Alumni Network design – Summary

Designing to increase the yields from a permaculture Alumni Network as a design task on a modular PDC.

People based designDesign Framework: SADIMETDesign for a clientGroup design

Design period: January 2013 – April 2014

Client: Sector39 – incorporating Steve Jones, permaculture teacher & all the people who have been on or involved in his courses

Why is this design included?

As a design for a permaculture organisation this design identifies patterns and learnings that I believe are relevant to the wider permaculture movement, therefore I would like to contribute it to the knowledge base of permaculture. It is also an unusual subject for a permaculture design, which adds valuable diversity.

For the diversity of this portfolio it is also valuable as it is a people-based design using the SADIMET design framework. It is also a design that has not been particularly successful and therefore I would like to make the most of this feedback and take the time to consider if there are any next steps.


To create an easy way for Sector39 PDC graduates to find others, to mentor and inspire them on the next steps of their permaculture journeys.

Key learning

Always start with the Why of the vision, the motivations for doing the design, don’t get immediately fixated on a What as that is something that will come out of the design process.

Top tips

  • Make sure you consider the limits and resources available for the designing process as well as for the design content
  • If the context of a design shifts, then this is a good time to evaluate it. Just because you have made decisions, doesn’t mean you cannot change them – creatively use and respond to change

Design tools used

Design tools used

Skills practised

Skills practiced


Peoplecare – The motivation behind this design was to improve the peoplecare experience of Sector39 graduates. Within the designing process we tried to incorporate peoplecare, making sure everyone was included. Weaving in the social element definitely worked well here, at making it enjoyable. The actual implementation though has ended up as quite a burden on me.

Earthcare – I cannot remember considering Earthcare in this design. Once again the vision was to enable more people to positively engage with permaculture and to increase the support between permaculture practitioners which would have had a positive effect for Earthcare. However, specific consideration may have changed the ideas and options we used.

Fairshares – Once again the idea was to let more people benefit from the abundances of Sector39 rather than just Steve. However, in reality it has involved a lot of input from me for very little yield. It would have been good to take this ethic more into consideration during this design.


‘Obtain a Yield’ featured strongly in the vision and functions of this design and we considered ‘Use and Value diversity’ when we were making decisions, to ensure that we catered to a variety of people, this included having the ‘off-grid buddy system’. In fact I think we did take a lot of them into considerations, such as ‘integrate rather than segregate’, trying to have a rolling editorial and create working groups and attempting to ‘Use and value the renewable resources and services’ that the Friends of Sector39 network contained. If we had had more time then it would have been valuable to consider and apply the principles in greater depth.

Design Process

Design Process Flow Chart

Writing up and Evaluation

I wrote this design up when I entered the evaluation stage. I specifically wrote it up to present at our diploma support day, but it was a very good time to write it up anyway because I was starting to really question where to take it next.

I have excluded some of the specifics of the process, because I felt that they did not necessarily produce useful learnings for sharing and I didn’t want to overwhelm or bore readers with all the details. I have also tried not to get into specific discussions of the group.

Evaluation tools used

Evaluations tools used


I am very grateful to the other members of my design team – Nia, Gemma and Paul – for all of their hard work, ideas and company. I’d particularly like to thank Paul for the really useful feedback he gave me for this write up.

I am grateful to the others who got involved in the design, including the only other editor of the eBulletin!

I very much appreciate the wisdom in Aranya’s book for helping us through the process and those on the diploma facebook group for their contributions to questions and discussions.

I am grateful for Steve giving me the opportunity to try this design in the first place!

And I am grateful that on this learning journey I can reflect and gain yields from everything that happens and take them forward with me on my next adventures.

Now go to the full design write up.



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