The Global Education Conference  which I participated in last week is a great example of global co-creativity and online interaction.  Now in its fifth year this conference is held completely online through the Blackboard platform.  The conference included round the clock sessions lasting an hour each, facilitated by hundreds of presenters from around the globe.  The Blackboard platform allows written chats among session attendees and oral discussions (if participants’ microphones and connections allow it).  Limited video of the main speaker is also sometimes possible.

The conference team has an open call for presenters several months before the conference, and provides ample opportunity through its multitude of volunteers for presenters who may not be familiar with the Blackboard platform to receive training and practice in advance of the conference.  All presenters were also encouraged if possible to participate in other sessions throughout the week as well as volunteer themselves to help moderate other sessions.  All of this helps limit a sense of hierarchy, encouraging co-creativity and providing an environment of inclusiveness and a feel of everyone being responsible for the conference’s success.

The sessions I attended ranged from 10-20 people (for breakouts) to 30-40 people (for plenary), and as with in-person sessions, the level of interaction varied by the approach of the presenter and the number of people in the session.    I tried to keep my session on Enhancing and Nurturing your Global Competency as interactive as possible, and we had some good discussion among  the ~12 people who attended) from 4 countries  (with about ½ being more active).  The powerpoint from that presentation can be found here.

Overall the conference has an impressive commitment to global inclusiveness and interaction (using  many social media platforms as well as the interaction on the conference platform).    For those who are interested in continued networking after the event, this continues throughout the year on the Global education conference’s website.

 


In the aftermath of #cocreate14, we’re left with a wonderful richness of case studies and learnings to sort through, study, analyze and share.

One of the ways we’re doing that is by finalizing with the presenters of the cases we’ve collected, on how/what to publish. As that process continues in the context of all our busy schedules, we’ll be uploading the cases that are ready to share here.  Another way we’re planning to share on our collective learnings is to invite the #cocreate14 folks and other practitioners we know to co-create of a book about co-creative impact.

The model we’re pursuing to make that initiative happen is inspired by the case study presented by Jean Russell at #cocreate14.

Co-created book: Thrivability – a sketch

The case study offers insights into how Jean orchestrated the “flash collaboration” which resulted in a book compiled by 65+ contributors in just 90 days. Thrivability – A Sketch has had almost 30,000 views on slideshare since Jean published it in 2010.

As a contributor to Thrivability – A Sketch back in 2010, I was personally impressed with and inspired by the co-creative leadership skills that Jean employed in making the book happen. Here are a couple of things that stood out for me as particularly aspirational:

  • The purpose behind the book was acknowledgement that the term “thrivability” is something that no one person can own. Instead of defining it herself (leading from the front), Jean asked people who she knew were using the term to help define it. The result of that approach for me personally was a greater sense of alignment with the term and an increase in my active usage of it.
  • She engaged contributors by making us feel shiny. The way Jean spoke of her admiration for all of the contributors made it feel like an opportunity to be a part of it.
  • She created a clear, time-bound invitation to collaborate in a very specific and easily manageable way, while at the same time offering a blank canvas for independent thought.  My contribution to the book was requested with respect and honor for whatever I might say around the sub-topic I was asked to write about (stakeholder engagement).

We’ll aim to be mindful of these and other aspects of the case study as we at Ci2i Global set out to replicate the model for co-defining co-creative impact. Learn more about our upcoming book here.

 


cross posted from jeanMRUSSELL.COM

We called it the Learn/Share Lab: a laboratory experience for learning and sharing together on the topic of co-creation. We gathered 14 case studies in co-creation on projects from around the globe. We all shared, and I learned a lot. I want to share one aspect of what I learned with you about being co-creative over time as well as a distinction between being co-creative in how we do what we do and being co-creative in what we do.

Nadia, Edgeryders and Tom, StartSomeGood

Nadia, Edgeryders and Tom, StartSomeGood

By the end of the event, I was most interested in how being co-creative plays out over time. Let’s look at Edgerydersfirst. The project is very open in the sense that anyone can join the network and participate. Also, the events are open to anyone. However, the governance and structure is not co-created – in the sense that the ground rules were stated up front on how it was going to work. So the initial phase of creating the structure of it wasn’t co-creative. Let’s call that phase 1. It became co-creative once the structure was in place, which we can call phase 2. What they developed together – the LOTE events (Living on the Edge) and from the the Unmonestary, were both emergent outcomes of co-creation in phase 2. So the process design – how you behave and interact – was not co-created, however, the outcomes were. The outcomes were only possible through the conversation of many people interacting and building on each other.

