“Living on the Edge” and “Edgecamp” left me feeling like a seed in storm…A thrilling, bewildering, wild ride that I did not fully comprehend but that has brought me to a new and hopefully fruitful place. I met on that journey a host of varied, open, stimulating and cross-pollinating other ‘seeds’ .
I am not going to try to comprehend it all nor to encapsulate it in a blog-post. I’m feel like a child getting off a fairground attraction begging to be allowed to go round one more time while being conscious of being more than a little dizzy from the first time.
The scale of the problems are enormous but the ‘Edgeryders’ see that, have a deep understanding and are not intimidated. They do not assume anything let alone some form of victory. They just want to get on with the work.
The opportunity to come together was a gift from the Council of Europe. It was wonderful to find that they were paying much more than ‘lipservice’ to the agenda and the people. I am currently, after recent experiences, deeply cynical about the political process but I am prepared to take the Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg at her word about wanting ‘Edgeryders’ to be a flagship program for the 60 pan-European cities project that Strasbourg leads.
Much, if not most, of the credit for that rightly goes to the ‘Edgerdyers’ team who managed to present a focused and coherent platform out of some the most disparate and variegated raw material it was ever my pleasure to encounter.
I would like to make a personal comment here regarding a contribution I made to one of the plenary sessions. I did try to make a nuanced comment about the role and nature of the interactions between ‘people on the edge’ and ‘authorities’ but too many people seem only to have heard me say “government needs to get out of the way”. I had hoped that they would hear me say “More ‘government’ is not always the answer nor is 'better government”.
If the conference was a storm then ‘Edgecamp’ seemed like the eye of it. It was very calm but with a lot happening and chaos apparent outside of our ‘bubble’. It was more intense and smaller than the conference but I got more out of it and, I hope, tried to put something into it.
We are facing a rapidly changing multifaceted crisis. There is some overlap between ‘the way of the edgeryder’ and ‘the tao of government’. But it is not as much as we might think and trying to change either would be a waste of effort when so much more can be done by each doing what they do best while helping and engaging with the other.
I have come away with a clear vision of a few things I want work on, hopefully in collaboration with some of you. And, as we scale this mountain of challenges, I hope to bump into the rest of you from time to time, to share experiences, to assist and to have some fun along the way.