• Recent and ongoing work: Community Connectivity

    8 September 2023

    I’ve begun a small piece of ongoing consultancy with Promising Trouble on their Community Connectivity project. It’s a good example of the strategy and consulting work I do in my practice, alongside more hands-on technology making.

    Promising Trouble is working with Impact on Urban Health on a multi-year partnership to explore how access to the internet impacts health and wellbeing. I’ve been working in an advisory capacity on a pilot project that will test the impact of free - or extremely affordable - home internet access.

    Our early work has together has narrowing down how to make that happen from all the possibilities discovered early on in the project. That’s included a workshop and several discussions this summer, and we’ve now published a blogpost about our some of that work.

    We’ve made some valuable progress; as I write in the post,

    A good workshop doesn’t just rearrange ideas you already have; it should also be able to confront and challenge the assumptions it’s built upon.

    Our early ideas were rooted in early 21st-century usage of ‘broadband’, a cable in the ground to domestic property - and that same concept underpins current policy and leglisation. But in 2023, there are other ways we perhaps should be thinking about this topic.

    The post explores that change in perspective, as well as the discrepancy between the way “broadband” provision and mobile internet (increasingly significant as a primary source of access for many people) are billed and provided.

    I hope that we’ve managed to communicate a little how we’re shifting our perspectives around, whilst staying focused on the overall outcome.

    My role is very much advice and consultation as a technologist - I’m not acting as a networking expert. I’m sitting between or alongside other technology experts, acting as a translator and trusted guide. I help synthesise what we’re discovering into material we can share (either internally or externally), and use that to make decisions. Processing, thinking, writing.

    When Rachel Coldicutt, Executive Director at Promising Trouble, first wrote to me about the project, she said:

    “I thought about who I’d talk to when I didn’t know what to do, and I thought of you.”

    One again, a project about moving from the unknown to the unknown.

    The team is making good progress, on that journey from the unknown to the known, and I’ll be doing a few more days of work through the rest of the year with them; I hope to have more to share in the future. In the meantime: here’s the link to the post again.