Collaboration Incubator *18 Report #1


The Collaboration Incubator is a participatory format, where you can learn about ‚social technologies‘ - mainly group facilitation processes - which integrate activism and intuition. The aim of the program is to figure out ways to support each other in what we are currently working with – as part of a movement, an organization or as individuals. Related to that, we are also using the group's creativity and intelligence to look at a bigger shared question: „How to help building momentum for global grassroots democracy?“.
With this idea in mind, we were inviting people who feel dedicated to progressive movements and/or progressive ideas around changing things from the ground up.
The report has an emphasis on the most recent incubator in Oakland, California, since a local funding from TRCC enabled it. It builds on and integrates content, learning and experiences of the two previous Berlin incubators. It’s a years’ report.

Visit our Website to download this report:


curated by

Collaboration Incubator *18

momentum building for global democracy



Whatever happens at another place in the world or at another

point in time affects us at the local level. This can limit and/or

elevate local projects substantially, e.g. with bureaucracy vs.

self-organization, financial institutions vs. blockchain based

currencies, borders vs. collaborative online tools, markets vs.

commons, as well as collective trauma vs. healing circles,

conservative traditions vs. indigenous wisdom and an ongoing

number of commonalities interlinked civil societies carry.

Bureaucracy and market rules are, for example, hindrances to

information flowing more freely and innovation which can better

serve humanity. There is a lack of feedback across different

social fields such as entrepreneurship, education, activism,

farming, politics, finance, healing, and so on. This disconnection

among sectors and decisions can lead to institutional failure.

Our assumption is that we need more shared connection to

purpose and direction. As long as we aren't practicing and

improving our ability to communicate across disciplines and

striving to align our strategies across the borders of our

bubbles, this problem of failure in social innovation will persist.

To handle our complex societal questions, we need to learn to

innovate and collaborate in ways that might be far beyond what

we can currently conceive.

By being the researchers and research subject at the same

time, the Collaboration Incubator is a laboratory to learn,

research, experiment and prototype around these themes.

This Incubator Program is a product of collaboration between

the Vanilla Way Network, the Institute for Evolutionary

Leadership, Dream Farm Commons, Co-creation Loft,

Supermarkt Berlin, and Reinvent the World, with the support of

the Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (TRCC) as a

program for leaders of diverse backgrounds to explore

collaboration together.

Participants in this program are innovative leaders in their

respective fields, working on solutions in their own areas and

locations. Each program cycle starts with a 3-day workshop cofacilitated

by Vanilla Way and the Institute for Evolutionary

Leadership and continues with further support through

structures for self-organizing, stewarded by Vanilla Way and

directly self-coordinated by the participants.

Our hope is that the emerging prototypes for collaborating better

with each other across borders and fields of transformation and

activism will contribute to building momentum towards a global

distributed democracy.

Thanks to the TRCC this report has been created. TRCC has

been one of the funders of the Collaboration Incubator in

Oakland 2018, who recognized the Collaboration Incubators’

potential for their mission of “reactivating the creative potentials

of local communities by reconnecting local people and

resources”, through considering at the same time the more

global and societal contexts we are entangled with.

In this report we included material from previous incubators to

inform and expand the actual experiences of our current

participants. You’ll find documentation, data, resources,

reflections, poetry and more around our shared questions on

global distributed democracy, collaboration and trust. We hope

you’ll enjoy it.

– Fyodor & Manuela

This report has been created in collaboration with Ksenia

(Canada), Naomi (New Zealand), Marie (Germany), Gretchen

(Oregon), Emilia (Italy), Fyodor (California), Manuela (Germany)

and a number of other people who have contributed articles,

media and time. Thank you all.

This report was made possible by the

Co-Lab funding from:

This is for us #collabators to reflect, integrate and remember our experiences,

and for others to get inspired and to learn how to contribute.





The very first Incubator in the United States was

hosted in the recently opened art & project space -

Dream Farm Commons, located on15th street of

downtown Oakland. The open space concept with

large windows allowed for visibility of the activities

during the incubator to neighbors and community,

and also allowed the participants an intimate

connection with the neighborhood.

Not planned but true – right at the same time as our incubator (aka grassroots democracy lab) happened, the art

exhibition „Political Birthdays“ was hosted in the space. The title, political birthdays, is an homage to a quote by the

late founder of ‚The Lesbian Tide‘, activist, organizer, publisher, and writer Jeanne Cordova.

The change-facilitation-framework which the Incubator process is

based on is called ‚Dragon Dreaming‘. An altar with objects

representing the elements of earth, air, fire and water helped to

ground the participants when we found ourselves at chaotic points.

To ensure everyone was heard, we used a talking-piece, something

to sound the bell for a moment of silence and a ‚dragon‘ figurine, to

remind us to not take our challenges too seriously.

The Collaboration Incubator is a format where participants are

invited to be facilitators and facilitators are invited to be

participants. Daniel helped us to understand the different levels of

trust by offering a game to play about power. We collected our

insights from the ritual play on post-it notes.

In the framework of evolutionary leadership, we learned

about the power of language and how it creates social

reality. Fyodor helped us understand the different Speech

Acts - assertions, assessments, requests, offers,

commitments and declarations - based on the work of

Fernando Flores.

Evolutionary Work

P Speech Acts

Applied Process

Social Presencing

P Theater Stuck Dance

Social Presencing Theater practice - an artform

and embodied practice for social change

which Manuela introduced - has led to powerful

insights for each one personally in the group.

It helped us to learn that democracy starts

locally and it starts with each of us individually.

We tried to never miss an opportunity to harvest our experience by using the different mediums provided.

Emilia designed notebooks for us as part of her co-responsibility role with the media & design team.

Video diaries were captured throughout the entire workshop to give space for a different way of reflection. We checked in during the mornings and at the end of the day to reflect on what we learned, how we felt and to

share our hopes for the next day. This is Daniel reflecting on the last day of the workshop.

Gretchen's reflection and check-in on day 3 described how

she felt being in the City of Oakland. How the city and the

workshop influenced her and what she can take back to her

hometown of Bend, Oregon, where she’s working with

indigenous people and doing rites of passage work.

Fyodor's reflections and final check-out has been about a

lot of appreciation for our group: ‚it’s been unique and this

space allowed us to see each other from very different

perspectives‘. What he takes home is a deep inquiry around

the purpose and the deep grounding – ‚the deep why‘ – of

change work: ‚Not everybody who paints is an artist‘!

Towards the end of the Dragon Dreaming process, we came up with themes we need to focus

on, in order to make our dream of a collaboration come true: a real tangible entity,

‚connecting democratic diversity, vision, and how we work were the themes we identified as

being essential for moving forward.

Manuela's final reflections

– feeling exhausted and very happy

about the kindness and intensive level

of engagement from everyone.

Ksenia was filming the video diaries and these are her final remarks:

“…building democracy really starts from the heart. We all bring our own experiences to the democracy building process… our personal why.

Why we are here, why we are doing this. We clearly are all interested in staying connected and doing something bigger… I feel like in these 3 days

we were able to share our stories and build upon or stories to fully open up, and now we can starting doing the work, now we can start building, so

this is how I feel! – let’s start creating something!




The Collaboration Incubator is a participatory format, where you can learn about Evolutionary Leadership

approaches and where you can experience Social Presencing Theater and Dragon Dreaming in action – both

social technologies which integrate activism and intuition.

The aim of the workshop is to figure out ways to support each other in what we are currently working with –

as part of a movement, an organization or as individuals. Related to that, we are also using the group's creativity

and intelligence to look at a bigger shared question: „How to help building momentum for global grassroots


With this idea in mind, we are inviting people who feel dedicated to progressive movements and/or progressive

ideas around changing things from the ground up.






are found in



Klick on the

button to access

P further resources

BLN1805 material from berlin incubator in may 2018

BLN1810 material from berlin incubator in october 2018

OKL1810 material from oakland incubator in october 2018

Dive into the copy-text to receive

deeper insights about our

learnings, our outputs and other

forms of information provided to

inspire you.

