We need to become better at designing collaborative services. We dream of a welfare built and delivered by communities, alongside the state and the market. We all, at some point in our life, give and receive care. We are all citizen experts, with firsthand knowledge. The question is: how do we access that knowledge and turn it into action?
We asked Ezio Manzini, perhaps the world’s most senior academic designer for social innovation, to mount a workshop that does just that. Everyone is welcome. People who attend will use their experience of care to imagine and prototype ways that existing services could be improved. We decided to focus on services to refugees and migrants: we know several and feel for them, and there is a lot of room for improvement.
A beautiful thing happened: people got in touch with us offering to help. We ended up with a dream team of designers: @Yara_Al_Adib, @Mousab_Alshikh, @Rand_Abu_Fakher, @Orwa_Isaac, @Vishall_Jankie, @Stefanos_Monastiridis and @Gido_Van_Den_Ende. Four of them are from Syria, arrived as refugees; three are still in the process of obtaining refugee status. A lot of work is going on behind the scenes; and Namahn, one of Belgium’s leading design agencies, is strongly supporting the effort. We can promise a very, very good workshop.
Ezio and the team are adamant: no reinventing the wheel. We want to start from existing services, and look for ways that smart communities could improve them. We are in contact with several people who are running services and initiatives targeted at helping these newcomers (thanks Yara!), but we could use a few more (we’ll split into working groups). So, here’s how you can help:
- If you are involved in a project targeted at migrants or refugees, consider joining us as a case study. We will be respectful and absolutely not imply that you are doing things wrong. It's about learning, not judging. Just get in touch with me, or anyone from the team.
- If you know one of these project, consider being its ambassador at the workshop. Talk to them, get information, so that you are in a position to represent it.
- You can also participate simply as yourself, with no particular project to represent. There are still some places left.
I would love for @Iriedawta to tell us about the “landing strip” for Syrian refugees in Armenia. And for @Medhin_Paolos to explain to us how the (community-delivered) network of solidarity for Eritreans in Italy works. I am also personally fascinated by Freifunk and their wi-fi operation. Does anybody know Florian Altherr, or somebody in that space?