Commit 2bdd2b8f authored by Klara Skinner's avatar Klara Skinner
Browse files

Implement proofreader's correx

parent 168e20a2
......@@ -168,7 +168,7 @@ works:
id: "16-gathering-together"
- label: "**17** Once a fellow, always a fellow"
file: "04-17"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-afellow"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-a-fellow"
- label: "Funding the future"
id: "5-funding-the-future"
children:
......@@ -192,7 +192,7 @@ works:
- label: "**ii** The agreement letter"
file: "50-03-appendix-agreement-letter"
id: "ii-the-agreement-letter"
- label: "**iii** Open requirements"
- label: "**iii** Open Requirements"
file: "50-04-appendix-open-requirements"
id: "iii-open-requirements"
- label: "**iv** Open Locks"
......@@ -312,7 +312,7 @@ works:
id: "16-gathering-together"
- label: "**17** Once a fellow, always a fellow"
file: "04-17"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-afellow"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-a-fellow"
- label: "Funding the future"
id: "5-funding-the-future"
children:
......@@ -336,7 +336,7 @@ works:
- label: "**ii** The agreement letter"
file: "50-03-appendix-agreement-letter"
id: "ii-the-agreement-letter"
- label: "**iii** Open requirements"
- label: "**iii** Open Requirements"
file: "50-04-appendix-open-requirements"
id: "iii-open-requirements"
- label: "**iv** Open Locks"
......@@ -378,7 +378,7 @@ works:
- label: "**07** Open is power"
file: "02-07"
id: "07-open-is-power"
- label: "**08** Culture of Community"
- label: "**08** Culture of community"
file: "02-08"
id: "08-culture-of-community"
- label: "**09** Community means co-ownership"
......@@ -411,9 +411,9 @@ works:
- label: "**16** Gathering together"
file: "04-16"
id: "16-gathering-together"
- label: "**17** Once a fellow, Always A Fellow"
- label: "**17** Once a fellow, always a fellow"
file: "04-17"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-afellow"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-a-fellow"
- label: "Funding the future"
id: "5-funding-the-future"
children:
......@@ -437,7 +437,7 @@ works:
- label: "**ii** The agreement letter"
file: "50-03-appendix-agreement-letter"
id: "ii-the-agreement-letter"
- label: "**iii** Open requirements"
- label: "**iii** Open Requirements"
file: "50-04-appendix-open-requirements"
id: "iii-open-requirements"
- label: "**iv** Open Locks"
......@@ -527,7 +527,7 @@ works:
- label: "**07** Open is power"
file: "02-07"
id: "07-open-is-power"
- label: "**08** Culture of Community"
- label: "**08** Culture of community"
file: "02-08"
id: "08-culture-of-community"
- label: "**09** Community means co-ownership"
......@@ -560,9 +560,9 @@ works:
- label: "**16** Gathering together"
file: "04-16"
id: "16-gathering-together"
- label: "**17** Once a fellow, Always A Fellow"
- label: "**17** Once a fellow, always a fellow"
file: "04-17"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-afellow"
id: "17-once-a-fellow-always-a-fellow"
- label: "Funding the future"
id: "5-funding-the-future"
children:
......@@ -586,7 +586,7 @@ works:
- label: "**ii** The agreement letter"
file: "50-03-appendix-agreement-letter"
id: "ii-the-agreement-letter"
- label: "**iii** Open requirements"
- label: "**iii** Open Requirements"
file: "50-04-appendix-open-requirements"
id: "iii-open-requirements"
- label: "**iv** Open Locks"
......
......@@ -8,7 +8,7 @@ style: copyright-page
{% include metadata %}
# Copyright and license
# Copyright and licence
{:.non-printing}
{{ title }}
......
......@@ -7,8 +7,8 @@ style: chapter about-page page-1
In March 2019, Karien Bezuidenhout, Sean Bonner, Kathi Fletcher, Jason Hudson, Adam Hyde, Chris McGivern, Helen Turvey and Jesse von Doom spent a week locked away in a tumble-down sixteenth century farmhouse at the edge of the Surrey Hills called Ridge Farm: a former residential recording studio famed for hosting Oasis, Pearl Jam, Queen, Ozzy Ozbourne, The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, Goldie and countless others.
The group had come together to think about the future of philanthropy, the power of Open, and how these combined can change the world. This book – which explores and documents the philosophy, motivation and learning behind the Shuttleworth Foundation and its Fellowship community – is the result.
The group had come together to think about the future of philanthropy, the power of Open, and how these combined can change the world. This book – which explores and documents the philosophy, motivation and learning behind the Shuttleworth Foundation and its fellowship community – is the result.
Barbara Rühling facilitated the Book Sprint and Fenella Smith cooked delicious food which kept us going. Matt Reasons organised the travel that brought us all together and delivered us home safely. Cover design by Sean Bonner and copy editing by Raewyn Whyte and Helen Kilbey. Previous works by Andrew Rens and Arthur Attwell have also been included. All photos were taken by Sean Bonner and Jason Hudson.
Barbara Rühling facilitated the Book Sprint, and Fenella Smith cooked delicious food, which kept us going. Matt Reasons organised the travel that brought us all together and delivered us home safely. Cover design by Sean Bonner and copy editing by Raewyn Whyte and Helen Kilbey. Previous works by Andrew Rens and Arthur Attwell have also been included. All photos were taken by Sean Bonner and Jason Hudson.
This book is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.
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This book is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike licence.
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......@@ -26,30 +26,30 @@ For two weeks, we locked ourselves in a small room in the Cape Town office and c
- Openness resists boundaries – we must work internationally.
- Individuals make change – we must support people, not projects.
This sparked a process of gradual but deliberate change. By 2010, the new structures were in place and our guiding principles had taken a more detailed shape:
This sparked a process of gradual but deliberate change. By 2010, the new structures were in place, and our guiding principles had taken a more detailed shape:
- Support ideas where they work best, rather than relocate fellows to South Africa.
- Focus on action-based initiatives to test theories in the real world.
- Encourage bold moves and learn collectively from failures.
- Encourage bold moves, and learn collectively from failures.
- Seek true innovators who apply existing technologies or ideas in unexpected ways: adding value incrementally effects more change than new inventions.
- Discard thematic funding areas to solve more real-world problems.
- Make bets on inspired brilliance to enable creative problem-solving from the left field, rather than reward past successes.
- Offer fellowship grants covering a reasonable salary to free up 100% of a person’s time and attention, and accelerate the research and development process.
- Incentivise fellows to co-invest in their projects and ensure any resulting IP remains with them, encouraging a deeper sense of ownership.
- Incentivise fellows to co-invest in their projects, and ensure any resulting intellectual property remains with them, encouraging a deeper sense of ownership.
- Give fellows access to additional project funding to amplify their own investment and move their ideas as far forward as possible.
- Support fellows by investing through the vehicle most fit for purpose, be it for-profit, non-profit or as an individual. Levers for positive social change in society do not come in a standard package. Market forces, charities, governments, universities and many other types of institutions have a role to play.
- Provide a legal, financial, administrative and technical home for the fellows to remove burdens and allow them to concentrate fully on their objectives. The best ideas rarely come from those with experience of building institutions.
- Provide a legal, financial, administrative and technical home for the fellows to remove burdens, and allow them to concentrate fully on their objectives. The best ideas rarely come from those with experience of building institutions.
The evolution of our model and philosophy continues as we learn. A decade later, there are 46 Shuttleworth fellows, each bringing their own unique value to the group. Themes include education, health, government, science, social justice and the arts. New fellows are added regularly, or not, as the right fit on both sides is found.
{:.keep-together}
The Foundation is also a fellowship in itself. We all – Helen, Jason, Karien and the fellows – build, rebuild and co-create the evolving iterations. Sometimes the changes are incremental; sometimes moments push us forward in larger leaps. Our first fellows may not recognise the mechanics at play today, but would still feel at home, as our values hold true. It is a journey – one we all travel together.
The Foundation is also a fellowship in itself. We all – Helen, Jason, Karien and the fellows – build, rebuild and co-create the evolving iterations. Sometimes the changes are incremental; sometimes moments push us forward in larger leaps. Our first fellows may not recognise the mechanics at play today but would still feel at home, as our values hold true. It is a journey – one we all travel together.
