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Digitizing Everything

We’ve started digitizing all of our various boards that used to be made of foam board with sticky notes on them.  We’ve set up a Raspberry Pi computer hooked up to a giant flat screen TV that came with the other Black Mountain SOLE furniture we’ve been using since moving to OS AVL.


We’ve moved the schedule to Google Calendar (it looks different on our end), zooming in on today in for our Set The Day meeting each morning. This way reoccurring events can be easily set to repeat on that day, at that time. We don’t have location slots on the Google Calendar like we had on the foam boards, so instead we’ve been using colors to indicate where something is happening.


It’s been cool to see the schedule change now that we don’t have time slots; things can now be scheduled for as long/short as we want. This has been helpful for a number of meetings, meetings that really should only be scheduled for thirty minutes, but used to take up a full hour on the schedule – filling its container as predicted by Parkinson’s Law, and usually disintegrating into something entirely different by forty minutes in, a process that usually frustrates the event organizer and makes them feel disrespected.


Digitizing the schedule also makes it possible for participants coming late to be a part of the Set The Day meeting, since they can watch it happen in real time on their mobile phone, and even add their own offerings and events so that we can see them on our screen.

The digitized schedule at Endor


Our Community Mastery Board (CMB) has also been digitized, on Trello.

We found that people weren’t really ever looking at the physical board up on the wall, and that having it available for reference at all times online was more valuable. In our last Changeup Meeting the digitized CMB was projected on the wall, at about 8×10 feet which made it easier for people to see.


We also added another column for people to add their name once they had read and understood all of the new things in the Implemented column, so that those not present at the Changeup Meeting (physically or mentally) could look at the board later and find out what was decided. This column contains everyone’s name, and the participants add the current week’s label to their card to show that they’ve read and understood what’s been decided. There’s a different label for each week so that it’s easy to see what’s been added since the week before.


Putting the CMB on Trello also allows us to have conversations about each proposal in the comments stream of each card. We can also view its history, provide more in-depth explanations of the proposal, attach links, track votes and see when things haven’t moved in a while through the Card Aging “powerup.”


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The digitized CMB at Endor


Already digitized, though not streamlined, is communication.

We have digitized communication but it’s a bit complicated.  We communicate via Email, but not everyone checks their Email.  We use a Facebook group, but not everyone uses Facebook.  I’ve started using the communication tool Slack in my other work, so I’m thinking of establishing that for next year.  It seems a little late in the game to set it up now – I don’t think we could all get in the habit of using it to the point that it would become effective.  So, next year.  (I have a goal of having a 1-to-1 computer/participant ratio next year, so we’ll start next year with an orientation in the tools we’ll use; Google Calendar, Google Drive, Trello, Slack, etc.)


Another thing I want to digitize is signing in and out.  Endor participants are free to come and go as they please – as long as they sign in and out with the time and a signature.  I’d like this to be streamlined to the point of ID cards with RFID chips in them so folks could just “beep” in and out.  Before we get to creating that, though, I want to set up a little Trello board for attendance.  Using another Raspberry Pi, I’d like to have a little display by the door for participants to move their card from “at Endor” to “out for lunch” to “gone for the day” etc.  This hinges on having another digital display, however.  The only ones we’ve got our giant flat screen TVs, so we’ll have to work on that one.  A perk of having this on Trello would be the ability for participants to let everyone know if they weren’t attending.  Say you wake up sick, so you get out your phone and move your card to “not coming today.”  It would take some getting used to, but I think it could work!  Participants are supposed to let an ALF know if they’re not coming, but this doesn’t always happen.  Partially, I think, because of the lack of streamlined communication, and partially because it’s a direct message.  I have it in my head that people don’t like sending direct messages to people, so moving a Trello card would have a much lower level of effort and thus be easier.  I’m curios to hear what Endorians think of this!  Thoughts?

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