OpenVillage: sharing capacity

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!


Wow, @winnieponcelet, great post. I think many of us, including “Edgeryders”, found themselves in the same situation.

There is something that really works for me in this “community of action” culture. This: in a diverse group of people with fairly aligned values, but very different practices, we look up, not down. We focus on the smartest, hardest working, most generous. We are awed by their vision and courage. At some level, we know these people do not represent the middle ground of our community, but its very best; and yet we cannot avoid feeling like “we should step up”. I feel that myself, all the time – only to be told that there actually are some people that look at me and feel the same way.

I am coming to realise that the group of Edgeryders founders has grown, too, even if we that’s not what it felt like. We were so busy just trying to make things work! And now suddenly people are asking us to hold workshops and seminars and masterclasses. They want us to teach them. And we are just barely keeping it together! But it makes some kind of sense, because when I look around I see sloppy thinking, bad work and business ethics, lack of rigour. We are lost, but yes, but a lot of organisations out there are way more lost then we are.

So yes, I guess we try to keep going. We try to step up. What else is there to do?


I was one of @winnieponcelet’s little group posing [quote=“winnieponcelet, post:1, topic:7586”]
the question if Edgeryders would be better at walking the talk
But I didn’t get the chance to follow up, like our third member, so maybe I might do that here?

For me, the key walk that it is far easier to talk about than walk, is the walk of caring for each other in a way that is mutual, supportive, non-invasive, and oriented towards mutual growth. I’m absolutely with @alberto’s response, as well, noting that in such a vast and challenging space, we are all lost, just some are more hopelessly lost than others. Alberto invites us to join together in humility on this one. I accept wholeheartedly! Our awe when we see others stepping up keeps us humble, but also draws us in, when we feel that our values are genuinely similar.

As I’ve said in reply to @nadia’s contribution as well, I’m working on writing something about ways of taking those first steps of care, particularly in the situation where we come together not knowing each other in advance. And I hope there are ideas that can help us both in the “Festival” context and also with our online community. Surely, it is vital to help people both to engage with each other and get to know each other well… It’s not a mechanical process, of course, but I do believe we can encourage it more or less effectively. Again, no simple formulae. One size does not fit all. But I think there are enough common points that are emerging from many people to have some good guesses.

So … stepping up — absolutely! It’s not other people’s responsibility, it’s ours as and when we feel that calling in us. But also … but also … we can support each other to step up, and that, I think, is where the culture of the community (or the culture set in a gathering) can make a lot of difference. Many of us (I definitely include myself) need some kind of support to step up. And I’m pretty sure that there are some people I could offer support to for them to be able to step up. So let’s celebrate the service of providing the step-ladder, as well as the courage of stepping up on it!


Well, @asimong – this is as good an illustration of “bootstrapping” as I have ever read. :slight_smile:

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