Reflecting on the Burundi Mining Policy Sprint

Last week we ventured into new grounds and tested the Book Sprint method in a new environment and in quite a different genre: writing a mining policy for Burundi.

Writing a policy differs from other Book Sprints in some important ways. Other than many books that have been written in other Book Sprints, a policy is short and concise, it is framed as a set of positions and recommendations, and it needs to be compliant with the national laws such as Burundi’s mining code, and international agreements such as the African Mining Vision.

Holding the result - a 40-page policy.

Holding the result – a 40-page policy.

In most Book Sprints, a group of already established experts in a certain field comes together drawing from their knowledge and experience, whereas in this case representatives of several government agencies and ministries came together that are just gaining insights and experiences into new economic opportunities and the environmental and social issues that come with it. Burundi does not have industrial mining so far, and so the policy focuses mostly on artisanal mining, while creating a vision for future development as well as safeguarding against the often hazardous effects of mining.

The GIZ, partner to the Burundian ministry of mining, organized a workshop prior to the Book Sprint to familiarize the government representatives with the most important subjects, headed by Moussa Sylla from the Senegalese consultancy Géo-Mines and facilitated by a team from STRATEGIES, Cameroon.

Working until sunset in Kayanza

Then we followed with a three-day Book Sprint in Kayanza in the Burundian mountains. Led by Book Sprint facilitator Barbara Rühling and translator-mediator Laia Ros, a group of 18 contributors agreed on the focal points of the policy, its general vision and principles, and its structure. They then continued to write, revise, discuss, and polish the contextual information and the set of recommended actions for each of these focal points. On the third and last day, a team of one representative from the mining ministry and one external expert made the last pass at the text for consistency.

We are very happy that the process was considered a success by all participants, the hosts, and the facilitators. The policy will now be presented to the Burundian mining ministry for approval.

More photos can be found here

Facilitiating the production of government policy

We were invited some time ago by the GIZ (germany) to facilitate the production of government policy for Burundi. Our facilitation team is now there and will be working for 3 days on this project. Barbara Rühling and Laia Ros from the Book Sprints team are working hard in a mostly offline environment and will send reports and updates when they have returned.

Facilitating government policy.

Facilitating government policy.

More photos can be found here

Final day of OpenStack Book Sprint

It’s the fifth and final day of the Book Sprint for the OpenStack Architecture Design Guide and the contributors are tired and occasionally looking to the facilitators as if to ask, “Why are you doing this to me?” But the good news is they have a book and it’s been in a very rigorous cycle of review for the last half of the sprint, guided by this ever-expanding matrix of tasks. Now, the last facts are being checked and the grammar enthusiasts have been let loose on the text.


Concept, Write, Revise

We are in day 3 of the OpenStack Architecture Guide Book Sprint. This is the 3rd of 3 Book Sprints we have done for the foundation. It’s always good fun and a great honor to be working with such good spirited Open Source folk that know a tremendous amount about what they are doing. Sharing is the default here and everyone is learning a lot from each other.

Early in the Book Sprint Adam (found of Book Sprints) mapped out the general process of a Book Sprint. It roughly translates into the below (for a 5 day Book Sprint):

The general flow of a Book Sprint

The general flow of a Book Sprint

The above is a very rough representation and every Book Sprint is different of course. Still it captures something of the process.

Open Stack Book Sprint #3 Underway!

In Palo Alto California (Silicon Valley) right now a third Book Sprint for the Open Stack community is underway. We are running ahead full speed through the scoping and of the book, breaking it down into 7 sections. 3 groups will tackle the first 3 sections and then when done move onto the other areas. Adam Hyde facilitating with Faith Bosworth. Stay tuned for more information!

Open Stack Architecture Book Sprint underway!

Open Stack Architecture Book Sprint underway!

Report from Times Up Book Sprint

“One could elaborate on the “histories, presents, and possible futures” of textual artefacts and writing processes in general that the Book Sprint experience brought to mind. One might think of Kerouac’s “first thought, best thought” versus Flaubert’s monthlong polishing of a single sentence, or the Zen painter or poet’s ten-year silence before composing in a single instant a haiku or painting of a crab. Returning to Nietzsche’s Apollo and Dionysus, we might frame the experience in terms of a eucatastrophic feedback loop of informed ecstasy. But it has all been said and done elsewhere. And in any case it is, as they say, beyond the scope of this blog post.”

Full report here :

BC TextBook Book Sprint Underway

Free and easy to update university textbooks, available in multiple formats? They exist. We’re working on one right now. Book Sprint facilitator Barbara Rühling and trainee Faith Bosworth are in British Columbia, Canada, working on the production of a Geography textbook for first year students. The sprint is hosted by BC Campus Open Text Books project who are dedicated to breaking the traditional model of copyrighted textbooks which cost a lot of money for the average student and are quickly rendered out of date, by new editions.

BC TextBook Book Sprint

BC TextBook Book Sprint

Five subject-matter experts responded to an open call for writing the textbook. They are supported by two open education managers and instructional design experts from BC Campus, one illustrator, one programmer, and one librarian.

The first morning was spent mapping out the possible structure and content for the book and writing began swiftly after and continued during the following three days. Expect a text book that has a broad interpretation of geography, incorporating political, socio-economic and human elements and focuses on skills like map reading and making and data collection and provides exciting sounding activities for educators and learners to test out.

Map making

It was only possible for the five experts to cover such a vast range of subjects, each centered around unique case studies, because of the incredible support they received. The illustrator created one map after the other, and the two contributors from BC Campus checked the chapters for accuracy, readability, and their instructional design. A very important role, and a first experiment in a Book Sprint, was played by the librarian. Dedicated to the cause of open licenses, he researched countless images, maps, and other materials. With a few phone calls, he was even able to convince some of the copyright holders to change their licenses and to make their material available for the open textbook.

Read Open Text Books’ blog post about the first day.

More photos can be found here:

and here:

2nd Times Up Book Sprint

The second Book Sprint held by Times Up (Linz, Austria) was held in the first week of June, facilitated by Barbara Rühling. Eleven futurists gathered in a large Austrian ‘villa’ (mansion) on the banks of Lake Attersee to follow up on their symposium Data Ecologies 2014 held the week before.

Future-ish Book Sprinters

Future-ish Book Sprinters

In four days, they wrote a book entitled “Futurish” to make people curious to think about futures (in the plural). Critically questioning the ability to make predictions, the book rather asks “how can the field of futures help open up conceptual spaces between the “is” and the “otherwise”, the inevitable and the unthinkable?” The book presents projects and tools that allow to do just that in a playful way, using transmedia storytelling, experience design tools, and many others, even generating new ones as a result of the intense collaboration process.
Using poetic interventions and sarcastic drawings, the collaborators challenge their own assumptions made in the book.

Drawing from the book

Drawing from the book

More photos here