Gathering our learnings


By Jaimella Espley, Creative Lead

20 September 2023


With just six months to test and evaluate our collective mosaic-making for policy methodology, we’ve been busy preparing for our first workshops.   


Photo: Jaimella Espley

On my first beachcombing trip, I spotted so many beautiful pieces of weathered materials. I quickly learnt that to beachcomb successfully I needed to stop and pick up a piece as soon as I saw it. If I continued scanning the shore, I would lose my bearings and never find the piece of sea glass that had first caught my eye, no matter how hard I looked. 

It is the same with learnings and reflections – they gleam brightly for a moment and unless we pick them up, examine them, and hold them fast, they are lost. We have just six months to test and evaluate our new mosaics method for more inclusive policy development. Every learning is precious, so while we’ve been laying the ground for our autumn workshops, we’ve also been putting in place mechanisms and embedding habits to encourage us to regularly pause and reflect as a distributed team. 

Planning sessions with our partners 

Our evaluation will involve four distinct learning cycles. Each one involves a workshop, rapid evaluation and iteration of the technique and playbook that captures how to run a workshop. 

We are busy developing structure and content for the first two workshops. The first will be for Scientia Scripta’s partners at Manchester Met, Policy Connect and UCL so that everyone can get comfortable with the technique. The second workshop, hosted by UCL, will involve multiple stakeholders working together to make a mosaic that articulates answers (and perspectives) around a thorny policy question. 

Context matters 

We’ve been testing the collective mosaic making technique in several different settings over the summer. In July we went to Sci-Tech Daresbury Open Week and over the course of several days invited school students and members of the public to contribute to a pictorial mosaic representing the iconic Daresbury tower and surrounding countryside. As they selected and carefully paced their chosen pieces, they shared their stories and aspirations about their sense of belonging in the scientific community.

It was also a great opportunity to learn more about the mosaic making process – the type of pieces people pick, what size works best, how best to glue them down – learnings to feed into our work with Wellcome. For more on Daresbury see my LinkedIn post. 

Edwin also facilitated a mosaic-led workshop to kick start a co-created approach to tackle rubbish and flytipping in local communities, which gave us lots of opportunity to test and refine elements of the mosaic making session. Read more in Edwin’s LinkedIn post.  

Capturing a distributed team’s learning and reflections 

On a fast-moving project with a distributed team, it is critical to capture and share learnings regularly. We’re using the following methods: 

  • rapid learning log – so team members can quickly capture learnings, date and the trigger for that learning (such as an event or a task) 
  • regular retrospectives after each event to look at what is working and what we could do better both on the project and how we work as a team 
  • team journalling – this captures personal reflections and team members can choose to share as much or as little as they want. 

These methods sit alongside more formal evaluation methods for participants including semi-structured interviews, surveys and independent observation. 

We look forward to sharing our learning with you over the coming months. We will post regular updates here and on our social media channels.

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