{% include feature-image
images='johnny.jpg'
reference='Johnny West quote'
caption='“It is 7.30 on a Sunday morning and I am sitting in a hotel in Nairobi already deep into commer­cial analysis of minerals contracts the Somali government may or may not sign with a bunch of multinationals.  I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for the Shuttleworth Foundation. We are directly advising. These deals are so potentially huge that if we can up a government stake by 3% they may get another $50 million... I’m here because of Open – we built a profile in an incredibly conservative world because we have published models  … And because we use an open standard, with a community behind it, every­where we go we’re like a slug leaving a trail…”'
description='“It is 7.30 on a Sunday morning and I am sitting in a hotel in Nairobi already deep into commercial analysis of minerals contracts the Somali government may or may not sign with a bunch of multinationals.  I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for the Shuttleworth Foundation. We are directly advising. These deals are so potentially huge that if we can up a government stake by 3% they may get another $50 million... I’m here because of Open – we built a profile in an incredibly conservative world because we have published models  … And because we use an open standard, with a community behind it, everywhere we go we’re like a slug leaving a trail…”'
caption='“It is 7.30 on a Sunday morning, and I am sitting in a hotel in Nairobi already deep into commer­cial analysis of minerals contracts the Somali government may or may not sign with a bunch of multinationals.  I wouldn’t be sitting here if it weren’t for the Shuttleworth Foundation. We are directly advising. These deals are so potentially huge that if we can up a government stake by 3%, they may get another $50 million... I’m here because of Open – we built a profile in an incredibly conservative world because we have published models … And because we use an open standard, with a community behind it, every­where we go, we’re like a slug leaving a trail…”'
description='“It is 7.30 on a Sunday morning, and I am sitting in a hotel in Nairobi already deep into commercial analysis of minerals contracts the Somali government may or may not sign with a bunch of multinationals.  I wouldn’t be sitting here if it weren’t for the Shuttleworth Foundation. We are directly advising. These deals are so potentially huge that if we can up a government stake by 3%, they may get another $50 million... I’m here because of Open – we built a profile in an incredibly conservative world because we have published models … And because we use an open standard, with a community behind it, everywhere we go, we’re like a slug leaving a trail…”'
source='Johnny West (2014–2017)'
text-position='bottom right'
text-color='white'
......
......@@ -7,6 +7,6 @@ style: chapter
Philosophically and practically, we default to Open. We subscribe to the Open Definition – where data or content is regarded as open if anyone is free to use, reuse and redistribute it, or combine it with different materials.
This inspires us to be open to collaboration and contributions from outside our immediate group, inviting many to reuse our processes and make them better. Combining openly licensed intellectual property with open practices enables and encourages others to experiment in their own environments – to localise, contextualise, translate, adapt and spread the tools and methodologies we develop well beyond our own reach or imagination.
This inspires us to be open to collaboration and contributions from outside our immediate group, inviting many to reuse our processes and make them better. Combining openly licenced intellectual property with open practices enables and encourages others to experiment in their own environments – to localise, contextualise, translate, adapt and spread the tools and methodologies we develop well beyond our own reach or imagination.
We understand that not every piece of content in the world has to be openly licensed, nor that every process has to be collaborative. But we choose to stand closest to extreme openness. We serve as a counterbalance to the prevailing default of “completely closed”, and push for and establish new norms. We also exist as an example of the power of openness in the philanthropic world.
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We understand that neither does every piece of content in the world have to be openly licenced, nor does every process have to be collaborative. But we choose to stand closest to extreme openness. We serve as a counterbalance to the prevailing default of “completely closed”, and push for and establish new norms. We also exist as an example of the power of openness in the philanthropic world.
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......@@ -7,11 +7,11 @@ style: chapter
It’s time to re-examine philanthropy – in particular, the roles money and power play in the relationship between funders and those they fund.
Traditionally, funding relationships centre around money. Funders have money, and set the terms for getting it. Applicants tell funders what they want to hear in order to get that money, keep it, and then get more of it. This pursuit of money slows momentum and distracts from the mission.
Traditionally, funding relationships centre on money. Funders have money and set the terms for getting it. Applicants tell funders what they want to hear in order to get that money, keep it, and then get more of it. This pursuit of money slows momentum and distracts from the mission.
Although good does come from this model, inevitably the funder assumes an understanding of the problem and ends up influencing the solution. But if funders had all the answers, they could just hire project managers and execute their plans themselves. This is the paradox of most funding models: the change agent has the best experience to address the issues, but ends up having to execute within the world view of the funder.
Although good does come from this model, inevitably the funder assumes an understanding of the problem and ends up influencing the solution. But if funders had all the answers, they could just hire project managers and execute their plans themselves. This is the paradox of most funding models: the change agent has the best experience to address the issues but ends up having to execute within the world view of the funder.
At the Shuttleworth Foundation, we believe the central idea of empowering social change isn’t just funding it, but broadly redistributing power. We structure our relationship with fellows as a partnership so they have the power to implement, test and refine their ideas, not ours. We back them to make the right decisions based on their world view and experiences. This is a deliberate process of empowerment, helping fellows gain confidence, think bigger and build towards their vision.
At the Shuttleworth Foundation, we believe the central idea of empowering social change isn’t just funding it, but broadly redistributing power. We structure our relationship with fellows as a partnership, so they have the power to implement, test and refine their ideas, not ours. We back them to make the right decisions based on their world view and experiences. This is a deliberate process of empowerment, helping fellows gain confidence, think bigger and build towards their vision.
A relationship of mutual trust and respect needs to be built between funders and those they fund. This is often an uncomfortable process, and not always welcomed by either party, but it is important to have the tough conversations, with honesty and care. It is these very conversations that enable growth, increased resilience and the kind of power we need to effect change.
{:.loosen-15}
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......@@ -5,7 +5,7 @@ style: chapter
## **07** Open is power
In traditional funding models, intellectual property (IP) is often considered an asset to be held closely, in case it must be sold at a later date to recover investment funds. Open models recognise this is problematic. At best, the traditional approach creates products that can’t be used by others, and ideas that can’t be built upon. At worst, it wastes everyone’s time and money when the project gets shelved.
In traditional funding models, intellectual property is often considered an asset to be held closely, in case it must be sold at a later date to recover investment funds. Open models recognise this is problematic. At best, the traditional approach creates products that can’t be used by others, and ideas that can’t be built upon. At worst, it wastes everyone’s time and money when the project gets shelved.
Keeping things secret or locked means you are the only one who can work on them and develop them. When things are opened, the potential is multiplied exponentially.
......@@ -15,14 +15,14 @@ What happens if you apply this approach to areas outside of software? The result
In the early days of the Foundation, Rufus Pollock initiated an open source project called Annotator, largely motivated by a desire to mark up Shakespeare on [http://openshakespeare.org](http://openshakespeare.org). Two other fellows, Dan Whaley and Seamus Kraft, picked up Annotator and moved it forward in their own projects – Dan using it as the backbone for Hypothes.is, a decentralised annotation platform, and Seamus bringing it into the realm of government and policy creation. The project evolved and rippled through the fellowship into the world; each time in a different context.
Sean Bonner’s work on aggregating radioactivity data with Safecast highlights another benefit of Open. A volunteer-created information sheet about the bGeigie Nano Geiger counter has been completely translated into more than 20 languages – an initiative driven entirely by the community, without any direction from Safecast. A top-down approach to that same effort would have been considerably more time-consuming and infinitely more expensive.
Sean Bonner’s work on aggregating radioactivity data with Safecast highlights another benefit of Open. A volunteer-created information sheet about the bGeigie Nano Geiger Counter has been completely translated into more than 20 languages – an initiative driven entirely by the community, without any direction from Safecast. A top-down approach to that same effort would have been considerably more time-consuming and infinitely more expensive.
{:.loosen-15}
Adam Hyde’s Coko project is replacing proprietary scholarly infrastructure with open source software. Within one short year, the community has built nine separate publishing platforms, ranging from journal submission systems and micropublications to content aggregation platforms. While the Coko core team built two platforms, the other seven came into existence because of the sharing of this common infrastructure. This is proof of Open as a powerful multiplier of effort in the fight to improve academic publishing systems and processes.
The more we share our thinking, working, practices and outcomes, the better. Releasing open information allows other organisations, project implementers, funders, policymakers, change agents, advocates and academics to engage with and learn from what we have done. This invites feedback and collaboration with other organisations and funders in ways that were never previously possible.
The Foundation’s advocacy for and commitment to Open began with software, but has spread to justice, art, health, science, hardware, money, education and the environment. By supporting fellows within their communities, these examples show how Open can be a powerful tool. We replicate this open approach within the Foundation itself, by connecting individual fellows from disparate fields to a supportive fellowship community.
The Foundation’s advocacy for and commitment to Open began with software but has spread to justice, art, health, science, hardware, money, education and the environment. By supporting fellows within their communities, these examples show how Open can be a powerful tool. We replicate this open approach within the Foundation itself, by connecting individual fellows from disparate fields to a supportive fellowship community.
{% include feature-image
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......@@ -8,16 +8,16 @@ style: chapter
Often, funders have the idea they can “create a fellowship community”, as if this can be constructed from the top down. Building community is a co-creation experience between the “engineers” who decide to begin a community and the “citizens” who will participate in it. Creating and populating the community space happens all at once, and the co-creation process leads to ongoing and co-owned stewardship as the community changes and evolves. This is a shared responsibility.
Finding the right people to enter into this kind of relationship with a funder is difficult. It’s hard to see past the sales pitch and find partners active in the worlds you wish to change, with an approach you can trust. To that end, we believe it is best to enable people whose lived experiences suit the challenges they are trying to overcome. A member of a community uniquely understands its challenges better than an outsider is able to. It is not our job to tell them how they should approach the problem, but instead to help them build the power they need to effect change.
Finding the right people to enter into this kind of relationship with a funder is difficult. It’s hard to see past the sales pitch and find partners active in the worlds you wish to change, with an approach you can trust. To that end, we believe it is best to enable people whose lived experiences suit the challenges they are trying to overcome. A member of a community uniquely understands its challenges better than an outsider is able to. It is not our job to tell them how they should approach the problem but instead to help them build the power they need to effect change.
In the fellowship, we strive for as little hierarchy as possible. Where it exists, it exists with respect, empathy, and a clear understanding of roles. For example, there is a clear funding relationship between the fellow and the Foundation. The fellow is responsible for the plan, for determining how that money is spent and what indicators for success might be present, and for communicating that back to the Foundation. There is clearly a power dynamic at play, but it is designed to quickly yield to a partnership in which successes and failures are shared. These are also shared with the community, through various means; this turns individual experiences into community learnings, and builds some of the bonds of fellowship.
In the fellowship, we strive for as little hierarchy as possible. Where it exists, it exists with respect, empathy and a clear understanding of roles. For example, there is a clear funding relationship between the fellow and the Foundation. The fellow is responsible for the plan, for determining how that money is spent and what indicators for success might be present, and for communicating that back to the Foundation. There is clearly a power dynamic at play, but it is designed to quickly yield to a partnership in which successes and failures are shared. These are also shared with the community, through various means; this turns individual experiences into community learnings, and builds some of the bonds of fellowship.
The community is reinforced weekly for all active fellows in a web-based chat called “Fellow-up”, where everyone talks about what they are working on or struggling with that week. One fellow starts, and when they have finished their check-in, they nominate someone who has yet to speak. This not only serves to update everyone, but enables collaboration and supports the notion that the community is responsible for moving things forward. There is no leader or moderator. Fellows ask questions and suggest people from their own networks who might be helpful to others.
The community is reinforced weekly for all active fellows in a web-based chat called “Fellow-up”, where everyone talks about what they are working on or struggling with that week. One fellow starts, and when they have finished their check-in, they nominate someone who has yet to speak. This not only serves to update everyone but also enables collaboration and supports the notion that the community is responsible for moving things forward. There is no leader or moderator. Fellows ask questions and suggest people from their own networks who might be helpful to others.
All fellows have an account on the same chat platform, and this provides a space for shared interests and community beyond regular check-ins. The platform hosts a channel for aspiring vegans to share recipes and tips, and a plank channel for bragging about planking times. There’s a helpmeout channel connecting those with a question with others who have a solution. Softwaredev provides a space for communal tech support, and there’s a travel channel to facilitate real-world meetups with one another; at home or when fellows find themselves in the same distant corner of the world. It’s about people and building relationships, not some kind of forced fun imposed by a funder. This non-hierarchical structure is also a key feature of a twice-yearly event open to the whole fellowship called the “Gathering”.
All fellows have an account on the same chat platform, and this provides a space for shared interests and community beyond regular check-ins. The platform hosts a channel for aspiring vegans to share recipes and tips, and a plank channel for bragging about planking times. There’s a "helpmeout" channel connecting those with a question with others who have a solution. "Softwaredev" provides a space for communal tech support, and there’s a travel channel to facilitate real-world meetups with one another, at home or when fellows find themselves in the same distant corner of the world. It’s about people and building relationships, not some kind of forced fun imposed by a funder. This non-hierarchical structure is also a key feature of a twice-yearly event open to the whole fellowship called the “Gathering”.
True fellowship only works with community. At times it’s difficult to see the difference between fellows, alumni and the Foundation. There are different roles, but all inside the same co-owned space. All part of the fellowship, all part of the community. These lessons were learned over years of evolution. Top-down engineering mistakes were made in the early days of the Foundation; these became opportunities for learning.
True fellowship only works with community. At times it’s difficult to see the difference between fellows, alumni and the Foundation. There are different roles, but all inside the same co-owned space. All part of the fellowship, all part of the community. These lessons were learnt over years of evolution. Top-down engineering mistakes were made in the early days of the Foundation; these became opportunities for learning.
One of the early learnings was that new fellows were overwhelmed when they first joined the fellowship. Trust takes time, but there’s nothing wrong with helping it along.
The idea of a “buddy” was introduced, and new fellows were paired with current fellows in an effort to build relationships and allow a safe space for questions. Success varied because of time zones, chemistry, and other factors. In time, the buddy system evolved and Jesse von Doom, who became a fellow in 2014 with his project CASH Music, which provided open tools and infrastructure for musicians, now serves as buddy to all new fellows. He meets with each new fellow to learn about who they are, let them know that “yes, this really is what it seems”, gives them crucial tips and connects them to other fellows. By the time a new fellow attends a Gathering, they easily slip into the community and feel at home.
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The idea of a “buddy” was introduced, and new fellows were paired with current fellows in an effort to build relationships and allow a safe space for questions. Success varied because of time zones, chemistry, and other factors. In time, the buddy system evolved, and Jesse von Doom, who became a fellow in 2014 with his project CASH Music, which provided open tools and infrastructure for musicians, now serves as buddy to all new fellows. He meets with each new fellow to learn about who they are, let them know that “yes, this really is what it seems”, gives them crucial tips and connects them to other fellows. By the time a new fellow attends the Gathering, they easily slip into the community and feel at home.
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......@@ -11,6 +11,6 @@ Werewolf is a simple game. A moderator secretly assigns roles to people sitting
The specifics of the game don’t really matter. (But you should try it. It’s fun.) What matters in the context of the Gathering is that it provides a recurring communal experience, supports spectators and side conversations, and is easy to walk into. People can choose to participate as much or as little as they like. It also provides an outlet for competition, keeping that further from the work. Most importantly, this was the first time a fellow had created and held a space without prompting from the Foundation – reflecting the commitment to no hierarchy and demonstrating that the Gathering was about collaboration.
Werewolf was the first of many events that have become a mainstay of the Gatherings, and it is an example of how we are more than just colleagues. Social change is exhausting and isolating, and often there is little reward. Building memories together is a critical act of support in those moments of connection.
Werewolf was the first of many events that have become a mainstay of the Gathering, and it is an example of how we are more than just colleagues. Social change is exhausting and isolating, and often there is little reward. Building memories together is a critical act of support in those moments of connection.
Establishing a community with expected norms, well-understood roles and responsibilities, and true agency for all removes egos and builds bonds. If done well, the difference between the engineers of a community and its citizens will be blurry. If done very well, the difference becomes meaningless. If, over many years, each community member is equally part of the co-creation process, then who are the engineers and who are the citizens?
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......@@ -11,9 +11,9 @@ If the preexisting conditions for change agents were known, we could simply plac
Fellows are not bound by any specific level of education, number of years of experience in the workplace, location or nationality. They can work alone or have an organisation, which can be for-profit or not-for-profit. They might be building software or hardware, or creating policy, or none of the above. Simply put: a fellow doesn’t fit into any standard template. We have to trust the magic – and we are getting better at it.
Past victories are no guarantee of future success, so while it’s nice to see a list of accomplishments, we do not make a decision based on what’s already been done but rather on what we feel can happen. Proven expertise is nice, but is no substitute for vision and leadership. We make bets on motivated potential rather than on history and achievement. Fellows are dropouts and doctors, students and professors, enthusiastic upstarts and seasoned veterans.
Past victories are no guarantee of future success, so while it’s nice to see a list of accomplishments, we do not make a decision based on what’s already been done but rather on what we feel can happen. Proven expertise is nice but is no substitute for vision and leadership. We make bets on motivated potential rather than on history and achievement. Fellows are dropouts and doctors, students and professors, enthusiastic upstarts and seasoned veterans.
{:.loosen-15}
The fellowship can be for anyone, but it is not for everyone. It involves brutal honesty, learning through mistakes, embracing the uncomfortable, and learning from failure as much as success. It requires a deep commitment to a vision and an ability to move forward and adapt. We seek fellows who embrace their own power, take initiative, create their own plans, evaluate the success of their current approach and respond in real time as appropriate. A sense of community is crucial, and each new fellow adds to it, so we seek those who will bring an open mind and a willingness to share. Some in the fellowship refer to this as the “no-assholes” criteria.
Integral to the fellowship is the idea that when we say yes to a potential fellow, it is 100%. There are almost no conditions imposed. Some of our fellows do their work at great personal risk: activists working in legal grey areas; conservationists braving dangerous environments, doctors in war-torn areas. This risk does not glamourise or prioritise these fellows, nor does it sway our decision. We strive to ensure the risk is understood clearly by both fellow and Foundation. We are clear about our values, and we discuss whether funding will place them in increased danger. Beyond that conversation, the choice hinges on the same question as with any other fellow: is this an individual who can enact systemic change in the world through their work? When the answer is yes, it is 100%.
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Integral to the fellowship is the idea that when we say yes to a potential fellow, it is 100%. There are almost no conditions imposed. Some of our fellows do their work at great personal risk: activists working in legal grey areas, conservationists braving dangerous environments, doctors in war-torn areas. This risk does not glamourise or prioritise these fellows, nor does it sway our decision. We strive to ensure the risk is understood clearly by both fellow and Foundation. We are clear about our values, and we discuss whether funding will place them in increased danger. Beyond that conversation, the choice hinges on the same question as with any other fellow: is this an individual who can enact systemic change in the world through their work? When the answer is yes, it is 100%.
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5. What challenges or uncertainties do you expect to face? (A description of what you actually plan to do during the year)
6. What part does openness play in your idea?
These questions create space for applicants to share their vision and are designed to help everyone understand the essence of what, why and how a change will manifest. Prospective applicants often ask us to narrow down the parameters for applications and be more specific, but we have no plans to change the current format. We want to be surprised and intrigued by applicants. No matter how unconventional the idea may be we find it is useful for applicants to think through the vision and implementation, regardless of the outcome of their application.
