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Electromagnetic butterfly wings — Nigel Hutchings

I didn’t do an end of year blog for the first time in a long time. Partly because I felt a need for stillness and quiet , a time to go inward with my reflections on the year. And partly because I didn’t want to put anything out into the world at a time when there’s so many other things that need space for expression — loss, rage, pain, fear, mourning, and so much more.

I have felt more compelled to share where I am as I move forward into this new year, coming out of my mini hibernation, and arriving back at my work with The National Lottery Community Fund tomorrow after a month of mostly* not being there. …

Yesterday evening I sent out an email to our 52 Emerging Futures Fund grantees. I thought I’d share it here too, because it talks to some of the ways we’re thinking about growing the work this year.

You can read about all the Emerging Futures initiatives here. And this blog post gives a helpful overview of the programme and its intent.

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Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Hello all

I hope that you are doing as well as possible in these times ❤️

This is a personal email from me, and sits alongside the other emails you may be getting from the wider team about sharing what you are doing and where the work is at. …

Designing for regenerative cultures and organisational endings.

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When we published the first iteration of the Stewarding Loss work in early November, we knew there was a lot there. It was a large body of work in terms of research and content. Earlier this month we hosted an event specifically to talk through the different tools in more detail, in the hope we could help start to unpack them, gather feedback on them and see them being put in to practice.

Here is the video of the event. We hope it’s useful.

We’ve also updated the Stewarding Loss website with some news about what is coming ahead in 2021 — events, live ‘service prototyping,’ peer circles, and a funder enquiry. …

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We’ve got a lot of new people joining or working with the UK Portfolio, which is great, both in terms of bringing in new thinking but also it means that there are more people to do the work!

Maddy has joined to work some of the week on the Climate Action Fund and some of the week on our policy and practice work.

Ashar is going to be working closely with Hannah generating evidence, learning and insights across our Participatory Grantmaking experiments.

Catherine, George and Will are working on the Emerging Futures Fund with us.

Carrie, Suzy, Rachel and Ellie are working with us on the Civil Society Approach, and in particular on the Open Enquiries.

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Back to a 3-weekly cycle, and am going to try and make these quick. I want to get off my screen and out into the wilds to shake off the week. By the way, I am 3 weeks behind on emails too — which is really not like me — but I have a lot going on. If I owe you an email, sorry.

I’ve already posted quite a bit over the last few weeks anyway. If you missed it, there was —

My talk at the FutureGov Transitions event.

The talk I gave at the Association of Charitable Foundations annual conference. …

It was just over two years ago that I left my role as Strategic Design Director at Doteveryone and started my role at The National Lottery Community Fund, to run the Digital Fund on what was initially a 1 year contract. That was extended to a 2 year contract but 18 months in I started a new role running the UK Portfolio.

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So what have I learned? It felt like a good time to step back and reflect.

The practice

I never imagined I’d be talking about foresight and futures so much

When Roland interviewed me for the On The Edge podcast last year, he asked me about my ‘futures practice’ and I remember looking at him blankly. I was barely aware that I had one. I realise now that was because I had spent years taking for granted that it was common place in the practice of those I was working with, and embedded in everything I was doing. …

2020 has been a year of unparalleled uncertainty. Our lives have been turned upside-down. Things we took for granted have changed in front of our eyes. We’ve all had to deal with unpredictability on an unprecedented level, to the extent that Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is actually unprecedented. Our lives are weirder and more complex than ever.

This is an event we ran to launch the tools with their intended audience — women under 30, with excellent panellists — Kiran, CEO of Girl Dreamer, Alysha of Gal-dem, and Kira from the Young Women’s Trust.

This post was written by Ella, with input from me!

In our work, Cassie and I have both been tackling big societal challenges for decades and part of that has involved learning and practicing how to navigate, and to *be* in complexity. For years, academics and practitioners have been thinking about how to navigate complexity, developing useful concepts, insight and practices. …

“Dear Cassie, such an inspiring talk today at the ACF conference, thank you so much, I have learnt a great deal from you and got really motivated for my own project. Now I better understand in what direction to drive the European philanthropy community and how to facilitate the discourse”

“LOVED your ACF session — a breath of fresh air. Just what was needed.’

I started the session by using a slightly adapted version of the embodied dreaming journey I took people on back in February at my Service Design in Gov keynote.

“I’m going to now invite you to close your eyes.

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We recently invited Cassie Robinson, Senior Head, UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund to join us for our first virtual event, Transitions.

Whenever I talk about the Stewarding Loss work I start by acknowledging that talking about organisational endings at this time, is happening in the shadow of the enormous loss of human life. So many lives have been lost over the past 9 months, and continue to be. I just want to take a moment to consider that.

The strain on organisations is of course being felt too, and organisations are anticipating closures and reduction of services.

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These are Three-Week-Notes. Sometimes we feel quiet, and I’ve definitely been feeling quiet these last few weeks. There’s so much going on. There’s also times when you want to say so much, but you can’t because of the Civil Service Code, so it’s better to say nothing at all.

First off, if you’ve not read it yet, this speech is so powerful. And if you haven’t seen this event going on today and tomorrow (it’s already a few days in) there are so many great sessions. Thank you Araceli for sharing it with me.

Lots has been launched the last few weeks too. …


Cassie Robinson.

Run UK Portfolio at National Lottery Community Fund, Co-founder of the Point People, Policy Fellow IIPP, Founder Stewarding Loss, International Futures Forum.

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