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A new challenge for me is a new opportunity for Open Knowledge Belgium

- September 28, 2016 in employee, Featured, open knowledge belgium

I remember it like yesterday, sitting in a bar to discuss joining Open Knowledge Belgium as a fulltime employee. I was a fresh off the boat social-media manager who believed in doing good through online community management. At the time I had no idea what Open Data was except for the Wikipedia short description, but I was sure it was something I could put my shoulders behind. Two and a half years later I now feel I’m ready to pass the torch. I’m preparing for a new challenge, which in response is a new opportunity for Open Knowledge Belgium. Finding someone equally or more enthused to take Open Knowledge Belgium to the next level.

Let’s start the bragging part about my time at Open Knowledge Belgium.

Almost three years later I’ve organised 3 conferences, bringing together 537 people(1), hosted 3 open Summer of code editions and hiring 68 students, co-organised 3 Apps for Ghent editions bringing in ±250 hackers. I was an expert judge at least 8 hackathons, attended more than 15 as a coach. We co-created with other non-profits in making an interactive datawisdom tool ‘Datawijs’ for Flemish young people, making an Open Source Crowdsourcing tool ‘W4P’ for social and open innovation projects and contributed to projects such as SoloMIDEM and Apps for Europe. Combine that with smaller projects and experiments and you can understand why we need a new talent to take over. Our organisation is bad at not doing stuff. Data Days Ghent

And now let me brag about what I didn’t do.

Our five working groups all have their own theme, approach and volunteers. Just last weekend, OpenStreetMap Belgium organised State of the Map in Brussels, a three days festival with 450 visitors and 20+ volunteers limiting the chaos to a healthy level. I did nothing, except helping out as a volunteer myself. And only then my main task was to be amazed about their commitment and end result. I’ve been to Belgian Missing maps Mapathons, Opencon’s, iRail meetups and DataTank launches where I had no part in except cheering on. SOTM Volunteers Picture of the amazing SOTM Volunteers,CC-BY Tatiana Van Campenhout

So small organisation on paper, big on impact?

Exactly. It is a one employee organisation, but with a small army of contributors.

So what will be the challenges for this new talent?

Our current focus is on dissemination, online communication and event management. Not only because the organisation requires these skills, but because those are the things I’m actually good at. That does mean that we try to see how different profiles could contribute to different actionables in the organisation. If you happen to be a more technical profile who is also willing to partake in the projects I just bragged about, then sure, you could be perfect for the job. The employee is not just a executing force, but someone who helps shape our mission and its outcomes.

What is the state of OK-BE with you leaving?

Honestly, it has never been better. We have our own office, in which we can still be flexible, a decent daily management which mainly consists of board members who also want to help out in operational stuff, a big European project right at our doorstep, the growing Open Belgium community and happy #oSoc partners, coaches and students. Our financing is stable (I know we should open that up as an example) and we’re gaining more recurring partners and traction. Could our organisation be more professional? Sure, everyone involved is committed to the cause and are not professional non-profit managers, but we’re making great progress every day.

If everything is going so well, then where are you going PJ?

Not going too far, I’m going to work for Digipolis Gent to help them make a sustainable smart and open city of my hometown Ghent. So I’ll still be around within the field of work. And besides that I’m sticking around as an active member of the organisation. Because I too still believe Open knowledge Belgium has a lot of potential.

Have an insider insight PJ? How was working at Open Knowledge Belgium?

This has been and still is an amazing experience. Not because of the projects, the data, the cutting edge field(s) of work, the status… What truly is amazing about the organisation are the people. I’m not going to name people out of fear of forgetting some but if you see how dedicated people in our organisation are, you are in a daily awe. From the board, to contributors, to volunteers, to interns, to summer job students, to oSoc coaches, to … I’ve never before felt like I’m surrounded by so many talented people as I did when working for Open Knowledge Belgium. oSoc15 student shot #oSoc15 Students kicking-ass CC-BY-SA OK-BE It is what inspires me of using my techno optimism to build a better world. An open world where knowledge is open, usable, used and useful.

A new challenge for me is a new opportunity for Open Knowledge Belgium

- September 28, 2016 in employee, Featured, open knowledge belgium

I remember it like yesterday, sitting in a bar to discuss joining Open Knowledge Belgium as a fulltime employee. I was a fresh off the boat social-media manager who believed in doing good through online community management. At the time I had no idea what Open Data was except for the Wikipedia short description, but I was sure it was something I could put my shoulders behind. Two and a half years later I now feel I’m ready to pass the torch. I’m preparing for a new challenge, which in response is a new opportunity for Open Knowledge Belgium. Finding someone equally or more enthused to take Open Knowledge Belgium to the next level.

