Matthias's Economy App Wins the European Social Innovation Award!

Remember when back in December at our Living on the Edge event people were looking into ways to access capital for innovative, off-the-grid projects? It took less than two weeks to mobilize ourselves and apply for the European Social Innovation competition. Out of the total 605 entries from 35 countries submitted end of last year, 7 were produced by Edgeryders members, making us wonder if we would be so lucky to indeed have in our community more than 1% of Europe’s social innovating capacity. We can now partially answer that question by proudly presenting Economy as an App as one of the three winners of the competition!!

Economy App was awarded 20k EUR to develop a system of network bartering where one can put own resources and skills into a network of trades, that in return and through a sophisticated algorithm, helps them access products or services they need but don’t have financial resources to obtain otherwise. I asked Matthias how he feels about winning this prize and how he intends to use this investment, and here’s what he thinks:

I’m really grateful for the funding! It allows us to concentrate on developing the software to maturity, and go fast in development. When you always have to do odd jobs to keep yourself afloat while working on your social impact projects, like we did so far, you don’t get too much done. Now we have good hopes to be ready with our beta version in time for the launch of the unMonastery in Matera!

For me and the others who were honored to stand by Matthias’s side at the ceremony, this is the super sexy project advocated for by N. Hutter from Toniic Europe in the panel: “Why do I invest in social innovation?” - a project that can show financial institutions that you can have a big impact, achieve sustainability and return of investment altogether… and what better way to show this than through an idea that generally assumes no cash exchanges!

Check out the project updates on Edgeryders and remember to be generous with your feedback, now more than ever since the network barter interface is close to a beta and needs our strong support!

Well done, Matthias & Co.!


Well played, sir :slight_smile:

Big win! Congratulations. A very well deserved victory. Onwards! Next year Edgeryders should win all three prizes, I say.


An honour to stand by you

I’ve very much enjoyed sitting next to you and simulate bartering in your 3min pitch, so thank you for inviting me :-)

In years time or sooner Edgeryders should host and run something similar, I bet we can do it with fireworks and all, especially in terms of running the show, no?



Ey, Matthias, congratulations. Fair prize for all the hard work you are doing. I wish you the best for the App and… everything!! I just registered to the project to keep informed. Not long ago I spoke with somebody from a group… that expressed interest in something like this. So… when you advance a little with the thing I’ll do my best to disseminate it.

1 Like

Will let you know!

Thanks a lot for the congratulations, Pedro (and everyone here!). Once we are in a public beta release state, you’ll know from the group so you can pass the link around somewhat. Thanks in advance for evangelizing :slight_smile: Wishing you all the best for your own project, too!

Let us be your cobayes

Matt! Congratulazioni straight from the heart!

I am sure I can speak for all the Materan community: the city wants to be your cobaye for the launch of the Economy App :slight_smile: We’ll be waiting to test and demo and promote and share!

Good work!

1 Like

Let us make it great together

Many thanks for the congrats and warm welcome, Ilaria :slight_smile: I already feel personally attached to Matera and the community there, and I have yet to go there. An enthusiastic pilot community is the best partner one can get for something like we do! I’m eager to start working with Materans on this, and we will work hard over the coming months to get a first version ready that we can all test out together.

As I told Matt on Twitter,

 Photo by Nikon Colucci

As I told Matt on Twitter, the main theme of Matera2019 is “Antique Future” (in Italian, Remote Future - Futuro Remoto). The Economy App fits in perfectly: values that come from the past (such as the barter culture) enabled and promoted through digital technology. It’s not about putting the “digital” adjective behfore or behind every word, but it’s about using the digital technology to enable and support practices which carry values which we commonly associate to so-called traditional cultures.