Similarly, my book, the Thrivability Sketch, had a clear process that I dictated, yet each piece came from the contributor or in the space created between the contributor and I. So you could say phase 1: process design, was not co-creative. Phase 2: content creation was co-creative. For example, the page on creativity became an email from the contributor to me discussing the challenges he was having writing the piece and my counsel to him that playful was better than intellectual. The production of the book, post-editing, was a very closed process with just 3 collaborators helping me polish and design it. So phase 3: production wasn’t broadly co-creative. Once the book was released, the marketing of it was very co-creative again. So phase 4: promotion was again co-creative.

bar chart

Phases of Co-Creativity

It is my sense in both of these cases and others where the process design is pre-determined, that the projects move quickly forward with only those participants who self-select to be part of the process. Speed of action is gained, but it risks alienating people who either want to create process together or don’t like the process that was dictated.

Other projects begin with a challenge and an open question, unclear about process. The process is emergent. For example, Let’s Recycle in India suffered a massive fire that wiped them out, so they gathered with their suppliers (waste pickers) and discussed what to do. The solution came from that open dialogue from a vulnerable place: both the process and the solution that emerged were co-creative. So their early phases, of this iteration of the work, were highly co-creative of both process and deliverables, but the way they might be running now may be less co-creative now that they have a co-created process that everyone is working with.

The urgency of the fire moved the conversation on process and outcome forward swiftly. There was a great deal of risk taken by leadership to let it unfold, but the crisis made that risk-taking a necessary one. With proven positive results for co-creative process, Let’s Recycle is more likely to continue using co-creative process and co-created outcomes in the future. If we were to map co-creative activities over time with Let’s Recycle, we would see a sharp spike following the fire followed by a slope toward standard process and outcomes thereafter, probably never returning to a place without co-creative elements again. Plus the threshold required for initiating another co-creative phase has been lowered.

spike flow chart

Co-Creativity over time for Let’s Recycle.

So co-creation seems not to be some element that is always present in all different aspects of a project. For some projects it may be a recurring piece of the process. For others it might be co-creative on outcome but not in process design. This seems to make the patterns for co-creation a little tricky to surface, as patterns for process may be quite different than patterns for outcomes. Being co-creative at different stages of co-creation may take different skill sets or require different structures. I think this is really getting us to a much clearer place of understanding how the case studies share certain elements while also understanding how different they are. And, I believe that makes us closer to knowing how and when to instigate co-creative practices.

We believe we have developed a list of qualities that can be present in co-creative endeavors that differentiate at least the co-creative portion of that effort from other approaches. To flesh that out, we will be co-creative in making a book about who, why, how, what and when of co-creative efforts for social innovation and impact. Look for that outcome later this spring.


liacocreatingIn October 2013, Ci2i Global issued a call among our peers around the world for case studies in co-creative impact and innovation, to be presented at our upcoming Learn/Share Lab in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

We issued this call knowing full well that “co-creative impact” is not a term that’s currently very well defined. In fact, one of our reasons for inviting case studies is to learn more about what people mean when they use the term co-creative in a social change related context.

After examining 21 case studies, we’re liking the term more and more for it’s cross-cutting ability to capture a description of how more inclusive change is happening lately in all kinds of contexts. Communities, non-profits, companies, cities, universities, and entrepreneurs are experiencing, practicing and inviting co-creation in varying degrees to achieve social objectives.

We noticed that the case studies we received were spread almost evenly across a matrix that plotted two spectra:

1) Social objectives that are determined in advance, versus completely emergent.
2) Participant groups that are highly curated, versus offering a completely open invitation to the general public.

The case studies submitted were of an extremely high caliber. We were unable to limit ourselves to the initial 7 we thought to invite. In selecting 10 cases to study in Chiang Mai alongside our 5 partner cases, we’ve chosen a cross-section from across the matrix, that also represents a global spread. We’re thrilled to have excellent examples of co-creative social impact in action from business, academia, the non-profit world and social entrepreneurs.

