1 hr -
May 31, 2020
What is the current status of the OSE University chapters program? What does our outreach and engagement for this program look like as it stands right now?
This is ideation stage, and initial discussions with a few universities.
Do we use any type of CRM software to track lead development for potential OSE instructors?
No. Just using spreadsheets.
What is the current strategy regarding the difficulty of in person camps during the COVID-19 pandemic? We're seeing a lot of re-opening right now, but I think it's important to have a plan that's robust enough to still move forward should strict quarantine measures return.
Must be remote right now. So a complete pivot, as our focus was in-person synergy. Not possible untile cure/vaccine is f
The following ideas are very broad in scope and serve to sketch out my initial vision for our program. Currently, it's normal for me to go a week or two without interacting with my management at all. I'm on the phone or in Google Hangouts with my support people back in South Carolina daily. Though I'm accustomed to and comfortable with being so independent, I thrive in collaboration. These ideas need to be smashed up against the hard rocks of constructive criticism and real world implementation before they're ready for an alpha release, and I look forward to developing them in that spirit.
Recruit 6 new instructors every month
In simply talking to friends and family members about considering this position, I've been able to get two skilled builders committed to signing on right away.
There's a significant learning curve for instructors. How do you address that?
Initially, I can flex my own social networks to break ground. By the end of the first month, I want to open up a dialog with at least 24 colleges of engineering across the country to expand the pool of potential instructors as quickly as possible. As soon as I start, and assuming we don't use something similar already, I want to implement CRM software. (X2CRM is my current favorite, though my experience is limited so far. My current employer uses proprietary software.) Once I've got a way to log and track contacts, I want to create a list of currently active maker spaces with the kinds of tools and skills focus that have a natural and ready-in-place affinity with the kinds of projects the OSE builds are focused on.
Good. Here is the exam for instructors - requirement for teaching - https://wiki.opensourceecology.org/wiki/Instructor_Exam
Where I find maker spaces and tinkerers excited to engage with our ideas, I can set up web meetings to pitch the project directly while turning my networking attention towards sustainable agriculture organization in those areas. Through this rapid networking effort, easily deploy-able in the first 30-60 days, we should be able to build up a ready pool to draw instructors and attendees from. If this sounds like an incredible phone slog, it's so much the better that you consider a salesman. This kind of "hammer through phone calls and networking until the objective is achieved" strategy is the bread and butter of my profession.
I just started OSE feeds -
Long term (two to six months), I want to work with our marketing consultants to push out into relevant forums and online spaces as well as reinvigorate our own. We have the opportunity within OSE to create a potent sense of community and membership that's integrated with our "brand".
Here is their final report - attached.
More wide scale community membership will not only help build momentum for the STEAM Camps themselves, but provide an immediate payoff to potential contributors in the form of a welcoming, nurturing online community founded in open source principles, much like many open source software communities enjoy already. This aim is where my "think small" long term strategy is aimed. The easier we can make that initial handshake, the greater the opportunity to identify, qualify, and recruit the people we need to proliferate the STEAM Camps.
Reach 12 STEAM Camps running every 2 months AND managing efforts for each STEAM Camp to reach 12 participants
Right from the start, I want to quickly organize a STEAM camp in my own back yard. Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Fransisco have a surfeit of hobbyist makers as well as sustainable agriculture organizations that can be recruited immediately. This will provide vital information for me to understand the barriers a successful STEAM Camp faces. I want to contact previous attendees and instructors directly and enlist their help in setting up a small initial run of camps.
The fresh activity can be documented and shared by our marketing partners to generate round two. Keeping the initial push small makes it manageable, and lets us get ahead of any problems inherent to the STEAM Camp process before it starts to scale up.
We are shifting curriculum to the remote event.
In starting pipe clubs and networking them together in my current role, I've been able to make a few direct observations that are very relevant to spreading and growing the STEAM Camp program. Often my retailers' first instinct is to offer some sort of event once a month. This leads to very low engagement as the pace of life for most people means four weeks past is a bygone memory by the time the next club meeting rolls around. I've found that a weekly "pipe night" with a once a month special club day is far more resistant to petering out as people's interest naturally wanes between meetings. Building on the partnership with maker spaces, farmers, and universities outlined above, I want to start OSE Club Branches. Cellular, regionally networked groups of people perusing the prototyping and refinement of our designs as a hobby and source of community membership. These "clubs" or "branches" can gather together to work on projects as opportunity and means allow, giving people a way to feel involved on a more consistent basis. The STEAM Camps themselves can then act as a sort of culmination of this "club lifestyle" the same way swap meets, conventions, and hobbyist gatherings work for groups like ham radio operators or antique engine enthusiasts already. In my current professional life, this model is already demonstrated by the hundreds to thousands of people who show up for regional and national pipe shows. Though the financial and time commitment is far higher for a STEAM Camp, finding a way to offer low cost, low commitment initial engagement opportunities can smooth the natural resistance to asking for $1200 and a four to five day commitment on the first handshake.
Once I can achieve a small beachhead of clubs and spark off our opening round of STEAM Camps (as few as two or three concurrent groups collaborating, initially), we can then work on a hub and spoke network, growing them out regionally. A maker space in Silicon Valley can offer us a ready pool of missionaries and ambassadors to get that vital flesh and blood handshake to groups in Sacramento, Monterey, the Central Valley, and even Reno, just to use an example. I have already encouraged and taken advantage of this kind of thing in my current life. Often pipe clubs will organize visits to other regional pipe clubs. Well established clubs often see these trips and a fun opportunity to help newly established or struggling clubs bolster membership and activity. Humans have a natural desire to share the things they love with others and that can be the engine that drives the success and flourishing of the STEAM Camp model.
Managing production and delivery of kits for each instructor's event
This area is the weak spot in my initial plans.
We found that we need to make more of the parts ourselves - so we are shifting to this.