So, I just wanted to update you on what went on in yesterday’s Ice Dinner!
It was basically an introductory event for Spot the Future in Egypt, where several social innovators doing really interesting work in Egypt came to learn more about this initiative! Nadia took the time to join us on Google Hangouts to tell us more about Edgeryders and what they’ve been doing (Thank you Nadia!!!) Then we told them what Spot the Future is all about, why UNDP is involved and what they can do to contribute.
During the dinner everyone got to know each other and shared some pretty interesting initatives they’ve been working on. For example, @Waleed Shawky told us about his initiative ‘Medicine for All’ which involves donation of medicine through a very interesting approach, @hany el khodary is working on Biogas, @Ashraf Al Shafaki already told us about design thinking training in Egypt here. I don’t want to give you all the deets as I’m sure they’ll tell you a lot more about it!
Anyway, I think the most fruitful discussion was the open circle, where we sat and discussed what we got out of the introductions. These are the questions that we asked:
1. What questions or concerns do you have?
2. Is the EdgeRyders model usable and can it be Effective in Egypt?
3. What would you need to make the model useful for you?
Here are their comments, questions and concerns: I put some answers, and there are some questions directed at Edgeryders, and you can answer them better than I will! Please feel free to add your feedback and inputs!!!
• How can we benefit by contributing our ideas and solutions, why on the Edgeryders platform?
Spot the Future is an initiative where UNDP is experimenting with new approaches to engage citizens. EdgeRyders are sharing their knowledge and methodology for engaging and mobilizing a community of social innovators. The idea behind the platform is that it provides a space for all the community members to contribute to one another’s projects and simple ideas by giving feedback, sharing their experiences, advice and resources. EdgeRyders has a global community of 2000+ innovators working on solving some of the key issues we face in the community. Therefore, it will provide you with a support system and access to a large network of people doing the same things. By expressing the challenges you face and contributing your ideas, you will definitely get a lot of useful feedback and advice to lift your project off the ground.
• What are the desired outcomes from Spot the Future? What will happen after the final event? What are the next steps?
Spot the Future is a great opportunity for UNDP to move away from the traditional way of doing things. What we will get out of this initiative is for us to take away the important lessons learned as well as the Edgeryder’s methodology in engaging people. Our experience and experimentation with Spot the Future will allow UNDP to adapt the methodology to the Egyptian context, for future projects. Moreover, UNDP aims to expand its network of social innovators in Egypt in order to reach out and support citizens that we were not able to reach before. Some people are working on great social initatives for bettering the community that we don’t know about. So guess what? We want to know about them! Those who come up with innovative ideas and solutions for key issues such as unemployment, poverty and the environment – UNDP can help them move from a simple idea to actual implementation of the project. How will this be done? By providing support and access to resources through UNDP networks such as Information Technology Institute and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (these were UNDP projects), linking ideas to already existing projects or even implementing new ones. This all depends on the idea, if it creates sufficient buzz, is innovative and will have a real social impact!
• Workshop: What is the workshop about? What will we gain from it? What are the expected outcomes? How can we sign up for workshop? The instructions are unclear.
• Business Model: What is EdgeRyders the business model, how do they sustain themselves?
• Politics: Does Edgeryders have any political affiliation? Are there any restrictions and regulations for political discussions?
• Language Barrier: Language barrier was a common concern: A lot of people will not be encouraged to use the platform; exclusion of a large sector of the society. One proposed solution was to have translators present in the workshop. We asked them to post in whichever language they were comfortable in and we can try and find ways to translate the important info.
• Navigation: Prior to the dinner, several people signed up on the platform but they were lost and found it to be very difficult to follow.
• Having an online and offline presence is very important for any initiative. One or the other by itself will not be enough to carry the weight. • Platform will be beneficial to learn from the expertise of other’s.
• The biggest benefit will be to learn from their concepts and ideas and implement them and adapt them for Egypt. Edgeryders have certain capacities and resources that we can use. We can certainly gain form the knowledge and expertise of others in the Edgeryders community.
• We should adapt their model to the Egyptian context and have a localized version.
So this basically summarizes everything that was discussed last night! I’m waiting for your feedback and by answering these questions, everything will definitely be a lot clearer!
Take care all