Categories
Thinking

Networking for democracy

I’ve spent the last couple of months interviewing folks in the UK’s democracy sector — in order to learn about how better networking might help boost our efforts to improve democracy. (The work was previewed in this post.)

I’ve now finished writing up the report.

It all turned out a bit longer than expected, so no fancy slide deck yet, but here is the full report as a Google Document. This is best for reading on a phone, and for comments.

Here are two other formats:

Or read on for the summary and list of recommendations.

Categories
Thinking

A democracy sector network? A needs, tools and capacity review

Previously, on this blog…

The other thing I’d want to see if I was a funder — and as someone in the sector — is that we’re working together, sharing knowledge and ideas, or at least avoiding repeating the same thing or competing for limited media attention. That’s where better networking comes in.

Me, earlier

There’s not much collaboration across democracy-related fields, despite some enthusiasm for it. My guess is that this is due to a lack of capacity among such organisations: no single organisation can volunteer the resources to run a central hub or a coordination role to support a network.

Before diving in to try to create something new, I’ve wanted to do a bit more research into the problems faced by the sector. Happily, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) have awarded me a small grant to look into this further.

Categories
Thinking

Talent, training and development in politics

So which political party has signed up Marcus Rashford?

I’ve long wondered what politics can borrow from sports, and watching Rashford’s campaigning on child poverty brought it to mind again. Sports teams do talent-spotting, training and development well. What can politics learn from them?

Categories
Thinking

Working up a proposal for a ‘Centre for Democracy’

Is this what a healthy democracy looks like?

Three months ago, I wrote a blogpost outlining projects I thought necessary to improve the state of democracy in the UK. After many helpful conversations and lots of feedback, I’ve tried to work out what’s most useful to do next.

The TL;DR: A Centre for Democracy — research, evaluation and network-building for the democracy sector. Equivalent to similar organisations in health, education and economics.

Categories
Thinking

New democracy projects, briefly

I recently wrote a long post about new institutions to support democracy, but I thought a three-minute version might be handy…

Categories
Thinking

A more democratic country

Update: This post is 4,000 words long. A very quick summary is available here.

This time four years ago, Sym Roe and I found ourselves working from the converted cellars of Somerset House, alongside the Thames at Waterloo Bridge. Nice spot. We’d joined the Bethnal Green Ventures programme for ‘tech for good’ startups, having decided that Democracy Club — the organisation that Sym had woken from hibernation for the 2015 general election — was worth throwing ourselves at, full-time, in an effort to make something happen.

Categories
Thinking

New year’s donations (2020)

It’s that time of year again… when we all donate some cash. 

The best thing you could probably do with your life in 2020 is to take the Giving What We Can pledge: to choose to spend 10% of your salary to do the most good you can.

If, like me, you want to be good, but are also lazy, then the people at Effective Altruism (EA) Funds are here to help. You visit their website, play with some sliders as to what you think is most important, donate, and then, voila, they parcel it out to the most effective organisations.

You’re supposed to be public about it, pour encourager les autres. So in the last calendar year I earned £30,000 and am donating £3,000: 95% will go to global health and development organisations (mostly to fight malaria) and 5% to support the work of EA Funds.

If you’re like me, then you also donate to climate charities, cos it’s not clear where that falls in the EA work. I’ve given to 350.org every year for a few years and it seems to have worked pretty well. Last year I also donated several times to support the narrative-flipping, game-changing activism of XR. And I’ve just made a donation to Trees for Life, because their website is beautiful and it seems like planting a few trees is wise* to cover all bases.

*Particularly if you’ve not taken the FlightFree2020 pledge. Which you should.

Until next year! (Unless we’ve solved poverty and inequality by then… Or Jeff Bezos has finally stepped up)