Nimble Building Days 3 – Integration through collaborative work

A year and a half ago Chloé, Paul, Florian and me started the project “Team Nimble” on behalf of ICT4D.at and organised a big event called “Nimble Building Days” in a refugee home in Vienna in July 2016.

The world has turned and a lot happened over the last months. The necessity of integrating migrants into the Austrian society is obvious for many reasons. This need is very difficult to communicate to a lot of natives though. Right-wing populists influence the political scene heavily and even moderate politicians spread words of fear instead of reasonable thoughts. Despite of a big movement of solidarity back in 2015 the common motivation decreased after terrorist attacks and mostly negative media coverage. Sustainable engagement with the new citizens is more necessary than ever though. Every time I work with refugees I see how difficult it is to overcome cultural gaps. It takes time, it takes many small engagements, it takes many misunderstandings before every one feels comfortable and knows what to do. You learn to appreciate tiny improvements, nice little gestures. Like a Syrian cup of coffee after trying fruitlessly to explain the purpose of voluntary work with a few German words.

The spirit of “Team Nimble” is no magical wand that cures intercultural problems instantly. It is the feeling of not being alone in a complex and fast-changing society where no one wants to be left behind. It is the concept of using the work on common housing and living space as a catalyst for the development of social links and networks. From all my experiences up till now I can say that it is a veritable path for enabling integration. Collaborative work on projects for the benefit of the entire community might be a potent strategy for connecting cultures and for the sake of a more interwoven society.

In 2016 the Red Cross Vienna rented a former guest house and cafe in the Altmannsdorfer Straße in the 12th district of Vienna for the project IWORA (“Integrationswohnraum”). 7 families live there and it serves them as an intermediate step on their search for proper affordable housing in the city. One family inhabits a flat several months in average. Right now those families are mostly of Kurdish origin and fled from the war in Syria.

Our connection to the Red Cross Vienna has already been very strong before the start of this project. So we met in October 2016 to take a look and check out the situation. It turned out to be a place with a lot of potential for community living space. The cafe on the ground floor of the building seemed to be the perfect place for making a community room out of it. The big courtyard outside bears potential to make a comforting place with outdoor furniture, raised-bed gardening and a playground for the children. We decided to initially focus on the community room.

 

First step: Cleaning the room. Before the Red Cross took over the place it was a rather filthy and dark bar. We had to clean thick layers of dirt and flush half empty bottles down the drain before getting a notion of the room’s potentials. Funny anecdote: The seating furniture of the bar was covered in black fake leather which obviously did not help to brighten up the room. Scratching the surface revealed cream-colored real leather on every bench.

Second step: Planning and writing a concept. It was profound enough to get funded with 2500 euros from the C&A Foundation and the Red Cross. We met again before Christmas to buy materials and tools for the event. The general credo was to make the room bright and to create a family-friendly space and a practical learning environment.

The main event of the Nimble Buidling Days 3 took place on a weekend in the end of January. From our first event at Kurierhaus we learned that strict schedules don’t go along well with the creative chaos of Team Nimble. As a result we simply tried to give it a vague frame and wrote down a checklist with our daily goals, potential risks and unanswered questions.

What came out was nothing less than the creative chaos mentioned before. On day zero I made preparations with the Hausleiter and some curious residents. Although they were told what was about to happen some of them didn’t get it at this point.

On the next day several helpers joined the event and it slowly became a vivid working environment. We got familiar with some motivated residents. In total we were about ten people working together during Saturday and Sunday. The mood was relaxed andwe had a lot of fun. Anders filmed the whole process (watch his documentary below). Our loose schedule helped keeping an eye on the most important steps without beingtoo strict. There was enough room for spontaneous decisions. Time flew by of course and on Sunday in the evening we were exhausted. And happy.

It was not perfect of course. We didn’t manage to involve most of the residents in the process. It was hard to motivate them to leave their flats for some hours to join us. But we also had to simply accept that some families and mostly women had to deal with more profound problems.
We had to rethink some of our plans during the process. We had to buy additional material and tools. Some things we bought or planned turned out to be superfluous. Some steps took us much longer than expected. That’s why we had to add two additional days for finishing the renovation work.

