Our community after 2 months: an open report

The Spot the Future model of building a community of engaged citizens rallying for Bucharest’s cultural transformation

1. Summary

Spot the Future Bucharest is a pilot project to discover the citizens in Bucharest that are activating outside the formal cultural arrangements - cultural activists and innovators whose voices are less heard and slightly unusual. They are not concurential to the status quo, but they are operating with limited resources. We would all stand to benefit from their experiences and expertise, and it could be that what they’re doing points to a whole new, yet plausible vision of the future of the city.

We do this by engaging on an online platform and in collaborative workshops, and connecting individuals with each other. The newly formed community is open to anyone wishing to share their experience with their national and international peers.

We have two things we would like to achieve in Bucharest:

  1. Scan the future of culture as seen by its activists, the kind of future that is driven with integrity by deeply creative people, initiatives and their methods
  2. Lay the groundwork for open collaboration as the new cool thing in town. Aside from looking to build a community of cultural activists ‘on the edge“, Futurespotters has at its core key values that carry themselves throughout the process: radical openness, transparency, collaboration at all steps of running a cultural initiative or event.

This report outlines the first two months of activity and summarizes insights from the community, in an attempt to point at collaboration opportunities and how the community can grow and become more resourceful as part of Bucharest’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2015.

2. Engagement metrics

A. Platform analytics:

B. Shape of the network:

We use research tools to make sense of the massive amounts of knowledge - for example, we do network analysis of the Edgeryders platform conversation to understand how the network grows and how members are connected to each other. Every node (dot) is a user and every edge (arc) is a relationship with another user, resulting from their interaction online (user “Ciprian” commented one other person and has been commented by other two persons). This is useful because we can “weigh” what people say with measures of graph centrality that the literature on social networks associates to authoritativeness- being a central node means this person has been validated before in interaction with others in the community. This screenshot is live data: we have a script updating the network analysis every day: http://edgeryders.edgesense.spazidigitali.com/

The violet coloured nodes and edges represent the Bucharest conversation.

3. Complementing the online environment with offline activities

Building communities cannot happen exclusively in an online mediated environment. Humans are humans wherever they interact, and they need a social environment in order to build relationships with each other. In Spot the Future the community self-organised a number of times in the course of May and June and participated in/ hosted a number of events:

  1. Futurespotters 1st meetup

    Writeup: https://edgeryders.eu/en/spot-the-future-bucharest/working-out-loud-great-meetup-yesterday-and

  2. Futurespotters at OuiShare Drinks, 18 June

    Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/400763993458698/

    Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.824684057580645.1073741831.254743557908034&type=3

    Writeup: http://blog.babele.co/ouishared-drinks-in-bucharest-whats-next/

  3. 2nd meetup at NGO Hub, 21 June

    Writeup & photos: https://edgeryders.eu/en/spot-the-future-bucharest/dupa-intalnirile-de-la-ouishare-drinks-si

  4. Futurespotters at Global Shapers event, 30 June

    Writeup: https://globalshapersbucharest.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/open-sourcing-change-in-collaborative-networks/

    Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.780076205445517.1073741835.478331265620014&type=3

  5. EdgeRyders presentation at the Sponge, 2 July

3. Community stories

A call for outstanding projects in the city was circulated openly through the network in order to lay the foundation for inspiring conversations and constructive approaches to tackling challenges in Bucharest. Five articles were commissioned in addition to community members sharing their personal stories on the project’s discussion group:

  1. An expat in Bucharest: why collaboration is essential for social entrepreneurship to thrive.

  2. Water fountains- a deal between communities and the environment

  3. Cum să ajuți 600 de copii instituționalizați printr-o rețea de 360 de voluntari construită într-un an

  4. Walking the walk towards funky citizenry

  5. Dealing with an upcycling business

4. Insights from the community & ways to move forward as an integral part of Bucharest’s candidacy for European Capital of Culture 2021

A work in progress here.