jahn's picture
OPENandChange Workshop Berlin

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

How can we make health- and social care accessible for all, open source, privacy-friendly and participatory?

The Problem: 

We have existing needs for a functional & appreciative system for care & prevention and real effects from a dehumanized health care system

The Solution: 

A change of perspective and a paradigm shift is required - instead of focusing on fighting disease, working towards the promotion of health!


 #OPENandChange Workshop Berlin

“Living, working and ageing healthily within society”

The OPENandChange workshop in Berlin began with a round for participants to introduce themselves. This led straight into individual and collective reflection and the mapping of questions that mattered to participants. Here, three key issues emerged, which participants gathered in three working groups to address.

One group tackled the question of "How can we provide care and preventative care adequately and accessibly?" in a process of collective brainstorming and idea development. As a central starting point was the agreement that care and prevention services should be provided by real people for real people, and thus to counteract the further dehumanization in care - both toward those being cared for, but also the caregivers themselves, as has been spreading as a result of the savings and efficiency measures, particularly in the public sector care, such as hospitals and nursing homes,. Based on this arose an idea for central, physical places and spaces in which cross-generational knowledge sharing communities with a decentralized "bottom-up" structure can develop. This should activate the local community at large and encourage more people to visit and thus bringing them together. Simultaneously, through the use of modern telecommunications and the Internet, communities that are located in remote areas will be included – the challenge of inadequate or even non-existent Internet connections in these areas could be countered by open-source technology solutions, such as balloons that are equipped with Internet. The necessary financial resources could be generated by a crowdfunding campaign, also to generate more public attention, especially online, for teaching/learning/exchange spaces for this innovation and strengthen the cohesion of the existing community. A key component of the engagement in these areas could be workshops of all types and themes to be organized, offered and held by participants themselves. These spaces could make a contribution to the initial formulation of questions, because a social community that is open and accessible for all faces the challenge of accessibility to prevention and care, supported by the Internet. Care and prevention again become a matter for the community, and are thus realized in a humane and proportionate way.

This common "bottom-up" structure was made tangible in a first prototyping, which opened the question "How can we engage individuals to support these structures, even if they ostensibly do not (yet) benefit from them?"

The prototype incorporated the approach of small and relatively autonomous systems where the supply and demand of communities for health and social themes can not only be met, but also that such knowledge can be bundled onsite and via the internet everyone has access to the spaces. Decisions about the design of health promoting coexistence are shaped by the particpating actors themselves. Finally, assumptions were formulated, which should be examined, scrutinized and discussed in the network in order to make this approach more effective and more efficient. Because even subtle or unconscious perceptions and attitudes can potentially be found in each concept, it needs to be balanced by many, diverse and also conflicting perspectives on the concept to make it more resistant. It was also reflected that a certain basic attitude is required of all potential participants to form these care and prevention networks. Another important point is posed by the question of: "How can momentum be created for these spaces and networks?"

Another group addressed the question of: "How can we, based on commonalities, learn more from each other?" In a idea development and brainstorming process on this issue, the importance of local and personal interaction was recognized. This includes the networking of stakeholders and users, potentially through an interactive map on the Internet such as used by www.berlinimwandel.de. It also requires the organizing of engaging workshops where actors can share their enthusiasm for relevant topics with others by presenting them as relevant themes, and optionally also to demonstrate activities to make them tangible. In addition, activities such as role reversals to expand the individuals' horizons of experience are possible, as is done, for example, in working with "age suits" – young people slip into full-body suits equipped with weights to enable the experience of having an aged body.

In a first prototype lifting the existing resources were, theoretically and practically, visualized through a mapping of individual and collaborative networking, both online and offline and person. This process led to the realization that everything is actually there to the realization of this idea already what is needed, when the dedicated actors gathered as OPENandChange workshop, work together and share their resources and combine theory with practice. These assumptions to check it seems important in the first step to begin with themselves, so to make the possibility of designing a different world tangible. This iterative process leads to fresh insights. But the community-based approach not only leads to new insights, but can lead to a higher incidence of fun and joy, and ultimately health and well-being by strengthening group working experiences.

