About Learn Do Share

Learn Do Share (LDS) is a grassroots innovation engine; a combination of events, labs and peer production. We are a community for open collaboration, design fiction and social innovation.

The three words LEARN, DO and SHARE embody our philosophy: we learn from everyone. we do by prototyping. we share what we learn.

Our events and labs are gatherings for ad-hoc groups to meet, ideate and work out concepts for a common good.

Our peer production cycles help groups stay together to co-create prototypes of their collective imaginations. The most prominent are Caine’s Arcade, My Sky Is Falling, and The BUKE.

Our books, documentaries and projects are carried forth by our participants to inspire other people to do the same.

Our Learn Do Share methodology and framework, which we like to call an OS (operating system) is being adapted by Universities, organizations and makerspaces as a tool to help tackle wicked problems by harnessing storytelling, play, designing thinking and collaboration. Over the last four years, we’ve collaborated with Jorgen van der Sloot and FreedomLab to design and prototype a social innovation lab to explore solutions for complex problems. The Learn Do Share lab runs at our events as well as having been staged for Columbia University, the UN, the City of Los Angeles, UNICEF and the Danish Government.

Sustainable Harvests

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Notes, tips, and prep for rich gleanings as a participant at Learn Do Share. 

If you want to learn something, read. If you want to understand some- thing, write. If you want to master something, teach [aka share].
-yogi tea bag

Learn…do…share…all together now! Live! Multi-threaded process! Go!
Talk about a conflict of interests: real-time interactive transmedia authorship of innovative co-creative experiential know-how … who’s directing that show?

In the emergent space of participatory events or open social ventures, we know that the story of “what happened here” will spread and grow with thoughtful broadcast, returning fruits and friends and future improvements. From that insight, we are called to step back, observe, analyze, and harvest, from the outsider’s perspective, for a thorough and objective report of the proceedings. Yet, it is clear that the richest gleanings, the choicest insights come through full attention and deep “doing” in the moment-by making, and playing, authentically, together.

How to address this paradox for the good of the whole? Tweet now, or forever withhold your purpose?

Here are some insights that helped me to maintain poise and be the bridge to greater impact.

Start with why

  1. to provide practical knowledge and guidelines for others to re- create and iterate what was accomplished at the event
  2. to make a lasting impression of the subjective experience, for those who participated as well as others who did not attend
  3. to build a sense of community and shared ownership of new “common knowledge”
  4. to have fun, explore, speak up, act as ambassador of collective wisdom.

Unobserving 101

  • touchpoints: grab representative (not comprehensive) snapshots
  • perspective: find out what unfamiliar faces are learning/doing/ sharing
  • mixed media: words, sounds, and images; notes, quotes, and tropes
  • meshwork: network for sense- making, synergy, and signal strength
  • rest / reset: breathe. smile. put your gadgets down. view change.

Short list of special tactics:

  • cookies – bring some, as first or last resort
  • cards – trade for easy follow-up linkage
  • get physical – keep it moving
  • #sketchnotes – build a story board
  • tag-team capture – share duties with a pal
  • one word response rounds – dense, crowdsourced read on the experience
  • tablet computer – maybe the most versatile tool for the job
  • metamaps.cc or other versatile mindmapping tech

This goes beyond embedded journalism – we are storytelling about storytelling! Very meta, yet very immediate. Your work represents both a moment and a Movement. You are seeding memes and feeding dreams. You are listening for the future that wants to happen right now. Be confident, but never certain!

Out of all this hodgepodge of “ahas” and “oh yeahs”, how-tos and so-it-wents, diagrams and Instagrams, hashtags, soundbites, urls and raw data, a certain precious picture emerges that, when layered and fitted in full fluid collage, reveals patterns that will go on to inform the next round, prompting the wider rising spiral of diy learn-do-share- wish-rinse-repeat.

It was an honor and a challenge to go through my first diydays as a volunteer documentor on the book sprint artifact assembly crew. I experienced a minor identity crisis, hopping in between rooms and roles, but came away with some very tasty morsels to share – hors d’ouevres for the next wave of diyers, all on top of my own rich learning and doing journey. A few further considerations:

  • do a little homework – come with appetite, intention, and initiative
  • pick a theme – one or more lenses to focus and synthesize
  • start with the basics – know where you are and with whom
  • check in – step inside the container, state your wants / offers
  • ask permission – find out what’s safe to put ‘on record’
  • establish a rhythm – try and cycle between learn-do-share
  • go with the flow – track collective intelligence and creative flux
  • no obligations – it’s open space; migrate and mingle accordingly
  • shush your critic – keep an attitude of “yes, and…”
  • make it count – personal, concise, illuminating, and fresh

– Benjamin Brownell



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