Proposal Team: European Network of Living Labs
- I'm writing an application for Minciu Sodas to join the European Network
of Living Labs, ENOLL, http://www.openlivinglabs.eu
"Living labs" are a new approach to product design where users are invited
to help think through a new product. Typically, these are sparked by a
business (such as Nokia) working in conjunction with a local or regional
government. Minciu Sodas is a bottom-up living labs in that our endeavors
come from our participants and then we seek out businesses and agencies
for related work.
Markus Petz, Dante-Gabryell Monson and I have each attended related
meetings, but unfortunately last year I wrote my application too late and
turned it in past the deadline. So I will update what I have written
I would like to take a "team" approach to this and many other proposals.
So if you'd like to be on this "proposal team", and especially (but not
necessarily) if you are in Europe, then please write about your vision for
our lab, and I will try to include your perspective and note you in our
I don't know of any direct benefits, but certainly this will make us more
important in Lithuania and increase our chance of European Union funding
and also partnerships with local governments as in county of the village
of Eiciunai. We would be the first such Living Lab in Lithuania. This
might also help us in Austria, Finland, Germany, the UK and elsewhere. I
encourage Franz Nahrada, Markus Petz, John Rogers, Pamela McLean and
others to speak up! and dream on!
Jeff, Franz, Kevin, Kofi, Pamela, Benoit, Ricardo and all, thank you for
your marvelously thoughtful letters, each impactful. I will write soon!
I am interested that our lab support all kinds of economic approaches, and
also I would like our Minciu Sodas lab to be part of a basic economy that
expresses the economic logic that we want to see, which I think of as 90%
helping each other and 10% rebalancing our relationships with money, as
opposed to the traditional 90% business and 10% charity. I also believe
in an economy that includes everybody - and I think we include many
people, at least in small ways - even though we acknowledge that we are in
very different situations and so money will not be "equal". Also,
responsibilities are naturally not "equal" - it's good if endeavors have
clear leaders, those who are dedicated and take responsibility - and
therefore the resources should be in very different sizes. But also, we
should include everybody as much as we can, even with small amounts of
work, because that encourages us to work together and creates an
environment where anybody can organize and lead a large project. Thank
you, Franz, for your very incisive explanation of my wish for unhindered
leadership and that is a wish that I have for all of us and which guides
the structures I seek. Andrius Kulikauskas, Minciu Sodas, ms@..., +1
312 618 3345 in Chicago until October 14.
What does your Living Lab expect to gain from a membership and how could
your Living Lab contribute to the European Network of Living Labs
Minciu Sodas is an open laboratory serving and organizing independent
thinkers around the world. As a Living Lab, we are remarkable for our
bottom-up dynamics, so that individuals define endeavors and attract
interested businesses, rather than the other way around. Our shared value
of "caring about thinking" brings together a wide variety of concerns as
reflected by our working groups for global villages, holistic helping,
distance learning, community currency and participatory society, Internet
access and entrepreneurship, fighting peacefully, pandemic flu,
sustainability and leadership development, ecological architecture, new
craft, conceptual frameworks and loving God. We have workers in Kenya,
Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Serbia, Lithuania, Latvia,
Israeli-occupied Palestine, India and California. We are also active in
Austria, Italy, the United Kingdom and the South Side of Chicago.
Our values-based approach has inspired wonderful participation. However,
we face challenges in overcoming the corporate wall. We wish to offer our
services and those of our participants to businesses, organizations and
government agencies. Our participation in the European Network of Living
Labs will allow us and them to better understand the role we might play
and the value we provide. We have much to learn from other laboratories.
We also seek partners and clients who we might work with and for. We hope
with others in the Living Labs movement to cultivate productive
relationships between individuals and businesses.
