#Futurespotters conference, how I experienced it

When I finished my bachelor’s degree in Law I started working in georgia for a local NGO, I realized after a year that it wasn’t for me: grant hunting for the sake of grant hunting. I felt NGOs just worked to get grants, rather than working on what they once were founded for, loosing their initial goals and aims out of sight. After that I worked at the European and Dutch parliament, and a similar feeling creeped over me: reading boring reports, trying to write up an advice, but not feeling actual change occurred.

I continued writing my blog, picked up some journalism gigs and studied russian in Ukraine, after which i decided to go for an MA degree in politics in Sweden. I kept on writing, but still didn’t know what it actually achieved. And after finishing my MA I realized how closely knit the media environment is and how uninterested they media was in covering the Caucasus, my area of expertise. It was frustrating.

Also graduating at a time when the economic crisis had hit the hardest, I was - as many of my generation - a bit lost. I worked hard to become a professional for 10 years, but a professional in what? Not only where there no jobs out there, I also felt uncomfortable working again in a civil society that just applied for grants to stay alive, working in politics hadn’t worked either for me, and the media gigs I got were so minor I couldn’t survive on it.

I started teaching English. But after one and a half year I realized that if I wouldn’t quit, I would get stuck in teaching. Although it did give me some fulfillment, as I was actually working with youth and could see change in them, it was not something I wanted to do my whole life, the impact seemed to small. So I quit. With only one small freelance gig to go on.

However, it was the best decision of my life. A few months later, after doing minor freelance gigs and teaching private students, Edgeryders was introduced to my life, and by that I mean: alternative ways to change the communities around you.

Yesterday I organized the first georgia futterspotters meeting after the conference, and I was sure it would be a really small group: I was wrong. Every other person that came in put a smile on my face: six months of working with Edgeryders had actually made some impact, people were willing to sit down together and discus issues, come up with new ideas, and as Khatuna put it “trying to find a way to get these talks turn into real actions”.

The Futurespotters conference was great in a sense that it brought inspiration, at least for me. To see all these people from different places do different things, not to make money, but to make a change.

Personally for me, it would’ve been better if - besides the final report - some  more concrete actions would’ve been crystalized during the conference. However, after the meet-up yesterday, I am certain that for georgia good things will happen.

My story is a very interpersonal story, I am aware of it. However, I felt the need to share my own journey. Through edgeryders I have gotten three new clients that all work with passion, who are not grant eaters. Who want to take a new approach. Their enthusiasm ignites enthusiasm within me. And through edgeryders I have realized that, as Nika from Guerrilla Gardening said it: “the government is the child and society its parent, the parent has to tell the child what goes well and what goes wrong.”

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Spillover effects

Hi @Inge, missed you over here.

This. This is so much of what I, too, have been learning in the past years, starting off from a very similar point as yours after graduation - good on paper NGOs or research initiatives, but the kind that strive to just perpetuate their own existence. I don’t know if it’s about getting lucky to land a better opportunity one after the other to open your eye, or just bravery to set yourself on a path that matters to you. Most of the stories we hear on edgeryders are about taking a chance though, and creating your own work, flipping the 'lost generation" scenario into an alternative one - you might like the AltGen approach to get unemployed youth to raise their stakes.

As for futurespotters concrete actionables (everyone wants action!), you know this already: it wasn’t in the project design per se and it was the best we could all do within the 4month timeframe. but who says it has to stop here? the doors are wide open, and the world seems to be looking at Georgia, not to mention that some of us feel like migrating there altogether :slight_smile:

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Way to go!

You just made my day, @Inge Snip. Very valuable data, thank you.

Here’s a thought. Brave moves like yours (and many of us resonate with it – compare @Noemi’s comment above) lead to some real progress in the aggregate. But the process that leads society as a whole to make progress is an evolutionary process. And evolution makes species thrive by killing less fit individuals. What that means is, most of us fail. Collectively, we – the many who fail and the few who break through – move society forward. That benefits everybody – including the people who lock themselves into tenured, safe positions – but we are the only ones to pay the price. There is a huge fairness issue there.

Not that I have any solution (yet?). We soldier on. We are human – we have to try.

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The community/commercial chimera

Hey Inge, thanks a lot for the article, I read the whole thing at once and also can relate to several aspects like searching for the biggest impact you can have on the world.

Short note on wanting to see more specific outcomes from the Futurespotters conference: Don’t forget to count in your new client relationships wink Edgeryders is this crossover between community and company, and if it leads to contracts or paid jobs for Edgeryders through anything meaningful happening in the community, that is a contribution to helping each other making a living just as a joint non-commercial project as an outcome would be …

Oh and, @Alberto, I’d always prefer an intelligent (and community-based) design to shortcut all this evolutionary (and lonely) suffering of failing individuals. Pun intended. smiley But seriously, I can well imagine that one day, Edgeryders is that design …


I wish!

May the Great Graph grant your wish, my friend. wink  I am definitely striving to build just that: our means are tiny and the task is huge, but perhaps we can at least start walking in the right direction.

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Yeah guys, I understand re the futurespotters event, that its aim was not necessary identifiable actions, however, that probably things would happen as a result of it. And I am very glad it did :)).

Thanks for the tip on Altgen, will look into that.

And yes, Alberto: we soldier on ;). Next goal: find a solution? :))