These questions create space for applicants to share their vision and are designed to help everyone understand the essence of what, why and how a change will manifest. Prospective applicants often ask us to narrow down the parameters for applications and be more specific, but we have no plans to change the current format. We want to be surprised and intrigued by applicants. No matter how unconventional the idea may be, we find it is useful for applicants to think through the vision and implementation, regardless of the outcome of their application.
A key component is the application video, intended to offer a glimpse into the person behind the application. Some applicants worry that we expect some epic Hollywood trailer with a voice-over by Morgan Freeman. This is not the case. The video production quality only matters as far as being able to hear and see enough to understand the message. Applications are not public, although applicants are free to share theirs as they wish.
Helen, Karien and Jason review every application. It is an all-consuming process – rightly so, given its importance.
After initial review, applicants are selected for a deeper interview, framed as a conversation to explore ideas in more depth. We ask hard questions up front to help find the right fit. Over time we’ve become bolder about this – people trust us with their dreams and we take that very seriously. Blunt conversations honour that. Where there is no fit, we’ve learned to be upfront and say so directly, along with our reasons.
After initial review, applicants are selected for a deeper interview, framed as a conversation to explore ideas in more depth. We ask hard questions up front to help find the right fit. Over time we’ve become bolder about this – people trust us with their dreams, and we take that very seriously. Blunt conversations honour that. Where there is no fit, we’ve learnt to be upfront and say so directly, along with our reasons.
Jesse von Doom’s application video speaks to the importance of both the video and the interviews in the process. When reviewing videos, we ask ourselves “Is this someone we believe has the passion and drive to pursue their idea and who can also inspire others to join their cause?” Jesse’s initial video, now a comic legend in the group, was not funny at all. In fact, it was hopeless. It was shot in a dreary grey concrete room. Jesse, sitting in a poorly lit corner, spoke ever so slightly too slowly. He seemed despondent at best; more likely defeated. This was not someone we felt could rally themselves, let alone anyone else.
Jesse von Doom’s application video speaks to the importance of both the video and the interviews in the process. When reviewing videos, we ask ourselves “Is this someone we believe has the passion and drive to pursue their idea and who can also inspire others to join their cause?” Jesse’s initial video, now a comic legend in the group, was not funny at all. In fact, it was hopeless. It was shot in a dreary grey concrete room. Jesse, sitting in a poorly lit corner, spoke ever so slightly too slowly. He seemed despondent at best; more likely defeated. This was not someone we felt could rally himself, let alone anyone else.
We resolved to pass on him, but after being urged by a trusted fellow to reconsider we agreed to an interview. It was a wholly different experience. We got to meet the real Jesse and his passion, determination and potential to change an inequitable system was clear.
We resolved to pass on him, but after being urged by a trusted fellow to reconsider, we agreed to an interview. It was a wholly different experience. We got to meet the real Jesse and his passion, determination and potential to change an inequitable system was clear.
We learned to look beyond presentation and really dig for substance. Even the most passionate and committed people feel disheartened from time to time. Trying to change the world can be hard on a person. The art lies in recognising when someone deserves a closer look.
We learnt to look beyond presentation and really dig for substance. Even the most passionate and committed people feel disheartened from time to time. Trying to change the world can be hard on a person. The art lies in recognising when someone deserves a closer look.
The final selection is made from a shortlist compiled after completing all interviews and internal debates, and checking references. In the early days Mark Shuttleworth, the founder philanthropist, reviewed all of the shortlisted applications and chose new fellows. As we grew, it became clear that this was no longer optimal. The decision process was as important as the decision. Inspired by the fellowship itself, we now invite a one time honorary steward to make the decision. Having a different person make this important call in every round ensures constant rejuvenation, and acts as an independent check against potential bias or nepotism.
The final selection is made from a shortlist compiled after completing all interviews and internal debates, and checking references. In the early days, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder philanthropist, reviewed all of the shortlisted applications and chose new fellows. As we grew, it became clear that this was no longer optimal. The decision process was as important as the decision. Inspired by the fellowship itself, we now invite a one time honorary steward to make the decision. Having a different person make this important call in every round ensures constant rejuvenation, and serves as an independent check against potential bias or nepotism.
Saying no to applicants is not fun. Each one commits a part of themselves to the process and they will be disappointed, so we try to alleviate the tension by making and communicating decisions as quickly as possible. Applicants receive honest – sometimes uncomfortable – feedback on their application and the reasons for our decision. When true, we tell people we believe they have fellow potential and invite them to reapply in the future. Eleven of the 46 fellows to date were unsuccessful in their first application.
Saying no to applicants is not fun. Each one commits a part of themselves to the process, and they will be disappointed, so we try to alleviate the tension by making and communicating decisions as quickly as possible. Applicants receive honest – sometimes uncomfortable – feedback on their application and the reasons for our decision. When true, we tell people we believe they have fellow potential and invite them to reapply in the future. Eleven of the 46 fellows to date were unsuccessful in their first application.
After months of work, our reward is the joyful moment when someone is told they’ve been selected. They will be welcomed into a space we cherish and protect. The fellowship has been shaped by those that came before and is moulded more by each new fellow. As every fellowship is individual, so is every reaction to good news at the end of the process.
After months of work, our reward is the joyful moment when someone is told they’ve been selected. They will be welcomed into a space we cherish and protect. The fellowship has been shaped by those who came before and is moulded more by each new fellow. As every fellowship is individual, so is every reaction to good news at the end of the process.
Astra Taylor did her “happy dance” when we called to invite her into the fellowship. She had spent her life fighting hard for social change and we were offering to join her. The “happy dance” was real. Others are wildly professional on the phone and later let out the emotion over email. It’s a special moment when we accept someone who has applied multiple times, finally seeing their efforts pay off. Alasdair Davies had been given a Shuttleworth Foundation sticker years before he became a fellow, and chose not to use it before making his initial application. That application was unsuccessful and the sticker stayed in the drawer. But he took the feedback and promised himself that he would keep honing his vision. On the third attempt, he got in. The sticker clings to his laptop to this day.
Astra Taylor did her “happy dance” when we called to invite her into the fellowship. She had spent her life fighting hard for social change, and we were offering to join her. The “happy dance” was real. Others are wildly professional on the phone and later let out the emotion over email. It’s a special moment when we accept someone who has applied multiple times, finally seeing their efforts pay off. Alasdair Davies had been given a Shuttleworth Foundation sticker years before he became a fellow, and chose not to use it before making his initial application. That application was unsuccessful, and the sticker stayed in the drawer. But he took the feedback and promised himself that he would keep honing his vision. On the third attempt, he got in. The sticker clings to his laptop to this day.
We have worked hard on making the process a positive experience. We own it in a personal way and want to connect as humans. We consider an applicant’s personality, how they would affect the group dynamic, whether they share and reflect our values, and if they represent a diversity of context, culture, and perspective. We look for people who will expand our horizons, evolve our view of the world, and truly benefit from the shared wisdom and experience of the fellowship.
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We have worked hard on making the process a positive experience. We own it in a personal way and want to connect as humans. We consider an applicant’s personality, how they would affect the group dynamic, whether they share and reflect our values, and if they represent a diversity of context, culture and perspective. We look for people who will expand our horizons, evolve our view of the world, and truly benefit from the shared wisdom and experience of the fellowship.
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The [letter and agreement](50-03-appendix-agreement-letter.html#ii-the-agreement-letter){:.show-page-number} now total nine pages and define the partnership, explicitly detailing commitments to one another and to the wider fellowship group. These commitments include an outline of the [Open Requirements](50-04-appendix-open-requirements.html#iii-open-requirements){:.show-page-number} expected by the Foundation and are the heart of the relationship built with all fellows. The letter is a legal agreement, an introduction and an invitation.
{:.keep-together}
There is an inherent trust in the Foundation/fellow relationship. The fellow leads the way toward the fulfilment of their mission, but the Foundation team has much to contribute and does not hand over power without reciprocal expectations. This use of power is deliberate. Value is created from money and power in the relationship, but it also grows beyond the individual fellow when each lesson learned is shared with the community. The idea is to evolve and grow together – not just over the span of a financial relationship, but over a lifetime. This is the fellowship we build together.
There is an inherent trust in the Foundation/fellow relationship. The fellow leads the way towards the fulfilment of their mission, but the Foundation team has much to contribute and does not hand over power without reciprocal expectations. This use of power is deliberate. Value is created from money and power in the relationship, but it also grows beyond the individual fellow when each lesson learnt is shared with the community. The idea is to evolve and grow together – not just over the span of a financial relationship, but over a lifetime. This is the fellowship we build together.
Honesty, sharing, mutual respect and care are expected in a fellowship designed to offer lifelong support. These values are incorporated into all interactions – both virtual and face-to-face. The acceptance letter is the start of the relationship with a new fellow, modelling these values from the very beginning.
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......@@ -19,8 +19,8 @@ It is rare for a pitch to be dismissed outright. Pitches are moments in a contin
There are no preset restrictions on spending categories. Different fellows value and need different resources at different points in their trajectory. The process is designed to help the fellow figure out what matters most in reaching their goals. Do they need to cover overheads, equipment costs, travel or staff? One fellow needed a truck to reach remote locations and install equipment. Another pitched for ergonomic office chairs for their team who were working long hours in front of computer screens. Some pitch only for travel and bringing people together, some for staff salaries, and some only need overheads covered. The Foundation’s approach is to counsel, question, trust and review – not control.
