Things I’m doing over the next week (14 Oct 2012)

Inspired by Euan Semple, who talked at the Akvo Track Day this Thursday in Amsterdam, I’m going to blog differently. In ways that help me express what’s going on, help me articulate myself better and help me get my head straight on what’s happening basically. So here we go – these are things I’m doing over the next week.

SIDA and Openaid
Over the next few days we’re putting together a proposal to enable Akvo Openaid to drill down easily to a specific project level, all based on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard. We’re proposing this to SIDA, the Swedish Development agency, in a funding round that closes on Thursday. The plan is to develop this feature specifically (first) for a unique sector – focused on freedom of expression and civil society actors. So organisations, projects, initiatives, that are about promoting freedom in parts of the world where it is most at threat. Over time I could see the Akvo RSR pages evolving into something closer to media sites, that probably draw in the organisation’s own content, or that provide an alternative open content platform if they’re not digitally focused. The drill down function also needs to encourage the local projects to get involved. The gap we have right now is working out how to involve these local organisations and how to get them to share data on their work locally. With RSR to date that’s been relatively easy because we’ve worked for the funders, who have built it into the communications requirements placed on the local organisations. It’s a chance to work with Siem and Tristan Vaessen, along with Ricardo. Time is tight – we changed our mind only last week about the angle to take – but I want to do a good job of it.

Akvo dev team in town
The Akvo development team – 14 of them I think – are all coming to London on Wednesday for a three day meeting. They’re using the great new facilities at the CitizenM Hotel on Bankside, and I’ll be dropping down for periods of it – parts of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I’m also hosting everyone for food and drinks on Thursday night. This is a fascinating time to see the dev team together, as this year has been one of great change as we now have product managers for each product. Thomas’s role has changed most and it will be interesting to see how he settles into a new phase, and everyone new and old evolves into doing new things and working in new ways. I’m especially keen that the people who have been working for us for several years find a chance to do new things within the team.

Visitors in Bermondsey
We have some people coming in to spend time in the Bermondsey office and work with us. Charlotte Soedjak is coming in on Monday to spend the day in the office and will spend some time especially with Linda Leunissen. I’m also going to talk to her about Akvo RSR and tender – the help system that we need to do more with (or not use). We also have Caetie Ofiesh and Henry Jewell arriving from Washington DC on Tuesday morning, as well as Loïc Sans from Helsinki on Tuesday afternoon. Linda and I have promised to run through Henry’s Akvo FLOW demo in advance as I’m about to spend the next two weeks talking about how to communicate it, and also train people on it – so we’ll need to squeeze that into Monday. And Loïc and I need to talk about the new website, which he’s working on with me and Thomas. I should get the three of them to talk about the content for the Akvo FLOW sections actually…

Anna Emmelin
I’m taking most of Thursday off to spend with my friend Anna Emmelin, who is visiting from Sweden. We were going to go to Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville West’s house and garden down in Kent but it’s closed for the day. So we need to think of somewhere else, equally special. I’m hoping the weather will be bright, but whatever she gets a blast through the autumnal English countryside in an Alfa Romeo. I’ll be back in time to host the evening’s Akvo dev entertainment in Camberwell.

Wrapping up ahead of three weeks away
After this week, I’ll be in the US for a while so I need to get myself organised. I’m in New York and Washington DC for a week with Peter and Kathelyne to meet with various Akvo partners and to spend time with Emily Armanetti who works in the comms team but lives in Brooklyn. I’ve known her for years but she’d never met anyone else from Akvo until she saw Caetie the other week. I want us to get a plan in place for Akvo FLOW communications, for 2013. We’re also meeting partners in Washington DC, a place I haven’t visited for many years (I get to ride on the train from New York to DC, which I’m very excited about). Anyway before all of this I need to do all the getting organised stuff, paying the bills, getting straight with email, not leaving everywhere looking like a tip, etc.

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