OpenVillage and happysmala - crowdsourcing, crowdsolving, skills development & new organisational forms, research, coliving

Last week @ericasmar, myself and happysmala’s other co-founder Arnaud met to discuss partnership and collaboration across our projects and strategies in the Mediterranean (Southern Europe/ MENA).

It’s clear that there is an abundance of alignment in our pathways. I share here a brief summary for the likes of you in particular @nadia @matthias @hazem and @zmorda, also worth noting for you @alberto re: potential in the research network, and you @noemi and @natalia_skoczylas re: museums of the future.

In short, what I took away from the meeting is that there are the following areas of happysmala’s work as a start-up studio where we could collaborate:

  • Crowdsourcing and circular economies: happysmala’s main focus is in collaborative economies and innovation and they have developed a few unique crowdsourcing platforms. The most relevant is one based on the traditional “savings circles” of North Africa known as tentine (en français). They are in beta testing an online/ mobile based platform for these - CIWA - to support the distributed and rotating organisation of savings and credit. I see a particular opportunity here for the collective/ shared financing of multiple OpenVillage prototypes towards self-sufficiency.

  • Crowdsolving: happysmala are a part of the Yomken network - an open innovation and crowdsolving platform across environmental, industrial and social challenges - who are also our partners on the UNDemocracy Fund proposal for a citizen science project in MENA. See below for an immediate opportunity associated to this.

  • Skills development and new organisational forms: here happysmala engage in partnerships to experiment with collaboration approaches to create innovation and impact. This is the overarching area where we could look to co-produce a series of workshops/ a retreat/ a programme in their “start-up studio” to support members of the OpenVillage R&D ecosystem in skills and business development.

  • Co-living/ co-working spaces: Like many of us, happysmala see great opportunity in community building meeting programmable property, and are in the process of setting up their first co-living / co-working space in Marrakech for the end of this year, with another coming up in Lisbon. Clearly opportunity to discuss the possibility of this being a part of the OpenVillage house network.

  • Research: happysmala have engaged in various research/ policy studies and I think it’s a good idea for us to keep them in mind on our research projects.

  • Lobbying: They have been significantly involved in a new legal framework for crowdfunding in Morocco and note @ericasmar that I think it’s worthwhile us connecting you with Alberto Alemanno and the folks over at The Good Lobby.

  • Museums of the future: happysmala will shortly be involved in the We Are Museums international event in Marrakech to experiment with new forms of the digital museum. Let’s keep this in mind as we develop the potential of our involvement in UNLive.

There is already one immediate and time-specific collaboration opportunity for the participants of the OpenVillage House in Sidi Kaouki and here I’d like to get your thoughts @matthias and @hazem . happysmala will be launching a crowdsolving campaign with Yomken as early as next week and we’re interested in supporting the ideas and prototypes coming out of the house in Sidi K.

@ericasmar, here’s a list of the projects as they stand, although can you confirm if there are any others that could benefit from crowdsolving please @matthias/ @hazem ? One option for next steps is we have a group skype when I’m in the house with @matthias and some of the project leaders in Sidi K on Friday or Monday. Thoughts/ possible?

  • Toys out of trash: Educational program stimulating the creativity and imagination among underprivileged children.
  • TANDA (Sofien’s project): An entrepreneurial road trip to find traditional craftsmen and craftswomen in Africa and assist them to use their designs and expertise for new products to be sold on the international market.
  • Dar Habiba: The first farmstay hospitality business in Sidi Kaouki, Morocco. A joint venture of a local family and Edgeryders community members from Tunisia and Morocco (for planning, digital marketing etc.).
  • Coffee sorter: A small and inexpensive machine to produce higher-value coffee, increasing the income of smallholder coffee farmers.
  • Free mind by Nassim (@zmorda do you have any more info on this?)
    (*Also relevant, Dorsaf’s biohacking space and Yosser’s co-working space in Tunisia)

Nice! @nadia make a note in the light of your report in Wash DC.

1 Like

Thank you for the recap @anique.yael !
Regarding Yomken, If these projects already have a specific challenge in mind, they can submit it directly on

If they need some assistance formulating their challenges, they can contact me directly.

I’m organizing a challenge identification workshop in Rabat this Friday for anyone in town (, with more to follow in the coming weeks.


Thank you @anique.yael for the recap
You can find here an updated file of the MENA projects :slight_smile:

Can you share with me the recap of the partisanship meeting with Enda if you have similar notes ?

1 Like

Fantastic @ericasmar.

@matthias @hazem What is the best way to pass on the challenge submission details to the current project leaders?

@zmorda Perhaps Edgeryders’ can share a post on Friday’s event to our social media networks…?

1 Like

I don’t know what challenge, which project and which leaders you are referring to. Need more specifics to answer.

1 Like


mm the way I understand Yomken crowdsolving is working, is that an institution or a funded project submits a challenge, and it is like a competition people submit solutions and the winner gets the prize money to implement the solution.

the thing is the projects in hand are not funded, so no prize money, so no challenge ? ( not sure if they can connect the people like Sofian with a funding organization ? )

The way that could be work for now is the people who are working on solving the challenge ( yomken community ) can use the platform as a collaborative tool. …in this case it works only with the winning teams ( as working publicly in a competition is not the ideal case )

The other way that could work, specially since there will be a possibility for some incubation period in winter in Morocco - depends on Sofian and Islem plan - the winning projects can stay and work on their solutions in house if it is relevant.


Thanks so much @hazem

Any thoughts on this @ericasmar?

yes Sure :slight_smile:

Génial merci chère @zmorda

1 Like

That’s called open innovation. It’s a form of crowdsourcing. In principle, an existing project could provide a solution to an open innovation challenge, but in practice it’s unlikely.

On the other hand, if you do have your own project, then going for open innovation challenges might distracti you from developing the project, or result in mission drift. The ideal open innovators are “professional problemsolvers”, people who enjoy the intellectual challenge of finding a solution, and then they move on to the next problem.

1 Like

Expo2020 is funding the first 5 Moroccan challenges, and we are currently in discussions with other institutions and donors to cofinance future challenges.

If any of your projects are currently facing specific technical, economic or design challenges, now is the time to submit!

And how the time flies. So @ericasmar looks like we have some other concrete collaboration options to explore.

I’m thinking it could be worthwhile talking further right now especially about

What’s moving over there for you? I feel like it’d be an idea to pick one of the above areas and co-design a small project that we can move forward collaboratively as a starting point. Shall we have a call to talk more in the coming week or so before summer really kicks in? Could even be an idea to include @AdnaneA and look at a trilateral scenario of sorts!

@ericasmar and @AdnaneA! Seeing as the summer is over and the year kicking back into gear, I wanted to check in about our earlier conversations around aligned strategies and where we can perhaps collaborate to leverage mutual opportunities.

As touched on above, I figure it could be easiest if we look at a trilateral approach between happysmala and MCISE, considering your existing partnership and @ericasmar being an Edgeryder.

Based on my earlier conversations with you - and corresponding updates on the platform here for MCISE and right here for happysmala - and acknowledging that times has passed, I see now that there could be opportunity around aligning our model in online conversation and network proximity to support DARE Inc and Yomken participants as they generate their innovation prototypes and products. @AdnaneA you and I had talked about a concrete area for collaboration to start and I think this proves a feasible and pertinent one.

How does a call sound in the next couple of weeks to discuss in more detail? @hazem want to join?!

1 Like

Please keep @zmorda in the loop about this?

1 Like


1 Like