Of course this carries some risk. Money can be wasted, but we mitigate risks by ring-fencing time and money. Each fellow has the opportunity to apply for up to three consecutive years, one year at a time. Within that year, each fellow has access to a set amount of funding, allowing the Foundation to determine the exact size of the financial risk it is willing to take. These limits create an opportunity for review and reflection on both sides, along with natural exit points should the partnership no longer work. We recognise there is a certain hypocrisy to imposing such limits on fellows when we aim to build lasting relationships centred around trust. But having these limits allows greater freedom to take risks within these confines.
Of course this carries some risk. Money can be wasted, but we mitigate risks by ring-fencing time and money. Each fellow has the opportunity to apply for up to three consecutive years, one year at a time. Within that year, each fellow has access to a set amount of funding, allowing the Foundation to determine the exact size of the financial risk it is willing to take. These limits create an opportunity for review and reflection on both sides, along with natural exit points should the partnership no longer work. We recognise there is a certain hypocrisy to imposing such limits on fellows when we aim to build lasting relationships centred on trust. But having these limits allows greater freedom to take risks within these confines.
Sometimes reapplications are not successful. It is a difficult decision to make, having come to know the individual and their work. It’s a tough time for fellows too, and in the weeks leading up to that date in the calendar, there is a noticeable air of apprehension. Astra Taylor said of her experience, “I was far more nervous about my reapplications than my initial application. Now I know what I’d be missing if I wasn’t offered another year. As a result, I was even more delighted the second and third time I got a call to say I can hang around on the island a while longer.”
Sometimes reapplications are not successful. It is a difficult decision to make, having come to know the individual and their work. It’s a tough time for fellows too, and in the weeks leading up to "that date" in the calendar, there is a noticeable air of apprehension. Astra Taylor said of her experience, “I was far more nervous about my reapplications than my initial application. Now I know what I’d be missing if I weren’t offered another year. As a result, I was even more delighted the second and third time I got a call to say I can hang around on the island a while longer.”
Even when reapplications aren’t successful, fellows are invited back to our space, included in the community, and given every opportunity to continue their participation. Every fellow brings a unique and lasting value to the fellowship.
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Funders can be obsessive about metrics and demand to see progress happening in highly specific ways, which may – or may not – be applicable to the work being funded. Some funders use language that fails to correlate with the problems the work is trying to solve, or they attempt to jam projects into preexisting spreadsheets. Almost always, this serves an internal metric created for use by people far away. It is a proxy treated as absolute, unconsciously or otherwise. At the Foundation, we take the long view, and look at individual, shared, and collaborative success.
Esra’a El Shafei’s CrowdVoice.org has 30,000 highly engaged users including human rights lawyers, teachers and journalists. It’s an important service giving context to sensitive issues in the world’s most dangerous and complex places. Traditional funders ask “How long will it take before there are a million users?” That’s completely missing the point. More users means appealing to an entirely different audience a very real example of how the wrong metrics can harm a project and derail the intended change.
Esra’a Al Shafei’s CrowdVoice.org has 30,000 highly engaged users, including human rights lawyers, teachers and journalists. It’s an important service giving context to sensitive issues in the world’s most dangerous and complex places. Traditional funders ask, “How long will it take before there are a million users?” That’s completely missing the point. More users means appealing to an entirely different audience a very real example of how the wrong metrics can harm a project and derail the intended change.
Unfortunately, many still think of scale as success and that bigger is always better. This thinking leads us to measure growth on a balance sheet or count the number of heads in the staff room. But building something bigger doesn’t mean serving the mission better, or achieving greater impact. These are purely vanity metrics.
Greg McKeown introduced the idea of the clarity paradox.[^1] This proposes that when we have true clarity of purpose, it leads to success. With success comes new opportunities, leading to new options and prospects. These new possibilities diffuse efforts that undermine the very clarity that brought success in the first place. Using scale as a metric of success may turn into pursuit of scale which can damage the ability to create the change originally sought. To avoid this paradox and maintain focus, scale should be thought about and planned explicitly as a strategic choice, instead of a default.
Greg McKeown introduced the idea of the clarity paradox.[^1] This proposes that when we have true clarity of purpose, it leads to success. With success comes new opportunities, leading to new options and prospects. These new possibilities diffuse efforts that undermine the very clarity that brought success in the first place. Using scale as a metric of success may turn into pursuit of scale, which can damage the ability to create the change originally sought. To avoid this paradox and maintain focus, scale should be thought about and planned explicitly as a strategic choice, instead of a default.
So how do we measure success?
......@@ -25,16 +25,16 @@ It is constant reevaluation, not a static metric that allows fellows to course-c
Success for us is not an all-or-nothing measure. If what we genuinely seek is change, then we need to think in terms of iterative steps towards that change and what we learn with each step.
The more powerful measure of success is how long fellows remain committed to and actively working towards their vision. Social change is a long process, and for this reason it’s important to give people space and resources to break down the systems they target – and build them back up – with a strategy to help them do it for as long as possible. This is why we believe funding should be about the person; about helping them become resilient enough to effect change over a lifetime.
The more powerful measure of success is how long fellows remain committed to and actively working towards their vision. Social change is a long process, and for this reason, it’s important to give people space and resources to break down the systems they target – and build them back up – with a strategy to help them do it for as long as possible. This is why we believe funding should be about the person; about helping them become resilient enough to effect change over a lifetime.
Arthur Attwell worked tirelessly on Paperight for years and had to make the heartbreaking decision to close it down. Most would see a project’s death as failure; we don’t. Arthur was absolutely a successful Shuttleworth Fellow. He introduced important new conversations in the publishing world and carries many of his learnings into new enterprises. He is still pushing for change in the publishing industry and increasing accessibility to books. He remains a committed, engaged, and highly valuable member of the fellowship. This is successful iteration.
Arthur Attwell worked tirelessly on Paperight for years and had to make the heartbreaking decision to close it down. Most would see a project’s death as failure; we don’t. Arthur was absolutely a successful Shuttleworth Fellow. He introduced important new conversations in the publishing world and carries many of his learnings into new enterprises. He is still pushing for change in the publishing industry and increasing accessibility to books. He remains a committed, engaged and highly valuable member of the fellowship. This is successful iteration.
In the context of the fellowship, failures are recycled as shared learnings. Just as importantly, large-scale failure leaves behind scaffolding that others can build on. In this sense, current failure is a future shortcut for someone else and enables inter-generational progress, building on the work of those that came before. This is the reason we make intellectual property open.
In the context of the fellowship, failures are recycled as shared learnings. Just as importantly, large-scale failure leaves behind scaffolding that others can build on. In this sense, current failure is a future shortcut for someone else and enables inter-generational progress, building on the work of those who came before. This is the reason we make intellectual property open.
The work we have done on ubiquitous, affordable access to telecommunications and educational resources has made a significant contribution to shifting policy and practice. It hasn’t happened within one fellowship year or a single project plan. It has taken time, iteration and experimentation and it is not always possible to see how today’s work contributes to tomorrow’s successes. Each failure is a potential building block.
The work we have done on ubiquitous, affordable access to telecommunications and educational resources has made a significant contribution to shifting policy and practice. It hasn’t happened within one fellowship year or a single project plan. It has taken time, iteration and experimentation, and it is not always possible to see how today’s work contributes to tomorrow’s successes. Each failure is a potential building block.
One of the first fellows, Mark Surman, gave a flash grant to Jesse von Doom who then successfully applied for a fellowship. Shortly after, Jesse suggested Sean Bonner apply, and gave Astra Taylor a flash grant. Sean was offered a fellowship to work on Safecast, and the following year Astra accepted a fellowship to work on The Debt Collective. Both Safecast and The Debt Collective have had significant social and political impacts, but we could never have known that Mark’s fellowship revolving around open philanthropy would have led us to them.
One of the first fellows, Mark Surman, gave a flash grant to Jesse von Doom, who then successfully applied for a fellowship. Shortly after, Jesse suggested Sean Bonner apply, and gave Astra Taylor a flash grant. Sean was offered a fellowship to work on Safecast, and the following year Astra accepted a fellowship to work on The Debt Collective. Both Safecast and The Debt Collective have had significant social and political impacts, but we could never have known that Mark’s fellowship revolving around open philanthropy would have led us to them.
Nurture a successful culture and you attract others of the same mould – but there is a need for caution. Like-minds thrive off each other’s views; single minds grow blind to ideas. For the fellowship to blossom fully, it must diversify into new geographies, listen to new perspectives and uncover new concepts. We pursue the right fit, but we aren’t building clones.
Nurture a successful culture, and you attract others of the same mould – but there is a need for caution. Like-minds thrive off each other’s views; single minds grow blind to ideas. For the fellowship to blossom fully, it must diversify into new geographies, listen to new perspectives and uncover new concepts. We pursue the right fit, but we aren’t building clones.
[^1]: [Greg McKeown (2012): The Disciplined Pursuit of Less](https://hbr.org/2012/08/the-disciplined-pursuit-of-less){:.show-url}
......@@ -5,28 +5,28 @@ style: chapter
## **15** A marriage of misfits
Finding ways to sustainably recycle electronics, decolonise the internet, create affordable conservation technologies, make open medical hardware and develop openly accessible cell cultures – these are some of the challenges fought by fellows.
