Digital Commons/Open Ecosystems Design Challenge

De Amical Wikimedia
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Event identity[modifica]

Name: Open (ecosystems) Design Challenge (Benkler inspired me with this name);

Type: Problem Solving Jam / Open Design Challenge;

Complexity: medium;

Umbrella concepts: Community engagement, Participation, Education.

Goal: Define interaction patterns for open communities and shared spaces: micro-events format, friendly interfaces concepts, tools for enabling participation, how to use community spaces. Document in the open the session. Advance and potentiate peer-driven innovation.

How: Bring together individuals from different communities, profiles and projects. One day of design and rapid prototyping sessions. Facilitate collaboration by encouraging participants to step out of their comfort zones (habitat) and start experimenting.

Who: geeks, designers, coworking spaces, wikipedians, thinkers, community engagement geeks;

Outcomes: On site documentation (video, kits, blog-posts, prototypes) - to be uploaded to commons; event replication as a medium term goal;


Storytelling is extremely important to the process of recruiting participants and partners, establishing agenda and keeping the public informed on what's happening at the event.

Will be used for storytelling three methods:

  • through other events (arc of events): communicate on how we could facilitate the collaboration, what we can learn from open communities, the need of a

sustainable economy for communities of peers, human resources directory, open government / open data and open source tools for enabling participation, design of friendly interfaces, working open.

!Engage people through topics and conversations. Using the typical methods such as flyers, posters or just presenting the event's name may not be so engaging! We are living the Internet era!

  • In-person engagement to recruit participants (1:1 meet-ups / interviews)
  • Through a during/post-event documentation. Blog, video (use open video proprieties for creating rich content accessible by everyone), interactive how-to kits.

A series of events that may be part of the storytelling:



For communication, we may use the following tools:

  • Wiki (for reports-back, define agenda, follow-up w/ organizational process, after event documentation)
  • Etherpad (for 1:1 interview w/ participants, during event - notes taking, small group collaboration)
  • Website (a light, simple information about the two days of events, venue, accomodation)

For communicating w/ participants and others we may use personal microblogs but define a specific hashtag (eg. #opendesign or use the already existing #globalmelt );

The language used in communication (website) will have to be light, short, understandable (not geeky, philosophical, academic or political). Also recommended to avoid “big” terms as: forum, (open) governance, socio-politics, revolution (except 2nd day). Or the never ending debate open - free.

Regarding PR and presence in mass media – appreciated but not a main focus. Not necessary working on a press release for this specific event.

Jornalists and media policy: Highly appreciated intimacy during the event. Being a facilitation workshop we may be sure that participants feel comfortable to talk, discuss, brainstorm and focus.

Documentation and Outcomes[modifica]

All the session will be documented and up on wiki commons. Documentation is an important outcome of this event and plays an important role on “building digital commons”. See an example of what we did at Design Jam Barcelona.

Documentation will mainly communicate the success of this event and share outcomes with other people.

Open Video and photos on Wikimedia commons:

  • video recording of elevator pitch presentation and final prototyping presentations;
  • interview with participants
  • use Universal Subtitles to make them available in more languages
  • Make the video interact w/ other contents (wikis, notes, webpages, twitter) – use popcorn.js
  • photos of materials, sketches, prototypes will also go on commons

Notes, How-tos, kits:

  • document session by creating short howtos, tips and tricks on event's wiki.
  • Use Etherpad to take notes, put them on the wiki by the end of the day.


Alina Mierlus (direct contact w/ participants, designing and facilitating the workshop)

need helper: coordinate documentation

need helper: coordinate education / science fair

need helper: notes taking

need helper: facilitation of small group sessions;

Communication w/ 2nd day workshop[modifica]

Wikipedia fellows and community and others will also participate in the 2nd day. We will collaborate on logistics, sharing knowledge in digital commons and state of free software movement initiatives, social economy etc.

The "synergy myth" is nice on paper, but never works in reality. From previous experiences, synergy works well when participants find ways + reasons to interact (somtimes takes years to find an adequate event format for this). Same here, same mission, but different visions, dynamic and part of audiences.

We also have as an umbrella name “building digital commons”

There are a few "social activities" that may also help participants to interact. See Sparklez which will be deployed during event.

Possible outcomes for Amical[modifica]

  • strengthen collaboration w/ other Wikimedia groups and Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Contribute to WMF's efforts on helping w/ Global South Development by facilitationg the fellowship, mostly to participants from Middle East, Africa and Brazil.
  • Find potential collaborations w/ open spaces;
  • Grow community, outreach, get new ideas.
  • GLAMs – promote, get new visions and ideas on kind of activities and micro-events in public museums (GLAMers are an important participation at this workshop)
  • Education @ Science Fair. Make visible efforts on education projects. Possible support from Wikimedia UK. (Wikischools, - Laia?)



From here comes the f**ks. Let's just to get to the point!

Why the fu**k do we do this?

Solve the real needs of communities - there are a few real needs identified in for example Wikimedia community (Amical):

    • need for a physical space for activities;
    • engagement of new contributors / outreach (remember - we need a designer!!!);
    • increase participation in projects such as WikiSchools, GLAM, wikilovemonuments;
    • wikimedians need new ideas to design participation campaigns, engaging activities;
    • work as a chapter, even better and more open (who knows, maybe soon?);

What the fu**k we do?

Well, in order to finding solutions to issues raised previously, we need to step out from our comfort zone (habitat) and start experimenting, collaborating w/ others, free our ideas and creating.

Let's name it a creative and accelerate way of building digital commons. We don't tend to talk or debate but just make, connect, have conversation, focus on solving problems. And the next generation of digital commons needs makers, people to design friendly interfaces and rich content (so we need to interact with UX designers, architects , DIY researchers, tech. Innovators, hackers, community engagement folks).

Back to the question, this is an 6 hour accelerator. What's in: 30 participants from different fields, design challenges, some real problems looking for solutions.

Oh!! That's awesome! But, it really works?

There is one nice concept around the “power of uncertainty”.

You don't have to think and plan big things from the beginning (focus on mission, not on medium!). Focus on defining problems to be solved.

There are a few examples of successful events like this: well known Hack Days, Design Jams, GlobalMelt, BarCamps, Opendata Hackfests. If those worked and helped to advance innovation then this one will work as well.

Framing Agenda[modifica]

Welcome + Coffee + Science Fair

Opening (every participant presents himself/herself)

Defining the Challenge(s)

(long process started before w/ participants via 1:1 interviews)

Session 1


Session 2

Pitch elevator presentations Break

Session 3

Closing and presentation

    • Sessions will be mainly on designing, rapid prototyping and even hacking :).

Further reading[modifica]

Some things that may be helpful to read: