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‘Feeling Harvested’ Co-creation Weekend February 2012

We set out to look at ‘this thing’ that we have been developing over the past few months with fresh eyes. We wanted to test, enrich and modify the concept, drawing on the diverse perspectives, expertise and enthusiasm of people we admire and resonate with before we head full-steam into the next stages of planning and development.

And what a rich day it was! 

Buzzing conversation, warm-hearted challenges, burned soup, sparking ideas, synergies between people that went far beyond the project, and overflowing generosity ~ it seemed that 23 unique people bought their gifts, their particular way of knowing the world, pouring this into ‘this thing’… 

Since our co-creation day on Saturday we have been busy harvesting, digesting and changing.  

Below is another go with describing what we do. What do you think?

But first of all, we want to send thank-yous and our appreciation to all of you who have joined us on a Saturday morning, and to those who couldn’t make it but send us their warm wishes.

The day has served ‘this thing’ to deepen and accelerate, and we hope that our harvest is a reflection of it. We are excited to share it with you!

Our reflection comes in two parts: ‘The Harvest’ collects everybody’s insights, questions, and proposed actions from the Open Space sessions we ran. ‘Harvesting the Harvest’ is about themes and insights the team generated on Sunday, based on the storytelling feedback, the open space, and all conversations that happened in between.

Here you can view online or download our harvest. You can also comment on the document if you want to add or critique.

What is the core / the essence

Key Insights

  • Essence is different from different perspectives: passionate about being well in transition (Simone), learning for change (joh).
  • These spaces become lifeboats (or epicenters), that drive the emergence of the new economy; they work towards resilience and sustainability.
  • The physical space acts as an anchor, and a canvas/ platform.
  • its an  practical alternative to mainstream higher education system (or a complement?), in order for people to thrive in the future (more like a MA/MSc rather than BSc/BA).
  • The intergenerational piece is important: allows people to give back & connect
  • Its addressing the underemployment of people (use yourself better) and resources (use stuff better)
  • The core is the underemployment of resources (of people, spaces, networks).
  • “Utilisation is important to you guys”
  • It does not matter what the activity it VS yes it does! Something that is related to creating a livelihood, its not enough to impart experience

Any next steps

  • Look up Design for change school, and the Hunger Project. 
  • Keep checking-in on “This project exists to…”

Any Unanswered questions

  • Is this thing an educational philosophy? Which can be applied in many different ways?
  • How can we provide the philosophy AND the means to have it applied?

THE QUESTION: As we are all describing the essence of ‘this thing’ all differently, are we looking at the same thing from different perspectives, or are we looking at different things?

Relationship of ‘This Thing’ to existing institutions

How could this project benefit from engagement with existing cultural/educational institutions? From this question came a conversation about why participants would choose to come on a course without an existing reputation, and what is it that people are searching for in educational programmes, and how This Thing could tap into the resources (libraries/access to online journals/space) of other institutions and whether it should align itself to more established entities to start off, or if it offers enough in itself?


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From the Initial ‘Push and Pull’ to the First Principle of Edventure.

I stared into the white, thick smog of Beijing. The Bird’s Nest Stadium was only a hundred metres away from the highrise I stood on, and yet, I could hardly see it.  I had spent our previous team meeting sitting by a Ginkgo tree, the only bit of nature that was not fenced off.  I had flown over to China to work with some of the most successful young entrepreneurs from Europe and China who wanted to build a better world through business.  Our task was to facilitate the group to write a policy document to be handed to the President Barroso and President Wen Jiabao.

From being surrounded by some of the most talented young entrepreneurs, I got a sense of possibility. I looked out at the stadium and thought that even the Olympic Games must have started with a simple idea.  At the same time, I felt irritated talking about business for a better world that was hardly scratching the surface of sustainability and ethics, and questioned my impact having flown to China to facilitate a few conversations. I was put off by a culture of entrepreneurship that was driven by prestige and success rather than deep questioning and learning about what sustainable business might really mean.

The sense of possibility gave me a pull, and my irritation a push into making a decision. I decided to make an idea happen that had grown over the past few years, and to give up most of my previous work. It felt like jumping off the skyrise I stood on, not knowing where to start, and most of all, being afraid of doing it alone. Not knowing anyone who had a similar idea and would love to embark on a journey to make it happen, had stopped me for a long time. This time, the push and pull had been strong enough to simply start, and trust that I would find peers for the journey along the way.

Temujen Gunawardena and I met in a small independent coffee shop in Brighton in December 2011 to talk about this idea that we had later called adventure it seemed immensely good timing I had decided to stop most of my work, and Temujen had just finished studying. We were both passionate about creating spaces where people could come together to make incredible things happen. We both wanted to create livelihoods that were truly sustainable and create solutions to global issues rooted in local community and an awareness of sustainability. We wanted to question and learn, and invite others to join us. Our starting point became the first principle of adventure: combining opportunities for deep learning, generating income, and creating positive social impact.

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