Finding ways to sustainably recycle electronics, decolonise the Internet, create affordable conservation technologies, make open medical hardware and develop openly accessible cell cultures – these are some of the challenges fought by fellows.
To take these battles on with integrity and to continually invent, evaluate, reinvent, convince, and solve problems – while no one else has any idea what is being talked about – makes the journey long, exhausting and lonely. It takes a special kind of person to embrace this, and to make it their life.
To take these battles on with integrity and to continually invent, evaluate, reinvent, convince and solve problems – while no one else has any idea what is being talked about – makes the journey long, exhausting and lonely. It takes a special kind of person to embrace this, and to make it their life.
It’s no surprise that the fellowship has been fondly described as a “collection of weirdos”. One reason the community works, is that these misfits have found each other and realised that they aren’t so alone after all. The fellowship is a place to find commonality. It is an opportunity to share stories, learnings, and experiences that have been gathered along the way; to learn from one another. But it can often take time for fellows to come in from the cold; to sit around the fellowship hearth and know they are among friends.
It’s no surprise that the fellowship has been fondly described as a “collection of weirdos”. One reason the community works, is that these misfits have found each other and realised that they aren’t so alone after all. The fellowship is a place to find commonality. It is an opportunity to share stories, learnings and experiences that have been gathered along the way; to learn from one another. But it can often take time for fellows to come in from the cold; to sit around the fellowship hearth and know they are among friends.
All fellows find the community overwhelming at first, but it’s part of the process – and completely expected. It takes time to build confidence in the group before a new member of the cohort can feel comfortable and truly let go. But once those bonds are in place, the environment of trust makes sharing common experiences easier.
At a recent Gathering, a new fellow described a tricky and potentially volatile situation in their community: a significant clash of personalities with a volunteer. Removing that single toxic personality was the easy choice, but it wasn’t an option. Long-term personal relationships between the volunteer and other highly valued members of the community meant that if one was removed, the rest might follow. There was no simple resolution, but just having a safe place to talk about the issue led to others discussing similar situations. It was incredibly helpful to the fellow and, of course, to others.
At the recent Gathering, a new fellow described a tricky and potentially volatile situation in their community: a significant clash of personalities with a volunteer. Removing that single toxic personality was the easy choice, but it wasn’t an option. Long-term personal relationships between the volunteer and other highly valued members of the community meant that if one was removed, the rest might follow. There was no simple resolution, but just having a safe place to talk about the issue led to others discussing similar situations. It was incredibly helpful to the fellow and, of course, to others.
But the fellowship isn’t just for help. It’s a testing ground for new ideas, and these will all get a thorough grilling – and with everyone’s best intentions at heart. Eventually, fellows feel enabled to try things they never would have dreamed of attempting before.
But the fellowship isn’t just for help. It’s a testing ground for new ideas, and these will all get a thorough grilling – and with everyone’s best intentions at heart. Eventually, fellows feel enabled to try things they never would have dreamt of attempting before.
While creating CrowdVoice, a platform that harnessed the power of crowdsourced media to contextualise social movements, Esra’a Al Shafei found her experience with the Shuttleworth community to be valuable in more ways than one.
“I have a sense of belonging,” she says. “It sounds clichéd, but to do this in Bahrain is very isolating. To do this anywhere else, I would not have that support network. A lot of the foundations we work with exist to commit something to their investment committee. You have a program officer to respond to, auditors to respond to, financial reports to submit. Nobody asks, ‘How are you?’ That’s something the fellowship provides. The group cares about you as an individual.
“I have a sense of belonging,” she says. “It sounds clichéd, but to do this in Bahrain is very isolating. To do this anywhere else, I would not have that support network. A lot of the foundations we work with exist to commit something to their investment committee. You have a programme officer to respond to, auditors to respond to, financial reports to submit. Nobody asks, ‘How are you?’ That’s something the fellowship provides. The group cares about you as an individual.
“When my fellowship ended, I thought at first it was going to be another one of those experiences I would just move on from. But I continued getting invites to the in-person Gatherings, and the community keeps coming back to get energised and renew a lot of the friendships. We may not agree on every single thing, and there are definitely controversies involved, but as a whole, this group of fellows and team genuinely cares, and that’s what makes the fellowship so meaningful.
“When my fellowship ended, I thought at first it was going to be another one of those experiences I would just move on from. But I continued getting invites to the in-person Gathering, and the community keeps coming back to get energised and renew a lot of the friendships. We may not agree on every single thing, and there are definitely controversies involved, but as a whole, this group of fellows and team genuinely cares, and that’s what makes the fellowship so meaningful.
“Apart from the technicalities, you immediately understand why people are fellows. It’s not just because what they do is open software or hardware, or open this or open that. It’s because they come with an open mind and want to solve what they perceive as a grave injustice – it’s a group of people struggling for real progress, accessibility, social justice. I think that’s a recent transformation of what the Shuttleworth Foundation means.”
It’s a gradual transformation Esra’a has observed – and been part of – since she joined the Shuttleworth community in 2012. Then, she felt the concept of Open as driven by the technical definitions used by the software and hardware communities that made up the majority of the fellowship. But as we have shifted focus to cover different social challenges, each new fellow has brought a different perspective. Over time, the conversation has expanded.
“The fellowship was really what made me understand Open from a philosophical standpoint,” says Esra’a. “Why open, how open, to whom is it open and by whom is it open – these are all questions I had never considered before.
“The fellowship was really what made me understand Open from a philosophical standpoint,” says Esra’a. “Why Open, how Open, to whom is it open and by whom is it open – these are all questions I had never considered before.
“Now we have people like Anasuya [Sengupta], Astra [Taylor], Tiffiniy [Cheng]… every single one of them looks at Open completely differently. We see it as a movement, but within that, each individual has a different angle. No one has or wants a monopoly on any idea or concept.”
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## **16** Gathering together
Every six months, the fellowship comes together in person for a working week to share ideas, ask for help, build bonds and find common ground in the work we all do separately. It is an environment of openness and trust, with consent, respect, and care central to its design. Each Gathering is a microcosm of the way the fellowship works all year round; a support system designed for and with the fellows.
Every six months, the fellowship comes together in person for a working week to share ideas, ask for help, build bonds and find common ground in the work we all do separately. It is an environment of openness and trust, with consent, respect and care central to its design. Each Gathering is a microcosm of the way the fellowship works all year round; a support system designed for and with the fellows.
All Foundation staff and current fellows participate, with past fellows attending as their schedules allow. Every Gathering takes on a life of its own, but the one constant is that all participants are equal in the room. By removing hierarchy, partnership is created and shared between everyone, with the whole community acting in service to each other.
The Gathering is not for creating a work product, nor is it for bragging about accomplishments. Everyone brings and shares expertise, experience and wisdom, and takes away new ideas, reflections, and different perspectives. It is a place for personal and professional rejuvenation within a network of like-minded and generous colleagues. Gifts are exchanged, friendships are renewed and stories are shared; laughter and catharsis are experienced in equal measure.
The Gathering is not for creating a work product, nor is it for bragging about accomplishments. Everyone brings and shares expertise, experience and wisdom, and takes away new ideas, reflections and different perspectives. It is a place for personal and professional rejuvenation within a network of like-minded and generous colleagues. Gifts are exchanged, friendships are renewed and stories are shared; laughter and catharsis are experienced in equal measure.
There are a few basic rules (see the full list later in the book): everyone who takes part must commit for the whole week, be fully present for every session and engage with every attendee. To allow the group to fully focus on each other, no families, co-workers or guests attend. For deeper relationships to develop and grow, the participants are shielded as much as possible from the complexities of work and life outside the Gathering.
Each participant offers a unique perspective. Some bring past experiences of the fellowship and reflections on life post-funding, and share their insights to help current fellows along their own paths. New fellows bring stories from lives outside the Shuttleworth Foundation community, and add a new dimension to our thinking.
Each participant offers a unique perspective. Some bring past experiences of the fellowship and reflections on life post-funding and share their insights to help current fellows along their own paths. New fellows bring stories from lives outside the Shuttleworth Foundation community, and add a new dimension to our thinking.
It took a long time to find the current format. When the fellowship evolved from a residential programme to one that was virtual and distributed, it felt like something had been lost. In an attempt to recreate the residential camaraderie, the decision was made to bring everyone together, in person, for two days. The first Gathering.
......@@ -21,37 +21,37 @@ It was a small group, some of whom already knew each other and worked in the sam
But the evolution and format changes didn’t stop there.
### The Boston “Me” Party
### The Boston “me” party
In May 2013, the MIT Media Lab offered to host us in Boston. This was our seventh Gathering, and the inspirational location and compelling schedule promised much. But the reality left us cold.
The physical space was a massive, impersonal area with glaring white walls; far too big for the small group. Dimmed lights and a large screen did little to warm the room. At the MIT Media Lab there are always interesting students and faculty happening by, but the people popping in and out proved disruptive. The experience shifted focus from the Shuttleworth community to the broader world, and sacrificed depth of engagement for superficial breadth.
The physical space was a massive, impersonal area with glaring white walls; far too big for the small group. Dimmed lights and a large screen did little to warm the room. At the MIT Media Lab there are always interesting students and faculty happening by, but the people popping in and out proved disruptive. The experience shifted focus from the Shuttleworth community to the broader world and sacrificed depth of engagement for superficial breadth.
