Open Government Director at Gobierno de la Provincia de Santa Fe, Argentina
SERIES: towards #LABICCO n.4
In the Pre-Columbian era, many peoples of Ibero American origin participated in a social practice known as mink’a (in the Quechua language) that consisted of a solidarity-based meeting of friends and/or neighbours to carry out cooperative work that was useful for the community and then share a copious meal to celebrate.
More than 500 years after the arrival of the Europeans, this ancestral practice not only continues, but it has also crossed the ocean to add a new meaning to the dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language:
minga1. From the Quechua mink’a. Fem. Noun. Arg., Chile, Col., Ec., Par. and Peru. Meeting of friends and neighbours to do free collective work.
No word comes to mind in any language, other than this Quechua term, to explain what a LABIC is, a Latin American innovation minga that lasts no fewer than 15 wonderful days!
The Civic Innovation LABoratories (LABIC), driven by SEGIB, are a type of special minga because they bring together hundreds of people who were not neighbours, as they come from all the countries of Ibero America (Latin America, plus Spain Portugal and Andorra), and who were not friends (because most of them do not know each other). Nevertheless, it will not take them long to become good friends either because, among so much diversity and interculturism, there are some elements of cohesion that they all possess: they are doers, they believe in free culture and cooperative work; they feel they can change their village and change the world.
The Civic Innovation LABoratories (LABIC), driven by SEGIB, are a type of special minga because they bring together hundreds of people who were not neighbours, as they come from all the countries of Ibero America (Latin America, plus Spain Portugal and Andorra), and who were not friends (because most of them do not know each other).
More than 100 collaborators will go to Cartagena to work for two weeks on around eleven projects proposed by people they do not know; many of them are going to travel thousands of kilometres to offer their ideas and knowledge to a prototype whose future is as uncertain as it is exciting because, like all laboratories, this is a social experimentation minga. However, this does not prevent them from weaving a network of trust because there is one certainty that is more powerful than all uncertainties…and that is philanthropy.
There will also be mentors, accompanying the teams so that they can get their projects off the ground and linking together the different members’ knowledge and experience, because here nobody keeps anything to themselves; here everyone gives and everyone wins. Nevertheless, in order to ensure its smooth running and for everyone to focus on their projects, we must not forget the fundamental role played by the organisation and the coordination of each LABIC, the people who make this happen. They are also the great hosts of each event and the individuals tasked with organising these essential community-strengthening events.
There cannot be a minga without a community and LABIC is an Ibero American civic innovation community whose growth is unstoppable. In Cartagena, new members are going to join this network, which, like so many others, after the gathering, will continue to be connected via Internet, driving local projects on a global scale.
So far, in the 21st century, we have seen how many of these decentralised, home-based organisations have formed global communities of people who make a significant impact on the global level, ranging from the creation and recreation of software, operating systems, web browsers, to the largest encyclopaedia in the world.
At LABIC, an ancestral social methodology is used that is applied to projects that share hacker ethics and the spirit of the information era and, in addition to each project and prototype, an entity evolves that is much greater than the sum of its parts. This entity is a large Ibero American civic innovation community formed of many work lines (permaculture, free culture, digital culture, open hardware, care, governance, etc.), which all merge into one ideology: they seek to reconstruct our relationship with the environment and to redistribute opportunities to improve communal living, celebrating diversity and interculturism, on the understanding that this is the only path to the on-going building of social interaction and PEACE. In the end, this will be the message resulting from this great intercontinental minga, right at this moment in time, from Colombia, to the world.
*LABICCO is the 3rd edition of LABIC (previous were LABICMX and LABICBR), and this year will be organized by the Civic Innovation Project of SEGIB in joint with the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, in partnership with Medialab-Prado, AECID, Ford Foundation and Fundación Unidos en Red. To find out more about LABICCO and the 11 proposals, click HERE
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