SPOT THE FUTURE workshop in Tbilisi, GEORGIA

A new world is being built by people working far outside the mainstream. Spot the future is about connecting the protagonists, hackers, social innovators to their peers. Both those in other parts of the world, and the next door neighbour we meet every day, but didn’t know was so capable and creative. So we can learn from and support one another. 

Over the past year many of us have discovered we have many more resources than we think, especially when we pool them as an international community. So we are organising a workshop in Tbilisi where we meet, build on the online conversation we’re having already and map local assets. The workshops are documented and shared with the rest of the International Edgeryders community to learn from and share the knowledge.

Purpose of workshop

To draw out people doing interesting work in the local social innovation/hacktivism/tech scenes by offering an opportunity to discover and learn from interesting projects their peers are working on elsewhere, and to share their work and learnings.

Format: action oriented and designed to be useful for hands-on practitioners: 

The Edgeryders event format has been developed by hundreds of participants in over 30 cities.

  1. Find each other online: we introduce ourselves and our projects here and participants can ask each other questions- so we are sure everyone understands one anothers projects and what challenges we each face. 
  2. Swarm the challenges: We identify shared obstacles and engage the rest of the Edgeryders community in sharing ideas or experiences of how to address them.
  3. Build shared solutions: The physical workshop is where we co-design shared solutions that can be built by the participants in the room. We then follow up and continue online.

We know this process works. It’s how we have gotten projects like the unMonastery, and Economy App off the ground in less than two years in spite of most of us having very little money.

Who it is for: Anyone passionate about their project. Citizens and representatives of initiatives related to unemployment, migration, poverty, environment and use of common spaces, arts, do-it-yourself approaches, community health and wellbeing, innovative civic participation channels etc.

How it contributes to achieving participants aims: We’ll surface cutting edge projects and practices from the local scene and connect them to the ones already in the Edgeryders community. By meeting another on the Edgeryders platform and presenting our projects in advance, the physical workshop will be more generative for participants. We think this good for everyone and inspire and energise new collaborations between participants.

A generative workshop would result in the following outcomes: 

  • get participants excited about sharing personal stories and interacting with others in a context of trust and peer support -> both during the event and after it, online
  • map where appropriate kinds of resources can be found if needed -> who can act as a local community builder and host subsequent events or spread the word about Spot the Future, what initiatives generate most enthusiasm and support from the others in the room  
  • inspire the people in attendance (both physically and through social media - hashtag #futurespotters) to engage more people who are NOT in attendance. 
  • acknowledge future-building initiatives and encourage an ethics of rewarding the doers. This should make it more sustainable to engage in effective actions in one’s local community. 
  • mutual support around one anothers projects, and collaborations with people all over the world.

​To register:

Sign up here on our web home and share your personal experiences around making a livingmaking a difference or caring for commons.

As soon as we have your contribution we will send you a ticket. But do it today: we only have a limited number of tickets, first come first served!

Date: 2014-04-13 20:00:00 - 2014-04-14 20:00:00, Asia/Tbilisi Time.



I wanted to share this long feedback I got from one of the ppl who could have been interesting for the project, and he’s probably not the only one. I’ll send him a msg back of course, but it’s a reasonable concern I have heard (although often in shorter form):

  • I am one of the people you wrote. I decided to reply personally because not everyone will be interested in my reply. There is no lack of understanding in “what to do/how to register” . For me, the big question is a “why” question. You invite me to meet other like-minded people, activist, exchange ideas and work together. Fine. I’m very interested in that. But then you ask me to first to handle a kind of bureaucracy, to sign up for something I don’t know yet, I haven’t had a chance to talk to anyone about yet. WHY? If the edgeryder WS is great and the people I met there inspire me I might sign up right away afterwards. Or I might not, but I might have still contributed to the WS and other people work. But demanding to sign up with edgeryders as a requirement for the WS BEFORE I have met the people gives me the feeling that signing up for the WS a) is too complicated, it’s creating a barrier that isn’t necessary and b) not just about signing up, but also about someone else’s agenda (convince people to in edgeryders). And that makes me feel just that bit more uneasy, enough not to sign up right away. If I sign up for something I do it because I am 100% convinced, not because it is mandatory for something else. And I don’t think that I’m the only one who feels that way. I don’t intent to say that edgeryders is a bad initiative – I am sure that everyone who signed up is truly motivated - or you are doing something entirely wrong. My intention is to give you feedback, to help you understand, why another group of people, which is also very active and motivated, does NOT sign up. Increasing the number of updates or infos won’t help to reach out to that group of people and convince them to sign up. Removing the barrier on signing up might. Now, it would be dishonest to claim that the “register with edgeryders first” policy is the only thing that stops from signing up. Two other reasons are that April is already too overloaded with work and conferences, and the other is that I personally already am busy enough with the projects I already have, and I don’t have that much capacity to do more (which would without any doubt happen if I meet too many another motivated people ) Ok, enough feedback and personal opinion. Being brief is not always my strong side, as you can see

    To cut a long story short: I decided not to attend a full two days WS next week, but if you or the other edgeryders & participants should be interested in a more informal, ad hoc exchange of ideas I’d be happy to join.