Read high level summaries to understand more about the context of

what that picture, writing, or data is about.








beyond borders

beyond race

beyond bubbles




empty centered



organic process


doing it together

organizing sustainability

living in peace

every voice counts

‚the understanding of what global

distributed democracy is and could be,

has been one of the most critical

discussion points in all the incubators

so far. we did not come to a common

conclusion, and we might never do. but,

the people it calls together, and the

conversations it fuels, are worth all

discomfort coming from not being able

to give an answer.’ -

manuela bosch – collaboration incubator initiator




Outcome of discussions and idea collection about what 'global

distributed democracy‘ could mean for us has little to do with

elections and governing institutions.

building an immune system

community organizing

co-creating commons

reconnecting people with what they can do today

starting from the soil & roots, from there we plant seeds

new technology for collaborative organizing democratically

connecting projects – understanding what everyone is doing today

playground for prototypes & principles

tools for resilience

civic engagement at a local level will begin to change things globally

helping transfer to other places, what works in one place (cross-pollinate)

enabling diverse perspectives to emerge and to thrive

Still questioning:

Is global distributed democracy an illusion? Global & democracy is always local.

With each one of us doing different change work, how can we expand ourselves into

other projects? We don’t know our boundaries or roles yet.




I believe in group-intelligence and self-organizing systems. And I believe, yes, we need

a global agenda, we need a global vision, we need some strategy and a plan and ways

to communicate and decide around global questions. But in addition to the unrewarding

but needed jobs that state governments and global governing institutions carry, we as

global citizens can take on immediate responsibility in this too.

Transcription of Manuela’s talk at the 2nd Collaboration Incubator Event on October

5, 2018 in Berlin

So – why are we here?

Some months ago I was listening to a radio interview, in fact a real radio interview,

not internet radio or a podcast; no – I still have a classic radio in my home in Berlin.

I listened to an interview with Professor Doctor Rademacher, mathematician and

future scientist at the university of Ulm, and member of the renowned think-tank, the

Club of Rome.

He was interviewed about his outlooks into the future. He shared about four

scenarios, and one of them was darker than the others. He was asked what he

thinks is needed in order – I say it in other words – to steer spaceship earth in a

direction that serves humanity and life on this planet best. And what he said was

something like: We need a sort of global government. But it’s quite unrealistic that

such a government would be able to come to common decisions, since the almost

200 states are so different.

I thought – wait! Even if this would work, even if all those states would elect

representatives and form a global government, I don’t think that it’s really a good

idea, since I see that governments even on a state level have limited power and

capacity to really handle effectively the super complex issues that are burning right


And time is running. In order to move this space-ship into a more healthy direction

we need to organize this differently.

I believe in group-intelligence and self-organizing systems. And I believe, yes, we

need a global agenda, we need a global vision, we need some strategy and a plan

and ways to communicate and decide around global questions.

(continue on next page)




Transcription of Manuela’s talk at the 2nd Collaboration

Incubator Event on October 5, 2018 in Berlin

(continued from previous page)

But in addition to the unrewarding but needed jobs that state

governments and global governing institutions carry, we as

global citizens can take on immediate responsibility in this too.

So many of the diverse people I meet every day are interested

in doing things differently and I see them holding keys to the

solutions already in their hands, no matter what background

they have and from which sector the come: business,

education, activism, healing or politics.

We as representatives of different progressive movements are

holding the ecological, social, spiritual and technological

„solutions“ already in our hands. So what holds us back? What

do we need in order to scale? …. Knowledge, Connections,

Leadership Capacities, Money? The invitation we are making

here is to come together …. and cultivate a garden, nurtured

through our common vision, a vision we still need to create, and

that changes with time and new members who arrive.

Our Garden is a Commons. It’s open to visit and for everyone to

enjoy. We come together on this land because we love

gardening, sitting in trees and meeting our friends there. And

those who commit to certain behaviors can also intervene on

this land, grow their own vegetables, plant some trees.

Some of us will be even able to sell some of the veggies we

grow in this commons, that helps people making a living. And

from the money we make we invest into a watering system, we

share with other commoners, as they shared their gardening

tools before.

Since it’s part of my personal, everyday reality already, I trust in

serendipity, in strokes of luck for all of us. In my dream, our

commons will provide the knowledge, feedback, and links to

connections and resources needed to start growing our favorite

fruits. Ask around and you’ll see everything is there to get your

project off the ground.

