This week in CivicWise

Happy weekend everyone!

While Summer finally sets in and most people start to think about BBQ, sun and holidays, we have been pretty busy bees so there you go, the roundup of what happened this week.

During the hangout we discussed about the first draft of our Principles chart, which you can see here. It’s a work in progress and we aim to work on it until next Wednesday in order to have develop the final copy by the end of next hangout. Take a look at it, share your thoughts and any improvement idea on Discourse.

The topic spontaneously arose during the hangout as well. There are two main news on this.

The first one is that we decided to define four different roles in the CivicWise community according to the level of involvement: friend, member, civicwiser and civicwiser executive we know, this one sounds terribly corporate but we run out of creativity for the name. Any ideas for a better one?! To find out more about what each role means, check the CW role matrix here.

Both civicwiser roles will be subject to meeting certain commitment requirements, which means that there will be an initial expression of willingness to overtake the role. During this ‘incubation period’, the person will be considered a ‘candidate’ and will be required to contribute to different activities within the community. You can see the detailed description of them in the role matrix. We will publish a form for those interested in becoming a civicwiser soon; in the meantime you can already start thinking about your ideal role and share it with us in the comment section.

The second news is that we polished off the definition of circles vs projects. Over time we realised that people were getting confused about geographic circles, governance circle, magazine circle, project circles etc. and we came up with three simple clusters.

There are two types of circles: the geographic ones and the thematic one. Geographic circles are all the one defined by the countries (CW France, CW Italy, CW Spain, etc.) or cities (CW London, CW Paris, CW Bogota, etc.). Thematic circles are created around a topic rather then a location. Think about them as a group of people working on a specific topic. Examples can be magazine circle, tech circle, urban apps circle, street design circle, etc. Another type of thematic circle, is an existing organisation that wants to join the CivicWise community. In this case you will have the ‘name-of-the-organisation’ circle.

Every circle requires someone to take care of the welcoming (be the first point of contact for anyone interested in the circle, welcome new members, answer queries, etc.), communication (social media, emails, etc.) and general coordination (make sure that the circle’s activities run smoothly and stuff gets done). Ideally these three tasks will be split between different people to minimise the burden but obviously in a small circle, one person can be responsible for all of them.

Different circles together form a community, regardless whether it’s a group of geographic circles, thematic ones, or a mix of the two. All of them will be under the umbrella – no superstition here while the sun is out! – of the CivicWise community.

This means that projects now specifically defines the participatory urban projects supported by the CivicWise community.

We took on board the feedbacks on the first draft of the Projects toolkit and looked back at the 10 steps of our Civic Design Method. The result is a 3-stages process (THINK – DO – ROLL), which is available here. The explanation of it is up on Discourse, where you can also comment and suggest improvements. We want to get this done and over by the end of the month, so hurry up and have your say!

During the week we got the outcome of two competitions we applied for, the ECF Idea Camp and the Designing the Urban Commons. Unfortunately we were not successful in either of them. Sigh. It’s a pity, but that actually made us realise that it is probably too early to apply for competitions given the little evidence of impact we can show so far. This should motivate us to work harder on defining our identity (principles) setting up the organisation (governance) and finding the first projects to work with (method).

To do this efficiently and fast, we need your help so click on the links, take a look of the drafts and share what you think. A collaborative effort is the best way to succeed!

Have a great weekend

Working on Principles

This week we started with a new structure for our global hangout: 1 hour for topic of the week and the
rest of the hour to catch up with the rest of the circles.

This week our main topic was PRINCIPLES!

Below we are sharing the minute that Rita (@pitvvitter) prepared:

Domenico presented an introduction to the new structure of the Hangouts.

Ana told us about the first meeting of the Barcelona’s circle.


General topics discussed: 

  1. Need for projects being developed as practical exercises that will probably give important input for the discussions happening online. For taking a step forward, the circle decided to come with examples of projects that they consider to be achievable in Barcelona´s context. And present this to the others on next meetup to happen in the next couple of weeks.
  2. Concern about the fact that at the very beginning we don’t yet have projects from different entities or citizens, as the platform (and method) are still under construction.
    In that sense taking the different backgrounds, interests and knowledge of the local communities, what type of projects could be proposed that would actually be developed in the short term? Specially when thinking about including students, it would mean that they would have to be developed until Summer.
  3. Another issue was about availability to engage with the CivicWise project.
    How many time per week would everyone be able to offer to CivicWise?
    It was agreed that for now each person will offer 3 hours per week.
    And further on, when a specific project is to happen, this kind of maths will be done taking into account responsibilities, timings and special need.


Time accounting associated with each specific task it´s something of general concern in the discussion happening in the #governance channel in Slack.

Domenico suggested to have a look at the ¿Implicometro?, a Spanish project developed by the Meetcommons community. 


Fausto shared his work and ideas about an Engagement Protocol.

The protocol serves the purpose of enabling clear and respectful communication.

For example creating a direct contact with one or two people that are leading a specific project and – research. Research directly through them, offering a safe space for them to feel comfortable and share expectations, purpose and how they want to see their future.

To find out if everything comes into place with Civicwise values, goals and also expectations.

So that the social contract (meaning the protocol) is clear and fair to all parties.

