I remember very well, two summers ago, when I first attended an Edgeryders workshop in Brussels. It brought together local people working on open care solutions. Nearing the end of the session, we discussed our reflections and it came to the issue of collaborating.
I brought up the question “connecting and collaborating takes substantial time, often too much for this type of projects. So should projects themselves make this risky investment, or is there an external initiative that takes the lead to invest time and resources in it?”.
It was clear to me then that it is a matter of investing upfront, before there’s any tangible outcomes that propel each individual project forward. When the collaboration is rolling, when the incentives are clear, it should be pretty self-sustaining. So the question can be reframed as: who makes the upfront investment?
Last week, the OpenVillage Festival gave us an immersive and powerful experience. Exchanging with such a diverse group of people from all walks of life, thinking deeply, making concrete plans and having fun in a genuine setting. It was grand, quoting Anthony.
On the day after the festival, some of us came together to assess how we could continue the work we’ve been doing. I have been knee deep in trying to make my own projects work, being in survival mode the last months. I had lost track of the bigger picture that was in front of me.
We have all contributed to the journey to OpenVillage that started months ago: the community members, the OpenCare project and the Fellows. But Edgeryders has contributed by far the most and saw the need to get people moving in the same direction. I can’t imagine many would disagree with the value they have gotten out of it so far. Only now, while synthesizing notes several days later, it dawns on me. Everything that has been done, where Edgeryders took a leading role, has been the investment. Will we put to use what has been built?
During the first hours of the Festival, we sat down in groups of three to talk to each other. In their stories, both of my conversation partners posed the question if Edgeryders would be better at walking the talk. Better than who? The system? Our own projects? However it may be, there were clear expectations of the Festival, of Edgeryders.
On the evening of day 2, I sat down again with one of my earlier conversation partners. I asked how his thinking had evolved since the start. He said that he realised the situation was more nuanced than that. “I’ve come to realise we are all Edgeryders, we should step up.”
I think that is the essence of where we are at. My own projects have evolved, not in small part thanks to Edgeryders and the Fellowship. We have the capacity for others to benefit from what we have built, with concrete actions. We can give, help others to grow like we did and will step up.
As OpenVillage unfolds, I’m looking out how to contribute and hope to see you there!