As the election period comes to a close, the words shared by the candidates in the Town Halls have been echoing in my mind. I listened again to the recordings, transcribed another set of notes in order to read each candidate’s spoken words in one piece, and here’s what i heard:
s o m e - o f - o u r - i n d i v i d u a l - c o m p o n e n t s
Learned from others
Figured it out
Created a tool
Set up a school
Hosted a summit
Started a business
Left the business world
Gained local experience
Built a rogue organization
Leading design for a start-up
Translated the GOSH manifesto
Experienced firsthand my own transformation
Trying to bring as many geeks as possible along for the ride
Surprised and / or honored to have been nominated
Artist, educator, researcher, civic hacker,
Maker of strange and unusual things
Making alternative economies
Making maker spaces
On a continent
On an island
s o m e - o f - w h o - w e - a r e - t o g e t h e r
Vibe of openness as a default
in Santiago, Tanzania, Shenzhen
5 minutes in, i realized i was home
GOSH felt like coming home, like family immediately
We collaborate across national borders, under the influence of local realities
s o m e - c l o s e - o b s e r v a t i o n s
Having no high priests makes it hard to ask permission to do something,
…and offers no guidance for how to say Yes together
So many dimensions: power, representation, inclusiveness, how we listen, & organize ourselves
How will they, the “future we,” remember the lessons we are about to learn?
Will they benefit from collective knowledge we’ll attempt to pass on as accumulated wisdom?
s o m e - d e s i r e s
To harmonize our effects
Have a way to pull together toward our goals
Make open hardware ubiquitous by 2025
There are people who need to be seen, but who don’t yet know of GOSH as a portal to connections and opportunities
We need same equipment in different places in the world, & to get it, we need to do the logistics
In the transformation that is the 4th industrial revolution,
…we need to harness and impart the knowledge from global GOSH membership
…to help local small businesses get established in technology
Leverage connecting to people with disadvantaged backgrounds, look to equal inclusion
Many perspectives together enable right policy frameworks based on actual need cases, for the development and implementation of good programs to help overcome local challenges
Create and secure sustainable funding to achieve consistency in programming and our summit
s o m e - c l u s t e r s
Listening to perspectives, connecting to action: informed by Harry, Laura, Pen, Shams, Valerian
- The council should listen. Listen especially to those who are shy, or less confident, to those who are not affiliated with any institutions. Lift up diverse voices of underrepresented and vulnerable groups. Leverage connecting to people with disadvantaged backgrounds; look to equal inclusion.
- This brings a lot of perspectives, which enables right policy frameworks based on actual need cases, for the development and implementation of good programs to help overcome local challenges.
- We have to listen and pay a lot of attention to what is happening in the forum, the community, and in the streets (argentinian lockdown). Use tools to enable dynamic relationships with the whole community, to find those who are hidden or too busy to participate. Empower the community by listening to them, and also by listening to ourselves, helping provide the best tools to connect ourselves.
- In essence: sensing needs in the community and prioritizing collective actions
Emergent, focused creative activity: informed by Maria, Saad, Julian, Pen, Andy
- I work a lot more when I’m collectively doing stuff with people, which GOSH does really well at in-person meetings, however, the lifeblood of GOSH when we’re not in person is the forum. Posting an idea that you’re incredibly excited about and waiting for others to read and respond can be excruciating. We aren’t getting enough out of the way we take notes in our Working Groups—we should double-down on the forum. To do more with our forum, let’s create brief synchronous events where people swarm on an issue and then that input is brought back to a thread. Use tools that facilitate collaboration, doing as well as talking. spaces where people can move across different rooms to ideate, visualize. For example, Miro gets people drawing and sketching, sharing their ideas. Able to go from A to Z so quickly, and it’s fun! A short focused time could enable us to get a lot out of our time together.
- Fuse this with asynchronous options over a longer period of time to create more opportunities for participation.
Archive: informed by Pen
- Look-back: For lessons learned from iterating on governance. conduct a complete post-mortem, deep reflection, on the governance process so far, especially voices from people who feel that they’ve been excluded from this process and people who have problems with this process. Starting with this attitude will help us learn from the problems that are already out there.
- Look-forward: Knowledge transfer to our future selves.
Culture of bi-directional learning: informed by Gameli
- Promote a culture of learning that is bidirectional from different parts of the word to mainstream GOSH as well as from GOSH back out to different parts of the world.
- Pairing 1: Put more emphasis on regional events to help GOSH as a whole capture all the issues raised, and help GOSH focus on how the knowledge can be brought back to local communities.
- Pairing 1: Support other communities locally, national, regionally to deploy open hardware beyond the experimentations and demonstrations to real use cases on the ground; Capture the experiences of innovators on the ground, so GOSH can understand what actions to take.
Further distribute in-person event organizing: informed by Harry
- Focus on the capacity of smaller groups that make up our network overall to host events. Investing in the local composition of our network leads to a stronger base, reducing the burden on any one group or set of people to organize events while at the same time that the network reaches more people overall.
Network of networks: informed by Shams
- So that other OSH networks see GOSH as a useful force multiplier, and join in;
- To connect with networks who would use OSH in real use cases on the ground.
How to say YES together: informed by Julian, Marina
- “While we create a structure to handle power and make decisions, let’s think through this example. Last year I realized that GOSH didn’t really have a logo…we had something on the website that was a bit of a picture. While it’s great having no highpriests, you also don’t really know who to ask for permission to do something. And so I just sort of started asking “well should we have a logo?” and then some people said “yes,” and so I sort of made a poll on the forum. I felt bad the whole time that I was taking on this sort of power to myself. I didn’t want power; we just needed to get something done.
- I think one thing we should be conscious of as a council is not that we are making decisions, or even telling people who can make decisions, but there’s at least someone so that if someone has a great idea and says "we should do this, there’s somewhere to go and start the discussion. This will take pressure off people in the community that there’s a process to start doing something [together].”
- [To know how we can say Yes together.]
- “I’ve felt this too - I think we have a community that is very aware and wants to be collaborative. And that’s so strong, that people won’t do stuff because they don’t want to act alone. I really want to set an environment, or help set, or have an environment set where people feel that they can propose [action]. But we also have to have a community engaged also to answer— so that the proposer feels that people are listening and knows that they are either OK with it or are not OK with it. Because maybe someone wants to change the logo! Can someone change the logo? I expect the council to somehow figure out over time to give the sense of autonomy—collaborative autonomy. This is something that we build and have to keep building, to understand how we are going to deal with this power. Even though no one here wants the power of being on the council, which is shown by few people nominating themselves (seems like most people felt “I don’t’ deserve [this position]” or “i’m not part of this place,” then others nominated them and then suddenly a bunch of people felt: “YES—I could be part of this place!”). I think this also happens with community participation.
- So here’s the challenge: how can we set governance that doesn’t make things harder, but easier. Where people don’t feel powerless, but feel more power. Not: “OK, now I’ll ask the council if I can make a logo,” because not everything should require permission. Yet I understand that generally, of course not all of us, but generally everyone comes from a reality and culture that is based on hierarchy, in which we know how to deal with someone who has more power by either A) I will take this power, or B) I will ask permission. As a result, we don’t really know what to do in situations when we don’t have this power already set…and this is OK — let us try a council that can try to do something different. We can build community power. Set instruments that in the future enable us to use our collective power on behalf of the community.”
- “I hope everyone from the community will have a chance to be on the council eventually”