Other events can be:

  • Community opendays (announced and to be done in particular places)
  • Interviewing Key people
  • Organizing focus group (one of participatory action research tools)

Fausto expressed his belief that we need to develop the Inner before working onto the Outer.

In short: We need to develop interpersonal skills. As an individual but and also as a circle. So that after we are ready to approach all the initiatives.

Underlying the importance of the act of listening and also that of breathing for developing the interpersonal skills.

‘One should speak with intention.’ (with meaning and adding something to the conversation)

To create connection and understanding when the ‘I’ opens itself to the ‘We’.

Offering deep personal availability for growth experiencing and practicing interpersonal skills within the common external space arena of discussion.

When a group of people is discussing ideas, feelings and dreams matters to perceive the rhythm, timings and moments of silence sutelly express by the other.
Learning when to speak and when to listen. (#bodylanguage #NOrush)

[Domenico] asked: Is there some kind of training involved?

How to deliver/share a training on this protocol engagement to benefit from this view

Fausto will research and check.

Though added that an opportunity where we can learn and develop these kind of skills could be by exercising the following:

Listening by practicing silence.

(Two people that ideally don’t have a close relationship – One listens the Other speaks)

The listener might use body language (mumbling) to communicate but can’t speak.

During 3 min elapse time. The listener has to contain it´s words, allowing some space&time for reframing, reflection and anticipation to digest all thoughts and feelings that are coming live.

NOTE. This is the “engagement protocol”, not to be confused with general CW protocol.

 Fausto is working on the Protocol and might be able to share something in the coming week. Domenico said that it can be a proposal but also a compilation of live items.

 Possible reading reference: peer-coaching-learning-manual – manual from Nesta.

 ‘Rather than giving advice or providing solutions, a peer coach’s role is to actively listen, provide a sounding board, and most importantly, help the other person find insight and solutions for themselves. – See more at:


Regarding the #Principles topic:

Andrea created an exel file that offers a very clear and simple way for civicwisers to participate and input their perspectives on principles. 

Should both represent the essence of the rule as well as be easy to remember. Avoid ambiguous words in the Name and in the Statement.
Should succinctly and unambiguously communicate the fundamental rule. It is vital that the principles statement be unambiguous.
Should highlight the benefits of adhering to the principle. Also describe the relationship to other principles, and the intentions regarding a balanced interpretation. Describe situations where one principle would be given precedence or carry more weight than another for making a decision.
Should highlight the requirements (think for all domains of CivicWise*) for carrying out the principle – in terms of resources, costs, and activities/tasks. The reader should readily discern the answer to: “How does this affect me?” It is important not to oversimplify, trivialise, or judge the merit of the impact.


Rita shared the need for developing practical projects as a way of exploring the platform´s goal.

Domenico said that there is an opportunity for future collaboration with an University in Bógota. And that Civicwise might be paid by the University for providing a service. And that hopefully will bring practical projects to the platform.


Discussion on fundings/entity; consolidation of accounts.

Domenico proposed: Next agenda topic can be formal structure (ana agreed)

Pablo/Domenico clarification on transitional phase/structure ; directed to discourse for next meeting.


Action list:

  • Fausto will review and propose training for “engagement protocol”;
  • Principles will be continued on excel (levm as carer; can be contacted for support on;
  • Domenico will make a call for work (on governance and more);
  • Funding is required as well as consolidation of accounts;
  • Next week agenda will be on formal structure.
  • Rita will do the minute

Global Hangout | 25th March

Next Wednesday 25th of march at 19h (London Time) we will have our weekly Global Hangout Session. 

We will start with our CoDesign process with the aim to define how CivicWise, both Community and Platform will work.

This session will be specially dedicated to define our Values and Core Principles. You can add your suggestion for the meeting agenda here > 

The meeting would be online and you can watch the streaming directly from our Blog >

If you want to take part on it follow us on Google+

Help us spreading the word using the hashtag:
– use #civicwiseis to suggest values and core principles
– use #civicwisehangout to tweet live during our hangout meeting

Following some initial talks about our values and core principles.

Commitment to a vision of how things might be different, always trying to figure out the best way to make our vision come about. If we are dedicating a significant space in our lives to making change, it is important to have an idea of what we are trying to change society into.
Always be open to new lessons. Challenge ourselves and leave our comfort zone
Promote Critical self-awareness by examining our work self-critically and asks others for criticism on how it could be better
Be accountable by offering continuous feedback, creating reports and a culture of listening and self-reflection. Thinking constantly how we can be more efficient
Promote interconnectivity with other people, groups, initiatives that has the potential to change the world.
Leadership oriented toward empowering others and making everybody into a “leader”
Patient, persistent
Speaks in a language that the people we are trying to reach can understand. Try to stop using jargon
Learn about cooperation and working in a collective manner; we are here to help each other, not to compete with each other
Find a healthy, sustainable balance between the personal, social and political sides of civicwisers life
We assume our personal responsibility to act in order to transform society into a better place to live
Create an initiative that help people to improve their life balance by enjoying the process of co-creation


If you have lost our Global Presentation here you have a brief summary >

Remember: Become a CivicWiser > fill this form  >