Opening Up: Session Fees

May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

We would to open up here the way we charge for our sessions.

The graphic displays how we use the money that we receive. (Session Design is 20.8%, -the top right bit-, then follow clockwise)

If you claim to be doing something social and fair, we believe that everything should be open and transparent.
Of course sometimes is scary to open up and show what is happening behind the curtain, but if we are sure that what we do is fair, why shouldn’t we do it?
It helps us to show that we believe in what and how we do it, but also other people to learn about the work that is behind the process.

So here is the first chart with the distribution of our fees* and a little explanation of each component.

  • Session Design: Meeting with the client, Understanding the Challenge, Setting goals and background research, designing the creative process for the session and gather the participants.
  • Session Hosting: Preparing space, tools and materials, visuals, hosting participants, leading session and documentation.
  • Session Facilitators: Fees for facilitators.
  • Space, Tools and Materials: Rental space, materials and tools for people to play with.
  • Miscellaneous: Usage/rental of technical equipment.
  • Catering: Food and drinks for participants.
  • Kick Starter**: Kick starter for a team that would like to take ideas forwards as Start-up/ social business.
  • Enable Berlin: Budget to continue developing Enable Berlin, legal issues, …

Further info:

* Fees: They are in percentages because they are not always the same amount, so we prefer to show how we distribute them rather than a final quantity.

**Kick Starter: This is our idea for Crowd sourcing. It was introduced at our last session (visions for Mobility). If we are earning something with a session we also want that the community gets something. At the same time we wanted to support locals to be proactive in solving social challenges. So we came up with this kick starter idea:

If any of the participants in the session is inspired to take further one/some of the concepts generated in the session in the form of social business or start-up, we will give them a small grant to help kick start the project.

We will welcome feedback about what you think about this step we are taking towards more transparent structures.

Visions for Mobility

April 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Concept by Michel David ( Helixator )

Mobility is a major issues for the future of our cities. While policy makers, architects, urban planners, engineers and many others continuously try to invent future transport systems – from building new infrastructures and designing electrical vehicles to encourageing bike commuting and car sharing – we have the feeling that most companies and leaders still see the future transportation systems as an update or adaptation of current, state-of-the-art solutions. In order to get accurate insights on this complex topic,we need to find out how urban mobility is evolving, and in which way are paradigms shifting.
During our next session, we want to learn from Berlin’s citizens. What are our needs and our vision on mobility? What are our experiences and our wishes?
Being the future users, Berliners should be able to have a say in how to design and implement future mobility systems. We want to gather a group of people who want to share insights and visions to collaboratively address these issues and prototype possible solutions.
If you are interested in taking part at our next session write us few lines. And tell us a bit about yourself and what you do, so that we can build a diverse group for the session.
Enable session: Visions for Mobility, Wednesday 25th of May 2011 at 20:00.
Open Design City, Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20,10969 Berlin
Enable session Visions for Mobility is part of the research lead by InnoZ

Hacking the public space

April 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

Last week some of the We Creative People crew, together with many others (MakerLab Milan crew), went down to Milan to spark public action during the Milan Design Week.
As MakerLab, we took part in the Public Design Festival and set a public workshop in 4 different locations. We set up a workshop (with a working bench and tools) and brought some expertises from Berlin, to instigate Milan citizens to design their own public space.

How much do we need to change our public space?
Time? Money? People? Designers? Architects? Policy makers? ….
Most of us are always waiting for perfect situations, which normally never happen, in order to start to make a change.
It was great to meet the guys from Stortplaatsvandromen and the FOUNDation project. They set them self to make a cafe, in the public space, with whatever they could find in the street. With a clear goal in mind, but with a creative approach wich allows them to modify the concept according to what is available. They produced not just a very nice -temporary- cafe, but also a wide range of great furniture and tasty soup and coffee.  The cafe was full every day with the neighbours, first those who contribute by donating some materials, and then through word of mouth many others. The cafe was a great and lively place to be.