Let’s start the bragging part about my time at Open Knowledge Belgium.

Almost three years later I’ve organised 3 conferences, bringing together 537 people(1), hosted 3 open Summer of code editions and hiring 68 students, co-organised 3 Apps for Ghent editions bringing in ±250 hackers. I was an expert judge at least 8 hackathons, attended more than 15 as a coach. We co-created with other non-profits in making an interactive datawisdom tool ‘Datawijs’ for Flemish young people, making an Open Source Crowdsourcing tool ‘W4P’ for social and open innovation projects and contributed to projects such as SoloMIDEM and Apps for Europe. Combine that with smaller projects and experiments and you can understand why we need a new talent to take over. Our organisation is bad at not doing stuff. Data Days Ghent

And now let me brag about what I didn’t do.

Our five working groups all have their own theme, approach and volunteers. Just last weekend, OpenStreetMap Belgium organised State of the Map in Brussels, a three days festival with 450 visitors and 20+ volunteers limiting the chaos to a healthy level. I did nothing, except helping out as a volunteer myself. And only then my main task was to be amazed about their commitment and end result. I’ve been to Belgian Missing maps Mapathons, Opencon’s, iRail meetups and DataTank launches where I had no part in except cheering on. SOTM Volunteers Picture of the amazing SOTM Volunteers,CC-BY Tatiana Van Campenhout

So small organisation on paper, big on impact?

Exactly. It is a one employee organisation, but with a small army of contributors.

So what will be the challenges for this new talent?

Our current focus is on dissemination, online communication and event management. Not only because the organisation requires these skills, but because those are the things I’m actually good at. That does mean that we try to see how different profiles could contribute to different actionables in the organisation. If you happen to be a more technical profile who is also willing to partake in the projects I just bragged about, then sure, you could be perfect for the job. The employee is not just a executing force, but someone who helps shape our mission and its outcomes.

What is the state of OK-BE with you leaving?

Honestly, it has never been better. We have our own office, in which we can still be flexible, a decent daily management which mainly consists of board members who also want to help out in operational stuff, a big European project right at our doorstep, the growing Open Belgium community and happy #oSoc partners, coaches and students. Our financing is stable (I know we should open that up as an example) and we’re gaining more recurring partners and traction. Could our organisation be more professional? Sure, everyone involved is committed to the cause and are not professional non-profit managers, but we’re making great progress every day.

If everything is going so well, then where are you going PJ?

Not going too far, I’m going to work for Digipolis Gent to help them make a sustainable smart and open city of my hometown Ghent. So I’ll still be around within the field of work. And besides that I’m sticking around as an active member of the organisation. Because I too still believe Open knowledge Belgium has a lot of potential.

Have an insider insight PJ? How was working at Open Knowledge Belgium?

This has been and still is an amazing experience. Not because of the projects, the data, the cutting edge field(s) of work, the status… What truly is amazing about the organisation are the people. I’m not going to name people out of fear of forgetting some but if you see how dedicated people in our organisation are, you are in a daily awe. From the board, to contributors, to volunteers, to interns, to summer job students, to oSoc coaches, to … I’ve never before felt like I’m surrounded by so many talented people as I did when working for Open Knowledge Belgium. oSoc15 student shot #oSoc15 Students kicking-ass CC-BY-SA OK-BE It is what inspires me of using my techno optimism to build a better world. An open world where knowledge is open, usable, used and useful.

Introducing W4P, a crowdsourcing for open, social and local projects.

- June 24, 2016 in crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, Featured, General, Open Innovation, Open Source

After 10 months of figuring what we need to build, building it and then testing it in real life situation we can now say: W4P is alive! Or at least in a solid bèta. You can find our presentation in English here:
Interested in hearing this talk again and do you have a location and or crowd? Or are you ready to start up a W4P crowdsourcing platform?
Contact us!

Introducing W4P, a crowdsourcing for open, social and local projects.

- June 24, 2016 in crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, Featured, General, Open Innovation, Open Source

After 10 months of figuring what we need to build, building it and then testing it in real life situation we can now say: W4P is alive! Or at least in a solid bèta. You can find our presentation in English here: Interested in hearing this talk again and do you have a location and or crowd? Or are you ready to start up a W4P crowdsourcing platform? Contact us!

Introducing W4P, a crowdsourcing for open, social and local projects.