3. Living Lab Description
3.1. Overall description and profile
* Mission/objectives of the living lab
* Sector and/or regional coverage, development strategies
* Your living labs role in context of regional/national/European
* Technology/service/application focus/area(s)
Our mission is to serve and organize independent thinkers around the
world. Sector and/or regional coverage, development strategies We are
global. We seek to include those who are hardest to reach. We therefore
value all of those who help us reach out further. We organize ourselves
around the most mature independent thinkers, those with well developed
values, questions, endeavors and rapport with God, those who think out
loud and work openly in the Public Domain, because they inspire us and
multiply the energy that we pour into them.
Your living labs role in context of regional/national/European innovation
Minciu Sodas is headquartered in Lithuania. We are participating in
European Union projects that engender a world of global villages such as
ERDE and MIR for rural education and regional development, the thematic
network COMMUNIA for the Public Domain, and Global Utopias where we are
exploring the value of video bridges.
We work on technologies that allow independent thinkers to manage the
mental, physical, social environment that they interact with. These
include social software, Internet access (especially for the best use of
marginal Internet access), open source hardware, new crafts (such as
computer assisted shoe making), video bridges and electronic publishing.
We are organizing a pattern language of global villages based on our
participants’ interest in microhouses, unity centers, ecological bed &
breakfasts, open source farms, solaroof greenhouses and video bridge
centers. We intend to organize many small on-the-ground experimental
projects (typically for 200 EUR), but especially those that advance
sustainablity, such as in agriculture and energy.
3.2. User/Citizen involvement
* Type/size etc of users/citizens (groups) engaged
* User driven approach used
* Specific experience from users/citizens engagement
Minciu Sodas has more than 150 active participants and 1500 supportive
participants. More than 100 people helped with our largest project so far,
My Food Story, http://www.myfoodstory.info We also have individuals and
small teams working on more than 100 endeavors.
User driven approach used
Minciu Sodas supports the growth of independent thinkers as they openly
work on their endeavors. We look for strategic directions and then engage
businesses that might likewise benefit. As we work together, we build
relationships as a network of self-directed workers that is ready to serve
a wide variety of clients on all manner of projects.
Specific experience from users/citizens engagement
We have discovered again and again that around the world all individuals
share a similar path in their growth as independent thinkers. Personal
milestones include formulating one’s deepest value in life and learning to
embrace questions that one doesn’t know the answer to, but intends to
3.3. Service creation and business model (services offered by your LL)
* Kind of services offered
* Primary stakeholders
* Values created per stakeholder
* Who pays for the services?
Minciu Sodas is an ecosystem that seeks and provides work on a wide
variety of levels for participants. These include projects as small as 100
euros and as large as 20,000 euros so far. We prefer to work for our
participants. Our favorite projects are those where we build momentum with
and for a client around their own value and the way in which it advances
“caring about thinking”. We are also ready to work on all manner of
projects that may arise, especially if it is a chance to get to know each
other better. Much of our work has been software development, online team
building, collection of stories and interviews, business development,
community organizing, mathematical modeling, research, translation, video
production, tutoring and training.
Minciu Sodas is the sole proprietorship of Andrius Kulikauskas, the
founder and Direktorius. However, each participant helps shape the lab
through their activity, especially by leading a working group, pursuing an
investigation or advancing an endeavor.
Values created per stakeholder
Minciu Sodas consists of several dozen online venues, especially email
working groups, each with a clear leader. Our greatest asset is the wide
variety of thinkers that we attract and hold together around each leader
and their deepest value.
Who pays for the services?
We offer a wide variety of free services. Our clients pay for our paid
services. They include nongovernmental associations, private individuals
and small businesses.
* Availability, usage and dependence of particular infrastructure
(IT-networks, buildings and other specific environments)
Minciu Sodas has an office in Pavilnys, a rural neighborhood of Vilnius,
Lithuania, and also an office at the home of David Ellison-Bey of the
Moorish Culture Workshop in Englewood, a Black American neighborhood in
Chicago, Illinois, USA. We are also working to establish an office in
Nairobi, Kenya near the Kibera slums. We have our own server for our many
websites. We also make intensive use of Yahoo groups.
