There’s a short answer and a longer one. The short answer is that it depends on you.
The longer answer is the one we write together below in the form of a blogpost telling the rest of the Edgeryders community and the world at large
What came out of the workshops.
What we want to see happening moving forward, concrete actions/initiatives
How anyone reading the post can contribute if they have 3 minutes, 30 minutes or a few hours to invest into the shared effort.
1. What came out of the workshops
A lively and growing #futurespotters community comprising skilled engineers, journalists, (business) sustainability consultants, social and development workers, designers, eco farmers, environmental activists (cyclers, guerrilla gardeners), collaborative consumption entrepreneurs (cowork spaces, carpooling), urban researchers, human rights activists, open source, open data enthusiasts and many more; in the Caucasus region, Egypt and in continental Europe.
We met individuals for which initiatives are their own social enterprise or (un)startup, their freelancing work or for whom they’re mere civic engagement and who are waiting to put their energy into something that makes a difference in the world. As somebody spotted, “all the participants share a sincere sense of civic responsibility and passion for change”.
This is exactly what Spot the Future project led by Edgeryders is about: finding one another and figuring out ways to do something with our shared vision of the world. The first part, we achieved, as you will remember the awesomeness and admiration in the room as we discovered how relevant the work is of the person sitting next to us.
During two day informal workshops in Tbilisi, Yerevan and Cairo we asked ourselves: what are the biggest challenges we come across in our work? What are the issues we care about the most in our communities and could help solve, together? An extensive list of challenges is out of the Spot the Future scope, as it would be never ending (all workshop summaries here). However, there are key recurring themes which offer some clues:
Careless urban planning and the need for bigger, stronger collective action to reclaim public spaces
Competitiveness within the NGO sector and hardwired resistance to collaboration among individuals in general
Challenging learning mentalities and sense of agency, including outdated and un-inclusive education systems
These are burning questions in Georgia, Armenia, Egypt (and beyond!), no doubt about it, and what we tried is to provide an overview and good examples of what’s already being done. What comes next?
2. What we want to see happening moving forwards
Going from ideas to actionables
We are already reconnecting and posting notes from discussions and continuing to help one another develop the ideas that came out of the workshop so they have a realistic chance at succeeding. As well as reaching out through our personal networks to find others who are already doing relevant work to align and complement one another’s efforts. Also the more people who get excited about an idea, the more likely it is to get realised.
Concrete actions taking shape as we write this:
In Georgia an informal local action group was born with the focus to strengthen collaboration around initiatives of its members. They are asking how to hook up with decision makers to up their grassroots initiatives for the environment; another way to start collaborating is to collectively map dear places in Tbilisi using aerial photography: then and now.
Organizing an event in Armenia around a new working culture: with meaning and motivation. The theme is not specific to Armenia or any other region, it’s quite universal. The whole point is to make the motivation behind your work the central aspect. To promote yourself based not just on what you know and what you have done, but by why you did those things.
In Egypt the group is experimenting with a shared approach to the Future Now as a response to things we want to change in the culture, in the large organisations with which we have to interact and in ourselves as individuals. Edgeryders Egypt has kicked off the FUTURE NEWSPAPER CHALLENGE in style: Future Newspaper Article explores a new alternative to private education, The Old regained it’s youth describes the building and participatory development of a community run enterprise as a holistic and inclusive response to unemployment and environmental degradation while future newspaper tells the story of how two girls rid downtown Cairo of sexual harassment through a simple and age old method…rediscovered.
3. How you can contribute to the shared effort
Learn by doing how to build the Edgeryders magic near you- pick one or more of the alternatives below for helping and getting involved:
Join the effort to build a Twitterstorm and learn how to use this effective method for any project!
Read, comment and connect: Go through the documentation and leave a constructive comment to the posts. Ideally link to a relevant project, initiative, opportunity or resource you know of. Let’s do it now!
3. Extract creative call for help from workshop documentation and put it in the Social media calendar in both Arabic/ Armenian /Georgian and English. Daily!
- Coordinate to spread the content! Check the social media calendar and spread the word on your personal channels. Daily! Also because @Said and @Dorotea, even @Hazem are taking care of the Edgeryders channels and need to know what content to push out.
4. If you want to contribute more to help us all make the most of the time we spent together, join our regular Thursday #communitycalls here.
5. Reach out to people who couldn’t make it to the workshops and let them know about the opportunities still available ahead of our final June conference.
Can you think of something else that is useful to do? Can we each come up with a creative idea? Post them in a comment below!