!Drops and Edgeryders - learning, innovation, community building and new economies

I recently met with @anna_idrops to explore alignment and potential partnership between !Drops and Edgeryders. In short, they are a Belgian-based, globally-active social innovation agency who collaborate on designing concrete solutions to societal challenges. With an impressive cross-section of programmes, projects and resources, they work across care, sustainability, new learning (and future economies), superdiversity, global development and community building.

They employ design thinking, such as human-centred design and appreciative inquiry to come up with concrete results and outputs ranging from interventions, toolkits, business models, policy suggestions, products and others… I highly encourage you to explore their projects here and no doubt @anna_idrops can respond to and connect any of your interests with their work.

There are a few potential areas of collaboration that could be interesting, and I’ll be meeting with Anna and Nathalie again this week, as well as their colleague Hendrikje the week after next to dive further into tangible partnership pathways. For now I’d like to explore two specific possibilities:

  • I’m particularly interested in leveraging !Drops experience in creative and design labs to prototype ideas and create blueprints to make projects sustainable. These “Energy labs" engage specific target groups and their innovation trajectories to develop new products and services with tangible results. They share our principles of open knowledge and goal of fostering self-sustaining projects and have done these across diverse contexts including recently with young social innovators in Malawi and artisans in Colombia. I’ll be further exploring this with their project lead on global development Hendrikje in a couple of week’s time. In the meantime, @anna_idrops - is there anywhere we can access an example programme for one of these labs to reference?

  • Summer School with University of Antwerp 2 - 6 July 2018. This has short lead-time (applications close 15/05) but could be an appropriate start. !Drops with their partners at the University of Antwerp and the Service Design Network are hosting a five-day summer school program on product, service and system design in health care, accompanied by a coaching trajectory. With 25 participants from all over the world, the ultimate goal is to give participants concrete tools through explorations in: Digital storytelling and new media in the medical context/ Human Centered Design and caregiving/ Creative industries and care/ Thematic sessions on psychiatry, neighbourhood care and migration and care/ Personal wellbeing in work and daily life. @anna_idrops and I had talked about the possibility of opening up a scholarship place to one of our OpenVillage MENA network (registration is EUR250 for students/ EUR450 for professionals + travel costs). Obviously with such short lead time we’re constrained but I think something like scholarship = 1 x place fees waived by !Drops + travel costs incorporated into an existing opportunity by Edgeryders could potentially work. What do you think @nadia and @anna_idrops?
    They are also interested in the possibility of a presentation on OPENCARE as a case study on day four (5 July). I thought this could be interesting and enjoyable for you @noemi - might you be around and keen?

Curious to hear any other thoughts - @matteo_uguzzoni you may find their work with refugees of interest for example - and will continue to share here as the conversations continue.


Welcome then @anna_idrops!

Personally, I think this is a great idea. I know no one asked me :smile:.

1 Like

Call with Hendrikje, Project Designer, 27 September 2018

I’ve just finished a call with !Drops Project Designer Hendrikje who works in the global development and superdiversity teams about brining our methodologies together on a prototype project in Morocco. !Drops engage partners for technology while they work through human-centred design for facilitation/ incubation/ project management.

We both see potential in combining our work in outreach/ online conversation/ P2P collaboration and network building with theirs in using human centred design methodologies to incubate young talent in social change. For example, Hendrikje recently finished a project in in Malawi with a local partner - MHub, an innovation hub - that included a 5day training on data and IoT followed by a hackathon for participants to build solutions solutions to local issues.

I’ve suggested we bring both of our proven methodologies together in a small prototype and take it from there. We’ll try this by undertaking the following process and I’ve proposed that @zmorda be involved from here on (Zmorda, we can discuss in our call tomorrow):

  • start sharing some ideas in a google drive to co-devise a concept note
  • engage a local partner - eg. @yosser at OurGhema, @ericasmar at happysmala, @AdnaneA at MCISE
  • draft up a budget forecast
  • gauge any additional funding necessary
  • have another call / meeting
  • finalise a partnership agreement
  • prototype in Morocco, where we both have active communities or interests

I’ll share the draft concept note here once it’s taken shape. Ideas and feedback warmly welcome


Sounds like a potentially fruitful partnership. Do you have an idea of who would fund this? You say “additional funding.” Doe that suggest there is already some money to get this underway? Making a concept note and a budget doesn’t require funding, but a prototype does.

Yes, as per my post here,

fundraising of co-produced projects with partners is its own kettle of fish so to speak, and we’re attempting to come up with a better strategy around right now. With !Drops I’m hoping that it can be a light prototype that leverages existing resources and takes a minimal amount (eg. US$10K) to test the waters and prove the concept for more fundraising.