This week, like last week, I spent two full days working with the Library Services Fryslan’s Frysklab team. We sat down to in full detail document our work and thinking on the ‘Impact Through Connection’ projects. At the start of 2017 we did a first pilot, of which the design was based on my networked agency framework. Since then several instances of the project have been delivered, and the team noticed a pressure to oversimplify it into something focused solely on the act of digital making. It’s a type of greedy reductionism, to have something novel fit into the existing, and judge it not by impact but by needed effort to deliver the project. This often means it needs to be reduced to a point where it no longer requires change of those doing the projects, and the cheapest form in which it is believed the same results can be claimed on paper. Even if the stated purpose of the project remains to create that change.


Our 8 person team writing sprint in progress (photo Bertus Douwes)

As I said last week it is a luxury to sit down with dedicated people and document all we know and experienced around these projects, so we can build new narratives to help others embrace its core tenets and not oversimplify.
Even though working with Mediawiki is a pain, we’ve put together a strong amount of material. In the coming weeks we will be slowly detailing and shaping that to turn it into useful material for different stakeholders for these projects (our team, our pool of facilitators, library staff, directors, school leaders, teachers, children, their parents and the people in their neighbourhood). Early next year we’ll get together again to reflect with a wider group of stakeholders on whether we need more or different things to add.


Discussing some of our material before getting back to writing. (photo Jeroen de Boer)

It was good to in a sprint like this create a living document we can now take forward at a more calm pace.

Our team every time is in awe of the energy the projects create. During the pilot project we were regularly cheered and applauded when arriving for a session with the class of 10 year olds. In the video below from the end of a project in the past days, our facilitators were sung to each in turn by the participating children.

4 reactions on “Detailing Networked Agency / Impact Through Connection Pt2

  1. Heading into the last two busy weeks before all goes quiet until the end of the year. This week was full and busy.

    Spent two days with the great Frysklab team working on the Impact through Connection projects / Networked Agency method.
    Stayed over in Leeuwarden for a night
    Worked on procurement conditions concerning open data for a client
    Worked on research design concerning transparency rankings
    Discussed a World Bank project in Malaysia
    Joined an online board meeting of a NGO I will be joining (more end of next week)
    Did some bookkeeping
    Worked on a data governance improvement project for a province
    A random public domain photo from the National Archives to close off the week.
    Torenstraat, Leeuwarden, 1969. The right hand side has since been torn down and replaced by city hall.

  2. It’s the end of December, and we’re about to enjoy the company of dear friends to bring in the new year. This means it is time for my annual year in review posting, the ‘Tadaa!’ list.
    Eight years ago I started writing end-of-year blogposts listing the things that happened that year that gave me a feeling of accomplishment, that make me say ‘Tadaa!’. (See the 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 editions). I am always moving forwards to the next thing as soon as something is finished, and that often means I forget to celebrate or even acknowledge things during the year. Sometimes I forget things completely. Although I have worked on improving that sense of awareness over the past few years, it remains a good way to reflect on the past 12 months. So, here’s this year’s Tadaa!-list:

    The Smart Stuff That Matters unconference and bbq party in honour of Elmine’s 40th birthday was an awesome event bringing together so many great people from our various contexts. Thank you to all who were there, from right next door to halfway across the globe, and so many different places in between. It is a great privilege you came together in our home. So much fun having you all at STM18! Of course we had the mythical German sausages again….Peter made a sketch of our house, sitting in the garden

    Being witness and officiating at our dear friends’ Klaas and Amarens wedding in Tuscany.
    Dinner al fresco / Thirty years of friendship (images by Elmine)

    Presenting Networked Agency during a keynote at State of the Net in Trieste. A great opportunity to create a better narrative to explain Networked Agency, and present it to a much wider audience. Also great to see Paolo and Monica, as well as many others again. Our friend Paolo opening State of the Net, enjoying the beautiful city of Trieste

    Working in Serbia, Italy, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium.
    Creating a measurement framework for open data impact, that allows for different levels of maturity, embraces complexity, and aims to prevent gaming of measurements.
    Getting tremendous feedback by the funder of a client project last year, that it was the most exciting thing they funded.
    Getting asked back by multiple clients
    Joining the board of Open Nederland, the Dutch Creative Commons chapter as treasurer
    Joining the board of Open State Foundation, the leading Dutch advocate for open government, as its chairman, after having been one of the initiators of the very first event in 2008, that later turned into this great organisation
    Taking the time to just hang out with other geeks at IndieWebCamp in Nürnberg

    I spent every Friday at home to be with our daughter. A joy to watch her develop.

    Giving the opening key-note at FOSS4GNL. I especially enjoyed writing the narrative for it, which ties local data governance to geopolitics and ethics. the Dutch open source geo community, and during the keynote (images Steven Ottens)

    Got to be there for friends, and friends got to be there for me. Thank you.
    Sponsoring the Open Knowledge Belgium conference with my company The Green Land, and participating in the conference with our entire team, and providing two sessions.

    Finding my voice back in blogging. I’ve written more blogposts this year than the preceding eleven combined, and as much as the first 5 years of busiest blogging combined. As a result I’ve also written much more in-depth material than any other year since I started in 2002. This has created more space for reflection and exploration, useful to shape my ideas and direction in my work. It was inspiring to renew the distributed conversations with other bloggers. As a result I am revisiting much of my writing about information strategies and the workings of human digital networks.
    Working with a client to further detail and document both Networked Agency and the ‘impact through connection’ project we based on it.
    Making day trips with Elmine and (not always) Y, e.g. to BredaPhoto, Eddo Hartmann and Fries Museum. Making good use of our more central location.
    Started to make better use of the various spaces our house offers, like the garden, the attic studio, and my own room. Room for improvement in the next year though.
    Avoiding feeling hurried, while keeping up the level of results.
    All in all it was a rather unhurried year, with more time for reflection about next and future steps. I worked 1728 hours, which averages out to about 36,5 per week worked. This is not yet getting closer to the 4 day work weeks I actually have, compared to last year, but at least stable.
    I’ve read 69 books, at a steady pace. All fiction, except for a handful. I’m looking to create the space to start reading more non-fiction. That likely requires a separate approach.
    Elmine gave me an amazing sculpture for my birthday, called “Strange Bird Totem”. The artist Jacqueline Schäfer’s work is described as “showing a positive vibe for life in a complex modern society“. That sort of feels like a great motto for the next year. Ever onwards!

  3. Today I’m working at Library Service Fryslan to further document and detail our Networked Agency based library program Impact through Connection. This is a continuation of our work last December.
    The team in skype conversation, which is why all are staring towards the laptop.
    We sat down to augment material and write this morning. In the afternoon we spent an hour talking to David Lankes. He’s the director of USC’s library and information science school, and the originator of the term ‘community librarian’. Jeroen de Boer, our team lead, had asked him last month for some reflection on our work. That took the shape of an extended skype confcall this afternoon, which was very helpful.
    Trying to make our effort much more tangible in terms of examples and in supporting librarians in their role in Impact through Connections, is one thing that was emphasised. The need for training librarians in the methodological aspects of this, to help them feel more comfortable in the open-ended setting we create for this project, another. It also made us realise that some of the things we already mentioned, or did earlier, but since dropped of our radar somewhat, need to be pulled more into the center again. The suggestion to create multiple parallel propositions for libraries, as a way to better engage in conversation about the level of service provided, involvement of librarians, and the consequences different choices carry, I think was a good practical tip.
    In conversation with David Lankes

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