Village Innovation Talk /
Brochure For Geneva







Village Innovation Talk and Global Villages Network

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Background, Idea and Vision

What if there was a way to connect the truly innovative people in villages around the globe to share their knowledge and their findings, their strategies, their breakthroughs? Would we see a new globally inspired type of village emerge, one that can fascinate and integrate the energies of the youth, provide opportunities for the active and working population and give security and hope to the elders? Would we see the Global Village turn into a Globe of Villages instead of people agglomerating more and more in a few crowded areas?

New technologies allow us for unprecedented ways of connectedness. The danger is that the communication that spans around the globe drags people - especially the young ones - to the already overcrowded cities and centers, because they thirsty for a chance to improve. Rural areas are draining out even faster given the alluring messages new media convey- although urban opportunities are only for a few. As a consequence, rural areas decay.

At the same time, the untapped potential of augmenting our traditional ways of life with new and powerful technological innovations is there: not only knowledge but also tools are available in abundance, and there are more options than we can even conceive. We only need to know about them and start to use them.

Village Innovation Talks and Global Villages Network are radical new educational tools that are set to unleash this potential and grow on the experience that the best teachers for villages are the villages themselves. Out of 7 years of real life experience in a village trial in Austria we developed a scheme of "videobridging" between physically asembled communities of learners and listeners in village places with broadband internet access.

Thus we facilitate at the same time remote and local dialogue, knowledge transfer and local community building.

Achievements so far and the partnership

Whilst our village partners started out with linkages to urban institutions like universities, we all soon saw the growing potential of v2v (Village to Village - connections. In 2005 after an initiative by GIVE, a parallel congress was held by transfering a week-long event from a village at one end of Austria to a village at the other end. These "Days of Utopia" were followed by similar events, where GIVE and partners connected local institutions to host shared events. A highlight was the "Bioversity", where the Austrian Association of Biological Farmers used over 30 public viewings to reach out to local biological farmers communities in Austria and abroad while the main event was held in our "spearhead" village Kirchbach.

In 2011, at a onlime meeting facilitated by GKPF, our partnership formed. We brought this v2v communication to a new level when we conected innovators from 6 villages in a multicast in December 2011. The themes of the villages opened up a vast array of fields of interest, and simultaneously a vast potential of solutions and knowledge to be communicated. We felt this is the way to go.

The partnership brings together two endavours that promise a big deal of synergy. On one side there is GIVE laboratory, a group in Vienna that started to weave connections for a global network of village innovators already in the nineties. GIVEs founding director Franz Nahrada was initial speaker at the European Broadband Conference 2007, organized the Austrian EU presidency event on digitized cultural heritage as well as conferences on telework and urban planning in the communication age. On the other side there is Ideawerk, a thinktank of IT professionals that reaches into the corporate world, yet is commited to village life and the idea of a village innovation center in Bittelbronn near Stuttgart. The cooperation of this core group with a growing number of partners, among them TV producers, village renewal associations, municipalities, ..... forms the backbone for the Village Innobation Talks and the resulting Global Villages Network.

We invite you to become partner of this network!

The Next Phase - a scenario

(Muss noch stilistisch angepasst und für das Publikum radikal gekürzt werden)

The organising team will work with candidate villages to identify possible topics and locations.

A hosting village will agree to host an f2f meeting around a topic that is of key interest to them, either based on expanding an existing project or initiating a new one. The topic should reflect their “needs” as they will drive the agenda of the event.

They will need to obtain local support and resources (such as location, speakers) and invite suitable guests (based on proposal by organising team)

The guests will obtain funding from their local sources for travel and producing some promotional material for their projects. Stipends for travel can be considered.

Public Viewings will be set up in many other villages and communities to ensure dialogue with the larger audience.

This audience will be encouraged by local moderators to submit questions and thus engage and participate fully in the outcome of the Village Innovation Talks

A “Village Innovation Platform” will be set up tobe the "voice of the talks" (weblog) promote and stream the events and document the outcome and learning provide multiple simultaneous public viewings and cross community discussions, search, storage and retrieval of past talks based on locations and topics. Televised extensions to home viewers are welcome.

Practical Applications

The following are just a few cases of innovator connections that we envision

  • connection of local energy autonomy initiatives with successful cases of communal or cooperative biomass or solar plants.
  • collaboration of village textile producers in Africa, Asia and Latin America with cloth designers in Europe
  • more
What is needed

Our ability to render these possibilities into reality depends largely on the initial support we will get. On one side, we are still experimenting with various formats and options and studying them to find optimal configurations applicable in many places. On the other side, we think that infrastructure and network can sustain themselves if run as social enterprise and capitalizing on the ability to use such infrastructure also for vocational education, business training and many other fields that we plan to outline in a handbook for community videobridge centers.