* General Living Lab management expertise
* Co-creation facilitation expertise and experience
* Profile of key (if any) employed/engaged research groups
* Welcome to supplement application with short CV’s of key persons in
an appendix (max 3 pages)
Minciu Sodas was founded in 1998 and has served more than 20 clients.
However, we lack experience serving large corporations.
Co-creation facilitation expertise and experience
Profile of key (if any) employed/engaged research groups
"Global villages" led by Franz Nahrada of Vienna, Austria is organizing a
pattern language for global villages marked especially by video bridge
centers. “Mendenyo (Men without food)” led by Samwel Kongere of Rusinga
Island, Kenya is organizing the manufacture of a low-powered device for
reading and writing text files on USB flash drives as well as facilitating
an offline file sharing network that might catalyze the roll out of local
wireless networks. “Social agriculture” led by Steve Bosserman of
Columbus, Ohio, USA led our work on MyFoodStory for the UnaMesaAssociation
to collect more than 2,000 stories about the world’s food supply chain.
“Learning from each other” led by Pamela McLean of London, UK is holding
weekly global chats where we are learning how people with high-bandwidth
and low-bandwidth Internet can work together. “Fighting peacefully” led by
Eluned Hurn of Bronllys, Wales, UK is where Andrius Kulikauskas is
developing a curriculum for nonviolent engagement begun during his three
week visit in Nablus, Israeli-occupied Palestine.
Welcome to supplement application with short CV’s of key persons in an
appendix (max 3 pages)
Andrius Kulikauskas is Founder, Sole-proprietor and Direktorius of Minciu
Sodas. He received his Ph.D in Mathematics in 1993 from the University of
California at San Diego. He earned a B.A. in Physics and B.S. in
Mathematics in 1986 from the University of Chicago.
3.6. Methods, Tools and Processes
* generally - for involvement and engagement (motivation) of
* to get involvement and commitment of other stakeholders.
* to facilitate collaboration and co-creation in-between different
* to manage living lab related data, information and knowledge
Minciu Sodas is an open venue for all to work openly in the Public Domain
on their endeavors. Andrius Kulikauskas has personally engaged and invited
the majority of the participants at conferences he has attended. Other
members have started to reach out likewise and represent Minciu Sodas at
various events, especially in Africa. They get people’s permission to sign
them up for one of the lab’s groups. It may take several months or even
years for them to orient themselves and start to contribute letters.
Others are engaged in the course of work on particular endeavors. All are
encouraged to formulate and clarify their deepest value in life, pursue
investigatory questions and work on their own endeavors.
…to get involvement and commitment of other stakeholders.
Minciu Sodas seeks work especially from its own participants. Through its
participants and its “working openly” it has been included in several
European Union projects. New methods need to be developed to engage
businesses and government agencies.
…to facilitate collaboration and co-creation in-between different
…to manage living lab related data, information and knowledge
Minciu Sodas centers around online participation although their is a
growing on-the-ground presence as well. The website at http://www.ms.lt
and provides access to 25,000 emails that stream in through RSS feeds and
are tagged to indicate how they contribute to the work flow. The wiki at
http://www.worknets.org has 3,500 pages and uses metadata to organize
lists of deepest values, investigatory questions, endeavors and proposals.
Sasha Mrkailo of Serbia works as an online assistant and mans the chat
channel which is also archived. We are starting to publish our archives
onto CDs and flash drives for distribution in Africa.
3.7. Organisation and Governance
* Characters of business-citizens-government partnership and their roles
* What kind of commitment exists?
* Established national and international collaboration
* Other specific assets and arrangements such as IPR-principles (if any)…
* Relationships with the main stakeholders: research organizations,
companies, funding organisations, users/citizens, buyers
As of yet, we have worked for businesses as our clients, and we have
participated in European Union projects, but we have not yet participated
in partnerships with both business and government. We are engaging the
local government in the Pavilnys neighborhood, and the local neighborhood
community association, regarding the future of our office at a community
What kind of commitment exists?