The format also failed. Each session started with a presentation, introducing a feeling of competition. The misplaced focus disturbed the sense of belonging and community that was the original purpose. Questions and insecurities were hard to express, and the sessions forced each fellow into me-first thinking. Other fellows were behind their laptops refining their own presentations rather than being engaged.
While every component of this Gathering was designed with positive community and camaraderie in mind, it was clear that this format no longer served those objectives. The programme and people were suffering because of it. Small changes were made immediately, but it took 18 months to develop a new format that fostered the desired environment.
### Get Your Gunner
### Get your gunner
Trusted expert in collaborative events Allen Gunn Gunner as he’s more widely known was brought in to help. A long time collaborator, he advocated the need to shift the focus in participatory events from organisers and panelists to participants. Along with some tools and tips, he helped redesign the event from scratch.
Trusted expert in collaborative events Allen Gunn Gunner as he’s more widely known was brought in to help. A long time collaborator, he advocated the need to shift the focus in participatory events from organisers and panellists to participants. Along with some tools and tips, he helped redesign the event from scratch.
The first step was to choose a location that was away from any partners or significant locations, with a venue that had space for people to hang out and find each other outside of the formal agenda.
Next, presentations were banished along with the use of any devices during sessions. In order to build real relationships, conversation and connection in the room was prioritised. Gunner worked with each fellow to design collaborative sessions in advance, identifying topics that would be most useful to them. Fellows owned their own sessions, and were encouraged and empowered to ask for help from others. We broke up into smaller groups to create space for more active participation. Finally, Gunner participated as an outside facilitator, tasked with creating an appropriate structure through a loose agenda.
Next, presentations were banished along with the use of any devices during sessions. In order to build real relationships, conversation and connection in the room were prioritised. Gunner worked with each fellow to design collaborative sessions in advance, identifying topics that would be most useful to them. Fellows owned their own sessions and were encouraged and empowered to ask for help from others. We broke up into smaller groups to create space for more active participation. Finally, Gunner participated as an outside facilitator, tasked with creating an appropriate structure through a loose agenda.
In Malta, October 2014, the group was introduced to this new format.
The change surpassed all expectations. It established the purpose of the Gathering as more important than any specific practice or outcome and that the format could – and should – evolve. The focus was on learning and the community became a resource for all to share.
The change surpassed all expectations. It established the purpose of the Gathering as more important than any specific practice or outcome, and that the format could – and should – evolve. The focus was on learning, and the community became a resource for all to share.
Gatherings would no longer be about having all the answers. By moving towards participation and collaboration, the sessions placed fellows in a landscape that allowed them to get lost.
The Gathering would no longer be about having all the answers. By moving towards participation and collaboration, the sessions placed fellows in a landscape that allowed them to get lost.
Participants were immediately more engaged, not only in sessions but also outside of the formal programme. A space grew for human connection within the context of a specific problem set, naturally leading to further conversation and moving easily between the specifics of a domain to a higher order of challenge. It changed from “how am I solving this?” to “how are we solving this?” and, over time, to “how do we solve this together?”
{% include feature-image
images='esraa.jpg'
reference='Esra’a Al Shafei quote'
caption='“Many fellowships end when [funding] ends – that’s it. You don’t go to meetings and you aren’t invited – you become part of the mailing list and it ends there. I’m not obliged to go to the Gatherings, but it’s where I get energy and inspiration, and I solidify my commitment to Open. I still feel part of this.”'
description='“Many fellowships end when [funding] ends – that’s it. You don’t go to meetings and you aren’t invited – you become part of the mailing list and it ends there. I’m not obliged to go to the Gatherings, but it’s where I get energy and inspiration, and I solidify my commitment to Open. I still feel part of this.”'
caption='“Many fellowships end when [funding] ends – that’s it. You don’t go to meetings and you aren’t invited – you become part of the mailing list and it ends there. I’m not obliged to go to the Gathering, but it’s where I get energy and inspiration, and I solidify my commitment to Open. I still feel part of this.”'
description='“Many fellowships end when [funding] ends – that’s it. You don’t go to meetings and you aren’t invited – you become part of the mailing list and it ends there. I’m not obliged to go to the Gathering, but it’s where I get energy and inspiration, and I solidify my commitment to Open. I still feel part of this.”'
source='Esra’a Al Shafei (2012–2015)'
text-position='bottom right'
text-color='white'
......@@ -63,8 +63,8 @@ Since Malta, we have continued to experiment with the Gathering format. Every ev
> “No two Gatherings will ever be the same. Take a moment and look around the room; this is the last time this exact set of people will ever be sitting together.” *Allen Gunn*{:.source}
### The Gathering Culture
### The Gathering culture
Some of the Gathering’s social activities are formally planned and some have evolved as informal “rituals” over time. The location plays a role too, allowing for spontaneous moments that fade into lore. It’s hard to go swimming in an underground cave when you’re not in Mexico or to hike the Atlas Mountains if you aren’t in Marrakech. These social components nurture and deepen relationships. Breaking out from the intensity of work and into a space for adventure, laughter and connection makes a long week short.
Some of the Gathering’s social activities are formally planned, and some have evolved as informal “rituals” over time. The location plays a role too, allowing for spontaneous moments that fade into lore. It’s hard to go swimming in an underground cave when you’re not in Mexico or to hike the Atlas Mountains if you aren’t in Marrakech. These social components nurture and deepen relationships. Breaking out from the intensity of work and into a space for adventure, laughter and connection makes a long week short.
The culture of the Gathering is carefully shaped to mirror the values we hold in the fellowship all year round. In the same way, the culture of the Gathering spills out and influences other fellowship spaces. It changes how we chat, email, and speak in meetings. It enables partnerships and collaborations. It connects people to one another and solidifies the ongoing commitment fellows and Foundation make to the shared fellowship. In short, the Gathering both reflects and shapes the “us”.
The culture of the Gathering is carefully shaped to mirror the values we hold in the fellowship all year round. In the same way, the culture of the Gathering spills out and influences other fellowship spaces. It changes how we chat, email and speak in meetings. It enables partnerships and collaborations. It connects people to one another and solidifies the ongoing commitment fellows and Foundation make to the shared fellowship. In short, the Gathering both reflects and shapes the “us”.
......@@ -7,7 +7,7 @@ style: chapter
Funded fellowships last from one to three years, but when the funding runs dry, fellows aren’t “out”.
It stands to reason that lifelong change-makers who find a home and place with like minded others tend to value those relationships and maintain them. It’s also true that the longer fellows are around, the better others come to know them and their work; thus conversations and relationships become deeper and stronger. The shared experiences and trust fellows have built, the collaborations established, the advisors gained and the friendships made are rare, lasting and important. Fellows that come to the Gatherings or participate in communication channels bring news from their journeys, new learnings and new questions. The current fellows learn from this wisdom and benefit from experiences accumulated far beyond the fellowship. Returning fellows also learn from the new people and ideas that have entered the community since their fellowships ended.
It stands to reason that lifelong change-makers who find a home and place with likeminded others tend to value those relationships and maintain them. It’s also true that the longer fellows are around, the better others come to know them and their work; thus conversations and relationships become deeper and stronger. The shared experiences and trust fellows have built, the collaborations established, the advisors gained and the friendships made are rare, lasting and important. Fellows that come to the Gathering or participate in communication channels bring news from their journeys, new learnings and new questions. The current fellows learn from this wisdom and benefit from experiences accumulated far beyond the fellowship. Returning fellows also learn from the new people and ideas that have entered the community since their fellowships ended.
At the 2017 Vancouver Gathering, Gavin Weale, a fellow who works in a number of African countries training young people to produce magazines and digital marketing, came back with an incredibly honest and vulnerable war story about [how not to scale](50-07-appendix-scale-sustainably.html#vi-thou-shalt-scale-sustainably){:.show-page-number}. The whole room was rapt. Everyone recognised the quandary and had felt the same pressure from funders to hit a number rather than achieve meaningful impact.
......@@ -15,7 +15,7 @@ In response, the group pooled experiences and ideas to crowdsource “The Ten Co
> “Thou shalt have stretchy pants.” Keep in mind worst- and best-case scenarios, and how you will manage the changing cashflow inherent in funder-based growth, and make sure you can scale up and down in an agile way (like stretchy pants do).
Openness, trust and respect are the bedrock of every long-lasting relationship, but this social glue is not always enough. It’s a challenge for individuals from disparate fields and time zones to stay in touch, either as friends or as a network: personal and work commitments must come first. The Foundation’s responsibility is to make sure connectedness can happen. Aside from the Gatherings and communications channels, there are several ideas we use to help nurture a continuing sense of community between fellowship and fellow. Here are a few examples:
Openness, trust and respect are the bedrock of every long-lasting relationship, but this social glue is not always enough. It’s a challenge for individuals from disparate fields and time zones to stay in touch, either as friends or as a network: personal and work commitments must come first. The Foundation’s responsibility is to make sure connectedness can happen. Aside from the Gathering and communications channels, there are several ideas we use to help nurture a continuing sense of community between fellowship and fellow. Here are a few examples:
### Boards
......@@ -25,9 +25,9 @@ Good boards provide strategic direction, support the organisation’s leaders an
Fellows also support each other. Esra’a Al Shafei transitioned from current fellow in September 2015, just as Astra Taylor joined. Esra’a got to know Astra and discovered their shared vision and values. Astra now serves on Esra’a’s board.