We’ve experienced this sort of luck happening already after the

first Incubator in Berlin this May. Prodii and Vanilla Way

incubated a win-win-win Collaboration. Prodii is the tech start-up

represented here by Marianne, offering a tool for collaborative

mapping of professional resources in networks. They are

interested in a use case that is also reflecting their own values

around data ethics, regenerative business models and so on.

Vanilla Way, as a facilitator and activist network, is seeking ways

to go out into the world and present its strength. We are now

working together. Our output will serve the commons. Great

things can happen. But to be honest, I believe cultivating a

commons of that kind is no easy task. It requires two things

from us.

Inspired by the meta-framework Dragon Dreaming, I say: It

requires Dreaming and it requires Commitment to dance with

our dragons. Dreaming here is the capacity to speak out our

deepest wishes. That requires first of all deep listening to learn

about our deepest wishes, and deep listening to hear the

deepest wishes of others.

Commitment – here means to take on the roles and tasks and

growth challenges needed in order to bring them into reality with

support of others. This is a lot to ask from a group of people that

meets for the first time. It’s even a lot to ask for a group that

knows each other for decades. So I invite all of you to take our 3

days of the Collaboration Incubator as a field to experiment with

this. To stay with the metaphor: Consider these 3 days as the

garden party you are visiting and co-organizing. If you stay

connected to this garden after is another story. But you are most

welcome to feel at home and take full ownership during these 3


Maybe then, you’ll find out it’s not the right time in your life to

join this project. Maybe you’ll find it’s not the right people. That’s

all fine too. Please be honest with yourself. And maybe you are

dreaming and dragon-dancing already somewhere else; another

garden is your home and you just stopped by to cross-pollinate

our flowers with your presence and wisdom. Thank you for

being here!

To be honest, I don’t know if human kind is ready to do „Dragon

Dreaming“ – to integrate and accept our traumas, to practice

being an „enlightened society“ – the paradigm we play with in

Social Presencing Theater. I don’t know if I can be a good rolemodel

in this myself. I certainly need help in this.

But if not we, who then? And if not now, when?

And as we commoners say:

„Together we know everything, together we have everything.“

Thank you for the Collaboration.



by Carolyn Whitten

May 2018

When we did the social presence theater, we were like


who had clambered to the topsoftrees

laughing and swinging.

we saw the ground’s truths

below us

and we wondered at the galaxies that * yet could be *

above our heads.

By the end of the day, we had slid

down to the thickest foliage

each tucking in at a familiar negotiation between branch and trunk.

Some had fallen, others clung fast,

stretching hands to the discouraged,

to scramble skywards again.

Can we see each other, still, through the dense, dark, green ?

if not, we will hum a melody

that echoes in the night

We will sing - and the forest will sing back to us.




In Oakland in October, after we had discussed what ‚global distributed democracy‘ could mean for us, we were asking the generative question: »How

does our common project, working title ‚Collaboration Incubator‘, need to be, so you will be able to say that by 2021, ‚I could not have spent my time any

better!‘? « Then everyone shared their answer to the question in turns. We shared one dream at a time and made several rounds.

Fedor – We mobilized 1000 through pure synergistic efforts

around sharing our insights on global distributed democracy

Daniel – We developed our “democratic tech” tool that

connected people all over the world, and that helped to cocreate

their own liberation from repression.

Ann – October 2021 – giant dinner with tables running down

15th street, screening with help of VR, showing our projects that

are happening globally; this helps us understand the connection

to Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, and we celebrate its

physical manifestation.

Gretchen – we are gathering around the fire, and sharing how

our dreams have come into manifestation and how we have

been supporting one another. We are all well.

Ksenia – All are happy and healthy and gathered together with

community. Everyone at this gathering feels energized and

they recognize that we are co-creating a new era. We now

know that we can participate globally and locally on shaping our

future. There is buzz around everywhere, that we can see on

social media, that we are entering a time of participatory

governance, budgeting, and policy development.

Emilia – Celebrating “Day of the Death” and the Collaboration

Incubator Network that we have been building. We are

celebrating that we have re-designed the voting system as well!

Manu – We have successfully collaborated through the internet,

but more importantly through the inner net, the heart-to-heart

connection that we have created with each other.

