Working Out Loud: #Futurespotters workshops follow up - engagement never sleeps!

Hello to all, our project Spot the Future is in the phase where we actually get to put faces on names and initiatives we’ve seen online in each country! We are holding informal networks and spend time together with community members in Tbilisi, Yerevan (both over) and Cairo (upcoming this week), introducing Edgeryders global network and the mission we set out to achieve as #futurespotters: map and connect initiatives & help them to get more support. This means for a week now we’ve been learning about each other’s challenges, documenting what resources we each have and discussing future steps for collaboration. (see #Futurespotters social media selection)

With physical events like these, everyone in the room goes WOW about meeting each other and interacting in a way that makes it a learning experience for all. This is valuable in itself, but if we are not thorough in how we listen and react to what’s been said and in the way we package the results to make it possible for others to continue to stay involved, a lot of value that’s been created risks dissipating over the Internet…


So: my suggestion for this week is that everyone in the team takes the time to look carefully into the outputs of the workshops and thinks about how to move forward and connect people and initiatives. If you missed it, here is where all the post workshop activity (summaries, video interviews, other media) is going: /t/futurespotters-workshops-the-aftermath/567

And here are the concrete steps we should each be taking:

  1. Go through the documentation and leave a constructive comment to the posts (add your personal reflection in a couple of paragraphs + add info & links that are missing + ping whoever isn’t pinged in the text etc). Let’s do it now!
  2. Extract creative call for help from sessions or interviews and put it in the Social media calendar in both Arabic/ Armenian /Georgian and English. Daily!
  3. Coordinate to spread the content! Check the social media calendar and spread the word on your personal channels. Daily! Also because Said and Dorotea, even Hazem are taking care of the Edgeryders channels and need to know what content to push out.
  4. Reach out to people who couldn’t / can’t make it to the workshops and let them know about the opportunities still available ahead of our final June conference. You can draw inspiration from this post Nadia wrote.

Can you think of something else that is useful to do? Can we each come up with a creative idea or lead before the Wednesday coordination call? What do you think? especially @Inge, @Vahagn since you know who’s who the best.

Looking forward to keep on future spotting, this is becoming a great ride and there are no words to describe how much generosity and potential is out there, especially potential to learn from one another. Big thanks to @Khatuna, Inge, Vahagn & @Lurglomond for going out of your ways to welcome Sam and me in Tbilisi and Yerevan, and make sure we don’t get lost - literally! :slight_smile:

See you on Wednesday’s team call at 1pm cet!


Looks amazing!

Great post, @Noemi. Are you sure this is for team coordination only? I would not mind to have it pushed out to the general public. From my vantage point in Brussels it is not clear how much of it is serious and how much is just handwaving or wishful thinking, but I am seeing the groups coming out the workshops, both in Tbilisi and in Yerevan, trying to come up with some concrete project they can enact together. This is way beyond my expectations, and I think should be highlighted and encouraged.

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Very well done!

I know I haven’t been the best to follow up, but will be back on track on Sunday, hopefully :)… yes, I would agree with Alberto, that having specific actionable proposals is what’s been a highlight for Georgia event. And the approach Naomi and Sam took to bring about those ideas was right on spot - encouraging the discourse without being too interfering, and at the same time, somehow keeping us all on track. Very well done!

Though the main work is still ahead  - how do we make those projects come true? How do we make them ‘live’?  How do we keep the conversation going? and I already see Nadia’s comment on that…

Build it up and break it down

I would like to remind us of two important experiences that we can pick the best from working forward.

1. One of the things we learned was the need for a bigger WHY for all of us to work up the energy to get engaged. Remember Vinay’s awsome invitation text for the first lote event? I think I remember the title came out as “Voices from the Internet meed Big Government” :slight_smile: I think now we have had several conversations it is time we do this for the Georgia event. We who have organised the workshops set up the skeleton and invite others to shape it so it works for them.

  1. The second major thing we learned was the need for smaller HOWs for everyone to see where they can make a contribution. Here Giacomo’s volunteer dashboard embedded below and the let’s tweet page (people could sign up to receive the a tweet a day mail from there too) serves as a good model. The tracks being the documentations from the workshop.


I think setting up blogpost about the conference  linking to view like this in the next few days ahead of the conference in Tbilisi would be great. This participatory event coordination view is something that we might event want to develop as a template anyway because well all our events are kind of organised this way :slight_smile:

Maybe we can build this during the community call on thursday?

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Future Now newspaper

In all three workshops one of the issues that came up is the lack of collaboration between people with similar or related initiatives. Of the many reasons we don’t collaborate more one is that we are not aware of one another’s work and interests, even though we may walk up the same street everyday or work on similar problems, replicating efforts. Another issue mentioned, at least in the case of Egypt was the need for some bigger vision to get excited about working towards.

I think the future newspaper challenge could be a good way to both deliver more foresight study results and actually fostering p2p, both locally and internationally. Because the work of producing the article takes you through a process of taking an abstract wish for change, giving it a tangible goal and a designing a credible path for getting there. Also everyone knows what a newspaper is, the format etc. It was so easy to communicate what to do.

We have already done this in Egypt, and the three articles are being refined and finalised.

  • For the 1st time the downtown area is free from harassment: Arabic/Armenian/English/ Georgian/More
  • العجوز استرد شبابه : Arabic/Armenian/English/ Georgian/More
  • Private education?what does this mean?: Arabic/Armenian/English/ Georgian/More

Each Future Newspaper article could serve as a call to draw out people already working on different pieces of the puzzle and connect them to one another as a starting point for possible collaboration.

Basically we could push each article out and ask/ who is already working to make this true? What obstacles are we coming across and how could we help one another around them? And encourage more people to submit an article to this new newspaper.

People already working on relevant initiatives would be invited to comment the article by telling us about their initiatives on the platform.

And be eligible for

  • invitation to a p2p show and tell in each city? What do you say @khatuna @gazbia_sorour @marina.n and @george? Would you be up for organising this with a little help from @inge @vahagn and @ahmed_m_rabie?
  • paid travel to the international event at the end of June for those who are active in building the content online here [link coming this evening]

oh NOW I get it!

So the Future Newspaper is a creative way of introducing each challenge identified at the workshops in a fictional way? It means it can be applied to different challenges, not just education (that one was the first I read from Egypt and didn’t quite know what to make of it)?

So a structure would include a short story of how the challenge is tackled with our own resources, through collaboration, and its positive impact on the community? I think it’s a great way to communicate outwards and draw more people in, but perhaps more like an interface which would then link to where the full outlook on the issue is? (thinking out loud)


The idea being we spread these fictional stories, asking what would it take to make it true? Who is already working on part of the solution? Come tell us, maybe we can find ways to help one another, p2p!  And link to the the track for the conversation (and final event). See?

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Backcasting! But…

In futurist exercises, this stuff is called backcasting. You start from imagining an outcome, then look back to see what made it come to pass. The trouble with backcasting is that the group dynamics encourages “optimistic” news from the future over doomsday stuff and the very intriguing developments that look dystopian from certain perspectives, but entirely tolerable and even desirable from others – like, say, virtual reality in the 80s. The future magazine is definitely an engaging idea, but how can we anchor it to the experiential data we are gathering?

By linking it to a discussion group which asks the right …

questions? /t/futurespotters-workshops-the-aftermath/567/discussion-egypt-things-we-don