Brainfried after #Futurespotters?

Hi everyone,

Hope all of you joining futurespotters in Tbilisi last week are back home and safe! If you’re anything like me, you are probably still raving about it with friends and digesting all the knowledge we were exposed to, that which is hardly available around the corner! For example:

  • David de Ugarte and Juanjo Pina’s insights into what makes Market Activism: They tell business "You have no future. But we believe in you, work with us." It’s the way they’ve changed banking and created (and sold) a 30 million euro company.

  • Starting an unMonastery with the mindset “I want to start a family”: it is not about inventing new things, but retrieving great forgotten practices and re-implementing them. For further reference don’t hesitate to read what modern day social innovators can learn from the life and times of St. Benedict.
  • Vake Park 6 month movement to save a green area in Tbilisi and its protest structure: "We don't have leaders, we have choreographers". Take off points: strategy to reach out virally to everyone (eg older people) using Twitter Fast Follow to send info on dumbphones

  • Iare Pekhit (Georgian pedestrian organisation) take on public spaces in the city: “a good city is a city where we like to be out". Got any insights into what makes public authorities become more cooperative? Get in touch!
  • Vinay Gupta’s model of the 3 sharing bureaucracies involved in any initiative - the owners, the managers, the protectors. When building a project, you might find yourself having to navigate each and assume more than one role!

To mention just a few! The rest of the session documentations are available on Be sure to check the TALK TO ME ABOUT bubbles session documentation. if you’ve got new insights feel free to upload them as posts on the platform.

We also have audio recordings of key sessions, courtesy of Aden. Videos coming up in the next days!

Thank you to all for a great ryde and remember that Futurespotters, like any of Edgeryders projects, is a pretext to bring us together and set the space and tone to engage truthfully with one another. Once the foundation has been laid, it is up to each of us to decide what are the steps forward and what you yourself are willing to take responsibility to make happen: it could be you offering your skills to help an initiative you think it’s promising, it could be partnering up with futurespotters members and writing applications for funding, it could be coming on board and helping build our next community event Living on the Edge (LOTE4) in Matera…!

Photos by Leonid Mujiri here. If you need a couple at original size get in touch!



Hi everyone

Its been an amazing experience and great to have meet cool people with awesome projects.

Thanks @Noemi for the summary :slight_smile:

Just to share some of the VA sessions for storytelling and video outputs worked with @hazem and locals …

and the post

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What about Alessandro’s session?

I have sadly missed @Alessandro Mambelli's session. Is there any documentation available? Alessandro, can you upload video/slides/posts or whatever you feel might help me and others who were unable to attend?

Back to Platform at last!

Wanted to thank you guys for a great experience and for being who you are and doing what you do.

@Noemi, small correction about Twitter tech. It should be “Twitter Fast Follow”, not “Twitter Follow”. Just to decrease chances of confusion :slight_smile:

Hope everybody got home safely.


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Slides?, it was a pleasure meeting you in person, and I already praised you about your presentation. Speaking of which: do you have slides, or notes, or anything ? I’d like to have some documentation somewhere?

In particular, Twitter Fast Follow is a really great enabler. Does it work in all countries? On the Twitter website it only speaks of the US…

Fast Follow outside US

Hello @Alberto,

I appreciate your kind words.

Although I have slides, they wouldn’t tell the story all that well, reason being that I normally do not do slides with tons of text on them… Needless to say I was not taking notes during my own talk :slight_smile:

What I can do is write out the main points of the talk and post them here. I’m assuming there is a section on the platform for things like that.

As for Fast Follow, last time we checked it certainly did work for us. Here is a list of operators which support it internationally and their short codes to which subscription SMS should be sent Help Center

I guess I could do a separate post on Fast Follow and how it is used in the context of Social Choreography :slight_smile:

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Thanks Nick!

“Fast Follow” feature now corrected in the text.

As for the main points from your session, feel free to upload them here and we can all jump in and contribute… well done, it’s been memorable :slight_smile:

Yes please!

