So it's been two months now since DIYcity started, and in that time I feel like the organization has grown so much that it has quickly outgrown the site, and even the original idea. And that's great, though it has been a bit hard to keep up at times.
When we first launched at the end of October, issuing weekly Challenges seemed like the way to go - get everyone pumped up about an idea, get them to build something, get them to submit it, and presto, you've got applications for people to use that make cities better. Seemed like a perfect vehicle for making change in cities.
The problem with this was it encouraged people to work on their own, and submit on their own. There was no group learning involved in the process, no growth, no improvement. It also presupposed that concepts were ready for building without being fully fleshed out and vetted -- and fleshing out and vetting have turned out to be critical steps in this whole process.
So Discussions seemed like a good remedy to that problem: something to get people to work together, think together, maybe even build together. And that worked really well. People have added a lot of intelligent insight to conversations on a variety of things, and it seems like we're collectively closer to great tools for making cities everywhere more effective.
But Discussions only worked up to a point - they got people talking, throwing ideas together, making them better. But nothing actually got built. And the whole point of DIYcity is to build things, get things out in the world, create change, make things better. Discussions got to a point where I personally felt it was futile to keep participating in new threads until old threads produced some tangible results. It was like we had created a backlog of product to build.
And that's where we are now.
So where do we go from here?
Well, out of all of this I now have a great idea for what DIYcity could be, and how that could be something really big, powerful and lasting, a real engine for change. But getting there is going to take some money, and a much better site than we currently have, among other things. So that's where we're going next. We're going to get some funds, we're going to turn it up a notch, and we're going to watch it take off for real.
It should be fun.
While we're getting there, Challenges, Discussions, and a multi-city meetup on January 14th are still happening. I've got a lot of ideas I want to throw out on the Discussions list, and will get to those after the new year.
Until then, have fun doing whatever it is you do at this time of year!