Writing on Power Procurement in Cape Town

The third Book Sprint in the series of Understanding Power Projects is underway in Cape Town. Sixteen experts from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, USA, UK, and Seychelles write a handbook on Power Project Procurement.


Power Procurement Book Sprint

Our Book Sprints venue in Cape Town

As in the last two Book Sprints on Power Project Purchase and Power Project Financing, there are heated negotiations between the participants, followed by writing and rewriting. The beautiful location and the plentiful food helps to keep the group in work mode from early morning till late at night.

Power Procurement Book Sprint

Discussing the objectives of power procurement

See more photos here on flickr.

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Recap of the #AkademieBookSprint last week

After four long days we finished the book „Lost in Führung“ with Die Akademie für Führungskräfte der Wirtschaft. The first day was mainly focused on discussions of the concept, scope, and structure of the book. On the second day, the ten participants wrote the first chapters, while editing and revising simultaneously. Then they became really productive by day three, more than doubling the content written. To keep up with editing those new text passages, the last two days were a sprint within a sprint. Some chapters had seen major work and were revised one last time, some examples and tools didn’t make the cut, last images had to be inserted. And then we had a book!

Seclusion versus connectivity

A real challenge in the monastery was the internet connection, since we work mostly on our online collaborative writing platform PubSweet. Many places in rural German still don’t have broadband networks, despite all political promises. When it comes to digitalization, Germany ranks on 17th place among 63 industrialized countries, according to The “World Competitive Ranking” from the IMD Business School in Lausanne.

And then the monastery walls, build 700 years ago, were thick enough to allow phone reception only on the window sills of the outer walls. A great and beautiful place for a retreat, with impressive baroque architecture and surrounding sunflower fields. These kind of places are ideal for the deep concentration of a Book Sprint, and there are ways to deal with slow or now connectivity. Had I known about the connectivity issue, I would have brought a local server for our platform. That is what we do when we go to remote places such as Burundi, Ethiopia, or, well, rural Germany.

In the end, the relaxed, patient and zen-like attitude of the participants made up for the slow connection. We devised some analog tools to organize ourselves offline, and waited patiently for our turns to access the platform online. And that way, we worked our way to the end of the book. On the afternoon of day four, we chose a book title and toasted with a glass of sparkling wine. Congratulations!

Die Akademie Book Sprint

Toasting to “Lost in Führung”

More photos from the Book Sprint on flickr.

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Free culture activist Bassel Safadi

Last week we heard the sad news that free culture activist Bassel Safadi, imprisoned in 2013 in Syria and taken from prison in 2015, had been executed.

‘They Can't Stop Us’ — World Mourns Execution of Palestinian-Syrian Activist Bassel Khartabil Safadi by the Assad Regime

We have worked with Bassel in the past, without getting to know him directly.
Book Sprints founder Adam Hyde wrote in his blog:

Bassel Safadi

4am in San Francisco, a quiet street outside. I couldn’t sleep. The world seems a little mad with hyperbolic talk of fire and fury. So, now I’m awake with a few moments to think about things that don’t get out in the light of day. One of them being what happened to Bassel Safadi.

Bassel was someone I worked with once on a Book Sprint. I didn’t know him, but he is a good friends of friends of mine. I had this fleeting picture of him ‘just being one of the crew’ in the most normal sense. He wasn’t anyone I connected directly with, he was participating remotely in the event. His buddies were in Berlin with me and Bassel was ‘just there’ somewhere in the ether. Present, friendly, friend of friends.

Months later my buddies said he was imprisoned in Syria. It is at this point I paused to learn more about him. Imprisoned in Syria? What? What did he do? It was an event that stuck out angular, jutting, and severe in my otherwise comfortable world. Its then that I learned just how normal Bassel was. He was just this guy. He did some activist stuff in the area of Free Culture, the sort of stuff I work on. And yet he ended up, as I learned last week, being executed.

It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s not fair. It’s sad and stupid and above all, not normal. I feel for his buddies, his family. But most of all there is this dissonant hole in my understanding of the world. What is it doing there? I don’t understand how this can happen. I don’t think I can understand why this happened. Its just stupid and sad.

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Die Akademie Book Sprint in a baroque monastery

Behind the thick walls of a baroque abbey in southern Germany, Die Akademie für Führungskräfte is booksprinting. Here, team members developing the Akademie’s model of leadership and Akademie’s trainers write a book on leadership in the 21st century.

Die Akademie Book Sprint

Lunch break in the court of the abbey Neresheim

The abbey is located on a hill with a view on the surrounding valleys. Warm sunshine during the day and dramatic rainbows in the evening were the background of the smoking brains and deep discussions.

Die Akademie Book Sprint

Talking about structure is tough when this is happening outside


See more photos of the Book Sprint here and follow it on twitter under #akademiebooksprint.

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Reflections on Practice Theory


Today we delivered the final version of the rather long-titled ‘New Practices for New Publics? Theories of social practice and the voluntary and community sector’ to our clients at the University of Brighton. This one required a bit of extra post-production work because the writers (a very dedicated group!) hope to publish the book and wanted to spend some extra time going through it with a fine-toothed comb. The Book Sprint itself was quite unique as the group spent a lot of time refining concepts and capturing undocumented stories which show the power of the community and voluntary sector. Take the example of New Cross Library, a former municipal library in London which was set to be sold and converted into a supermarket before the local community pulled together and took it over. They now successfully run it as a community, not-for-profit project. Luckily someone who has been covering this project in her PhD thesis was part of the Book Sprint to share the inspiring story.

