In this pretty-long-read we would like to share key insights and learnings from Odyssey’s Next Level event, held in Momentum on July 8th. During the event, Odyssey (Momentum) participants, partners and clients, users and enthusiasts, provided and discussed their perspectives, input, experiences and ideas with regards to: online collaboration, the hybrid workspace, challenge driven education, professional hackathons and how humans can thrive in a hyper virtualizing world, while we are seeking to renew our connection with ourselves, each other and nature. All this input is vital to further develop Momentum with the community and co-create the most inclusive, impactful and thriving space to collaborate and achieve results. So yes, we welcome your hackathons, challenges, projects and all the epic things you can think of in Momentum!
We’ve also added high quality content that inspired us, to inspire you over the summer days.
What we will unpack in this I-need-the-whole-freaking-summer-for-this-read:
- Exploring a framework for the digital future and how you can build scenarios with it.
- How we can use virtual worlds to turn the future into a place where we can work from new paradigms and build bridges.
- The Sovereign Nature Initiative. What is it and how can hackathons help radical new ways of protecting, even regenerating nature.
- Challenge driven collaborative education, across multiple universities of applied sciences.
- Exploring the hybrid digital native workspace and what makes it work.
- What you can do in Momentum today.
Painting pictures of the digital future
Special guest during this Next Level event was Pim Korsten, researcher and strategist at Amsterdam based think tank FreedomLab. He presented FreedomLabs’ latest study commissioned by the Dutch government, looking into the most important trends and developments leading up to 2030. There are many reports looking into a digital future, but there are very few that provide this level of clarity without cutting corners while providing a useful tool to build scenarios.
The Outlook Digitalisation 2030 presents eleven key trends. “Next to the trends, we looked at digital technology as a “Stack’’ with layers, to have a useful framework. With it we can look into how they relate to each other and how they relate to the eleven key trends.’’ said Korsten. The stack components go from raw materials to digital services, new cultural collectives and innovative models of governance. “Larger parts of our lives will become digital”, the researcher states. “The report invites everyone to combine trends and opportunities, to build scenarios for the future.”
Kortsten highlighted four of the eleven trends for the audience:
- Mega-ecosystems. Where digital platforms bring together various services in a single interface and raise the added value by using data sharing and intelligence to align these services with each other. In such a “super-app”, like Google, Amazon or WeChat from China, users have direct access to a multitude of bundled services, for example, entertainment, mobility or insurances. As data exchange is a condition for the integration of services in the ecosystem, questions have arisen relating to data ownership, privacy and autonomy. In addition, the power of ecosystems could increase to an undesirable extent, if they, for example, exclude certain services (or users). A centrally orchestrated ecosystem, in line with the business models of today’s tech giants, therefore seems undesirable. Sharp minds consider not just corporations, but governments in this position as well. A proper debate on this remains desirable.
- Decentralization. Where the report describes a growing resistance to the power of large tech and data monopolies. “Based on new design principles in which institutional innovation is embedded in technology, decentral solutions are emerging with regard to data storage, intelligence and applications. With this decentralization, the mega-ecosystem trend can go from one super-app to a network of compatible apps that share a common protocol. The open-source community is working hard to devise new Internet protocols. They fall under the heading of “decentralised web”, or web 3.0 and are expected to pave the way for a new generation of open and fair services. Technologies such as blockchain, consensus protocols, utility tokens, smart contracts and PET (Privacy Enhancing Technologies) ensure that central and powerful platforms are no longer entrusted with a number of critical functions. Instead, they contain a decentral protocol layer that, like a utility, is available to everyone who wants to use it. The essence of the new protocols is that principles such as data ownership, data sovereignty and privacy are already ingrained in the design of the technology and upholding them does not require agreements or regulation.
- Crypto currencies. Enabling programmable transactions of any type of value without the intermediation of banks. This gives rise to ownership and new revenue models, remuneration structures and governance models. A potential development path mentioned in the report: Cryptocurrencies on a public blockchain cause a revolution in the financial system as they enable businesses and consumers to transact with each other without the intervention or control of third parties. In doing so, they rely entirely on the technology used and the power of distributed decision-making. It is precisely because these public blockchains benefit from strong network effects and open innovation that they gain strength. Companies and other organisations that do not participate in this and do not connect their systems to the public infrastructure, lose relevance.