Fedor – We are regularly collaborating with each other via the

internet and access information about each other and other

people across the network.

Daniel – We will be collaborating through the matrix, breaking

the silos, horizontally, which will allow us to gather new

perspectives and work more effectively.

Ann – We have made and distributed a beautiful booklet that

provides clarity on the principles of global distributed democracy

that helps people understand what it’s really all about.

(continue on next page)




Applied Process

Dragon Dreaming

P Dream Circle

(continued from previous page)

Ksenia – We, and people around the world, are using Social

Presencing Theater to redefine global distributed democracy

by embodying how the current systems make us feel and are

redefining new ones.

Manu - We have greatly helped activists to the inner work

that helps their activism improve as their inner life continues

to thrive.

Emilia – We have a section on our website, showing minimum

of 4 projects on how we successfully implemented the

principles on realizing global distributed democracy.

Ann: Dream Farm Commons (DFC) continued and created

permeable democratic structure, overall resonance deepened

and stabilized. Projects emanating form Collaboration

Incubator that would interface in DFC. DFC continued to be a


Daniel: We created a network of people to collaborate + we

have an economic viable structure to ensure everything

works. We have structure for creating and relation of

ownership for projects. this could extend into multiple shapes.

Emilia: We are meeting again and celebrating projects that

occured in US and Europe, compare experience, sit together

to envision and dream the next three year.

Gretchen: Dreaming Earth is helping people in community to

find connections to themselves and each other to decrease

the disconnections process, and re-weave the connection

process, We are buidling a bridge between Dreaming Earth

and the Collaboration Incubator.

Fyodor: the Collaboration Incubator project has clarity +

purpose: beacon for people to engage a no-violent and very

open type of collaboration, honoring individuality to connect

people + a platform to develop a governance structure for the


Manu: Overheard a conversation that the Collaboration

Incubator is perceived ‚truly diverse‘ project

Ksenia – we see Real Impact on the ground – based on

whatever we did together – we are seeing people’s lives

getting better – tangible impact

Ann – Dream Farm Commons has a strong programming of

visual works, social practice works, and discourse that is

being led by a committed, united, but permeable core. Our

activity around Collaboration Incubator has emerged


Daniel -There are several physical spaces around the world

where we meet up.

Emilia – I helped Ann, Daniel, Ksenia, Manu, Gretchen, and

Fedor with their projects, and they have helped me. We have

positively inspired each other. It has been good.

Ksenia – We have been building an immune system for

thriving and resilient and flourishing communities. –









The dreams and ideas we came up with in Berlin in October when daring to ask “How does our shared project need to be,

so you will be able to say in one year from now, “ I could not have spent my time better!”? This is what they came up with.

Naomi: Blue proved again & again that we can overcome what

seems impossible

Marianne: I managed to inspire more than / or 10 collabators to

join prodii in building the resources and expand the network

with 10 ‚friends’ each.

Philine Helena: We have been able to join forces in a way that

is nurturing.

Philine Helena: We have come to understand what happens in

the group on deeper , emotional levels

Marie: I knew the starting motivation I had and the motivations

of the others

Frederik: We have enriched each other and the world to create

sustainable & generative livelihoods

Frederik: The cross-pollination and collaboration arose

organically by giving space to explore freely

Naomi: We supported each other by respecting each other’s

capacities to respond to difficulty.

Frederik: I have learned / trust my own dreams / difference to

other’s dreams

Michel: I have become a really good collaborator

Marianne: We produced a beautiful, impressive and accessible

map of all the network’s resources, skills and relationships

Manuela: We embraced the complexity of our human, personal,

intimate relationships and we’re able to move forward –

realizing the vision.

Rahel: Our products/ services accessible to many/ beyond our

group. What we do deeply inspires creativity and sustainability.

Rahel: The priority was the flow of process.

Peter: We never lost sight that we are here at the pleasure &

mercy of the earth.

Manuela: The group overcame conflicts. Someone always

came in to move to the next step.

Rahel: We found one (or several) workspaces that are flooded

with natural light, and outside allows us to connect to nature.