- June 24, 2016 in Events, Open Access, Open Access Nepal, Open Research, research, Research Opportunities, Tools and Resources

After 10 months of figuring what we need to build, building it and then testing it in real life situation we can now say: W4P is alive! Or at least in a solid bèta. You can find our presentation in English here: Interested in hearing this talk again and do you have a location and or crowd? Or are you ready to start up a W4P crowdsourcing platform? Contact us!

Introducing W4P, a crowdsourcing for open, social and local projects.

- June 24, 2016 in crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, Featured, General, Open Innovation, Open Source

After 10 months of figuring what we need to build, building it and then testing it in real life situation we can now say: W4P is alive! Or at least in a solid bèta. You can find our presentation in English here:
Interested in hearing this talk again and do you have a location and or crowd? Or are you ready to start up a W4P crowdsourcing platform?
Contact us!

Introducing our crowdsourcing template and why we’re building it.

- February 11, 2016 in crowdsourcing, Featured, General, Open Innovation, template

The crowdfunding market in Belgium is getting bigger every year and societal focused efforts are equally increasing, which we support with lots of enthusiasm. That’s why early 2014, iDROPS and Open Knowledge Belgium started to brainstorm on how we could potentially provide real added value in relation to more traditional crowdfunding channels.

MEET W4P

Finally I can say we’re building our interpretation of the ideal platform for small to medium scale social, local and open innovation projects. And we’re not afraid to share the details before it’s finished, as sharing is the whole point. Our Open Source template will give anyone access to a one-project-a-time platform to ask for funding, volunteers, coaches and/or materials. That means you own the data AND the platform. And anyone does mean anyone, from cities and foundations to community or neigbourhood groups. If you can host it, you can own it. (Even if you can’t, we can always help along.) The W4P stands for “We for purpose, we for people…”

WE CELEBRATE WITH DATA

That’s not all. In our preliminary stage we did a first screening of the Belgian crowdfunding market, as crowdsourcing is still an early-stage concept, and we’ve gathered our key findings and data in the infograph below. Think we missed something? Have a look at our spreadsheet containing our online search results and let us know.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

We’re building on this project together with Open Knowledge Belgium, iDROPS and Underlined as we speak (I mean write). The first pilot projects will launch in April and we will do a full release later this year. Want to know more about this thing? Want to contribute? Want to setup an own instance of W4P? Just head over to W4P.be and contact us! This project is being funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme through the Chest-project Call 3 crowdfunding-in-minimal-theme

Introducing our crowdsourcing template and why we’re building it.

- February 11, 2016 in crowdsourcing, Featured, General, Open Innovation, template

The crowdfunding market in Belgium is getting bigger every year and societal focused efforts are equally increasing, which we support with lots of enthusiasm. That’s why early 2014, iDROPS and Open Knowledge Belgium started to brainstorm on how we could potentially provide real added value in relation to more traditional crowdfunding channels.

MEET W4P

Finally I can say we’re building our interpretation of the ideal platform for small to medium scale social, local and open innovation projects. And we’re not afraid to share the details before it’s finished, as sharing is the whole point. Our Open Source template will give anyone access to a one-project-a-time platform to ask for funding, volunteers, coaches and/or materials. That means you own the data AND the platform. And anyone does mean anyone, from cities and foundations to community or neigbourhood groups. If you can host it, you can own it. (Even if you can’t, we can always help along.) The W4P stands for “We for purpose, we for people…”

WE CELEBRATE WITH DATA

That’s not all. In our preliminary stage we did a first screening of the Belgian crowdfunding market, as crowdsourcing is still an early-stage concept, and we’ve gathered our key findings and data in the infograph below. Think we missed something? Have a look at our spreadsheet containing our online search results and let us know.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

We’re building on this project together with Open Knowledge Belgium, iDROPS and Underlined as we speak (I mean write). The first pilot projects will launch in April and we will do a full release later this year. Want to know more about this thing? Want to contribute? Want to setup an own instance of W4P? Just head over to W4P.be and contact us! This project is being funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme through the Chest-project Call 3 crowdfunding-in-minimal-theme

Introducing our crowdsourcing template and why we’re building it.

- February 11, 2016 in crowdsourcing, Featured, General, Open Innovation, template

The crowdfunding market in Belgium is getting bigger every year and societal focused efforts are equally increasing, which we support with lots of enthusiasm. That’s why early 2014, iDROPS and Open Knowledge Belgium started to brainstorm on how we could potentially provide real added value in relation to more traditional crowdfunding channels.