- Virtual environments. According to the report, entertainment, work and education are shifting to the virtual worlds. Users come to shape their online living environment more and more and thus become producers as well as consumers. Education and work increasingly take place in this world, or these worlds, as do nightlife and festivals. The old fantasy of unlimited possibilities in a so-called metaverse, as we know it from science fiction, finally takes shape.
Korsten acknowledges that technology can be a threat, but also an opportunity. “Here in Odyssey Momentum lives the spirit to leverage technology to co-create a better world. A better future. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what people are doing here.”
The full report Outlook Digitalisation 2030 is available for free in Dutch and English on the FreedomLab website.
Want a deep dive into the Metaverse? This extensive Primer on The Metaverse has been published by venture capital investor Matthew Ball, including a framework and in depth information on hardware, networking, computing virtual platforms, interchange tools + standards, payments + infrastructure + blockchain, content, services, asset businesses, and evolving user + business behaviour.
Next Level Progress: building bridges between paradigms
Van Zuidam endorsed FreedomLab’s report on the spot. “What we have been working on in the past years resonates with the report. Just look at the tagline we had for our first hackathon: ‘Co-creating the next operating system for society’. We have learned last year that when the world changes radically, it can also be very good to let go of how we (have to) do things. Have a clear vision of the essence of what you want to achieve. That’s how you really can reinvent things. This journey is amazing.”We need more people to start building bridges between paradigms. For example: With the government in the Netherlands on the one hand embracing and promoting this progressive report with a clear indication that crypto currencies will be a part of our future, but on the other hand having the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) Director making an authoritarian call for a ban on crypto currencies, is showing two paradigms colliding. This is a sign of the times.
The paradigm of the current institutionalised systemic world, which is still leading and where we feel a lot needs to change radically, and the other paradigm of a new, emerging world, native to the internet as well as our ancient roots, that holds more questions than answers. “Challenges often lead to gaps, tensions and even more polarisation. But we believe we can flip that and make challenges connective and a common ground to co-create the future together and move forward”, says Van Zuidam. “The report from FreedomLab can be used by board members, policy makers and advisors, facilitators of all kinds, politicians and of course entrepreneurs and investors, to help build bridges between those paradigms. We’ll defo need those bridges in the challenging times ahead.”
If there is one podcast you listen to this summer. Please let it be this one. In this conversation they explore why it is now imperative to figure out a whole new world system given the catastrophic risk landscape that we confront. Daniel argues that in the face of exponential curves proliferating across systems — human, technological and geophysical — we need to develop a novel set of solutions for how we coordinate at scale. The task ahead of us is nothing less than to foster a global social, technological and educational zeitgeist, one which can prevent existential risk in a way commensurate to our deepest values for participatory and empowered governance.
Creating new worlds in Momentum.
Meet and work in the future… in new paradigms.
After now having done several hackathons in Momentum, Odyssey is ready to make the big shift to go fully digital native. “It really is the future of collaboration. We create value together, just like before. But now everything is scalable”, Van Zuidam says. Momentum is in its early days, being improved and expanded every day. “We envision not just one environment like the one we are working in now, but we’re creating many worlds. We’re already building worlds for the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, European energy company Vattenfall and the Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN). All those worlds will look differently, but will function in the same way, according to a universal framework. These worlds will become nodes in the Odyssey Momentum network and we envision that anyone can start building those worlds, host their challenges and projects and grow their communities.”
We mostly know the future as a moment in time. It may as such also be described by words and visualisations of all sorts, but that’s about it. We have learned that with Momentum, we can turn the future into an actual (virtual) place. The new paradigm is manifested into a 3D world. A location where you can meet, collaborate on challenges and projects and achieve results you can bring back towards the present. You can ask: in what world would I like to work? What are the challenges hosted in such a world? What is the culture like in such a world? And there you have it… you can already see how powerful such a place can become.
To make everything happen, Odyssey is going to the next level and is in the process of transforming to an open source foundation. The mission: to co-create the most inclusive, impactful and thriving space for people, organisations and communities to meet, collaborate and achieve results. And we’re building it with you! Let us know what you would like to build!
Your own hackathon in Momentum. Yes!
The Sovereign Nature Initiative shows the way.
