And what are the Next Steps..

On 20th November 2015 during the first edition of the Bee Collective: Swarm Solutions-Festival, 170 people worked together on 6 different big world problems. They did this on different locations in the world at the same time:

  • In Brazil, in the Impact Hub in Florianopolis, a group of people unraveled the problem of Water Pollution in that area. In the end, 4 teams committed themselves to assist in 4 projects that dealt with this problem.

  • In Kenya, 22 people were looking at the Potato chain to figure out why some much food gets lost is the chain. Their main conclusion was that ALL the professionals in the room did not had a clear view on the Potato value chain as a whole. Each of them knew about their own piece of the puzzle but coming together in this set-up, gave them insights about parts of solutions they did not see before.

  • In co-working Seat2Meet, in the center of the Netherlands, a group of experts, out of the box thinkers and young professionals looked into the problem of Tax avoidance. There were professors, people from the NGO sector as well as people who did not know much about the topic. This forced everyone to avoid “conceptual talk” en get a better grip on the problem.

  • In MeetBerlage, Amsterdam, a very international group of people came together to figure out what you need to take as an indicator to measure new types of education. There was a clear common ground amongst the group, that existed of people from Kenya, Pakistan, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands: that the amount of trust between the teacher and the parents is the most important part of having good quality education.

  • In Pakhuis de Zwijger three groups of people were working the whole day. One group unraveled the problem of Climate and Citizens: 'Why is the Climate problem not interesting for Citizens and how can we make it more “sexy”?' OneWorld was quite happy with the outcome: there were some interesting findings how things are perceived by a group of people who are not that 'green'. This group used a method based on Design Thinking and went outside on the street to interview people to check their assumptions.

  • The second group in Pakhuis de Zwijger looked at the Migrant Crisis. Two people from Paris, working for UNESCO and the Red Cross set up their own organization so they could do more practical things to prevent people from leaving their country in Africa (AGAID). They told an emotional story about the reality in Senegal.

  • The 7th group, a group of 40 people, practiced with the Rules of the Game of a Pop Up Company during the Festival: a company with a core team and a Swarm of people around them that works according the rules of a Decentralized Collective Organisation. Everyone who contributed to the Milestone of the team got rewarded with tokens. 3 teams used “play money” and 1 team used an extension of Slack in the beta version where they could give each other tokens and also “fork” the project if necessary.

We learned a lot of things during the first edition of the Bee Collective Festival: The main thing we learned was that 'a Pop Up Company does not come “alive” by itself'. If we wish to Kick start Pop Up Companies, we must facilitate this with people who are fully committed to start such an experimental company. People who are ready to embrace the “unknown”.

In order to find these people, coach them, learn together to in the end figure out how this new economic game can work, we are now setting up “Accelerators”: Teams (also organized as a Pop Up Company) who offer coach trajectories and boot-camps where other Pop Up Companies can be Kick Started. On April 15th, the Holland Accelerator was Kickstarted with in the core team: Pascale Roubroeks, Alide Roerink, Xam Mouthaan, Ard Hordijk, Sara Stevenson (Brazil) and myself (Margreet van der Pijl).
In Brazil, Tiago Vilas Boas also got a team together, in Oregon (USA) Scott Salazar already found one companion and is now looking for a team. In Kenya Bikundo Onyari started to take next steps after the Wicked World Problem on November 20 and in Ethiopia, Markos Lemma is looking into the idea.

The Holland Accelerator is even already coaching the first Pop Up Company in the world: A team of bright Nyenrode students that are figurring out how they can work together with Accenture to realize an opportunity for refugees, which they call 'New Expats' (according based on the idea of Annewies Kuipers) to find a job in the Netherlands. In the Swarm around their core team, Reena Tops and Xam Mouthaan are already contributing to the project.

Step by step we are getting used tot his new way of organizing ourselves and we have great ambitions. From now on, every week you will find a new story about our Next Steps!

Amsterdam, Margreet van der Pijl, June 8th 2016