    Cheers, and all the best for the WS Uli PS: Projects currently include “Tbilisi Movies” group & self-organized screenings, cooperation with Tbplod & others on tblpod database and mindmap overview of self-organized groups & initiatives in Tbilisi (to be shared soon), improving local-national cooperation on energy efficiency in the context of the EU Covenant of Mayors initiative, ideas for a case study & campaign on Kiva “green loans”/microlending for environmental benefits and others, but non ready yet for a WS presentation

It all comes down to why we are meeting.

I think it is important that people actually know a little bit about one another and what they are working on. Edgeryders is pretty big at this point, there is quite a lot going on. You see those of us holding the workshop, Noemi, in Georgia and Armenia, myself in Egypt need to know a bit about the participants, in order to present projects that would be of interest to them. We could do a cookie-cutter approach but this Edgeryders is about connecting people, individuals, to peers who we can learn from and collaborate with. In order to prepare a meaningful and generative workshop for everyone involved we need to do some preparations. And we do not want to ask people to share personal information on Facebook for many reasons you are familiar with. This is just self selection at work, and that is fine imho

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people don’t actually have to stay for a full two days

The first one is a process where we are identifying areas to explore in more detail based starting from what we already know about one another’s stories and projects through the platform.. The second day is where we move on and start working on some of the ideas developed on the first day. I don’t know how much energy you will have for an informal meeting after the workshop, but I would suggest dinner and drinks with people who couldnt opr woudlnt make it on the first day. If they are intersted they can pop in the next day once we have had a chance to talk and get them up to speed with what happened during the day. But this depends on noemi, Sam’s and your energy levels…

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Agree with Nadia

@Inge, look here. Not everybody will want to play ball with Edgeryders. Some people don’t like chocolate. Some people don’t like long-distance running, or Shakespeare. Of course some people will not like Edgeryders or Spot The Future. It’s OK, we need to respect that. We only need to find 50 people who do want to play ball.

But then, changing our website and policy to accommodate people who don’t want to participate is not recommended. We open the door for everyone, but then focus on keeping the people that do engage happy. It’s the best we can do. So, don’t waste time insisting. If people say they are skeptical, let them be and move on. @Vahagn, same for you. 


sounds really good to have a drink in the evening with ppl who couldnt make it, because I already heard a lot of people telling me they couldnt get out from work (understandably). Should I make a post in the event on why we would like people to register before the workshop etc on the facebook event page?

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Go for it :slight_smile:

look the short and long of it that we are building infrastructure to be able to collaborate with one another. Collaboration is hard, but we’ve managed to build an environment and a way of working that makes it easier to do so. We choose to trust one another because we know without trust, its very hard to get meaningful things off the ground. You cannot trust who you don’t know. Which is why we show who we are, what we are trying to do, why and where we have a hard time.  We all have our stories in here. I don’t know if you have had time to do it. But maybe start there?

feedback guy

wants to meet up for an informal drink after the workshop, so perhaps we can engage him there to become active on the platform :slight_smile:

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What I really hope to see happening

In Tbilisi my hope is that we really succeed in conveying this collaboration culture and hope that anything can happen when people with a strong drive for change come together. By showing not just talking about it, and also by overcoming a project process and frame it as an opportunity (re: refusal to sign up above). “It’s there, it’s happening anyway, you can join in and help shape it, make it awesome”.

This very often can sound like a good story and that’s it. But if the room is filled with really really open minds so that we understand together what it takes to move forward, how to join resources and what small compromises+commitment we need to make, this can happen. We’ve seen it with past Edgeryders events, now the only thing is to unleash the beast :) 

@Inge definitely going in out the evening, thanks for thinking about this!

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what I see coming out of it

is mostly getting inspired by each others ideas and activism, understanding how we might all have different background, but together we can actually work on several different issues and use each others skills. This workshop will inspire and activate future new projects, enthusiasm for the project and a deeper understanding of the philosophy behind edgeryders and the spot the future project. 

I also was wondering in the program if we want Elva and Jumpstart to give a presentation?

Lightning presentations?

We’ll have a round where everyone gets to speak about their work - briefly and informally, but if @ericnbarrett &co. want to introduce JumpStart in more detail, I’m sure we can find a time slot for that on the spot :)