### Flash Grants
### Flash grants
Expanding community thinking beyond the fellows is an overt goal of building the fellowship over time. The fellows’ communities benefit from ambient sharing, and fellows are also empowered to fund others they believe in through a program called Flash Grants.
Expanding community thinking beyond the fellows is an overt goal of building the fellowship over time. The fellows’ communities benefit from ambient sharing, and fellows are also empowered to fund others they believe in through a programme called Flash Grants.
Flash Grants create a shared responsibility between fellow and Foundation. Each fellow has the opportunity to nominate someone they think is doing good work to receive a one-time award of $5,000, with minimal strings attached.
......@@ -37,11 +37,11 @@ Flash Grants are a very easy way for us to explore new ideas and new ways of giv
### Gathering letters
One of the ways fellows stay connected over time is the Gathering letters. In the very last session of every Gathering, each participant gets a piece of paper and a locally-branded envelope, anchoring it in a time and place. Everyone attending has 30 minutes to find a quiet place and write a letter, starting with how they are feeling in the moment and then imagining what they would like to say to themselves six months from now. The letter is then sealed in the envelope, saved and handed back, for the writer’s eyes only at the next Gathering they attend. This intimate reflection connects us to our past and future selves, over time.
One of the ways fellows stay connected over time is the Gathering letters. In the very last session of every Gathering, each participant gets a piece of paper and a locally branded envelope, anchoring it in a time and place. Everyone attending has 30 minutes to find a quiet place and write a letter, starting with how they are feeling in the moment and then imagining what they would like to say to themselves six months from now. The letter is then sealed in the envelope, saved and handed back, for the writer’s eyes only at the next Gathering they attend. This intimate reflection connects us to our past and future selves, over time.
### Collective growth
The experience of one of our first fellows, Mark Horner, illustrates our journey and the core principles of the fellowship. While Mark was getting his PhD in Physics and tutoring undergraduates, he and a few friends started the Free High School Textbooks project to solve a need he saw personally in the students he tutored. Karien Bezuidenhout, at the Foundation during its grantmaker phase, saw what he was doing, sought him out, and made a small grant for the project. He got his PhD, did post-graduate work at Berkeley and CERN, and then landed what should have been his dream job in science – which ultimately didn’t feel nearly as important as what he was doing with the textbooks.
The experience of one of our first fellows, Mark Horner, illustrates our journey and the core principles of the fellowship. While Mark was getting his PhD in physics and tutoring undergraduates, he and a few friends started the Free High School Textbooks project to solve a need he saw personally in the students he tutored. Karien Bezuidenhout, at the Foundation during its grantmaker phase, saw what he was doing, sought him out, and offered a small grant for the project. He got his PhD, did post-graduate work at Berkeley and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and then landed what should have been his dream job in science – which ultimately didn’t feel nearly as important as what he was doing with the textbooks.
We continued to follow his progress on open textbooks. When we heard that he was ready to work on open textbooks full-time, we hired him to do that with us. Technically, he was a project manager at the Foundation, but he continued to fully own and drive his own project.
......@@ -49,8 +49,8 @@ As our funding model evolved into the current fellowship structure, Mark became
Mark and his organisation, Siyavula, taught us a great deal about openness and building a sustainable enterprise. The textbooks he created during the fellowship are open by default and still at the heart of the Siyavula offering. However, the income stream has grown out of a product – practice software – built upon the open content, but not open itself. Is that still making the world a better place through openness? We believe so. The open textbooks remain available and accessible to all, helping learners get to grips with the core curriculum. The practice software follows sound educational principles, adding value on top of the books at a reasonable price, for learners to cement their learning.
The Foundation remains a shareholder in Siyavula and Karien remains a member of the board of directors. We hope to achieve true sustainability together, while continuing to learn from Mark and his team for some time to come.
The Foundation remains a shareholder in Siyavula, and Karien remains a member of the board of directors. We hope to achieve true sustainability together, while continuing to learn from Mark and his team for some time to come.
### …always a fellow
### …Always a fellow
Of course, it is always possible for a fellow to take the money, be pleasant and move on. The benefits of their fellowship experience will be ephemeral. Some may fade away because of family or work commitments and return to the fold later, recharged with new experiences and looking for new ideas to take ideas back to their own organisations. But all fellows have the opportunity to benefit from the support of the community and continue as a valued member and contributor. Most are still part of the fellowship and many are active, both in person and online. Once a fellow, always a fellow.
\ No newline at end of file
Of course, it is always possible for a fellow to take the money, be pleasant and move on. The benefits of their fellowship experience will be ephemeral. Some may fade away because of family or work commitments and return to the fold later, recharged with new experiences and looking for new ideas to take ideas back to their own organisations. But all fellows have the opportunity to benefit from the support of the community and continue as a valued member and contributor. Most are still part of the fellowship, and many are active, both in person and online. Once a fellow, always a fellow.
\ No newline at end of file
......@@ -6,20 +6,20 @@ style: chapter
## **18** The $5m challenge
{:.add-lines-2}
Consider the annual budgets of a few noteworthy funders: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s total 2017 direct grantee support was $4.7bn.[^1] The Open Society Foundation’s budget for 2018 was over $1bn.[^2] Omidyar Network’s 2016 expenses were more than $125M.[^3] The Wikimedia Foundation’s total expenses for 2017 were in excess of $69m.[^4]
Consider the annual budgets of a few noteworthy funders: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s total 2017 direct grantee support was $4.7bn.[^1] The Open Society Foundation’s budget for 2018 was over $1bn.[^2] Omidyar Network’s 2016 expenses were more than $125m.[^3] The Wikimedia Foundation’s total expenses for 2017 were in excess of $69m.[^4]
Now consider how someone might spend $5m. Five million dollars will buy you a Lamborghini Veneno, or a three-bedroom flat in central London. It could pay for a single 30-second Super Bowl ad, 29 Snapchat lenses, a week-long campaign on Facebook or eight posts on Instagram from Selena Gomez.
Or, $5m could fund a year of determined fellows working on ideas that have the potential to change the world.
The Shuttleworth Foundation operates at a tiny fraction of the annual budget for most funders. With just $5m per year we have produced 46 fellows so far. 90% of them continue to innovate in their field.
The Shuttleworth Foundation operates at a tiny fraction of the annual budget for most funders. With just $5m per year, we have produced 46 fellows so far. 90% of them continue to innovate in their field.
This impact is sustained because we pick people not projects, and remain committed to them.
This impact is sustained because we pick people, not projects, and remain committed to them.
A three year fellowship provides up to $1m in funding. The following illustrate the long-term impact of the fellowship:
* Astra Taylor helped erase over $1 billion dollars of predatory debt.
* Kathi Fletcher has gone on to help over two million college students save more than $160m per semester using open textbooks through her position at OpenStax.
* Kathi Fletcher has gone on to help over two million university students save more than $160m per semester using open textbooks through her position at OpenStax.
* Sean Bonner helped create the largest environmental radiation data set ever, and put it entirely into the public domain.
* Achal Prabhala is working to invalidate 85% of all medicine patents unjustly granted in India, giving access to life-saving medicine for billions of people.
......@@ -27,11 +27,11 @@ Some fellows create organisations that endure; some go on to established institu
The Foundation and fellows are often asked how our fellowship model works in order to duplicate its efficient return on investment. The model has been copied, but not always successfully. The numbers don’t work without the core philosophies and the fellows we choose – as much for their fit with the fellowship as their individual potential.
Imagine going to a friend’s house for dinner. The meal is delicious and you take a mental note of the ingredients so you can try cooking it yourself at home. But unless you are very lucky, it’s highly unlikely the dish will come out exactly the same. Your friend will use different utensils, a higher quality of ingredient, or perhaps be a little more liberal with herbs and seasoning. The result could be similar, although a little less tasty. It might be a complete disaster. Even if you had a full recipe it is impossible to replicate the dish exactly, because you have to honour the precise process to achieve the desired result.
Imagine going to a friend’s house for dinner. The meal is delicious, and you take a mental note of the ingredients, so you can try cooking it yourself at home. But unless you are very lucky, it’s highly unlikely the dish will come out exactly the same. Your friend will use different utensils, a higher quality of ingredient, or perhaps be a little more liberal with herbs and seasoning. The result could be similar, although a little less tasty. It might be a complete disaster. Even if you had a full recipe, it is impossible to replicate the dish exactly, because you have to honour the precise process to achieve the desired result.
The fellowship only works if the intent and principles remain the same. If the recipe changes, you get a different meal.
$5m goes a long way when you are thoughtful and deliberate about how and who you fund.
$5m goes a long way when you are thoughtful and deliberate about how and whom you fund.
[^1]: [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation fact sheet](https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are/General-Information/Foundation-Factsheet){:.show-url}.
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......@@ -4,6 +4,6 @@ title: "Appendix overview"
## **Appendix** Overview
The following are practical instruments used in the fellowship. These are all living documents that represent the embodiment of our theories, changing as new ideas come into the fellowship. These are published using open licenses. Please them and use them for your own purposes.
The following are practical instruments used in the fellowship. These are all living documents that represent the embodiment of our theories, changing as new ideas come into the fellowship. These are published using open licences. Please them and use them for your own purposes.
Updates and further documentation can be found at [github.com/ShuttleworthFoundation](https://github.com/ShuttleworthFoundation).
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