Building Collaborative Communities in the Civic Space

Accelerating innovation in Open Source Economic Development
Updated May 2011 Created by Betsey Merkel, Co-Founder & Director The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Avenue Suite 301, Cleveland, Ohio USA 44103

This material is copyright I-Open and distributed under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution license. That means you are free to modify, copy and use this material for commercial purposes provided that you attribute it as follows: Source: Betsey Merkel and I-Open, Copyright 2010 Distributed under Creative Commons 3.0 license. You can learn more about Creative Commons license at

• Civic Spaces • Collaborative Communities • Social Media • Your Next Steps

I-Open teaches communities how to build open, neutral spaces for new conversations. Where new habits of thinking and acting together are encouraged. We call this the Civic Space. It includes Everyone. This is the first step toward building prosperity.

We practice new behaviors driven by principles to facilitate collaboration.


Collaborative communities are formed by people who share common interests, looking for new opportunities, lost hope, or who may just be curious.

This is what Collaborative Communities look like...

Collaborative Communities are face to face...

February 7, 2008 Midtown Brews with Meet The Bloggers: Ohio’s Energy Portfolio: Economic Development in Your Backyard

June 10, 2008 Midtown Brews with Meet The Bloggers: The Youngstown Business Incubator: A Global Model of Quality, Connected Business Innovation

...and Collaborative Communities are online.

Build collaborative communities online using integrated Web 2.0 tool sets.

Collaborative Communities can be regional...

Examples of I-Open Collaborative Communities based in Northeast Ohio.

Northeast Ohio is home to several national models of online Collaborative Communities

REALNEO (above) and the Lakewood Observer (right)

...and Collaborative Communities can be national

I-Open Collaborative Communities launched at national gatherings connect participants once they return home to stay connected and enable follow up to new opportunities.

Examples of I-Open’s Collaborative Communities based in Northeast Ohio with a global reach.

I-Open Education skills training Midtown Brews technology, creative and energy Learning Links citizen stories

Map the Mess political transparency

Linked Communities community priorities

Open Conversations

Defrag creative digital media WENetwork women and leadership enterprise Democracy in Action citizen-government networks World of Work workforce development

What do collaborative communities offer you?

• Trust building • Networks to break down barriers • A new generation of cross disciplinary learning

• Opportunities for project building, or
enterprise collaboration

• Opportunities for Strategic Doing • Fun and convivial relationships

Some questions to think about:

• Where do you gather with others where
you live?

• What does collaborating mean to you? • Where do you go to experience

• What face to face and online communities
do you participate in or know about? you are passionate about?

• How could a community help you and what

• Civic Spaces • Collaborative Communities • Social Media • Your Next Steps

Social Media tools expand online Collaborative Communities quickly to build global networks and share and receive information instantly...

Web based conversations

• Create accountability to an unseen global audience • Iterate fast moving comparisons • Sustain purposeful conversations • Engage co-created community interests designed to
focus on strategic issues

I-Open Education Internet Television channel
Creative Brand

Live Show

Live Chat Archived sessions


Social Media tools allow anyone to

• Participate regardless of location • Engage in multi-task learning by
1. chatting live with the class and others online 2. review archived sessions at your convenience 3. share information with colleagues

Next Steps

• •

Convene a conversation. Learn about the Civic Space, social media, and collaborative communities

Collaborative Communities to explore

Words of interest

• civic space • civic forum process • partnerships • collaborative communities • social media & broadcast

Open Source Software Industry lessons

• • • •

The overall evolutionary dynamic is reinvention Reinvention enables continuous improvement Communities co-evolve The success of one depends on the success of the other
From “Community Development and Interaction in Open Source Software Development Projects and Beyond,” Walt Scacchi, Institute for Software Research and Laboratory for Computer Game Culture and Technology, School of Information and Computer Science, University of California Irvine.

Thank you!
Learn more about I-Open at Send your questions to

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