Just a couple of days before the Next Level event, the premiere hackathon of the Sovereign Nature Initiative took place. The Sovereign Nature Initiative (SNI) fosters the exploration and development of technologies that can allow nature to become self-governing. SNI strives to reconfigure the intersection between ecology, economy, and emerging technologies in order to open our minds to radical approaches toward sustainability. Their growing community of developers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and investors are researching, prototyping, or creating artistic explorations of conservationist projects enabled by new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.
Andrea Leiter is co-founder of SNI. “We want to think through and reconsider the relationship between humans and nature. To see ourselves not separate from nature, but value it. Our hackathon isn’t about competition, it is about long term community building. A hackathon is a tool to build this community. This pressure cooker moment brings a lot of energy. What we have to do now is to follow up and keep in touch. Terrific projects were created and we’re already working on the next steps. Yes, we’re really learning from Momentum.”
Exploring ultimate scenarios for mass collaboration
Odyssey Master of Ceremonies Nick Stevens hosted a breakout session about the ultimate scenario for mass collaboration in the metaverse. “We want to find new ways for collaborating in the metaverse, beyond the hackathon and workshops, which we know well”, Stevens explains. “So we asked this question: imagine having access to a thousand extra people, all willing to help you accomplish whatever you are working on right now. Why wouldn’t you want that? This session was about how the metaverse could enable you to make that happen.”The ideas from the audience in this session were limitless. “We discussed for instance crowd sourced data verification for the training of robots and AI, potentially with tokens for rewarding. But also remote collaborative software development for using a metaverse environment to be able to run design thinking sessions at the same time as peer programming, testing etc. Or development for competing organisations to take part in a specific type of open tender process”, says Stevens. Another future idea for Momentum is to facilitate collaborative data exploration or building simulation environments for prototyping for things like AgriBots. All amazing ideas to explore for further development of Momentum.
Do you have ideas about the future of collaboration in the metaverse? Feel free to share them with us in Momentum or join our Discord. We’d love to explore with you how we can make your ideas become reality!
Personal presence in the Metaverse
Genevieve Berold’s session about the MetaMe concept invited participants to co-create and reimagine ourselves in relation to our complex systems so that we are able to re-value our experiences and skills more authentically and holistically. Some of the unknown territory they sought to explore was whether our stories are translating to our virtual presence. For instance, are we missing out on valuable simulations of skills that are currently not accommodated for through archaic formats such as CV’s?It is important to reshape our Human resources to align with our natural need for symbiotic, life affirming and meaningful experiences. Giving people new ways of representing and integrating themselves allows us to reflect opportunities, interoperabilities and is valuable in preventing waste and silos.Berold: “Momentum’s MetaMe says why not?! Why can’t we represent our story of self virtually and visually in an integrated way? MetaMe paves the way forward out of the polarities perpetuated by archaic and specious models of expression like the CV and Instagram. We are complex and colourful and our value lies in that integration. MetaMe wants to represent that visually and in real time.”“With a moderator like Michiel Sintenie (Innovation Manager Europe at Vattenfall), an environment like Momentum and the Odyssey team as hosts, Next Level couldn’t have been anything but exciting and wildly pioneering”, Berold says. “Our audience included scientists, a blockchain specialist, a philosopher, UX designer, economist and ops manager amongst others that dropped in and out of the session. It was certainly affirming that our current virtual experience of oneself and its expression is lacking in comparison to our physical and temporal experience and expression of the self. I thoroughly look forward to following up on the discussions we started.”Berold also expresses her wishes to manifest her own space in Momentum: “I’d like to build a fire place for stories and communal gatherings (a sort of look, listen and learn space for people to come and talk ideas in), and then obviously I would have a gallery because my head is exploding with ideas there. But I would definitely have a library (like a resource room) and a holistic centre and in the gallery I would have art classes and parties.”
What do you think about personal presence in the metaverse? Dive into Momentum and check out the Miro board. The discussion continues and you can be a part of it!
Exploring collaborative education in the Metaverse
When it comes to next level collaboration, we felt we needed to explore education as well. A collaborative mindset is not a given, as most educational approaches are linear and focussed on individual performance. We believe learning how to be creative together will make all the difference. So we are very happy that this year, a group of teachers and students practiced with collaborative education in Momentum. One of the breakout sessions discussed their experiences and what they needed for the future.Senior Researcher & Lecturer Innovation Madelon van Oostrom PhD and her students from the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands did a test drive in Momentum. “Together with 5 other European Universities of Applied Sciences, Hanze University has the ambition to make an impact through a future-oriented students’ generation with challenge-based education and research systems. We want to explore how Momentum can be an appropriate platform for this”, she explains during the beginning of the session.Van Oostrom is very honest about the results of the first tryout. “We’re still learning how to use Momentum for education. We definitely learned some first and important lessons the last couple of months. For example, we need to start onboarding before we’re starting with learning and collaborating. We need to reserve more time for our (older) teachers to adopt this new technology.”
For the people who haven’t logged on to Momentum yet, you have to control it like a first person shooter game. Flying around with one hand, looking around with the other. Instead of shooting, you throw highfives. It isn’t difficult, you just need to take a bit of time to find your way around. And if you still don’t get it, your children or nieces and nephews can probably help you out so you’ll be flying around in no time.
Researcher and lecturer Van Oostrom is on a quest to uncover the potential of Momentum for educational purposes. “I’m hopeful and really think it can enrich the curriculum.Giving ownership to students, giving them a place that they can organize themselves, their own set of collaboration tools: it can all lead to a whole new way of learning.” In the second half of 2021, 6 schools and universities will once again conduct a lesson series in Momentum.
Student or Teacher and interested to join the Education Program? Get in touch! Also, in the upcoming year we are launching a challenge to design the ultimate toolkit for students to express themselves in the metaverse. Got ideas for that? Let us know!
Establishing shared presence to thrive in the hybrid digital native work space
Collaboration used to happen in offices mostly. It was a thing, really. Most people who can do their job from behind the computer, now know — often because of the pandemic — what a remote working life could look like.
However we have merely scratched the surface and learned about the good, the bad and the ugly of the current ways of remote working. Most of the tools we use today already existed before lock-downs happened. According to our research, we’ve learned that almost anyone would definitely change things if they could, quite radically, even now that we’re talking about the hybrid workspace. Rutger van Zuidam discussed hybrid working in another breakout session during the Next Level event. Together with people from all different kinds of backgrounds, he discussed how we can prevent the term “hybrid” becoming the equivalent of “not making a real decision”. And also how we can build the best possible workspace for people to thrive, so that the organization can thrive.Jumping to conclusions: presence is key. Most important thing is to have one shared base presence. For example: if you are in a meeting, and three people work remotely and three people work at the office, it helps if all people log in individually. This creates an equal presence. Basically, it means there is really no such thing as hybrid (if we’re honest). You’re either office based with some IT facilities, or you’re a digital native organization with additional physical meeting/ co-working facilities. You can imagine the latter option provides us with far less limitations.When you are digital native, office hours are practically gone and people work when they want to work on a location of their liking. This appeals to intrinsic motivation as it enhances autonomy, while still being part of a collective (culture). Office hours make our work synchronous and our private lives a-synchronous. For people working at digital native organizations, this is reversed. Working in a-synchronous patterns is the new standard. Imagine what this will do with all the talent having (international) options to choose from. Are they forced to commute? What will their day look like? What makes their work enjoyable?Momentum enables us to establish a strong sense of shared presence. Working in a-synchronous patterns will be standard for all organizations, especially when working in a multi-stakeholder setting, and is key to what we want to support and facilitate with a-synchronous communication and collaboration tools.
Would you like to contribute any useful experience, ideas or capabilities that can help us make this more epic? Want to bring your ideas to life? Get in touch!
Momentum: Always open. Welcome!
After the event, an international crowd from at least seven or eight countries, kept flying around Momentum. “That is what I love about Momentum”, says Van Zuidam. “I grabbed tables (this is a thing in Momentum, you should try it) with a whole bunch of people and had great spontaneous conversations. I felt a genuine “drinks-after-the-event-vibe” for the first time in Momentum. Even my mom dropped in to say hi!” And the best thing is: the Metaverse will always be there. Momentum is open 24/7 for everyone.
So feel welcome to create your own account today and see who is flying around the Metaverse right now. Want to organize an epic gathering? Want to start a challenge? Organize your own hackathon? Get in touch! Want to build anything in Momentum? Let us know! And stay tuned for all those epic hackathons coming up!
Odyssey (Momentum) is a new vibrant 3D space to co-create the most inclusive, impactful and thriving space for people, organisations and communities to meet, collaborate and achieve results.
Visit odyssey.org for more information.