Building the platform- A workshop weekend in Berlin (part I)

On August 27 and 28 respectively, I  co-facilitated a workshop session and hosted a full day workshop in Berlin for the Youth In Transition project called Edgeryders. The aim of the workshop was to start the outreach and community building in the project by inviting a self-selected group to participate in a collaborative design process. This post is a summary of some insights generated during the two days. To Ela, Anne, Guang, Michelle, Susa, Pavel, Pippa, Adria, Basti, Katharina and Puja: Thank you so much for being  so generous with your time and engagement, hope it felt worthwhile. Photo documentation from the workshop has been posted online in the form of slides here. The work involved preparing the workshop process and  materials, documentation as well as setting up an infrastructure that allows those who wish to continue working on the ideas generated during the workshop,  in the form of modifiable project mockups Mybalsamiq here. Just send me an email and I’ll add you to the account ( you have to be added to the project manually to be able to modify them): nadia.el-imam[at] I decided to break down my summary of what went on over thwo posts instead of in one long post.  Please feel free to put in your 2 cents by adding a comment.//Nadia EL-Imam

Workshop Summary Contents:

Blogpost 1: Insights from the workshop Blogpost 2: Results/ findings

1. Insights from the workshop:

  1. That in designing a platform for collaboratively drafting enabling policies and practicies to help manage different aspects of the transition, we are in a sense designing a platform for peer to peer learning outside institutions. If we want to build something that will be a tool that generates value for it’s users regardless of whether or not policymakers end up adopting the policy recommendations, we need to ask how, in our platform, we:
    • identify, learn and record our experiences?
    • connect with others and to learn?
    • get feedback for what we've learnt?
    • balance what we want to learn with what we need find space for continual learning amongst work, family and other life responsibilities?
    • connect our personal learning experiences with our formal learning opportunities?
    • negotiate the transitions between online, international learning and our local context?
  2. That it may be better to frame the initiative/ platform as an interactive experience, rather than a social network or game or school. It is a story space with some game elements in it.
  3. That we should keep the design and implementation process as open as possible, and that there is an engaged community waiting to happen around the project if we let them in and give them a say in how it is run. This also means we have to put some time and effort into finding and using tools for design, development and requirements gathering/ feedback that enable this openness as well as allow us to engage and build a community starting immediately.  [Do you have suggestions for how to do this? I’m happy to give everyone access to the Mybalsamiq account if you want to go ahead and modify the wireframes I’m producing, or post alternatives- ]
  4. That an important value added would be to help facilitate and support participants in our journey of self-discovery. If we can help participants in surfacing their values, hidden dreams, goals. motivation and personality that would be great. If we can help them to synthesize their unique combination of talents, skills. strengths, drivers, knowledge and what they really love to do into an outwardly coherent personal narrative that would be a big contribution.
  5. And that we need a means for the community to express gratitude to individual community members who make “quiet” contributions to it, as well as reciprocity and a pay it forward ethic to be embedded into the DNA of our project.
  6. There is a big desire for good news, and that the tone of our project should not be one of gloom and doom but of solidarity in the face of adversity.
  7. Role models should be presented as individuals with strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures and they should feel accessible — people who rise to a challenge as opposed to people who are extraordinarily gifted etc.

Want to help? Here's how!

1. Poke holes in the prototype!

The team at the Council of Europe is synthesising the output from the workshop material as well as our own internal discussions and insights into a functional prototype by the end of next week. If you want to help us test it send me an email: nadia.el-imam [at] If you feel like getting hand on down and dirty with the ideas generated during the workshop for your own projects or just as a creative exercise,  you can access the project mockups Mybalsamiq here and the photo documentation from the workshop in the form of a slideshare here. Just send me an email and I’ll add you to the account ( you have to be added to the project manually to be able to modify them): nadia.el-imam[at]

2. Give the gift of attention!

Shine some light on someone who’s efforts you think should acknowledged.  Send me a story about someone who gives you hope for the future…who are they, why do they inspire you, what do you think are their strengths and what challenges would people who want to follow their path face: nadia.el-imam[at]