Marie: Deep connection between members of project group;

breathe, trust, belief

Marie: Unfold potentials of the group members and the group

Peter: The team culture includes practices to witness each

person (once a week minimum) – authentic

Marie: Contributed to a dream (+need) that is outside oft he

bubble oft he project

Manuela: There is an easy way to request help that is needed.

Needs got fulfilled, because we’ve been precise in the request.

Michel: I have become more motivated more clear, conscious

and able as a human being

Michel: I have been a very good collaborator

Michel: I have learned to deeply listen into the fire of


Imran: I have become a real good initiator

Michel: I have become part in an international network for


Imran: I have clarity where I can get in touch to talk about

Imran: I have learned that the development is bottom-up

Daniel: Transformation happened and I can disappear

Michel: I am working for change

Imran: I am smashing all the stereotypes

Daniel: I am living facilitation

Daniel: I have learned not to help others

Applied Process

Dragon Dreaming

P Dream Circle





© Photos by





In our first

incubator ever,

dreamt about

Vanilla Way network


“How does our Open

Value Network need

to be, so you will be

able to say by

November 2018:

„I could not have

spent my time


(Frederik) It has connected change makers around the world,

who are implementing projects around paradigm shifts.

(Huge) We have developed powerful tools to reinvent encounters

of human beings

(Manu) We have used different existing organizational structures

(Leonie) Connections have become visible and created what

would not have been possible otherwise

(Momo) Communication was so clear that vision took shape

(Huge) Each of us has been aware of his and her resources and


(Nico) The unexpected huge grant covered our energetic input

(Frederik) The value / assets have been distributed equivalently

in solidarity to all contributors and stakeholders

(Leonie) We have created a platform which has made

collaboration easier

(Momo) We have created a platform that has opened our hearts

and minds to understand each other better

(Huge) We worked on a common pattern according our universal

laws, which allows every human being to learn and experience

(Nico) The project led to personal growth for everyone:

intellectually, psychologically, socially (Leoni) We stepped out of

our bubble and connect it with everyday life.

(Momo) We are able to connect our inner feminine side with our

inner masculine side and within the group

(Frederik) Everybody was able to contribute their unique skills

and gifts, if the wanted to

(Momo) We were able to grow our intuition and have a better

connection with nature

(Eva) We came up with a project that resulted in real tangible


(Sebastian) We succeeded in setting up an open source system,

in which every group member can contribute to the solution of

the problem, according to the members expertise, in their own


(Marianne) We have succeeded in attracting positive people by

invitation only policy

(Anton) We have connected with other perspectives, networks,

people all around the world

(Ele) We have spent time together in nature/nourishing

environment with meaningful conversations, which we share with

people in other places, who have done the same „exercise“,

connecting mind, body and heart.

(Eva) We have an organized, loving, supporting community of

practice that feel comfortable.

(Marianne) We have developed a sustainable business model.

Doing well by doing good.

(Anton) We used a wording that was understandable, also for

people that were unfamiliar with the topic

(Ele) We have succeeded to uncover and break hidden taboos

that are in the way of global loving anger

(Marianne) We have created real value to someone

(Ele) We have brought more lightness and joy

(Eva) We found solutions locally,

exchanged them globally, and

instructed how to perform step by


(Caro) Because the project was

concrete, reason for doing it together

was clear (Kristina) Started locally

(Caro) Needs driven

(Daniel) The four of us have met

another time in person

(Michael) Attracted three people to

come to Berlin to collaborate


(Michael) We worked with companies

to change their mission and company


Put values in practice which return us

to our innate humanity

local & interdisciplinary

I have grown by connecting with the

network and being inspired in a

balanced way

Applied Process

Dragon Dreaming

P Dream Circle





In the 3 day experience we attempted to prototype a mini-distributed-democracy. We reviewed and decided

democratically in the beginning, with help of the "sociocratic consent process" on „principles of practice"

that we all agreed to follow.

