Edgeryders helps UNDP Spot the Future in Armenia, Georgia and Egypt

Noemi's picture

The Edgeryders community expects interesting additions! We will soon have innovators from Armenia, Egypt and Georgia joining us, and together we’ll find and highlight citizen solutions to challenges in their countries. This is a paid gig, awarded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to our Edgeryders company.

We know this is good for the client. How is it good for the community as a whole as well as for individual members, both old and new?  The larger and more diverse the community grows, the more likely we are to come up with projects like the unMonastery or the Economy app. The kinds of ground-breaking initiatives whose impact can go beyond any local context or regional agenda and serve as inspiration for more and larger scale creative collaborations. Simply stated, it offers us more opportunities to come together, inspire one another and help each other. P2p.

This is one of many signs that Edgeryders is developing into an independent, grassroots-driven and self-sustaining voice for people at the edge everywhere...and we are very happy about it.

The story behind these news is this: In the context of a post 2015 Development agenda, also known as what comes after the Millenium Goals, UNDP held a global online consultation last year, called World We Want. They asked citizens “What would make your future better?” and engaged almost two million worldwide. In the follow-up, UNDP Europe and Central Asia are embarking on a project to involve the consulted as solution finders at local level (irrespective of credentials) and believing strongly that “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed” (W Gibson). Seems right up our alley, doesn’t it?

Edgeryders is proposing a foresight exercise called “Spot the Future”: we will be opening our web home to the fresh voices of social innovators in the three countries, engage them in a global conversation and figure out together what works and what doesn’t when hacking systemic challenges. We’ll present the findings as valuable inspiration for the UN’s development programmes across Europe, and not least, for people who are building the future everywhere.

All throughout this exercise, we advocate to use our proven methodology, based on three main activities:

  • Traverse the social graph to identify cutting-edge trends as they happen. We reach out to these trend makers, and do not ask them what they think is needed for progress. We ask them what they are already doing!

  • Peer validation through curated conversation. By embedding the Spot the Future innovators into the Edgeryders web community we provoke all kinds of meaningful exchanges: anything written by one user can be corroborated or challenged by all others.
  • Uncover insights through online ethnography and network analysis. With our tools, we detect and harvest the (hidden) knowledge in these online conversations. For example: What are the trends in citizen-driven innovation in Armenia, Egypt and Georgia? What are the biggest obstacles for the innovators there? What would help them grow the impact of their work?

What do we aim to achieve?

  • a fledgling network that connects people doing innovative work at the edges across Armenia, Egypt and Georgia

  • discovery of unknown societal challenges and exchange of new perspectives, knowledge and solutions, across countries

  • emergent, bottom up collaboration between the Spot the Future protagonists and Edgeryders wider community. (Georgian unMonasteries, anyone?!)

How can the community members get involved?

From end of March, [Matthias] will have a new dedicated space on the edgeryders.eu website ready where social innovators from the three countries share their stories. The conversation will be global, open and more importantly, compelling for Edgeryders everywhere, so we all stand to benefit. What’s more, doors are wide open for us to interact and exchange advice with new Armenian, Georgian and Egyptian community members.

We’ll soon be launching specific calls to point at detailed ways anyone can be a part of this. But if you know of interesting people pushing for change in any of the three countries, and who could use the immersion in a global community and lots of peer support, invite them in! Simply share this post and encourage them to come meet and greet everyone through a comment here.

Finally, it’s worth saying that we’re excited about this opportunity to work with the UNDP Regional Office in Bratislava (our formal contractor) and the country offices in Georgia, Armenia, Egypt. By doing so, we hope to inspire a new way of how institutions collaborate with citizens doing cutting-edge work outside the mainstream, and set the tone so that they are given increasing support, credibility and legitimacy. Also at Edgeryders we're big on collaboration so if you want to engage other organisations you know of to partner with the initiative and welcome more Edgeryders in more countries to the community do write to nadia@edgeryders.eu.

Post co-written with [Matthias] and [Nadia].

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Comments

congratulations!

elf Pavlik's picture

All those developmens sound exciting!

Of course personally more then deals where someone gets paid with fictional money, I feel much more excitied about experiment we do in unMonastery focusing on securing real world assets needed for living and co-creation environment. Still I understand that as for today playing with legacy money enables people to do very needed developments. Once again congratulations!

BTW as part of peering with other networked communities that share common aims, we can spread word about Kickstarter Programme - Call for Participation / SenseCamp Berlin 2014

"This year, MakeSense is offering a unique opportunity to become a "hotspot kickstarter" in Germany and Central Eastern Europe. Our ambition is to see a burgeoning number of Hotspots (i.e. MakeSense chapters) which connect social entrepreneurs and their enthusiasts across the region. We want You to play a role!"