As citizen I want to be involved in the design of the urban space that I use, and want to have my say and propose solutions for those challenges that are common to us all.

As designers, how do we encourage and facilitate people to change the city and the urban space by them self?

As entrepreneurs and policy makers how do we create flexible and open structures which benefit from the input of the citizens to create solutions for us as society?

People in Beta

April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

How are coworking spaces an extension of the environment often found in universities? How does competition fare vs. collaboration in a coworking space? Why is coworking a better alternative for freelancers who usually work at home? “People In Beta” begins a conversation on these topics and invites your participation (twitter: #peopleinbeta #futureofwork). KS12

Finally, some documentation about what is happening in the co-working scene in Berlin. It would be also great to know what is happening in another co-workers spaces around the globe. One thing is for sure, collaborating we build together our society and its future, one that has a little bit from each one of us.

KS12 is developing a conversation between intervies so that the documentaries have another sense of continuity, and making the process more collaborative. They call it Mad Hatter’s Tea Party technique

This created a high level of continuity in the interviews as people responded to and iterated on each other’s answers… In many ways the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is like a performative brainstorm.

Check more of their work at KS12

Human Planet

March 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

The city is where civilization happens; but what is civilization now days?
People travelled to other countries bringing -civilization- and colonizing them to impose their culture, is that still happening?
Many say that cities and urban spaces are the ideal place for human beings. The place where communication happens, the place where society lives, where innovation is fostered. But others say that cities as the only solution to the problem of the cities (West, G. 2010) When we take in consideration the development that we are achieving, we should look at the big picture in order to best understand the Human being, and its environment. Because it seems that as population growth, every thing that is related to human society, growth by the same percentage.

There is, of course, a very good reason that animals slow down with size: All that mass requires energy. But the superlinear growth of cities comes with no such inherent constraints. Instead, the urban equations predict a world of ever-increasing resource consumption, as the expansion of cities fuels the expansion of economies. West illustrates the problem by translating human life into watts. “A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he says. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.”

What we do in our homes and streets have an effect for the entire planet. Of course we have already realize that there is some things that we need to change if we want to continue to enjoy this planet. There are master plans for cities with 0 emissions and 0 waste, the state of the art in technology!  But we have seen master plans before. So well design, taking every little design in consideration, … Less the fact that is humans who make the cities. As Jane Jacobs insisted, the city isn’ t a mass of buildings but rather a vessel of empty spaces, in which people interacted with other people.

In essence, they arrive at the sensible conclusion that cities are valuable because they facilitate human interactions, as people crammed into a few square miles exchange ideas and start collaborations. “If you ask people why they move to the city, they always give the same reasons,” West says. “They’ve come to get a job or follow their friends or to be at the center of a scene. That’s why we pay the high rent. Cities are all about the people, not the infrastructure.”

We need to understand better what human beings are about, the deep structures in the cities. Even more important, the citizens have to realize what impact have our actions, and that it is up to us where we take it from here.

There are some new challenges and changes coming ahead, and some are strugling because it is difficult to forecast what is what is happening. But as Ben Hammersley says, ” the pain isn’t coming from the change, the pain is coming from the struggling agains the change”.
Maybe the solution is not to have the master minds designing the perfect cities, but to encourage the citizens to design them by them self, to encourage governments to be totally open, so that we all see, and understand what is happening. Maybe designers, architects and policy makers should stop taking the initiative in creating the solutions, but rather couch and help citizens, so that they can make knowledgeable choices.

