COVID-19 has dominated discussions and business planning meetings for the past couple of weeks (with the odd US election news thrown in for distraction). We’ve been planning how to keep things running smoothly in preparation for a pandemic.

So far we’ve completed individual risk assessments, which we are monitoring regularly. We dedicated last week’s show and tell to run an impact mapping workshop with full studio engagement. We’ve gathered the knowns, the unknowns, what steps might help mitigate risk, and also how we might measure success of our planning.

On Tuesday 10th we tried our first “working from home” studio day, to gauge what works and what doesn’t in the (likely) event we need to work from home longer term. Twenty-four hours later infection rates were rapidly increasing and respected peers were ramping up precautions; so we had reached our agreed criteria for escalation. As early adopters, it made sense not to wait for a government directive and so we have recommended remote working where possible starting from now.

Through increased social distancing we can show care for the wider society

Now what? We embrace new rituals, tweak old rituals and stay open to new possibilities and lots of learning. As Sarah says, “We are using this as an opportunity to examine and refresh our rituals, reinvigorate our online content and make our ways of working in projects remote friendly”. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Trialling our new remote studio stand-up

In the meantime here are some resources we have found useful.

Back to our regular month note format and very much a studio effort.

We’ve appreciated…

The new faces in the studio.

The past month has seen a few new collaborators join to enhance some of our project work and internal initiatives. These include:

Temporary colleague and ally for life Daniel Harvey has been working with IF on a short term contract to support design and creative direction. He says “design is politics” and does not shy away from hard subjects in his blog 20 minutes into the future.

Remote friend and digital leader Liana Chang has been leading phase one of IF’s brand refresh from her home in Japan, where she is also homeschooling her son and other children for the next couple of months.

Sophie Preuss joins IF as Business Strategist. She recently completed the On Purpose Associate programme for mid-career leaders entering the social and environmental impact space. She comes with a wealth of experience in stakeholder management and research and industry expertise in international development and private equity investment.

Dahlia Jacobs is IF’s new Finance Director. She brings huge commercial wisdom from 15 years in Accounting and Commercial roles. Her most recent startup and tech experience comes from her work with Forward Partners and Evrything.

We’ve been watching…

From Sarah: BBC Panorama’s episode on Amazon. If you’re new to the concept of “surveillance capitalism” it was a good, easy way in. I can’t say it taught me anything new, but it was a nice surprise to see IF’s friend Meredith Whittaker from AI Now speak to the surveillance issues around Amazon’s Ring Doorbell towards the end.

We’ve been listening to…

From Jo: Cheikh Lô. A Senegalese musician - Softening the hard edges of mbalax and incorporating elements of salsa, Zairian/Congolese rhumba, folk, and jazz, Lô has created an infectious, hook-laden style of pop music!

We’ve been reading…

From Dan: Tim Maughan’s debut novel Infinite Detail. It was The Guardian’s pick for Best Science Fiction book of the year. It’s “a timely and uncanny portrait of a world in the wake of fake news, diminished privacy, and a total shutdown of the Internet.” Consider it Neo-Cyberpunk. If you enjoy it then keep an eye peeled for Corey White’s upcoming Repo Virtual. Here’s a trailer for the book in an homage to Adam Curtis.

From Eliot: The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis. It is about Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky who founded prospect theory which was an amazing takedown on homo economicus. It is amazing to show how consistently bad at probabilities people are.

Until we post again!