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Weeknotes 36 (22nd- 26th July)

After posting last week about the launch of the Climate Action Fund, I’ve been thinking and talking a lot with people about how those of us resourcing more tech to exist in the world, also take responsibility for doing so with care and consideration to the planet.

The only person I’ve really heard talking about this is Jim Thomas, Co-Executive Director at the ETC Group, whom I met in Paris at the European Foundation Centre annual conference. One of many things he said was “the ‘cloud’ is not actually weightless and the energy consumption has implications — four silicon wafers produces 88 cubic feet of hazardous gases and uses 1,140 kilowatts of electrical power.”

I’m looking to connect with anyone who is doing work on the impacts of technology on the environment — please connect me or get in touch!

Related — the Tweet below takes the question of maintenance to a whole new level.

In other news, my colleague Julia’s team have published this on social prescribing.

What we’ve been doing

A lot of our work this week has been internal — procurement, legal and recruitment — lots of sorting out contracts, tenders, adverts and State Aid.

On Tuesday Beth, Chris and I spent the day doing interviews for a new person to join the team — on Friday they accepted their offer, so that’s good news!

On Wednesday Kamna and I headed off to Birmingham for the day. It was the Design Day for hospices — 22 hospices being brought together to explore their common needs so that we can work out a wiser way to support and resource them, rather than funding individual (and potentially duplicate) work for each hospice.

It feels exciting to be taking this approach — I’m hoping through this experiment we not only strengthen the hospice community, but also develop a better understanding of how to design (and fund) a collective approach (or ecosystem approach) that we can share more widely.

It was also great to have other people from different teams at The National Lottery Community Fund join us — Nick Smith from the Knowledge & Learning team, and Hannah Cooper and Thira Mahmood from the IT team (yes, IT, not digital as we knew some of the questions would be technical and about infrastructure). And Jake, whom I first met when we both worked as service designers at Participle — and who now does a lot of design work with hospices and in end of life care — came to co-facilitate.

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Workshop snaps, including The National Lottery Community Fund team, and one of the two ice lolly breaks we had.

On Thursday evening I spoke at the Tech For Good meetup — now almost 9,000 people strong, obviously not all of those members were there but I was impressed that the room was full given the heatwave! I wrote more about that here, and shared my slides.

And I had some lovely feedback — which I’m only including because it’s been lovely to get (especially this week) and also because if you see someone speak and there’s been something in what they say that has inspired you, tell them!

“Cassie Robinson — You rock — I listened to you yesterday in 38 degrees. I really enjoyed your talk and I like sitting uncomfortably!”

“I was deeply impressed by your Tech For Good talk — Your critique of the Tech For Good space on the grounds of heroism, individualism, un-systemic, power-blind, idealistic analysis is shared deeply by me.”

What I’m learning

Working in the open by publishing these Weeknotes, and being fairly active and vocal on social media — especially Twitter — means that I will undoubtedly sometimes say the wrong thing or what I am saying can be taken out of context. I’d love to re-emphasise here (never really quite knowing who is reading these Weeknotes) — that if I say things, or Tweet things that cause offence or are not understood, talk to me about it.

I truly believe that if we want funding practices to be less opaque, if we want the relationships between funders and applicants /grantees to improve, if we want to create a culture of funding and philanthropy that has integrity at the heart of it, then we need to be open and honest with one another. We need to have conversations out in the open — this is where the learning happens — not behind closed doors, in whispers.

The most learning this week came from the Design Day with hospices, but we haven’t had a chance to write things up yet. Related to the day — this post about basic infrastructure really resonated with what we heard from the hospices on Wednesday.

“It is painful to witness how wasteful the social sector is when so much time and money can be used to solve major technical challenges that hinder the whole movement’s growth and urgent need for progress.”

“It’s about ensuring the basic infrastructural needs that will in turn ensure the long-term health of our social sector organisations and the social movements they lead” —

And hospices have a rich history as a movement.

What we’re celebrating

I’m celebrating that Beth has gone on holiday — because she needs one. She’s such a brilliant person to work with and has quite literally been keeping the Digital Fund afloat.

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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