Knowledge Economy and Cognitive Cities

February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

metropolis-1 gran

(c) Jordi Sábat

In the magazine Barcelona Metropolis, P. Monràs writes about the knowledge economy and cognitive cities. Monràs writes:

La economía del conocimiento no es otra economía, sino la que añade máximo valor a todo lo que hay, mediante el aprovechamiento de la materia prima más extendida, la del propio cerebro con todas sus propiedades. (Barcelona, ¿ciudad del conocimiento?)
-The knowledge economy is not other than that one which adds the maximum value to everything that is there, through the use of the most widely available raw material, the brain it self with all its properties- (translation)

Written by Pere Monràs. Vice president of the Fundació Cercle per al Coneixement. President of Hèlix, SL

A cognitive city will foster individual talents, nurture a ground for creativity and facilitate connectivity and sharing. But as Monràs describes, we need to stop thinking from the ‘Object’ position to start thinking from the ‘Subject’ position. On TED’s talk “Squatter Cities” Stewart Brand shows how there (in the squatter cities) its citizens have an active role in shaping their environment. They are the ‘subject’. As there is nobody to solve their problems, they can afford to simply be an object.  There it citizens have to take the action. They are still regarded as humans with resources, and not simply human resources.

One of the biggest challenges we are facing is the change in paradigm. We still trying to solve problems of the 21st century with 20 century models. Many are still thinking in how to adapt business, education and politics to the current demand, without realizing that the demand has change completely. What was a solution before, it is not longer applicable.  Pere Monràs describes it like this -The best company building carriages broke down because they were the best building carriages and not transporting people- (translation from article).  This happened at the beginning of the industrial revolution, but still today the best companies making cars might also broke down, the same that the best music producers are struggling. Their focus is not ‘Be the best transporting people’ or ‘Be the best creating and facilitating music’. It is not about to change a part, it is about to change the whole, it is about a change of mind. A new state of mind which realizes the challenges we face, the opportunities that have emerge and the  tools we have.

Decimos que tenemos un reto delante, poco hablado y menos comprendido, a enorme distancia todavía de los comportamientos necesarios. Requiere un reconocimiento del nuevo paradigma en el sentir, en el pensar y en el hacer. (Barcelona, ¿ciudad del conocimiento?)
-We say that we face a challenge. Over which little has been spoken, and even less understood, still far away from the necessary mind sets. It requires acknowledgement of the new paradigm in the way we feel, think and do- (Translation).

To Feel through our I; to Think without dividing sciences between different knowledges; to Do collaborating with others so that we all win. Acting together without waiting for a ‘savior’ but aspiring towards a transformation of each individual being, and of the community as a whole.

Hardware Open Source

January 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Open Source Ecology are running Factor e Farm in Kansas City. They have set out to develop a basic set of tools to create the entire infrastructure for living and thriving from local resources, Open Source!

This project is demonstrating the full potential of Open Source being applied to solve human challenges in the physical space. If you like might be called Open Source Hardware.

The essence of the Open Source is an open collaborative development of various critical infrastructures which instead of being patented are being published for the public. Ultimately this movement is creating distributed economic systems where all individuals benefit from the new inventions, and where all individuals can add to it. The profit is therefore the benefit for all and we set to create the best solution which we can always adapt to our local needs and possibilities.

- How do we apply Open Source to solve all our needs?
– Can we create a pool of resources which could be improve by everyone of us for all of us?

Are you addicted to Brain cracks? Let your ideas flow into the world!

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Zefrank: on Brain crack

A friend shared today with us this video, and we find it very inspiring. We definitely do not want to be addicted to brain crack and want to continue prototyping our ideas.
Next session will be in Transmediale Berlin. Hope to see you there

Design story: The Decanter. By Landor Associates

January 8, 2011 § Leave a comment


Well conceived design communicates more than just to the intelligence, it reaches the hearts of people.
It excites those emotional responses that induces consumers to buy again and again. And to this end we, the designers, are dedicated.
The designer always serves the needs of the consumer (…)

Walter Landor

The Design Process in the 1960. Narrated by one of the grandfathers of American’s design. It is great to see the planning, skills and craft involved at that time. And maybe to ask our self: What is good design? What is the essence of it? What should be cross and left behind ? What should be taken forwards?

Are you ready for the 21st century?

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Some thoughts and provocations from Michel Cartier and Jon Husband.
What do YOU think?

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