As you said, Matera - through Matera2019 - offers powerful metaphor and visuals: this is what is so striking about the city, but alas this also beholds a danger: rhetoric. Antoher theme is “Connection and contemplation”, understood as a place which allows deep inner contemplation and inispiration and brings to creation and connection with others. This second step (the connection) is not automatic and has not always been done: there have been people which came and went without leaving anything significative but a bunch of empty words. In time, this has created a sense of skepticism. The story of Matera is filled with evocative metaphors and powerful declarations of intents which remained as such.

in 2009 I bumped into the group of youngsters that where advocating for Matera to become candidate city to European Capital of Culture in 2019. At the time I was studying how Matera passed from “national shame” (in the 50’s) to UNESCO World Heritage. The risk of creating yet another occasion for adding a label to the city with no concrete consequences on the quality of life was real and, although diminushed today, still exists. Projects such as unMonastery or Economy App are exactly what we need to fuel a healthy sense of pragmatic advocating for an alternative way of making the city.

Matera’s Sassi remind us every day the origins of the maker culture. But Matera’s external neighbourhoods also tell us how low our building culture can get to when we totally delegate our power of decision to others. I am positive that the EdgeRyder community can empower the local community by showing in what way digital technology can enable processes without waiting for public money, public authorities or political benediction: “innovation without permission”, as an Italian journalist recently wrote.

Matt, if you want to write a blogpost on the Economy App, I am sure that we can then translate it in Italian and the webteam would be thrilled to dispatch it through social network: also, this could give a pragmatic approach to the ongoing discussion on resilience which risks taking a very theoretical turn!

Matera: digital making capital!

Stay tuned!

1 Like

the Citysens of Matera

Hi Ilaria, base on what you tell about “Connection and contemplation”, and considering that as the challenges identified by Materans included things like:

  • No feedback system to location governance / No democratic process 
  • No place for ‘citizens’ / No place to incubate citizenship
  • Access for information is difficult, events/places etc - no central information hub

I think the CitYsens platform could also be something that Materans could want to pilot and use, with the support of the unMonastery. We still have to construct it and make it work in Alcalá de Henares (ES), our first pilot. But by the time the unMonastery runs… we should have something ready.

Cheers, Pedro

1 Like

Matera as testbed

And why not, Pedro? Bring it on. That’s a great way for a city to reach out.

On being culturally sensitive …

Thanks for helping me to understand better the situation of locals in Matera, and how one has to be wise when using Matera’s features when talking … . As a more tech minded person, I can have some diffulty to be culturally sensitive, but it mostly goes away when I get immersed in some community :stuck_out_tongue: I definitely want to write a blog post for the Matera2019 community site – thanks for the translation offer. Will let you know when I found time to get it done, which might be a week still.

Just explain!

Matthias, not sure there is a lot of room to show cultural sensitivity – you have never been there yet! How about you simply describe the prototyping process in Matera as you envision it? It would give us in the Web Team – and Andrea Paoletti, unMonastery interface in Matera – an excellent opportunity to start gauging how Materans react to such edgy proposals.

Pedro, thanks for sharing this: would love to know more on how it picks up in Alcala!

Would be great if you wanted to share this with the Matera 2019 community. I wrote a blogpost this morning dreaming of a Matera primordial digital city : a lab for experimenting how digital technology can enable and enhanc community, capacity-building, ecc. Citysens platform fits in perfectly!

Let’s keep it in mind…

Hi Ilaria,

I think that, right now, the CitYsens project is not mature enough to be ‘officiailly’ linked to the unMonastery plans. Our main challenge now is to prepare the platform and make it work for Alcalá; and I am afraid that any extra commitment, any diversion of our energies… could diminish our chances of success.

So… let’s by now just keep in mind that we would like to explore the possibility in the future. If everything goes well, we will certainly find the way to bring CitYsens to Matera too. I also think it could much very well with all the rest you are planning. And for sure, if you want to make use or share any of the contents posted at the Association’s website or at the blog “Road to Lórien”… go ahead! It is all licensed as CC.

One thing at a time: that’s the purpose of piloting. And hopefully the road to 2019 is still long :slight_smile:

We will sure keep a close eye on the development of CitYsens in Alcala and share the contents you will progressively post on the association’s website. It’s always encouraging to read about projects managed by close-minded souls. Thumbs up and bon courage…

1 Like