We haven’t yet developed long term business commitments. However, we have
a very stable basis of participants with a great deal of devotion and low
Established national and international collaboration
We have participants in about 35 countries. We have served clients in
Silicon Valley, the Los Angeles area, Chicago, Michigan, New York, Canada,
Wales, Scotland, Austria, Belgium and Lithuania. We have an active network
in Lithuania, including the rural villages, and we are especially strong
in Africa, with vibrant groups on-the-ground in Kenya and Tanzania. Other
specific assets and arrangements such as IPR-principles (if any)… We work
in the Public Domain except as content notes otherwise. This provides us
with maximal flexibility for sharing and leveraging the content we
generated. We also thereby filter in for those self-directed workers who
are able and willing to share with others and contributed to a commons. We
have been included in the new European Union thematic network COMMUNIA for
the Public Domain where we will be meeting four times per year for three
Relationships with the main stakeholders: research organizations,
companies, funding organisations, users/citizens, buyers
3.8. References and Track record
* Significant results and impact generated by your Living Lab so far
* Scale and type of key activities performed (regional/national/EU)
* Visibility and dissemination of Living Lab activities
Since 1998, more than 900 participants at our lab have contributed over
25,000 letters and 3,500 wiki pages. We have collected from hundreds of
people their deepest values, investigatory questions and endeavors. We
have reached out with dozens of road trips and on-the-ground meetings. Our
greatest accomplishment is our lab itself, with its people-centered
organization, shared values, overlapping networks, work flow, business
model and our culture of investigation.
We have been credited by many participants for helping them grow by giving
them the confidence to work and lead as individuals. Others have overcome
despair because of our sincere motivation to include and respond. And
others have broadened their thinking as to our shared humanity and ability
to shape our reality.
In 1999 and 2000, we organized a working group of makers and users of
tools for organizing thoughts, such as TheBrain and Mindmanager, to
develop the Mindset modeling language to facilitate import and export
between the tools. We pursued this “bleeding edge” endeavor through the
Infrared Data Association, the XML for Topic Maps working group and the
Knowledge Management Consortium International. We moderate a discussion
group for TheBrain with 850 members and more than 3,000 letters which has
proved helpful in the evolution of their innovative software and the
cultivation of their enthusiastic community.
In 1999, we also worked for the Chicago Public Schools Youth Outreach
Program to engage youth on the streets to investigate “Did you ever change
your mind?” We have an office in Chicago where we have good contacts in
the Black American community.
In 2001, we authored the business model and production timeline for a
venture by BAJobs.com to organize online job-board centered communities,
much as CraigsList has done. We recruited programmers in Lithuania and
trained them in Linux/Apache/Python.
Andrius Kulikauskas has openly pursued his quest “to know everything and
appy that knowledge usefully” at his Living By Truth working group. He has
made daily progress on a catalogue of conceptual structures and an
overview of how they might arise.
In 2002, our paper “An Economy for Giving Everything Away” won a travel
award for presentation at the “Development by Design” conference in
Bangalore, India. The paper explains how our participants build
relationships by working openly on their own endeavors for free, and how
we then can activate those relationships when clients need teams of
self-directed workers, especially if they can “meet us halfway”. In 2003,
our paper “The Algebra of Copyright” won a travel award to BlogTalk in
Vienna, and “Social Hacking: The Need for an Ethics” won a travel award to
Open Contents in Milan, Italy. In 2004, our paper “Social Infrastructure
for Virtual Flash Mobs” won a travel award to Oekonux in Vienna, Austria.
In 2005, our paper “We Learn to Stick Our Necks Out” won a travel award to
Open Culture in Milan, Italy.
In 2005, we revived the open source collaborative software Lucid Fried
Eggs for two Belgium companies that have developed it further it as a
platform for websites and a personal knowledge manager.
