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Weeknotes 35 (15th-19th July)

This week I’ve been on holiday so not much to report, but a few things to announce, share and highlight.

Did you see that The National Lottery Community Fund has just announced a £100 Million fund committed to the climate crisis? Read more here.

And Doteveryone published there “Definition of done” which is a useful resource for anyone trying to help complex ideas travel. I wish more people in the social sector had the boldness to work like this — sometimes I think we spend far too much time trying to co-design and co-produce everything.

What I’ve been doing

(apart from laying on a beach!)

I’ve written a couple of blogs for the launch of The Catalyst. All the blogs about The Catalyst, what it is and how you can get involved, can be found here, but I’d especially recommend reading this one. It summarises some of the interviews I’ve started to do about the future of civil society and the social sector. I think there is a lot of wisdom and urgency in what Rachel Coldicutt, Dan Sutch, Annika Small and Karl Wilding are saying.

I’m currently on my way to New York, where tomorrow I’m taking part in a day with the UNDP team that have set up these 60 labs serving 78 countries to find radically new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges. A small group of us who have experience or ideas about how to do sense-making and learning at scale, in complex systems, are coming together to design prototypes for these questions:

  • How do we operate as a hive mind? How do we target knowledge — getting the right type of knowledge to the right person on demand.
  • How do we increase ‘return on attention’ — manage information overload and dig out signal from the noise?
  • How do we move from collecting information ‘just in case’ to connecting people ‘just in time’?
  • How do we operate as a boundary-less organisation, reducing barriers for collaboration across sectors and disciplines and pulling in expertise when and where it is needed?

I’ll write it up and share it next week.

What I’m learning

Lou Downe shared these posters earlier in the week on Twitter and I love them. They are a good reminder of how little long-term resourcing we do when it comes to our digital infrastructure — this is something all funders will need to get better at— designing for maintenance and continual improvement as part of grants for core costs.

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By Stephen McCarthy —

“Radiating intent builds trust, …….repeat behaviour, signalling builds me a track record of openness and predictability, even as I take risks or push boundaries.”

Lastly, I keep going back to this article by Elizabeth Ayr that was published a few weeks back about “radiating intent” — I think even these Weeknotes are one of the ways I’m trying to do just that. I’m never entirely sure who is reading them, but as Elizabeth says — “Signal even when you do not see anyone else around. It is easy to miss someone who needs to know what you are doing.”

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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