Another possibliy interesting idea to replicate: https://jobs.ouishare.net/ (runs on modern open source software!)

Greetings from Matera :)

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thanks for the reminder about SenseCamp too!

Vahagn's picture

I am also very excited to see so much happening and I am now very curious about unMonastery too. I guess there is really a lot to talk about once we again catch up Pavlik. Just donno when and where to expect to meet you;-) By the way - are you considering to be at the Urban CC Berlin in May 15-20 this year? I have already applied for the SenseCamp on April 26th in Berlin, let's see how everything goes, and if I manage to combine my tasks, I will be happy to attend that SenseCamp.

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Clearing house

Alberto's picture

Yes, [elf Pavlik], there may be need to set up some sort of clearing house that transforms money into real things. In fact, we have already agreed with Matthias and his partners to prototype the Economy App as a collaboration enabler within Edgeryders (it will need some hacking: really interesting thread here). We have been sketching out as a system of generalized barter, in which tradeable goods include money as well as "thank you vouchers", and it might actually work. The Economy App folks are still ironing out the kinks, but I do hope we can launch this in the spring. 

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Thanks Pavlik

Noemi's picture

Coming from you, this support means a lot!! :)

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what about a software that can help to exchange goods?

Vahagn's picture

If anyone knows such a software, I'd like to know about it, as I use the approach of exchanging the crafts I make with food and things people have and are ready to exchange.

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Just what we develop :)

Matthias's picture

Cool, what crafts do you produce? I love the emerging maker economy :)

The Economy App software Alberto was talking about above seems to be what you look for. We have the development group here: Makerfox project on Edgeryders. It's a moneyless marketplace where you exchange products and services against each other. Different from other barter platforms, trades are made fully automatically (based on values entered in currency values, but that's just to measure them, nothing is paid in money). Also different from other platforms is that this one is more flexible than giving one thing and getting one: it can happen that you get m things for n things you give, if only the values on each side match.

We're in early testing right now, so things are often broken and change here and there. Also it's not yet beautiful there. Will be better in a bit. But if you are tolerant with alpha software, welcome to register and have a look: makerfox.com. In principle you can enter offers etc. and barter exchanges are found and executed when possible, but this needs more users still. Since this is testing phase, your opinion about the concepts / understandability would be the best contribution. We're also curious what kind of potential you see for this in your country.

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thanks Matthias! I make upcycled crafts

Vahagn's picture

and I use minimum or no-cost materials most often, starting from political advertisement banners hanging on the streets (when a new election campaign is launched) ending with pieces of broken or old bicycles. I and I sell / exchange / give away jewelry which often has activist messages, in order to transmit them to the different layers of cosiety here and there. I make and sell local, but I travel a lot, so I go global too:)

The tool you presented is really cool, but I see it is not yet really functioning actively, so I will collect comments and will share them with you and other developers soon. Now still busy exploring the Edgeryders platform, kinda ryding around to see what is what:) 
Really inspiring stuff!

p.s. what is the definition of "hacker" here? Can I - as a craftsman who for example uses the leftovers of political campaigns to create upcycled jewelry with anti-system messages - be considered as one?:) hacker-craftsman:) this is a phylosophical question and a bit a rhytorical one too:) 

thanks again,

V

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Upcycling is hacking for sure

Matthias's picture

Thanks for the insights into what you create. It belongs to exactly those DIY products and services that we want to support with the Makerfox platform, so your feedback will be very relevant. But as you say, it's not really active at the moment, and some features are not yet functional – you're one of the very first testers.

About hackers: I (and I guess also Edgeryders in general) define "hacker" as "somebody who uses stuff for purposes that it was not initially made for". So upcycling fits in perfectly :-) Traditionally, "hacker" was a term associated often with electronics and computing, so personally I perfer the term "maker" to mean the same in a broader sense of categories. But that's just a matter of taste, just as some use "open source" for everything, and some say "open source", "open content", "open design", "open data".

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I'd like using hacking for upcycling in some cases then:)

Vahagn's picture

:) I suspected this kind of answer. Nice:) Thanks:)

Good to know software hackers are not the only hackers and I really feel like hacking the souvenir market at times, when I make something that costs nothing and I manage to sell it for a good price (because I invest a lot of energy and time in it) or to exchange it with something really valuable.
I am happy to be one of the first testers of your software and I will try to simulate an exchange soon, just didn't really understand yet how it works, maybe I ask some questions soon if I don't unerstand it myself:)
will be in touch

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And a Hello from Georgia!

