video taken by David Wilcox.

  1. Partnership is a much better way to do things
  2. It takes loads of time to develop ideas in this kind of forum
  3. Social media helped me to put aside prejudices and listen to all comments with an open mind and a receptiveness to learn
  4. It’s really hard to balance open debate and to provide structure for a constructive discussion
  5. Not everyone likes using social media to develop bids
  6. The journey’s been fun but arriving will be better

Lots of new Voicebox content!

It’s good to see plenty of new content being added to the Voicebox blog – the home of the UK online centres and Citizens Online bid for the CLG digital mentor fund.

For example, Mike Amos-Simpson on ‘What is Open Collaboration?‘:

I find the idea of developing and running a programme in the open very attractive for lots of reasons. There’s a sense of it being more ‘honest’, there’s the opportunity that even if you’re not directly involved you can contribute, there’s a degree of accountability with people allowed to freely add their views, and of course there’s the potential to bring on board a far wider range of expertise than you could with a traditional closed collaboration.

And Gail Bradbrook on ‘Research and Mapping Objectives‘:

I think we need to develop an open and flowing process, so that we get as much quality information as possible to understand the types of projects that exist, why they exist (what drives them) and what the benefits are as well as disadvantages in the process, in particular focused on sustainability. What we can learn that is good for training others and what training needs may exist. What else do people think we need to find out?

If you would like to add your voice to the, er, box then just get in touch with admin@voice-bx.org.uk!

Collaborating on Digital Mentors with Voicebox

I am enjoying helping with the Voicebox bid for the CLG digital mentor project: those involved like Helen, Anne and Ben from UK online centres are so enthusiastic and eager for the open, collaborative approach they are taking to succeed.

Here’s a video of Helen Milner talking about the Voicebox bid:

As part of the tendering process, all interested parties had to submit an expression of their interest to CLG to advance to the next stage. Voicebox has done just that, and what’s more, they have posted the content of their EoI on their blog! Great work!

Also on the blog, Voicebox are keen for people to post their thoughts on digital mentoring, whether in their big picture thread, or by adding thoughts about any of the work packages that have been identified so far. This can be done by leaving comments on existing posts – which quite a few people have started to do already – or by contacting the team using admin@voice-box.org.uk to write a whole new post.

Here’s a second video, which features, from left to right, Paul Henderson of Ruralnet, me, and Nick Booth. We’re talking somewhat disruptively about whether digital mentors would be better off without CLGs money… it’s all David Wilcox‘s fault, who was encouraging us to be naughty.

Anyway, part of the reason I included this video is for the benefit of readers of this blog who haven’t met me yet and who assume I am significantly older than I am. It happens a lot.