How we co-defined the concept and developed the blueprints for open digital badge-based pathways

In 2013/14 Ardcairn’s GrĂ¡inne Hamilton worked with the Mozilla team that created the Open Badges standard, as well as employers, employees and educators, to define a radically new way of thinking about recognition.

The Mozilla Discover Open Badges project defined the concept and developed blueprints for open digital badge pathways. It explored how a digital badge-based approach could support underprivileged youth in the USA broaden career horizons and engage with job opportunities.

Its purpose was to help people build confidence in their skills, and develop pathways to opportunities, opening the way for revolutionising career discovery and how we think about skills.

What we did

  • Defined the concept of open digital badge-based pathways
  • Developed tools and process prototypes
  • Created sample open badge criteria to assess hard and soft skills, including less tangible attributes such as curiosity and empathy
  • Applied evidence from research on socio-economic factors that impact individuals achieving their career and life goals, to the content strategy and tool design specifications
  • Explored how digital credentials and badge-based pathways could be designed in such a way as to help people discover their intrinsic motivators and embark upon career pathways they would enjoy and flourish in


This project contributed to the development of the original Open Badges standard and the outputs from it have provided the basis for a variety of digital tools and approaches used today, including global platforms, the Open Pathways specification and Cities of Learning UK.


“We hire for attitude, train for skill.

Having the right attitude and attributes is essential, we can teach the rest”

Ned, CEO Eldercare agency
Interviwed for employer pathway