Principles of practice the group in Oakland came up with and agreed on:

Equality – all who are here are equals and peers

Consent – we take all our decisions democratically

Disturbance has priority

Co-facilitation – we support and share the leadership

Assumptions – we are aware of the subjectivity of our contributions

Responsibility for own intent and impact on others

Speaking our truth gently

Balance our personal and the group needs

One can leave the room and come back

Whatever happens is what is supposed to happen

Supportive tools and techniques we used:

A talking piece

Sociocratic consent process

"Pina Kari bowl‘ to pause and have a moment of silence

Energizer to wake us up or get us back into our bodies

Hand signals:

weaving with both hands for appreciation/celebration;

thumb on heart for reminding to speak form the ‚I‘

crossing arms in front of chest for showing consent

Applied Process


P Consent

Dream global,

act local and

share back – connect – exchange

a best we can.



Throughout the 3-day Collaboration Incubator, we had many formal and

informal conversations about resource sharing, collaborating and

helping each other on projects that have social impact and are aligned

with the direction of distributed global democracy. Organically, the seeds

from our storytelling and intentions for collaborations have been planted

and are beginning to take root. Several of the participants of the Oakland

Collaboration Incubator have started to work together on projects or are

in the process of talking about potential collaborations. This is aligned

with our vision of global distributed democracy, where we dream

globally, act locally, and help each other utilizing our existing resources

and networks, in order to mobilize others.



It was important for the Oakland group to determine how to align our existing resources, projects and goals

to help each other succeed on our individual growth journeys, as well as move forward on shared goals for

global distributed democracy. The group mapped out their existing skills and resources as well as their

current needs for the work that we already engaged in to look for natural overlaps and collaboration



The offers combined uses of Physical Spaces (Dream Farm Commons,

California; Dreaming Earth, Oregon); Thought Partnership & Skills

Exchange (Graphic Design, Photo Editing, Workshop Facilitation, Civic

Engagement & Co-Design, crafting); Emotional and Spiritual Guidance

(Rites of passage & ceremonial work, physical body work/exchange

sessions); and providing rich Network Connections (Evolutionary

Leadership Community, Vanilla Way Network, and connections around the

world across Social Impact, Policy Designers & Futures Communities)


Our mutual needs spanned across several categories including strategic

Connections & Networks (designers, community builders, wisdom keepers,

and social innovators); Resources & Skills (financial, design, business

modeling); and on-going Advice and Guidance on topics enacting global

distributed democracy, creating collective energy hive with clear direction,

deeply respecting & allowing power, and tools, techniques, best practices

and advice on growing and scaling projects.


More work will be required to stay focused on the key themes’ that have been developed through a process called

Objective Setting, that have been built on the collective envisioning process aka ‚Dream-Circle‘. Now the group is called

to self-organize to come up with next steps, both for the local group and for the network of past and future incubators.

The four themes help us to stay focused on the large vision without sacrificing any individual dreams.


Applied Process

Dragon Dreaming

P Objective Setting

Step 1

Clustering of key aspects

from the dream-circle

content, that will help

realizing our vision

Dream Farm Commons thriving

programming, physical site &

democratic structure

Real Impact on the Ground

Permeable, democratic and creative


Physical Spaces

Local tangible Impact benefitting


Help activists do the inner work to

improve their practice

We become truly diverse

Sharing Resources

Synergistic efforts mobilize


Planting seeds and tending soil

Building an immune system for

resilient communities

Co-creating Commons

Playground for prototyping &


We help each other

We know our boundaries

Collaborating regularly with each




Optimizing our current skills and


Step 2

Real Tangible

Connecting Democratic


Guiding Principles on

Formulating key-themes

need to focus on.




How We Work



To help our strategic planning and monitoring, we came up with a set of key-indicators to know ‚if these things are

happening, we know we are on track realizing our dream, if they are not, we get an idea what we still can work on.‘ This

process was based on a variation of the Dragon Dreaming objective setting process.

Applied Process

Dragon Dreaming

P Objective Setting Variation



[] People gather in multidisciplinary teams to do

projects together

[] The on-boarding process is attracting people

beyond our known networks


[] We offer tools in a constant needs-driven way

with clear and easy communication


[] Level of awareness is rising

[] Number of new collaborations

[] Shared mindful practices

[] Shared AHA moments

[] Shift of dreams

—> Measured through collecting stories/

interviewing our group / observing media and



[] Everyone feels seen and appreciated

[] Joy is larger than frustration

[] Love greater or same as responsibility

[] We are fueled by our vision

[] We actively invite intuition into our processes


[] We see and hear stories of personal growth and

daring greatly

[] We give them shout outs and appreciation

[] We recognize media attention about how we do

things differently (transgression)


[] Scale of a project is matching the resources

available and the capacity of the individuals [] We

are scaling projects through integrating learning



During the Berlin Incubator in October, we came up with tasks and project ideas we

would love to follow up and invite collaboration. We organized them in different

categories – dreaming, planning, doing and celebration tasks and projects, inspired

by the Dragon Dreaming wheel, to see where we might need more balance.