Our working group Cyfranogi led by John Rogers is one of the most
important venues in the world for community currency. We have implemented
for the Wales Institute for Community Currencies their online tool for
currency design and a monitoring system for a network of time banks.
Our working group Loving God is a haven for caring about God and fostering
God’s leadership as an independent thinker. Thanks to Benoit Couture’s
broad participation a sense of God’s relevance has touched many
participants and opened us up. We have made special efforts to reach out
to Islamic independent thinkers in Bosnia, Israel and Israeli-occupied
From October 2006 to March 2007 we developed MyFoodStory.com, a repository
of 2,000 "food stories" collected with the help of six teams based in
Kenya, California, Finland, Israeli-occupied Palestine, Lithuania and
Nigeria. We succeeded with an innovative fractal distribution of resources
to encourage the greatest amount of participation.
In December 2006, we demonstrated how nonviolent engagement, as with
singing songs and conducting “teach-ins”, can calm tensions at checkpoints
and satisfy both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian travelers.
We have been amazed by the growth in literacy and leadership by our
African participants and the great bounty they have harvested from the
small risks that we took that they might work for us. Samwel Kongere now
leads a center in rural Kenya where in 3 years they will train 3,000 women
in ICT and entreprenurship. Kennedy Owino of Nafsi Afrika Acrobats has
toured The Netherlands and Italy. Maria Agnese Giraudo of Italy and Chris
Macrae of the UK have organized the donation of a laptop, two video
cameras and four digital cameras. We have been represented at the World
Social Forum, the Omidyar.net meeting in Uganda, and eLearning Africa. We
have developed the ability to organize many small projects in increments
of 100 euros. Our work is originally inspired by Joy Tang’s One Village
and builds on Janet Feldman’s celebrated networking skills.
Starting in July 2007 we have started a series of 12 video bridges that
connect various locations in Lithuania with thinkers from around the
world. We are also succeeding in Pavilnys to organize activists for
leadership roles so that local community organizations function
democratically and have the strength of purpose to work towards a future
of global villages.
Scale and type of key activities performed (regional/national/EU)
The vast scope of the Minciu Sodas laboratory’s research is engendering a
culture of independent thinking that recognizes the value of including all
people, all values, all questions, all endeavors. The open pursuit of this
culture enables a global sharing of even the limited resources available.
3.9. Future plans
* Briefly describe your direction and future plans.
We have almost demonstrated that our laboratory can sustain itself. We are
working to develop a hierarchy of income streams for our participants and
our laboratory. But our sights are on the creation of a culture of
independent thinkers with at least 100,000 active and 1,000,000 supportive
participants. We have a vision of this culture that fosters independent
thinking at different levels, starting with God, then individuals, global
village centers, thematic networks, festivals, associations and concords.
We have good knowledge of the development of individuals as independent
thinkers, and we are currently learning a lot about local work towards the
creation of global villages.
We are currently pursuing several initiatives which are important for our
lab and which open up business opportunities:
We are organizing the manufacture of a device for reading and writing text
files (such as emails) from USB flash drives. This would be very helpful
for people with marginal Internet access and those who would like to
Steve Bosserman is leading our work to develop affordable, portable
microhouses that might be clustered together to catalyze the evolution of
Dante-Gabryell Monson is exploring the creation of a software system by
which we might freely coordinate our actions as we work on a multitude of
We are developing a Global Village Index by which hubs for co-working
might self-rate themselves along a variety of dimensions to encourage them
to be as holistic as possible. Such an index would also allow the ”social
good” of investments to be expressed in terms of whether or not they
provide work for such hubs.
Franz Nahrada is leading our efforts to pioneer the use of community video
bridges to generate multimedia content in the Public Domain and work with
telecoms to organize new services.
Lucas Gonzalez leads our work to prepare for the next flu pandemic with
the ability to organize teams for effective leadership, working together
both locally and globally.