JISC Elevator might bring more responsiveness to research funding

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Finally, JISC is turning some of the innovation and creativity it has poured into technology into the process of funding itself. The idea of JISC Elevator (see http://blog.ouseful.info/2010/07/28/project-pitching-jisc-elevator-concept/) is modeled on the Mozilla Drumbeat (http://www.drumbeat.org) – a Kickstarter-like project but with more varied  sources of funding.  With Kickstarter people have to back their interest with money whereas on Drumbeat, they’re voting with their time and other people’s money (although Drumbeat – presumably unlike the potential JISC elevator, has a donate button). But, of course, the JISC Elevator is just an idea at the moment, so maybe it will reach a little wider for inspiration.

My recommendation (not surprisingly) would be to bring in the community for whom potential JISC-funded projects are likely to be of benefit. Kind of a “for sale / will buy” kind of deal but with conversation between the two. Let people go on the Elevator site and pitch ideas that they would like to see implemented and have others come and pitch ideas they’d like to implement. And then let them have a conversation and put together simple (and quick) bids with simple (and quick) outcomes giving both quick wins or losses. Taking to heart the Open Source premise of fail quickly and fail cheaply. Another development metaphor is that of agile programming based around quick iterations that always result in usable programs that solve real problems.

Another model to bring in some learning from would be the Google Summer of Code project for more established/successful efforts who could ask for additional funding to bring in external collaborators to allow them to move forward with particular features.

Ideally, this could be the foundation of a social repository of JISC projects to replace the glossy brochures that languish unread on so many learning technologists’ shelves around the UK academe.

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