Building Edgeryders: what it is all about

Edgeryders has a two-layer architecture: that’s what makes it different. Quite naturally, people we talk about it with (social innovators, activists, civil servants, and more) tend to perceive one of the layer as the dominant one, according to what it is they are interested in: and that is cool, because they perceive its usefulness and can see themselves using it. But the truth is, the project would not stand without both.

Layer number one is a gamified peer-to-peer learning platform. It works like this: people are asked to share their experiences as they try to build a full, rewarding, successful life in a society that seems to have no place for the young. Some people are busy inventing a new job (like my friends at CriticalCity in the video above), or finding an existing one in a creative way; others are experimenting with new ways of life, like sharing resources (from your couch to your car) or going out to live off the beaten track; others still are building new way to meaningful activism, making their voice heard and matter. Almost no one can do all of these things at once: even the brightest, most successful of us has more to learn than she or he has to teach. We are building a respectful, result-oriented, fact-oriented environment where we can all learn from each other. Elements borrowed from gaming should help us making this process smooth, easy and fun. The expected results for Edgeryders are learning new strategies to survive and thrive in an unfavourable context; and getting to meet and network with other European trailblazers.

Layer number two is a massively collaborative, distributed policy think tank. It works like this: survival and strategies put in place by young people are shared and validated through the conversation (“Great, I want to do that too!” or “A friend of mine has been tryng something similar, but…”). At this point, we go out and try to identify the conditions that enable (or, viceversa, prevent) these strategies to be successful; then we ask European institutions to consider making policy to put these conditions in place if they are not there, and strengthen them if they are. The idea is to broaden the window of opportunity: a lot of young people are extremely successful in building new and interesting paths, but things tend to be harder than would be reasonable, and certainly harder than it was for the previous generation. Maybe, with enabling policy, more or even all of us can make a successful transition. We are convinced that, if looked at from the right angle, all of these different strategies, all of these hyper-creative things that young people are doing across the world will reveal their nature