The third working group focused on the question: "How can we increase the societal appreciation for a public welfare oriented social system?" Also during this idea development and brainstorming process, the need for people to meet in person in "their" area, city, country was emphasized. For example, working in interactive groups can lead to an intensification of togetherness and can make prevention and care topic. The supposedly negative connotations otherwise associated with these concepts such as disease, death and a feeling of helplessness are thus transformed. A positive attitude towards the subject is promoted, fears can be reduced, and at the same time the respect and appreciation for the work of nurses and caregivers is increased. In particular, a playful approach to the subject can support this project and convey the idea that all can benefit. Another important aspect for answering the initial question is to explore the current actual situation in care. The question as to why the appreciation in prevention and care sector is so low can lead to valuable information to help find solutions. In prototyping, the motto of "living appreciation" was made tangible and concrete: Care and prevention spaces would be established in the middle of society, fulfilling the basic needs of all, which ensures the participation of all so that this approach corresponds to the wishes of all and fulfills their needs. To test this assumption requires a thorough basic research of existing resources, as well as bureaucratic hurdles, and to examine stakeholders, especially those who are not participating.

Based on the work of the three groups, the following definition of the problems was generated:

•    Dehumanization of health and social systems

•    The focus on treating symptoms rather than promoting healthy lifestyles

•    Privatization and capitalization of public goods, which should be accessible to all

The concrete solution that the participants collectively devised, states that:

•    All we need is there if we work together and share our resources

•    A paradigm shift is needed: "From Pathogenesis to Salutogenesis" – Solidary Health Promotion System with Global Knowledge Network and Local Action Spaces

•    Working "with people for people" and connect visionaries, experts, institutions and places through concrete actions

This solution leads to the following intended:

•    Employing existing treasures: Mapping for individual and community networking, online and in person, in theory and practice

•    Practising appreciation: Create care and prevention spaces in the middle of society to fulfill the basic needs of all and create new incentive/recognition structures in the long term

•    Local systemic change: Developing new skills, resources and infrastructure that can be used by all of us: children, young people, adults, seniors (people in all phases of life).

Strong arguments for the proposal are:

•    Bottom-up structure with small relatively autonomous systems, who self-regulate the supply and demand of health and social services for individuals and communities

•    Only through shared ownership effectiveness and sustainability can this be secured

Our approaches, technologies and tactics are:

•    Active participation of ALL leads to a prototype that works for the majority and meets their needs (human-centered development of global platform and local spaces)

•    Collective, iterative structure combining theory and practice

•    Global Knowledge Network – CAREPEDIA: bundled knowledge (Internet / platform) all have access to the "central office"

•    Local Action Spaces: Locally designed and managed spaces for health-promoting coexistence "From Pathogenesis to Salutogenesis"

We believe our solution will work because: We have existing needs (more than 80% of people want a functional and appreciative system for care and prevention ) and real effects from a dehumanized health and care system. We know many people and institutions that are interested in cooperating and who would gladly contribute their respective expertise. Another world is within reach. There are many projects and movements to prove it. We shall make this even more visible. Everything we need is already there. We need the courage to try it, to experience and live it. We can make an active contribution to this. Financial resources are not a challenge or necessity to achieve this.

As expected results – in the context of existing cases – we use the following examples: Successful EcoVillages such as Mondragon (a community in the Basque Country without police). Giving spaces, exchange meets and free shops. Micro-agriculture in the city. Urban gardening. Community-supported agriculture creates new relationships between city and land. There are urban farming initiatives in Detroit, critical consumption movements in Italy (GAS), alternative currency systems such as WIR in Switzerland, and solidarity networks for food supply and health clinics in Greece, as well as Networks such as SOLIDAGO and Artabana in Germany. And many more.