MEET W4P

Finally I can say we’re building our interpretation of the ideal platform for small to medium scale social, local and open innovation projects. And we’re not afraid to share the details before it’s finished, as sharing is the whole point. Our Open Source template will give anyone access to a one-project-a-time platform to ask for funding, volunteers, coaches and/or materials. That means you own the data AND the platform. And anyone does mean anyone, from cities and foundations to community or neigbourhood groups. If you can host it, you can own it. (Even if you can’t, we can always help along.) The W4P stands for “We for purpose, we for people…”

WE CELEBRATE WITH DATA

That’s not all. In our preliminary stage we did a first screening of the Belgian crowdfunding market, as crowdsourcing is still an early-stage concept, and we’ve gathered our key findings and data in the infograph below. Think we missed something? Have a look at our spreadsheet containing our online search results and let us know.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

We’re building on this project together with Open Knowledge Belgium, iDROPS and Underlined as we speak (I mean write). The first pilot projects will launch in April and we will do a full release later this year. Want to know more about this thing? Want to contribute? Want to setup an own instance of W4P? Just head over to W4P.be and contact us! This project is being funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme through the Chest-project Call 3 crowdfunding-in-minimal-theme

Welcome at our new office.

- October 21, 2015 in Featured, General, office

It’s official, after working at the iMinds Start-Up Garage for two years we moved out to look for something we could call our own in the center of Ghent. Earlier last month we released a blogpost asking for office-leads in Ghent. The search was trickier then we thought but the huge response on Twitter did help us a lot. CRSBjEoUkAAOZmi

Big response, big ask

Having a lot of options was a big luxury, but not a lot of those options came from standard real-estate websites or brokers. No, a lot of leads came through personal contacts, and guys who knew a guy who might have a space available. The most striking thing though, was that a lot of other non-profits, small companies, startups and freelancers actually contacted us looking for a place to stay. They asked us whether they could get the contacts for offices that didn’t suit our needs. So we did notice that small offices are really hard to come by in Ghent, while co-working spaces are not overpacked. Maybe there’s a middle ground solution that is still in the making?

Big ask because of big prices

An own office seemed the way to go at first but after seeing the sixth overly expensive or badly located office, we gave up. We even started to do our research and found out that prices are way up since a couple of years. The article on Nieuwsblad in 2013 talks about an average price of 116 euro per year per square meter. 2 years later we encountered small offices that had an asking price of up to 367 euro per year per square meter. That’s a 300% rise people! The disclaimer here is that this office did have shared spaces such as restrooms, meetings rooms and kitchenettes not included in the square metres, but still a lot of money if you had to pay electricity, gas, water and internet subscription on top of that cost. We even considered ‘Anti-kraak’, which is a temporary housing solution against illegal squatting, offering spaces for a small fee, but the short notice period and amount of furniture we would’ve had to buy didn’t make enough sense for us. For the adventurous amongst ourselves: vastgoedbeheer.com. Feel free to try.

Shared office vs. Co-working

That’s why we went to look for a different possibility that suited our needs, expectations and organisational structure. Co-working spaces were also an option as we are used to nest between start-up companies in big communal spaces, but it’s a financial setup that is quite hard for non-profits. For a one man organisation it would be a cheap alternative, but with interns, volunteers and students coming and going all the time it’s hard to keep up how many people work with us. And booking a meeting room each time somebody walks through the door would be too time consuming. So we’re happy to find a shared office where we could rent a full desk space in stead of having to rent a full office or just one resident seat.

New office, open office.

We chose a shared office at the Dok-Noord site in the North of Ghent. A shared office means we rent a desk for up to four people in a communal office space. So we have plenty of room to invite volunteers, jobstudents and board members to come and work with us on projects, tools and more. At the same time we have wonderful neighbours like Mojoville and Studio Iris which makes the place a bit more vibrant. All of that in the industrial space of HAL26, which almost sounds like a prequel for a Kubrick film. PANO_20151021_111423_Fotor

We could not have been here without iMinds

We want to finish off with props to iMinds, as they have been a wonderful host for our organisation for the past 2 years. Providing us with a space in the Start-Up Garage meant we could search how we could support Open Data efforts and how to grow as an organisation. We would not stand where we are now if not by the help of the whole iMinds team. So thank you guys and girls! For those who want their help as well: Feel free to check out iStart incubation programme.

Prepare for the future

Today we have an office that we can open up to our volunteers and coworkers. Tomorrow we hope to open something similar for all social and open innovation projects that use Open Data, create Open Source software or enable others to reuse their fruits of labour. We do not have the room for that yet, but we are working on a tool to kickstart this through crowdsourcing. More on that later. We’re also looking forward to ‘De Krook’, as it will be the Digital heart of Ghent. I wonder whether it will provide room (physical and digital) for a gathering of digital non-profits and social start-ups.