TechStars “Hollyhocked”

Image representing TechStars as depicted in Cr...

I’d heard of TechStars before and never thought too much about it – ‘another incubator’ is how I filed it. Well one of my highlights from StartupEmpire was hearing David Cohen of TechStars. Half-way through it struck me… why don’t we do a TechStars for Social Ventures at Hollyhock.

The TechStars model is about an intense 3-month period for 10 ventures to gather, develop and launch their concepts, and gain support from venture veterans and each other. Hollyhock is a place for ‘non-virtual social networking’ and has hosted the social change and venture communities for over a decade. It’s a magical place and I think this would be an extraordinary experiment.

I also, through Twitter, heard that Jon Gosier of Appfrica (@appfrica) is working on TechStars in Uganda. There must be others thinking about doing this for social ventures/innovation. Seems like a no-brainer and the TechStars model is ‘open’. Anyone? Anyone?

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Reflecting on OpenEverything: the rereat, the movement, and the meaning.

Reflections at Hollyhock

It’s been almost a week since the OpenEverything retreat and the reverberations continue. Heading into it, not having any roots in the open-source community, I was technically the biggest noob on the convening team. At the same time, what drew me into the meme and the event was a sense that something bigger was going on and that that something was rooted in a set of ideals and a drive for the practical that resonated with my core and my life experiences.

On the other side of the event I’m more clear than ever that ‘open’ is not something new but rather is reflective of a powerful shift in our culture, driven by technology and circumstance, that is fundamentally restructuring the systems of our society. A shift that is also at play in the social change and ecological sustainability movements as much as it is in the Open movement.

David Eaves talks about ‘open’ as a social movement which it certainly is. What excites me is that at it’s core it’s also part of the movement of our society toward a more just a sustainable state – a movement that’s based on a common set of ideals that transcends meme, sector, or method. A movement that works the tensions between ideals and practical. A movement of people that recognize themselves as interdependent parts of everything from their project to their community to humanity etc.

This is what has me so interested and where I hope people rally – around the thing that is unifying – the thing that represents the change in course our society so desparately needs. For me, this is coming out through contributions to the wikiOpen Organizations and Investing and Open – and a continuation of my work ‘venturing on the frontiers’ (which I’ll be sharing more on this site in the weeks to come.

And what about you? Do you feel this shift underway? How’s it showing up? How’s it changing you? What does it mean for you, for us, for humanity?