I’m back. Back from a very intense, special week in which I learned too much.. It was called the social safari. It basically is an one week think/do tank in which 31 professionals with diverse backgrounds, expertise, nationalities etc. In this week we worked together on a complex social case of organizations based in Amsterdam. I’m writing 2 blog posts on this incredible week. One on the case we have been working on & the results we came up with and another on the brilliant concept of this social safari and how it is related to “let’s play innovation”.
Here we go, part 1:
On Monday we visited six organizations who offered us a concrete, but complex social case they’re struggling with. It was very interesting to learn about these organizations and to hear that they are struggling with issues many other organizations are struggling with as well. Namely, all organizations we’ve visited are vertically organised organizations who are trying to cope with the horizontal happenings in society (hierarchal model vs. network model). For example, the city theatre of Amsterdam. It displays high quality theatre, but has only a high educated, mainly white audience. They want to be a representation of the city, but the city is far more diverse than their audience is. How to attract these diverse communities?
Our case was of the municipality of Amsterdam East, who are noticing the incredible amount of neighbourhood initiatives in their district. At this moment the municipality decides to which initiatives the money is going. They wanted us to find out if the citizens themselves could decide where the money should go and how they can be held accountable to each other (instead of to the district). From vertical accountability (municipality decides where the money goes), to horizontal accountability (citizens decide where the money goes).
We formed a group with diverse backgrounds. An (architectural)designer from Canada, a think tank leader and strategist from Berlin, a well-connected social entrepreneur from Utrecht, a program director from de Baak and myself. Last but not least, we we’re being coached by an independent designer who was a participant of the social safari in 2011.
Together with this group we spend the next 4 days intensely together working on this case. On day 2 (Tuesday) we gathered a lot of information by talking to people from the municipality and many people on the street. Goal was to come up with an intervention we would test the next day (prototyping). That evening we had to present our idea for an intervention to a jury. It was well received so we could go on. The next day we tested our intervention in a 24h challenge, which was very exciting and stretching (for us, as the people involved). On the next day (Thursday), we could deepen the impact of our intervention. Finally @ Friday we got to present the results of this week to our case holder, the municipality of Amsterdam East.
Curious? Here’s the presentation we came up with: