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by Balthas

Learning Creative Learning – interesting new open online course by peer-to-peer university and the MIT Media Lab

February 4, 2013 in Freedom to learn by Balthas

The Peer-to-peer university (p2pu) has worked with GIZ’s Academy for international Cooperation (AIZ, where I work) last year on “Selbstlernen”. Now p2pu and the MIT Media Lab are experimenting with a new course approach on “Learning Creative Learning“. It’s being organized as a massive open online course, meaning everyone is invited to join. The organizers have asked to “tell your friends about it”. Which is what I do with pleasure, copying below the course announcement by p2pu. Cheers, Balthas Seibold

“Learning Creative Learning is an online course for designers, developers and educators. Offered by the MIT Media Lab & yours truly, the folks at P2PU. It’s based on a course Mitch Resnick teaches at the Media Lab. And now it’s online for the first-time through a collaboration with P2PU. That’s pretty cool. You learn a whole lot about learning. And because learning (and learning about learning) is more fun with other people we’ll group you with other students, so you can share ideas, give each other feedback, and make new friends. Each week we’ll focus on a particular topic related to creative learning, such as “Interest-Based Learning” or “Powerful Ideas” or “Tinkering.” We’ll host a panel discussion, inviting some of the world’s best thinkers and builders to join us in person or online. You’ll be able to suggest questions beforehand and follow along live (or watch it later). We’ll also design a hands-on activity for each week that you can tackle on your own or in a group (more fun!). You’ll get a chance to experiment with lots of different technologies and projects. More information:

by Balthas

(How) can institutions deal with community-driven innovation? – EFF’ Carolina Rossini at the „Second global congress in Intellectual Property and the Public Interest“

December 17, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

Copyright of this picture:

Copyright of this picture:

The „second global congress in Intellectual Property and the Public Interest“ that I am attending right now, is full of interesting talks and takes on the „public interest“ side of copyright and development (for more see the extensive twitter coverage at #gcongress). But a highlight was certainly yesterday’s „session on IP, Innovation and Development“.

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by Balthas

Alumniportal Deutschland just started ‘Creative dialogue on social networking’

December 11, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Work by Balthas

The Alumniportal Deutschland just started an interesting discussion on the history and culture of social networks.

Link to the discussion on the (register or login first).

by Balthas

Creative Commons is turning 10 – Celebrate!

December 7, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

cc_celebrationCreative Commons is turning 10 this year. The chapters of CC will be hosting parties around the world and sharing party favors online for a ten-day delebration, December 7 to 16. Spread the word at

by Balthas

Africa’s First 3.0 Licenses! – Creative Commons

December 3, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

Cool news from the friends from Creative Commons and from the CC Uganda team, which I am happy to relate here (of course duly under the required Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ):

Aurelia J. Schultz from CC reports on November 30th, 2012: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the Creative Commons 3.0 Uganda licenses. Since joining the Creative Commons family in March of 2011, the Ugandan team has been incredibly busy: hosting the African Regional Meeting, pulling together petitions for the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization, and spreading the news about CC licenses. While doing all these great activities, they’ve also completed one of the last 3.0 ports.

The licenses are available through the license chooser, and like all of our licenses, are intended for use anywhere in the world. The Uganda 3.0 licenses are important as the first 3.0 licenses in Africa and one of the last 3.0 ports before the launch of the new 4.0 licenses.

Creative Commons would like to extend a huge thanks to the whole CC Uganda team; The National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU); the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD); and especially to Primah Kwagala for leading the porting team.”


by Balthas

ict@innovation featured in UNCTAD’s new Information Economy Report – Africa Launch with FOSSFA

November 29, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, News on publications, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

informationeconomyreportcover2012Great news: Yesterday, UNCTAD launched its latest Information Economy Report. Free and Open Source Software is discussed extensively in this years’ edition, which has a focus on “The Software Industry and Developing Countries”. Also great news: the FOSSFA/GIZ capacity building programme ict@innovation is featured prominently, both in the report and at its Africa launch, which was held yesterday at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The embargo has been lifted on the document and I recommend its reading to all FOSS activists and businesses.

Congrats to everyone, who has been steering those processes in the past year! Cheers, Balthas

Excerpts of the report and its press release, which I liked (among others):

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by Balthas

Two Wikipedians in Residence for Africa – call for application

November 12, 2012 in Freedom to learn by Balthas

WikiAfrica has put out a call for two Wikipedians in Residence (WiR) for the African Continent. The first will facilitate the WikiAfrica Cameroon Project at doual’art in Cameroon. The other will be based with WikiAfrica at the Africa Centre in Cape Town, and will concentrate on assisting, training and supporting the content partners that are part of WikiAfrica’s Share Your Knowledge project. Wikipedian in Residence is an experienced Wikipedian who works with organisations and activates communities in order to share and open up cultural, arts and heritage content to the world through Wikipedia and related Wikimedia projects.

I find this a very interesting initiative and approach, and I believe that Wikipedians in Residence is a cool tool, which has already moved quite some things in North America and Europe. For more info on the call for application, check the website . Please do not contact me, Balthas, as I do not have any extra info. Cheers.

by Balthas

„Amorphous action communities for commons-based peer production“ – some thoughts on networking in the future

November 1, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

seibold_future of global networking for international cooperationYesterday, I tried to put the future of „global networking for international cooperation“ in one slide –  looking five to ten years ahead. My first problem was to find a name for the future. I ended up with „Amorphous action communities for open innovation and [commons-based] peer production (globally connected, innovating locally)“.

Then, I outlined some of intermediate steps in networking such as „Open networks of trust“ and „Communities of Practice“, which we are already seeing popping up. My final guess was on some of the driving forces, that will lead us from today’s networks all the way to the „amorphous action communities“.

So here’s the picture, with the steps and the driving forces:

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by Balthas

‘GIZ global connect’ publishes compilation on ‘Global Knowledge Sharing’ through ICTs & quotes me

September 14, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, News on publications by Balthas

GIZ online journal Global Connect just published an article on Global Knowledge Sharing, which quotes me quite a bit. So I reproduce here some lines, the entire piece is online here.

“… The example of Wikipedia gives us a taste of how we will likely generate our knowledge in the future: Radically different from the last 500 years, with an entirely new form of global networking and cooperation in areas such as culture, education, technology and business. The Internet plays a central role in this new form of knowledge generation. Anyone with access to the Internet, and who has language skills, can join the discussion on specific issues, plan, swap ideas and get together with like-minded people. It does not matter what social status, gender, age or ethnic background someone has, nor does their academic rank play any part. What matters is the input, and whether or not it holds up to the critical inspection of others and, in the end, works.

Such “open model” global knowledge partnerships hold tremendous opportunities for development cooperation. How global knowledge sharing over the Internet is already being used for sustainable development is something that Balthas Seibold knows. He is project manager of the group “Global Knowledge Sharing & Alumni” at GIZ and, in recent years, has been dealing with the topic of “Open Knowledge Sharing through Open Innovation”. Seibold cites the example of GIZ in the field of renewable energies: “On the GIZ developed online platform energy experts from Rwanda were able to re-create a gas tank for biogas production that was originally developed in Bolivia.

For more on how ICTs and the Internet can be drivers of open knowledge co-operation and a global knowledge commons , please check the following compilation of articles by GIZ Global Connect, which provides concrete examples and models such as energypedia and ict@innovation. The reporting was just released in three languages:

– English: Global Knowledge Sharing – “The Wisdom of Crowds”
– Spanish: La cooperación global en conocimientos como “la sabiduría de muchos”
– German: Globale Wissenskooperationen als „Die Weisheit der Vielen”

One word on ‘GIZ global connect’. This service addresses participants, alumni and partners of GIZ capacity development programmes. The website provides the GIZ community with information on alumni events, follow-up seminars, news, expert chats, network features, and a large community function enabling peer-to-peer networking though social networking tools. To join the community, check the registration info.

Full Article on GIZ Global Connect.

by Balthas

Tackling global problems by pooling knowledge – highlights of the first international conference on the knowledge commons

September 14, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

Source: A. Diez Herrero | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 siehe

Source: A. Diez Herrero | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 siehe

What do the problems of climate change, global access to affordable medicine and software, food security, and crop availability for poor farmers have in common?

In all of these fields, more and more people are looking at how a collective building and owning of key knowledge can help solve protracted global problems. A global core of these people just met in a tiny Belgium university town at the at the „First International Thematic Conference on the Knowledge commons“. (for more on the term, see wikipedias Knowlegde commons entry”).

It is quite tough for me to sum up such an endeavor. I will still try and do so by picking some issues related to my own main interests, mainly „global knowledge cooperation“ and „harnessing the knowledge commons for open innovation“. I will complement that with a totally non-exhaustive and personal „list of quick links“ on how to save the climate, solve the food crisis, fight pandemics and increase food security with commons approaches.

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by Balthas

Why open innovation helps to scale up development impact – Great new article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

September 6, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

Steel Wool Sparks on the Beach

Now that is sparkling (innovation?) – Picture by: Evan Photo Extremist, licenced under CC BY-ND 2.0, source:

The Stanford Social Innovation Review just published an article on “Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling” – Good chances, that this paper will become my personal “favorite article of 2012”. Why?

Well, the paper manages to explain in just two pages and in plain words, why open innovation has the potential to drastically increase the impact of development interventions. It is very prone to scale. As they sum it up: “Open innovation enables community participation, distributed accountability, and knowledge creation—all behaviors that provide the groundwork for scale”.

So let us all work on getting the five tips right in our own work, which are:
Tip 1: Turn beneficiaries into co-creators
Tip 2: Move from enterprise to ecosystem
Tip 3: Master the art of gifting
Tip 4: Spark entrepreneurship inside and outside your organization
Tip 5: Allow for mutability

Very relevant stuff indeed for development cooperation and international cooperation. For more info (on two pages), check Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling or here on the Alumniportal: APD-copy of Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling [This is a link to content within the Alumniportal Germany (register or login first to access the link)]. Cheers, Balthas

P.S. Thanks and Kudos to Jeremy de Beer who pointed me to the article.

Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany ( Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

Owning your social online network – the technology is getting there – are we as well?

September 4, 2012 in Freedom to innovate by Balthas



The makers of the open source social media platform “diaspora” have just launched another tool to get “ownership” back to the users of social media. See below for more info on . I get the feeling, that the technology is getting there  (give them some more months). However, I am not so sure that we as users of social online networks and as strategists on social media are putting such concepts as “ownership” at the centre of our strategy … Let me know, what you think.

And check the news on “” by the the Diaspora Team (Maxwell, Daniel, Rosanna and Kayla): “ was born, and we launched last week!  We wanted to spend some time on a unique problem we discovered while working on Diaspora* the past couple of years—the value of ownership.  Existing social networks do not encourage their users to feel like they have the power to MAKE things on the internet. Rather they are just “capturing” the ephemeral social actions that define social networks today.  With Makr, we are making creativity accessible to everyone, in the hopes it enables people to realize that what you post and create online is **worth** owning.  The idea is simple:  make a new post with words and photos, and then any other user can ‘remix’ your post, creating an endless collective conversation that can be inspiring or hilarious.  We put a lot of ourselves in Makr, and the result is something fun, silly, and collaborative, but also rooted in the same values as Diaspora* that we have championed since day one.  You can read more about our Makr mission here.

Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany ( Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

The future of economies and business – what’s in it for partner countries and networking among partners & alumni?

August 22, 2012 in Freedom to innovate by Balthas


Copyright: GIZ (I think/hope, if not let me know ...)

Copyright: GIZ (I think/hope, if not let me know …)

Today, I am reporting to you from a GIZ topical conference, where we discussed „the future of economies and business“. We had here lot’s of experts and numerous programmes on sustainable private sector development and economic policy of GIZ from over 30 countries.

Here’s my personal summary of the event for you in four headlines:

1)    Economic crisis in Europe – but don’t you worry in Africa, Asia and Latin America
The experts tell us that we are in trouble in Europe. But: according to them this issue will not affect the economies of developing countries and transition countries.
My comment: let’s hope they are right this time 🙂

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by Balthas

New course sign up! Tutoring for eLearning Communities, Tutored Online Course of the GC21 E-Academy

August 2, 2012 in Freedom to learn by Balthas

The GC21 E-Academy of GIZ has just started to take in applications for a new round of an online course on “Tutoring for eLearning Communities”. This might be of interest to anyone who works for institutions involved in e-learning or who is closely related to a network of institutions that aim to enhance their capacity on e-learning within their country and/or region. More on the site. Cheers, Balthas


by Balthas

Peer-to-peer learning with seven billion teachers – but: what motivates people to learn by themselves?

July 2, 2012 in Freedom to learn by Balthas

Logo of the peer-to-peer university / copyright: p2pu

Logo of the peer-to-peer university / copyright: p2pu

Last Friday, I had the chance to take part in some interesting discussions at the „Summer-Academy” of GIZ’s “Academy for International Cooperation“. The issue was “self-empowered and self-guided learning processes”. we learned at the event, that this paradigm transforms trainers into coaches for self-guided learning, requires different pedagogical methods and is fuelled by the open models of learning catalyzed by the Internet (such as open learning events, open educational resources, social learning and peer-to-peer learning online and offline etc – see some of my previous blog entries on more …).

But I was struck by another point. …

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