One of our key co-creative activities at the Learn/Share Lab will be to hack and dissect these cases to determine the co-creative attributes they have in common, and how those can be taught, replicated and nurtured in the pursuit of social change in even more contexts. With a clearer picture that lab participants and case study presenters alike can begin to see around the nature of co-creation and how it works, we’d like to start refining our global discourse about social change, and begin to actively nurture more know how and a broader awareness of co-creativity as a critical factor in building new systems that thrive.

Case Studies Co-creativity Matrix (1)The cases we’re honoring with an invitation to help us define co-creative impact and innovation by presenting at the Learn/Share Lab for Co-creative Impact and Innovation in Chiang Mai include: 

CURATED CO-CREATION FOR DETERMINED OBJECTIVES

    • Letsrecycle, India - Paul Biplab is an Ashoka Fellow emancipating roadside waste pickers from exploitative informal waste buyers. When the company experienced a recent fire, the waste pickers contributed their ideas for rebuilding in a better way, that now enables them to collect even more.
    • Witness, D.R. Congo – Gillian Caldwell served as the Executive Director of Witness when they played a major role in equipping, training and supporting local human rights advocates in the DRC to engage in participatory video production about the human rights abuses surrounding the recruitment and abduction of child soldiers.
    • McDonalds/DISCAR, Latin America - Carolina Tocalli served as executive director of DISCAR Argentina, a social entreprise currently partnered with McDonalds to involve the managers, co-workers and families of mentally disabled workers in co-creating a supported employment model at McDonalds across Latin America.
    • Thrivable, global - Jean Russell curates co-created books around the topic of thrivability, lifting up an idea by lifting the visibility of the contributors.

OPEN CO-CREATION FOR DETERMINED OBJECTIVES

    • Sistema SER, Argentina - Simon Gronda carries on the work of his father – an Ashoka Fellow and doctor who co-created a new health care system with poor women in the Jujuy region, which has since partnered with the State and served more than 67,000 people.
    • The Barefoot Guides, Global - Doug Reeler is part of the core team behind a global and local community of social change leaders and practitioners, from many countries, who co-create resources to deepen and develop approaches and initiatives that contribute to a changing world
    • GetLocal coop, Ireland - Eimhin Shortt is creating cooperative businesses with a focus on local resource resilience by carbon neutral means in a way that is non-coercive and is democratically owned and run by member/customers.

Curated Co-creation for Emergent Objectives

    • NESIS, Chile - Gianncarlo Durán Díaz nurtures Higher Education Hubs for Social Innovation in Chile: Fostering cross-sector collaborations from the Academic Sector.
    • YES! Meshwork, Global – based in the Netherlands, Anne Marie Voorhoeve led 55 youth leaders from 30 countries in a facilitated meshwork process where stakeholders bring together their strengths and resources to achieve a common purpose.
    • Evolutionize It, Uganda / Thailand - Christina Jordan guides displaced communities in developing local community project plans and finding resources from global supporters through co-creative online campaigns.
    • Ci2i Global – Bonnie Koenig leads on organizational development as a Ci2i Global partner.

Open co-creation for emergent objectives

    • The Women’s School and Interfaith Movement, IndonesiaLian Gogali is an Ashoka Fellow who has created a method for trauma healing and cultivating empathy by which women and children transform themselves from victims of war, into survivors, and peacemakers.
    • Co-create Adelaide, Australia - John Baxter has developed a methodology called Freespace to expand the principles of Open Space Technologies to a festival and a collaboration.
    • Edgeryders, Europe - Nadia EL-Imam was the creative director for a research project that should result in recommendations on youth employment to the Council of Europe. In response, the Edgeryders Open Consultancy was designed for participants to help one another bridge the growing gap between the need to make a living and the need to do meaningful work that at least doesn’t harm the ecosocial systems we live in.
    • Omidyar.net, GlobalJean Russell and Christina Jordan met 8 years ago through a co-creative online community space hosted by the Omidyar Network. This case will examine some of the global collaborations that emerged through the network, and invite conversation around developing practical working spaces for co-creative practitioners.

Congratulations to all the cases selected and to the presenters invited to join us in Chiang Mai. Next, we’ll be working hard to help raise the funds to get them all there!

Do you sense the potential impact of learning from these case studies like we do? Co-create this opportunity with us at Startsomegood.com/LearnShareLab.

UPDATE 19 December 2013: 
The Learn/share Lab has been fully funded, and registration is now open!
Won’t you join us? 
Click here for booking details.