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BWC Book Sprint was quite a journey

Brigitta Wurnig arrived at the Book Sprint venue near Hamburg full of high expectations and excited for what was about to start. She had organized the Book Sprint with a group of fellow business coaches and managers of large German corporations to think about Digital Leadership. The first day full of discussions about the book’s topic, scope, and possible structure went really well. Then things started getting tough.

We started totally enthusiastic, and then we went through our little crisis on the second day.

The first evening and all of the second day, the eight participants wrote most of the chapters, and started revising other chapters. The group sat together to discuss what restructuring, re-writing and re-formulating needed to be done, which redundancies eliminated and what gaps to be filled. By the end of day two, it seemed almost impossible to the group to pull through and get the book they wanted at the end. This is how Brigitta tells the story:

Time was of the essence in what was just a 3-day Book Sprint, or essentially a 2,5-day Book Sprint cut short by many participants leaving in the afternoon of the last day. And there was still so much to do! Some of them were almost ready to give up, but everyone managed to maintain their good humor and high spirits. As the facilitator, I tried to pass on my confidence stemming from all former Book Sprints, knowing that there is always this point somewhere in the middle when the task suddenly seems impossible. And yet every time we work through the anxiety and come out at the other end with – surprise, surprise, is a great book!

The whole team and I are fascinated with the method.

In a 2,5-day Book Sprint, the middle of the process is terribly close to the end of it. Luckily this time as all the other times before, the method worked its magic. The participants didn’t give up but decided to trust me one more time, put in their best effort and finished a beautiful book they are proud of. Trust the process!

Digital Leadership Book Sprint

Cover Design by Henrik van Leeuwen

On Saturday night we finished the Book Sprint near Hamburg, Germany. This week the book will be released as paperback and ebook.

BWC Book Sprint

Impressions from the Book Sprint with Brigitta Wurnig Coaching

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Book Sprinting in German with BWC

English, French, Spanish, even Kiwi English, Farsi and Urdu have been languages of Book Sprints, and now it’s finally time to write a book in German. This week, we are facilitating a Book Sprint close to Hamburg with Brigitta Wurnig Coaching.

Their team and invited managers from several large companies came together to talk and write about digital leadership. What are the challenges of the digital age? What motivates generation x, y, and z? The book will present proven methods to shape the transformation of organizational culture.

BWC Book Sprint

Concept mapping on walls that are not grey!

See more photos on flickr.

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New Practices for New Publics Book Sprint

Today amidst major building work at Varley Park in Falmer, a group of academics and representatives of local community organisations have been summing up the learnings from the seminar series New Practices for New Publics. The seminars took place over two years, hosted by Brighton University and aimed to create a space for interdisciplinary exchange between academics and civil society organisations [CSOs] in health and social care, youth work and education about practice theory approaches. new_practices

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Summer of Book Sprints 2017

Summer Book Sprints

Writing a book in the summer, like here in Portugal


Some of us are using the summer break to get something done, like writing a book, for example. This summer we’ll have an interesting range of Book Sprints coming up in Europe.

Book Sprints in July and August

We’ll be facilitating a Book Sprint for the New Practices for New Publics project at the University of Brighton in the UK from July 19 – 22.

During the same week (July 20 – 22), another Book Sprint will take place with Brigitta Wurnig Coaching in a spa resort near Hamburg, Germany.

And also in Germany, in a monastery near Ulm, Die Akademie will be hosting a Book Sprint from August 8 – 11, 2017.

The last two will be producing books in German which we rarely get to do!

Looks like it will be a good summer.

Summer Book Sprints

Book Sprinting in a Garden in Christchurch, New Zealand

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re:publica presentation on the #FreeBassel book

At re:publica last week we talked about free internet activist Bassel Khardabil and his love for free culture, and the love of the free culture community for Bassel. Bassel Khardabil was unlawfully detained in Damascus in March 2012. His name was deleted from the prison’s register in October 2015, and there have been no official news about his whereabouts since.

#FreeBassel at re:publica 2017

It has now been 5 years since Bassel’s imprisonment. Therefore we used re:publica’s motto “Love Out Loud” to call attention to his case again. Although I don’t know Bassel personally it wasn’t easy to talk about his situation. But it was good to see the audience engaging with the story, writing personal notes about their thoughts on free culture and creating a wall of notes in support of the #FreeBassel campaign.

re:publica book sprint #freebassel

Notes for #FreeBassel


Re:publica recorded the presentation by Barbara Rühling and Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay.

Cost of Freedom Book Sprint 2015

As one of many activities of the #FreeBassel movement, friends and supporters came together for an impromptu Book Sprint in November 2015. You can read about all the past and ongoing activities at freebassel.org. And consider signing the campaign letter to demand his freedom.

The Book Sprint in 2015 focused on the topic “Cost of Freedom” with many stories around the personal costs people in the free culture movement have experienced. The book is freely available here: costoffreedom.cc

And you can check out the slides of the re:publica presentation here:

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