In the end it paid off though. The community room is bright and comfortable now. It provides solid infrastructure to use it as a learning environment and for group meetings and workshops. A corner for children with blackboards and toys will hopefully motivate also women and children to spend more time in the community room from now on.

So the first part of the Nimble Building Days 3 has been a valuable and beautiful experience again. We connected with some of the residents. They connected with us. We have something in common now. A nice project we worked on together. Although our efforts are nothing more than just a tip of the iceberg called integration they are also nothing less. The best thing that can happen is that our project inspires other people to join or start a social movement. We will find out eventually.

PS: To demonstrate you how nimble and fun collaborative work can be, Anders made also a brilliant little timelapse film 🙂

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Nimble Building Days 3 – Integration through collaborative work
was published on 10.04.2017 by Georg Steinfelder. It files under Europe
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

ICT4D presentation at TU Vienna

Next Monday, 17.11. we will be holding a small presentation about the topic ICT4D at University of Technology Vienna. We were invited by the Austrian chapter of Engineers Without Borders to contribute to their series of lectures about different topics concerning technology and development.

We will give a broad overview of the topic and an insight in current development. If you’re around Vienna make sure to come by – it’s on Monday 17.11, 18:00 in the TU Wien lecture hall BD02a (Getreidemarkt 9, 1060 Wien).

Tags: , ,
ICT4D presentation at TU Vienna
was published on 11.11.2014 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Announcement: Stammtisch #10

It’s an anniversary! Our 10th official ICT4D.at Stammtisch meeting is coming up. And this time there’s much to tell. Zanzicode is running great, we have two exciting projects in the pipeline and we are searching for partners for our next grant application. If you want to find out more, just come by!

What: ICT4D.at Stammtisch

Where: Cafe Benno, Alser Straße 67, Wien

When: Wednesday, 17. November 2010, 20:00

We’re happy if you come by! Please notify us via mail or RSVP on in that case.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Announcement: Stammtisch #10
was published on 12.11.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Announcement: Stammtisch #9

After a two months summer-break where we were working mostly behind the scenes, we would like to announce our next Stammtisch meeting.

The meeting is for curious people in Vienna to find out about ICT4D in general, what we do, how to help and generally just to have a nice evening. We’d be happy to get to know a lot of new people.

We’ll hold it on a Tuesday this time – that’s easier as our internal jour fix is just before.

What: ICT4D.at Stammtisch

Where: Cafe Benno, Alser Straße 67, Wien

When: Tuesday, 17. August 2010, 20:30

If you intend to come it would be great if you could notify us via mail.

Tags: , , , , ,
Announcement: Stammtisch #9
was published on 13.08.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Announcement: Stammtisch #8

This Thursday, 10.6. our monthly Stammtisch takes place again. The meeting is for curious people in Vienna to find out about ICT4D in general, what we do, how to help and generally just to have a nice evening. We’d be happy to get to know a lot of new people.

What: ICT4D.at Stammtisch

Where: Cafe Benno, Alser Straße 67, Wien

When: Thursday, 10. June 2010, 20:00

If you intend to come it would be great if you could notify us via mail or RSVP on

Tags: , , , , ,
Announcement: Stammtisch #8
was published on 07.06.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Announcement: Stammtisch #7

It’s time again for our monthly Stammtisch meeting. It’s not the second Thursday in May though, but the third one – due to various reasons. So not this week, but next one.

The meeting is for curious people in Vienna to find out about ICT4D in general, what we do, how to help and generally just to have a nice evening. We’d be happy to get to know a lot of new people.

What: ICT4D.at Stammtisch

Where: Cafe Benno, Alser Straße 67, Wien

When: Thursday, 20. May 2010, 20:00

If you intend to come it would be great if you could notify us via mail or RSVP on

Tags: , , , ,
Announcement: Stammtisch #7
was published on 10.05.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Announcement: Stammtisch #6

Next Thursday, our monthly Stammtisch meeting takes place at Cafe Benno. The meeting is for curious people in Vienna to find out about ICT4D in general, what we do, how to help and generally just to have a nice evening. We’d be happy to get to know a lot of new people.

What: ICT4D.at Stammtisch

Where: Cafe Benno, Alser Straße 67, Wien

When: Thursday, 8. April 2009, 19:30

If you intend to come it would be great if you could notify us via mail or RSVP on

Tags: , , , , ,
Announcement: Stammtisch #6
was published on 01.04.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
2 Comments AddThis Feed Button

LIFT @ Austria, day 2 – part 2

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

.