Inge's picture

Great initiative! I have been living in and out of Georgia for the past 6.5 years, when I came here first (on EVS) I was working with an environmental NGO. One of my projects was to find active youth who would like to take part in protecting the environment. Unfortunately, something which I early on realized, civic participation is relatively low in Georgia, compared to many other countries. Luckily, there have been recently some grassroots initatives which I have been following closely. For example the protest in Vake park against the building of a hotel complex, or the various art projects throughout the country. 

I am very excited about Edgeryders new project and am looking forward to all the future developments!

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Hi Inge

Nadia's picture

Welcome to Edgeryders :) Have you had a chance to poke around in here a bit? I don't know if you've met [Ola], he spent some time in Georgia too, they did an interesting project called Georgia Stories, you can learn more about their process in this post from a while back. Curious...why do you think the levek if civic participation is low and what made the initiatives that succeeded different?

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Hi Nadia! I had heard (and

Inge's picture

Hi Nadia! I had heard (and followed) of Georgia Stories, great to know somene whose also active here was involved! It seemed like a very interesting project!

Regarding the level of civic participation, I based my opinion on two researches done lately (the last few years). I need to run now, but I'll look for them in a bit. Basically, there is no/little volunteerism in Georgia, and charity for that matter. The only you will find, the only really active one, is church related. 

I think the reason that this is changing, has to do with the new generation. Either they have lived abroad themselves and saw it with their own eyes, or they are active online and have been exposed to other forms of changing the world around you. 

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stats

Inge's picture

here's a good dataset which includes volunteerism.

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Hello everyone! I am kinda

Inga Popovaite's picture

Hello everyone! I am kinda new here and I have a question: here we talk about volunteerism, could we define it a bit? I was an EVS volunteer myself (that is how I got to Georgia where I live on-and-off ever since 2010), and I met Georgians who were going or were already back from volunteering abroad. EVS as a program is great for a young person to expand her horizons, explore new cultures and find her own path in life. However, I would say that "the spirit of volunteering" is the main motivation for EVS-es (here I can add other paid volunteering opportunities such as TLG (Teach and Learn with Georgia, done that as well; PC...) - a lot of them are driven by the chance to see the world, experience different cultures or escape difficult economic situation at home (aka - no jobs). But not by a need/will to change the world and make a community a better place per se. In addition to that, as a "volunteer" I felt prety awkward in Georgia knowing that my income/volunteering stipend - call it whatever is higher than my neighbor's who has a real job (shop seller, bank teller etc..) job in Georgia. I am not even talking about TLG program when us, the international "volunteers" were getting paid 1.5 the amount that the Georgian English teachers whom we assisted....

To sum up, I feel that there is a big difference between volunteering abroad and getting paid for that (+all the extra awesome foreign experience) and between volunteering in your own local community. I think that the first type of volunteers are mostly (I am not saying all of them!) driven by their private and personal motivation (=personal growth, experience, languages, new friends, see the world...) as oppose to the second type of volunteers who are more likely to be driven by the need and the will to bring changes to their own front yard and the people that live there.

What would be your guys thoughts on this?

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Hi from Armenia

Samvel's picture

Thats really nice to hear about Edgeryders and that its coming to Armenia and Georgia (Egypt also but it is to far from us :))) I am always was interested in communities which involve not only meinstream guys. We started in Armenian Awesome Foundation chapter to finance crazy ideas which cant get money from "usual" foundations. 

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Hey, welcome!

Alberto's picture

Very nice to meet you [Samvel]! The Awesome Foundation (great name, by the way) seems right up our street. Looking forward to know more and interact!

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Hey!

Noemi's picture

Samvel, welcome! Awesome initiative..! With the community we paid a great deal of thought trying to answer the question of: what would innovation policy aimed at supporting innovative networked individuals, rather than organizations, look like? - So much so that two of our yearly community events included the issue:

1. At Living on the Edge (LOTE) #1 we came up with an open letter to funders.

2. At LOTE2 we got someone in the European Commission to help us figure out why it's so hard to fund individuals and more risky approaches, albeit with greater impact if their projects were to succeed, and here's the most comprehensive output we came with, out of the session: we called it The Policy Hero Challenge

So I guess that yours is a pretty hands on approach which reasonates so much with the way EdgeRyders do stuff: you see a problem, and instead of waiting for others to solve it, you grab it and just do it, with whatever resources (limited) you have at your disposal. You try it, it can work or not, but the experimentation is valuable in itself - and the impact, if there, blows your mind.. 

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" got someone in the European

Samvel's picture

" got someone in the European Commission" - thats really right direction. I think with Edge Ryders community and increasing public awareness (work with media and other communities, oppinion makers) it is possible to break the ice and change this situation! 