You are right of course, Nick. If you could do that, it would be fantastic! The right thing to do would be to post in the Futurespotters: Aftermath group. You can do it as a post, or (even better) as a wiki – the only difference between the two is that others can edit your wiki.

The futurespotters Expedition: Thoughts, Reflections & Lessons

This has been quite a journey I must say…a worthwhile journey with many new ideas, mindsets, concepts and perceptions learned and exchanged.

It has been amazing to witness firsthand the true passion and drive of individuals that are putting everything they’ve got into making this world a better place, not only for themselves but for everyone else around them.

You hear or read every day about new creative initiatives, or ideas being successfully implemented, and you think to yourself…wow, how can I ever pull something like this off. Well, I’ll let you on a not-so-surprising secret…it’s all about the connections you make. And I don’t mean connection in the sense of ‘my friend’s cousin’s sister-in-law’s father brother knows someone who knows someone’ type of connection…but I mean the real honest let’s help each other out as best we can kind of bond. As I mentioned before here, it’s all about the openness, honesty and trust you allow others to see in you, which will inevitably sow the initial seed that will then grow into something beautiful. Don’t be ashamed to ask others for help because you will find endless support and it’s a guarantee; genuine collaboration will make things happen easily and quickly. Also, accept criticism with grace as it’s important to know where the shortcomings lie precisely in order for you to truly prosper.

So, what kind of ‘things’ am I referring to above? By ‘things’ I mean innovative, pioneering and creative solutions individuals are coming up with in response to the hardships they face. In Egypt for example, campaigns such as Bos 7awalek’ (Look around you) have sprung out of collaboration; ideas such as the development of Bahareya Oasis in Egypt were built on collaboration; solutions for alternative education in Egypt also came out of collaboration; Other great initiatives were highlighted such as Biogas People, Jozour, Reform Studio, Mapture, Educate-me, and Harassmap; only to name a few.

Through participating in Spot the Future initiative, UNDP has been learning the Edgeryders methodology in how they are creating a space where futurebuilders from different backgrounds come together and engage in exchanging knowledge, resources and experiences to achieve the same goal: change. It was amazing to see it happening online and offline, especially at the futurespotters event in Tbilisi, where connections were being made between the change-makers and exchange in different forms were constantly happening. It was very inspirational to hear about the perspectives and wonderful ideas such as innovative data visualization and storytelling by Jumpstart Georgia, Lasindias and market activism, moneyless bartering solutions such as Makerfox, movements such as the occupation of Vake Park, and initiatives such as Viral Academy, Wehelp in Georgia and Carpooling in Armenia…seriously, wow. This is where UNDP needs to, wants to and will be.

This experience has been successful in allowing UNDP to identify unique and exciting initiatives and to connect with individuals outside their network. Moreover, it was interesting to see how the futurespotters community was built by mobilizing people on the platform, engaging and linking people from different backgrounds to support one another. UNDP has the power to solve key challenges built on innovation and creativity by searching for local heroes deep within the well. You know why? Because there are people out there that have solutions so outside the box and are actually willing to share them. Basically, when you are experiencing something challenging first hand, it will serve as inspiration for you to come up with the solution firsthand.

It is just as important to engage those people in meaningful conversations to really understand what they need in terms of support and at the end of the day we are all aiming for the same thing, which is development in all spheres of our societies.

What I have learned from this experience is that first: from a social perspective, organizations should create the space for collaboration to transpire (between individuals and individuals/institutions), by directly engaging citizens. We need to enable the environment for co-creation and collaboration to happen. Second: organizations should involve individuals in the actual design and implementation of programmes (co-creation/bottom-up approach) because there are many local heroes we may not know about yet, and third: trust can be built quickly and can be lost just as quickly, so the notion of ‘following-up’ with whatever you started is very important; expressing mere intentions, no matter how honest they are, is never enough.

These acknowledgements are not easy by the way, it takes time to understand and grasp these ideas and it is easier said than done, and I am still trying to figure out what these concepts mean, and how to make use of them. But taking initiative is important, and this is what UNDP is doing at the moment. By par-taking in initiatives such as Spot the Future, it is certainly a step forward in changing the mindset of the organization and adapting to the new paradigm shift in the world, where individuals are taking charge of their future through Do it Yourself (DIY) approaches, makers movements and relying on one another rather than looking at large institutions for support. We have the know-how, capacities and resources and it’s time to allocate them in the most efficient way possible, because there are some people out there that are truly struggling to build amazing things for the betterment of the community that can definitely benefit from our support.

