we gather, we meet, we share, we learn, and we grow our understanding

the next edge: opening potential

I had the good fortune and incredible opportunity to attend the Next Edge Festival Gathering, thanks to the support of my friend and colleague, Caroline Smalley from The Citizen’s Media. We’ve been working together over the last couple of years, and it was a real honour to be able to come to Montreal and meet so many incredible thinkers and do-ers. And if you can make it, you are invited to the Impact Economy Summit coming up this October 5–9 in Whistler BC.

Well, a whole heck of a lot has happened since the Next Edge Festival wrapped… my life is transforming rapidly. I won’t tire anyone with the crazy laundry list of actions and activities…. but what is relevant is that I’ve committed to two months in Montreal to throw down at SENSORICA and connect with the broad and active change movement community, in Montreal and beyond.

I’m new here. I came to the Next Edge to meet people I’m inspired by, and talk about the change we need to be, to do, and to build together. I think about the big picture, and systems, and was excited to see so many others gathered in one online place. Such an explosion of intellectual awesomeness and passion for systems change… being there was overwhelmingly inspirational.

My mission was to come and record conversations between the ‘co-creators’ of the event, so we could document the live exploration of people’s projects. I’m inspired by how people think together, and saw the need (like many others) to surface the work of the participants, so we can better understand what people are working on, how projects might connect as a network, and how we can help each other.

At the festival we recorded audio of a few conversations and several of the sessions. So much appreciation to the presenters and co-creators, and those who participated in capturing parts of the event.

The media as captured is what I would call ‘dirty’; chairs scraping, people sometimes talking at the same time, perhaps not the best sound quality in the device capture front… yes, it’s true. It’s a work in progress. ;) The real point is trigger us to listen to ourselves. What are we talking about?

Essentially, I’d like to plant a seed: through creating intentional media where we talk about what we are working on, and share notes, we can understand how we can help each other. We can better understand what we can do together to best transition using the ideas, tools and processes that exist in our community and the broader change landscape.

The files are raw and unedited, so there is some work there to be done to clean them up… but I wanted to be sure to give access to people (at long last).

In no particular order, here are some audio files you can peruse to get a sense of the gathering. They are embedded as soundcloud files, are raw (unedited) and I’ve used the co-creators own words to frame their work. Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Hildy Gottlieb

Check out Hildy’s session on “Catalytic Thinking”. Some of her work:

Change the Questions, Change the World!

I’d love to facilitate a cross-disciplinary discussion about what is possible when we stop trying to solve problems and instead create what is possible together. I’d love to have people not just get excited about implementing whatever we come up with, but also learn how to bring the framework for that discussion back to their own lives, to create what is possible beyond the “walls” of the Festival.

Thanks Jamie Klinger for recording the session.

Jamie Klinger

Post-Capitalism with JoatU: Economics of the Future

I would love to host an interactive discussion on JoatU and to have as many people within the festival join the platform as possible. I would be more than happy to create a ‘group’ for the attending NextEdgers to interact with one another digitally in a way to display their interests, offers and requests.

Barbara Ganley


An exploratorium into ways of weaving together multiple individual stories through their languages (textual, visual, auditory, spatial) to shake up our notions of deepen listening and collective intelligence, to push understanding and connection, to promote creativity and to provoke questioning.

Helene Finidori

Pattern Languages for Systemic Transformation

After several years of studying movements and technologies for change, and in particular those pursuing cumulated systemic effects, I am now focusing on the PLAST project: Pattern Languages for Systemic Transformation — A platform to connect sustainability related tacit knowledge and social change know-how via systemic patterns and action research.

Art Brock co-hosted a conversation with Helene, which you can hear here.

Helene also hosted a conversation with a small group of Next Edgers at the close of the weekend, complete with beer clinking and street noise. We had Mark Fraser, Hugo Marterell, Helene Finidori, Sam Rose, David Eggleton and myself (Tammy Lea Meyer). Check out track one and two.

The Next Edge comes to SENSORICA

On the Monday after the event, we went to a local peer production place called SENSORICA. Lynne Desilva-johnson and Caroline Smalley hosted a conversation with Tiberius Brastaviceanu, (aka Tibi), co-founder of the project, with a crew of folks from the Next Edge.

Several conversations were had at SENSORICA: Kurt Laitner, Tiberius Brastaviceanu and David Eggleton share some thoughts; Sam Rose and Tibi explore the SENSORICA lab, and we had a conversation with Scott Beibin, who travelled from Philadelphia to catch some of the Next Edge for the last day of the Festival.

There were many conversations had at the festival, and not all of them were recorded. One of the pieces that came out of the event was the need to create some sense of us, and form a sense and sensemaking team to understand more of what we bring to the table.

I was left with a sense of a very powerful cohort of changemakers and do-ers, who share many commonalities of vision and a multiplicity of solutions. And it was a small fraction of the talent, inspiration and sheer hard work that has gone into the projects people are committed to that is the wider community of the Next Edge.

We are amazing. Together, and with all the other awesome people working on cool stuff we have an opportunity to bootstrap a new series of systems that can help us make the transition. We just have to do it.

Part of why I wanted to come to the Next Edge is a sense of immediacy in needing to more deeply collaborate and connect the work that people are doing. When I look out in the world I see such a deep need for systems change, and I see so many good people working in silos. It’s time to more deeply connect.

It’s rich out there, and we are not the only systems changers around. So much has been developed and built, and there seems to be a deep alignment of intention, although we use different language to express our work.

So I’m motivated to ‘leap and the net will appear’…. I’m committing to a two months in Montreal, to help identify and secure some core funding for SENSORICA. Although it may seem like media is my thing (well, it is, but as a means to an end) my key passion is the design and development of a people centered economy. I think we need to drive investment to the change we need, so we can invest in a real way in systems change.

That’s why I’m so excited to be attending the Impact Economy Summit the Citizen’s Media is hosting this fall in Whistler. We are on a critical path to systems transition, and the power we gain when we help each other, and link our projects, is what can help us to integrate the movements that need to come together to bridge to a world that is fair, just, and equitable.

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