In yesterdays BoST Call we asked about future projects of OSCE association and also how to keep a community engaged: “What would be really valuable for YOU? What would make YOU engaged?”
And I continued to think about it after the call and I think I found another break through. Here is my train of thoughs:
1 How to Open Source Circular Solutions?
What would make me engaged as a circular hardware designer. I would look for a “stage” where I can meet other people doing similar stuff, to engage and collaborate, get inspired and so on.
It is also the question of tools: How to make our Mifactori designs open source and communicate around it. It is the well known lack of tools. There is no GitHub for open source circular solutions.
So this is something OSCEdays could be about: Something like that would keep me engaged, because it would really help me!
2 It is Questions! Not Challenges!
Next thing I thought is again why the whole challenge area in our forum is not really working. It does not really make sense! Open Source happens in two ways:
(1) People share their projects on THEIR websites
It is great for a decentralized movement that people share there stuff where they have full control. It is what we want.
(2) Questions asked and answered in GO TO FORUMS
A lot of open source knowledge ends up in the web, because someone had a practical problem, asked it in a public forum and got an answer. (See random Arduino Example, See random Wordpress Example). Next person with the same problem does an internet search and finds the thread. Great! And for this centralized forums totally make sense!
Our “Challenge” concept is somewhere in the middle – in no mans land. There was always this tension with “Share YOUR challenge in OUR forum.” It just does not make sense!
The whole challenge idea is wrong (communicating it like this)! It should be Questions! It should follow the path number (2). People are working at their local evens. And we ask them to share the questions they try to answer in the forum. Here is a perfect example how this could look like.
In a good tech forum if you ask the community everyone expects that you share all the information necessary to understand the question and to answer this – tada, publish relevant info! Basically the same as a challenge.
We could communicate it to local organizers like this: Please share the questions you will work on also in our forum before the event. And when the event is through, please share the answers too. And maybe, because it is public, also other people will provide answers.
”Please post your questions, provide necessary information to understand it, and if you found a solution please let us know.
That makes so much more sense and is much easier then writing down a “challenge”. Which sounds more like writing work for others.
There are so many reasons coming to my mind why “question” is so much better then “challenge”. (I was not my idea with challenge and I always felt that there is a problem. Just think about how often people asked: “what is a challenge?” and so on.) Here are just some:
- We get a lot of “answered questions” afterwards – more inspiring to communicate
- Then it finally makes sense why we are using a forum! A forum is made for this. Not as website to present challenges.
- Everyone knows how to ask a question – it is quick! But “what is a challenge” and “how to post a challenge” – sounds like a hell lot of work.
- The forum has its place and purpose also after the events for the community to go to! A space to ask questions.
- The whole mentorship program we talked about yesterday – @JayKay s scientists – they could go through the questions and answer some of them. A good way to engage the community: Ask questions we make sure there are people that might answer them.
- Questions are much more interesting for readers (hey, I might know the answer or have the same problem) as challenges (=other peoples individual problems, sounds like work, for other people!)
With this procedure people can share their challenges wherever they want – on their websites – which is exactly the behaviour we want to encourage! But they bring their core question to the forum and share the link to their website.
The it is also ok and not counter when local organizers are not sharing everything!
And I think we’ll meet a real need then, have a real purpose: Or is there a forum out there in the web where people can ask questions about Circular Economy if they get stuck in their projects?
And the OSCE associations purpose could be to solve that questions or assist with solving them.
For me it is so obvious that this will make everything so much better. It would make the whole forum easier to understand. And it is not too much work, I would offer to do it – I estimate 4 maybe if I am slow 6 hours. It will not change to much. It is not really about restructuring. It is just about a small discursive change – a change of wording – that will make a huge difference – I am pretty convinced about it.
So, @BoST & community give me your green light and I’am happy to do it. Changes will not be so major that we can't change it back quickly. The "Challenge" concept would still be there - no harsh change in communication. But more prominent before "challenge" would be "question."