Created by The Sprout Fund as a digital and tangible product, the Playbook documents the process and outcomes of both the Pittsburgh region's efforts to create a community-wide learning innovation network and specific projects the network has catalyzed.
The Playbook captures the spirit and substance of the Remake Learning Network in action. It covers the theory and practice of building learning innovation networks, the resources and strategies required to put networks into action, and the impact of the network in schools, museums, libraries, communities and more.
According to Ryan Coon, Program Officer, Communications & Documentation at the Sprout Fund, the genesis for the project came when members of the Remake Learning Network recognized that they had a model that was showing success for bringing people together from many different sectors and helping them collaborate on learning innovations.
"It was clear that there was a moment in time that we could come together as a network and write down, in pretty clear terms and in an open and transparent way, how the Remake Learning Network operates," recalls Coon. "It was an opportunity to share a model that is working locally that can be a guide for any community that is interested in building a collaborative network."
The Playbook was initially launched as a digital-only publication last June during the National Week of Making. With feedback from hundreds of people, the Playbook was enriched and expanded, and the printed version was released last October. Since then, 7,000 copies have been distributed, mostly in the U.S., but also internationally.
All of the content in the print version is online as a PDF download, an eBook or a Kindle eReader version. What's online, but not in the book, is a lot of multimedia including 20 audio interviews with network members, a dozen videos that show the impact of organizations and programs, and resources and tools as well as a set of advocacy toolkits — presentation slides, press outreach materials and social media toolkit so other communities could start a conversation and interest to this approach to innovation/outreach.
"One of the main tools is a web app, called Game Plan, that lets you remix the Playbook," says Coon. "You can strip out the Pittsburgh content and fill it back in with your own organization information and goals to create a custom Playbook. So far, 54 different communities have used the Game Plan."
A few communities have taken the next step and read the Playbook, used the online tools and are applying what they have learned in in their communities.
The Sprout Fund is hosting free monthly webinars that offer a guided tour of the Playbook, and invite readers and users from all over the country to share what they are doing. The next webinar is March 24. Click here for more information.
"We are inviting people to share their lessons learned and add their expertise to the conversation," says Coon. "We fully admit that we don't have it all figured out in Pittsburgh, and want to use the Playbook as an opportunity to reach out and start conversations with other communities so we can all benefit."