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Following this development

Bembo Davies's picture

Following this development from within the walls of the Matera unMonastery Prototype where we wrestle with the other reality.  
Aligning an Edgeryders inititative on the ground... theory begets practice begets theory.
Tremendously stimulating days...  looks like we'll get a respectable crowd for morning practice

UnMo the Mattress

“Show me a man’s bed and I ‘ll tell you who he is.”
--  someone, once long ago

The prototype unMonastery bed is seemingly ingenious.  The European wooden palette specifics are clear: 80 X 120 cm.  Placed end to end, two of them are too long to be immediately useful; placed on the perpendicular they form an idea base for a standard 2m mattress with a convenient 40 x 80 cm jetty as a side table for books, your mobile, the pile of travel receipts and a photo of Mamma.  Placed two high, roughly sanded and painted, they provide a right delightful alternative to flopping our unMo mattresses impulsively onto the floor and then spending the rest of ones stay stooping, squatting and otherwise performing involuntary yoga postures.  At this ideal height, your average feet can swing out of the horizontal and with the aid of a nifty 90 degree bend at the knee place themselves firmly on the cold stone floor.  Our unMo day can begin.

The tricky bit is the 80 cm width.  Generous by historical standards for a certain class of servant’s quarters, it provides a clear statement: here lieth thou or else.
For those such as myself, spoiled by the wide open spaces of modernity, this otherwise welcome invention rapidly restructured my sleeping pattern.  Since a close woman friend once goaded me into expanding my territory, I have tended during the current stage in my life to spend the odd night alone swimming on a vast prairie of pressed fabric and springs.  A pattern has emerged.  I sleep most snuggly on my left side.  Head propped up by sufficient pillowage, I can then direct my limbs in an expressive sprawl broadcasting unto no one my degree of inner satisfaction. 

Alas, the unMo cot allows for none of this.  Flex one knee and it protrudes worryingly from off the precipice; retract it to terrra firma and the secure feeling behind ones back inevitably evaporates.  Like it or not, the dormitory bed flips most of us upon our backs; we only lack matron’s -- “Hands above the covers, Boys and Girls” to complete the idyll. 

Routinely rendered supine, the straight-jacketing effect can rapidly worsen as the trough within which we lay our weary bones gets compressed by the steadily progressive heights of our exhaustion.  Sleepless nights can be made of less.  For lo and behold, the imposition of the corpse pose doth cause the slack-jawed among us to split the airflow of our nightly inhalations, and whilst the vaulted roofs of our new home exhibit superior acoustic properties a gentle rolling snorer all too quickly acquires an unfavorable reputation.

The benefit of the well supported night’s sleep becomes apparent the next day.  The unMonasterians of Prototipo Matera have adopted an enviable discipline. Every morning as a brisk wind sweeps any vestiges of condensed moisture up the ravine to allow the sun’s first heat to grace our magnificent stone terrace that overlooks exactly that view you get in the tourist brochures, the unmoaning unMoners embrace their Morning Practice.  Internally it is described as a ‘morally mandatory optional’ gathering of the clan.  Morally mandatory option means what it says.  If you lack the gumption to respond actively to the 0700 hours morning bell, you face the knowledge that the remaining crew has upped the silliness quota in the interplay of their core exercises with Greatest Hits from the Civil Arts Master’s trove of extra-appropriate behavior designed to irrefutably tweak the ensemble’s connection with their inner goodness... 

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Thanks! I have to go deep in

Samvel's picture

Thanks! I have to go deep in this topic!

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How's it going?

Noemi's picture

Hi Samvel, hope all is well with you,

Just a note to tell you I'm really hoping to meet you at the Yerevan workshop this Friday and Saturday, and the invitation goes also for people you think could be interested and find value in joining a global community to exchange advice.. like the Piano guys or people in other projects that you've helped fund. Feel free to forward the info and invite them in. For any latest info my friend Vahagn sent you his contact number. well done!

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Thanks :) We just funded open

Samvel's picture

Thanks :) We just funded open space piano, and right at the moment trying to figure out who is this month winner. The problem that this month we got to ideas with similar votes - and at the moment we are fighting hard :)))

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The Open Piano space seems

Inge's picture

The Open Piano space seems like a really cool project! Nice to meet you Samvel!

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thanks, nice to meet you! :)

Samvel's picture

thanks, nice to meet you! :)

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Welcome! :-)

Tiago's picture

Hi Inge Snip! Hi Samvel! So cool to see the community expand to new horizons! 

Congratulations for the very interesting stuff you guys are up to! 

Waving hand from Madrid

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thanks a lot! :)

Samvel's picture

thanks a lot! :)

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