Furthermore, our proposal is confirmed by literature and scientific consensus such as in the field of neuronal research: Fear paralyzes reason and creativity and leads to depression due to stress and alienation . Yet willingness for lifelong learning, creates new neural connections. Further scientific findings such as the Hierarchy of Needs Maslow, the concept of The Ever-Present Origin (Stuttgart 1949-1953) by Jean Gebser, the classic theories of J.M. Baldwin, G.H. Mead, J. Piaget (The Psychology of the Child) and L. Kohlberg as well as related work by C. Gilligan, F. Oser and M. Parsons. Also the literature and research by Ken Wilber, Aurobindo Ghose, Ervin László, Don Beck, and Michael Murphy;  work on Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, und the research by Kropotkin, who proved that cooperation is more important than competition in the animal kingdom and is effective for the survival of the group. Also the ample literature on the topics of sustainable lifestyles, Solidarity economy, Holacracy and Sociocracy support our suggested solution.

However, it is necessary to keep sight of the risks. Here there are also a number of examples that could occur either externally or internally: The risk that corporations hijack the ideas and commercialize them, such as happened with Carsharing and CoLiving. External factors such as war, social conflicts, the collapse of the financial system, climate change and its consequences, privatization of public goods such as drinking water, and environmental disasters could endanger our plans.

But also our inner monsters, such as greed and the hunger for power  could torpedo the project. There is always a danger that the idea is not accepted, that the needs of the stakeholders are not met or met only partially; that there are "too many cooks" or that the concept can not be implemented due to conflicting priorities, or dependencies between partners and networks arise.

Yet we see possibilities to work against these risks. Reality has proven that it already works, and many people are working toward this aim worldwide:

We are many! We cooperate and we are a network. We have sufficient human capacity. Our approach is flexible and can be used in existing structures and institutions. Dependence on existing systems and infrastructures can be solved via an "open-source" approach that leads to a multiplying effect, where copying is allowed and actively encouraged.

This leads to the reduction of fears, relaxation, deceleration, satisfaction and happiness. There will be systemic relief or elimination of the superfluous, as well as personal and societal development potential through inclusion and the integration of "fringe groups" such as unemployed, refugees or marginalized citizens.

For evaluation it is intended to study these criteria and assumptions in order to confirm them: Self-organization in groups works. Positions, attitudes and values are part of a common vision. Skills are included and allocated according to an open source principle. The new system or the new platform reaches more people and connects more participants than previous systems or platforms. There are spaces where encounters already take place. Spaces can be created where encounters are possible. Spaces that meet various needs lead to added value for all.

Interestingly, it can be stated that all three working groups arrived at very similar approaches and ideas, problems and solutions during this intense, exciting and inspiring eight hour workshop: A change of perspective and a paradigm shift is required - instead of focusing on fighting disease, working towards the promotion of health!

Caroline Paulick-Thiel & Jahn Harrison, nextlearning e.V.

Translation: Alexander Paulick-Thiel


getting connected

Henrike's picture

It was a great workshop with new and old friends. I loved the atmosphere there filled with passion and commitment. And also to see different perspectives and approaches of the other projects aiming for the same impact: to promote health. 

thank you for caring and sharing!

Learning more about Flipped job market ?

Noemi's picture

Nice to meet you @Henrike, and welcome online, I'm Noemi, a colleague of Caroline's, Jahn's and the crew, and have participated in the same format event in Brussels. Thanks to the group for organising and facilitating this workshop, and for tweeting during the day! Our workshop in brussels was happening at the same time and it was lovely to join forces, albeit virtually! Speaking of, I would be curious to learn about the initiatives of those who participated, any one that you liked in particular and feel you will be able to collaborate with in the near future? Hopefully some of these days we get to learn more about Flipped job market, I read you referencing elsewhere here on Edgeryders and from the site looks very interesting, except unfortunately I don;t understand German. Let me know if I can help in any way.

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