Information on all the groups and speakers can be found at the Lift @ Austria conference program page. Abstracts of all talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

Notes from the first day and second day afternoon:

.

After the workshop before noon on the second day the posters were exhibited and Kerstin Sailer presented the results of an analyze of the conference space which she carried out with the help of all participants during the conference.

Kerstin – Space syntax

Analysis of events that took place in different locations

  • statistically, geographically
  • configuration of spaces – how do they connect
  • creating an alternative design out of that

Categorization works very well on a collective level

At this event

  • While discussions took place mostly in formal settings (workshop area), learning and rethinking new ideas took place rather in informal settings (cafe, lounge)
  • Learning took place potentially everywhere, whereas new ideas were quite limited to certain spaces

Q & A:

Any optimization ideas how to get more new ideas?

  • How many new ideas can you get? maybe there are already a lot of new ideas

Did you do this in a permanent setting?

  • Yes, in my PhD – it’s really interesting looking at organizations at different points of time

.

Following this, the results of an interesting feedback mechanism were presented. The feedback mechanism allowed participants to give away plasticine balls to people who they thought were interesting. You could give away different coloured balls according to the following categories: (more…)

Tags: , , , , , ,
LIFT @ Austria, day 2 – part 2
was published on 21.03.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

LIFT @ Austria – day 2, part 1

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

.

After the first day of the Lift @ Austria conference (Lift @ Austria – day 1, part 1 & Lift @ Austria – day 1, part 2), the second day was also dedicated to discussions in small groups initiated by two short impulse talks. I joined the group on Enabling Ambiences meet Enabling Metamorphoses. Information on all the groups and speakers can be found at the Lift @ Austria conference program page. Abstracts of all talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

.

Roland AltonosAlliance

Co-operative Settings that enable IT, Media and Social Businesses

Enabling spaces already created:

  • Spaces, materials, tools for students enabling them to build furniture and make exhibitions
  • Net Culture Lab – with Telekom Austria
  • Enabling a space takes time – process is too complex
  • Old Telekom building in Dornbirn

We need common values in these settings

  • Ethify
  • 8 virtues
  • Testing these values in various settings and adapting them
  • New value system – one answer to the “crisis”

Internationaler Medienverbund – Co-operative with the possibilities of running micro-co-operatives

  • Reduces bureaucracy for small projects
  • Splitting financial responsibility
  • “Structural enabling space”

.

Oliver MarlowThe Hub, Tilt

Talking about ‘enabling’ spaces. How design is being used to transform the way people interact with each and their environment

Enabling is connected to space – but also to the interface between people and space

12 principles for The Hub – constraints which are necessary

Co-design workshop for complex problems

  • intuitive responses for questions that pop up
  • for all sorts of problems
  • individual vs. community

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , ,
LIFT @ Austria – day 2, part 1
was published on by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 2

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

.

After the framing talks (LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 1) and a delicious lunch, the participants of Lift @ Austria conference split in three groups to discuss certain aspects of “enabling” in depth. I joined the group on Enabling Structures meet Enabling Metamorphoses. The workshops were initiated by two short impulse talks. Information on all the groups and speakers can be found at the Lift @ Austria conference program page. Abstracts of all talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

.

Sava Dalbokovgood.bee holding

Cross-pollinate! Financial and Support Platforms for Social Development

Good.bee holding:

  • Banking the unbanked
  • Microfinance (act), capacity building (teach & learn), community solution (orchestrate)
  • Economic sustainability
  • Changemaker initiative together with Ashoka
  • Enabling capacity: f(freedom + leverage)

Important attributes for projects which are supported in the social entrepreneurship sector:

  • Economically sustainable
  • Hard to measure social impact – one approach: is it scalable?
  • 20-50k support

.

Jean-Henry MorinUniversity of Geneva, Dept. of Information Systems,
Switzerland

Social-Micro-Innovation : Leveraging the Crowds as co-Innovation Enabler

Wisdom of the tribesSeth Godin

  • self-organizing crowds gathering around a leader

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , ,
LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 2
was published on by Florian Sturm. It files under global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
1 Comment AddThis Feed Button

« older posts |