We need to reach out to people other than those on the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Change will not be achieved in a blink of an eye, you have to keep pushing the boundaries little by little, but you must keep pushing.

In Egypt, we are currently using what we learned and we are putting efforts in engaging with individuals we haven’t reached out to before. We are learning the tools of engagement, and we are trying to take out as much as we can from this experience. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how we can help build this social environment, to empower individuals (those at the very edge) to connect with one another and with organizations to build the best future.

I would like to personally thank @Nadia, @Noemi, @Matthias and @Alberto for your infinite support and for all your efforts in being open to share your approach and advice. Thanks to all the amazing people I’ve connected with throughout this experience, especially our Egyptian futurebuilders that we’ve spotted and all the passionate individuals I’ve met at the futurespotters event. Thanks for the inspiration! Seriously, keep doing what you’re doing, be amazing and i’ll see you on the Edge very soon :slight_smile:

Remember 384 unique relationships and interactions were created futurespotters!!


The preciousness of feedback; and some wild thoughts

Thanks a lot for your honest feedback and kind words, it means a lot to us :slight_smile: Especially since you have (and use) the rare opportunity to give your feedback as somebody who has not yet been routine-blinded by the Edgeryders method. It’s also fascinating to see your journey with Edgeryders, and how you make sense of it … I guess if institutions were like brains, you’d be UNDP’s learning center :slight_smile:

I am wondering, what is the role of institutions in all these DIY solutions? Since such solutions are by definition DIY and always applied to local problems, institutions like UNDP do not have to deploy or scale them. But there’s a crucial function that makers and hackers fail to fulfill and institutions can: in Vinay’s terms (from his “bureaucracy of sharing is made of owners, managers and protectors” talk in Tbilisi), it is being the manager. For open source DIY solutions, there is no owner and no protector is needed, since it’s free knowledge. But we DIY people need a manager, somebody who orchestrates the DIY knowledge, publishes it, maintains it, detects usability etc. problems, organizes to get the problems resolved etc… The same function that Mark Shuttleworth took on when developing Ubuntu Linux: GNU/Linux was there before as free software, but without Mark and his team caring for it, it would be much less mainstream. In less techie terms, “manager” is actually the party doing the caregiving and nurturing work for a movement to grow up.

Which is very much needed, because while DIY / maker / activists are a movement for sure, it is not a mature one. We lack, for example, a standard repository of DIY solutions and knowledge – something like a Wikipedia of DIY. Without, the movement lacks good memory and lacks an effective way of internal learning and skillsharing: to deploy DIY solutions today, everyone has to become a subject matter expert, as there are no standard recipes to follow, no exchange economy for DIY products etc… (Yes I know, there is Appropedia (and my EarthOS), but while they might be a good basis for the “Wikipedia of DIY”, these are far from being complete and far from being of much practical usability so far (and as for EarthOS, it’s almost a tragicomical effort to try orchestrating all the world’s open tech alone :smiley: ). Also, these both lack all the recipes and patterns for social problem solving (like “How to protect a park” etc.).

What we collected together in Spot the Future is anecdotal evidence of DIY initiatives and solutions. The challenge is now, how can institutions including UNDP and citizens make these solutions as easy to replicate as possible? Without increasing DIY’s usability like that, DIY solutions would always stay at the edge … but we want to have an impact on the world and fix it up!!

“trust can be built quickly and can be lost just as quickly, so the notion of ‘following-up’ with whatever you started is very important; expressing mere intentions, no matter how honest they are, is never enough.

Rings very  true. So, in specific terms: if UNDP or another institutional player wants to commit resources to nurturing the DIY movement as outlined above, I commit to provide and integrate the full EarthOS content as “seed content” for a DIY solutions repository. As open content / free knowledge of course.

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