Share our stories

Research Workspace

Form on-boarding team


Form group to talk about equality &

inclusion in our community

Permaculture/ Gardening

New forums of housing

Shared language

Self Org. Tool-Box

Documentation & Report of CI

Learn more about dialogues

Fire Practice - „jump into the fire“


Change unites us and can expand the

bubble – Guidance in finding role

Facilitation P2P practice group

„How to find unity in diversity“

Co-write article on principles of practice

Vision quest #usetheuseless

Ressource/ Relation Network built on

prodii tech


Shamanism & facilitation

short conversation & peer support

Inner Work

Process Inspired

by Dragon Dreaming

P Phases and Wheel



In the first Incubator in Berlin in May 2018, we came up with a list of "selfish project proposals." Based upon the

assumption that we often don’t dare to ask, but we would like to have a support team for our project with the hope that

others might like to join us.


Caro, Nico, Huge, Ele, Frederik

Status: Happening regularly once a month in Berlin

Coordinator: Caro


Nico, Momo, Eva, Huge, Daniel, Kristina

Status: Turned into „Governance Kit Playbook“ Project

Coordinator: Ele


Kristina, Huge, Leonie, Ele, Momo

Status: First Call has happened

Coordinator: Kristina


Frederik, Kristina, Daniel, Momo, Ele, Leonie

Status: Manu & Daniel exchanged, Daniel open to doing

something in Luxemburg


Ele, Marianne, Manu, Huge

Status: Marianne working in Prodii for VW

Coordinator: Marianne

Coordination: tdb


Marianne, Huge, Ele, Frederik, Momo, Kristina

Status: Working session with Eva, Ela and Manu at Ele’s

place happened in July

Coordinator: na


Eva, Anton, Caro, Momo, Huge, Nico, Frederik

Status: not started yet

Coordinator: Anton


Pauline, Momo, Huge, Manu

Status: in production of first edit

Coordinator: Huge


Ele, Manu, Frederik

Status: working on governance and legal structure

Coordinator: Frederik/Manuela


Momo, Huge, Kristina, Caro, Anton

Status: accomplished in May at Supermarkt

Coordinator: Anton


Manu, Frederik

Status: Bylaws and Membership agreements are in


Coordination: Frederik


Nico, Kristina, Huge, Eva

Status: Kristina and Manu once attended, next chance

August 28 and September 4

Coordination: Nico

Status by July 24 as known


Momentum is built through continuous cycles of repetition. Therefore, we have designed the Collaboration

Incubator as a recurring peer2peer training program, happening half-yearly in Berlin, Germany and Oakland,

USA. Our plan is not building a giant institution, but contributing to an ecosystem.

As we continue to host iterations in these locations, we will also grow to

reach more locations around the world.

In 2018, we started with two events in Berlin and now this one in


The main idea is to unleash collective intelligence and creativity, by

bringing together agents of progressive movements and diverse

backgrounds around a shared challenge: Developing a vision on how to

build momentum for 'global distributed democracy'. As we've seen in the

past incubators so far, we did not leave with a comprehensive

understanding how this could look like, nor do we have strategies in place

that span the whole globe. And that is not the idea.

Instead, we are creating space to exchange and envision around this

topic with people from different backgrounds. After each iteration, we

harvest the data to be used in ongoing research, which informs a deeper

collective insight.

By sharing our discoveries within and beyond the network, this will

contribute to building global momentum for distributed governance. Our

initial success is revealed by observing how our global support network is

growing, providing support and access by generously sharing our

knowledge, help and resources.

Some participating in this project are focusing on personal and local

projects. Others are interested in building and activating structures for

interdisciplinary and international collaboration. Our strategy here is

focused on harnessing and creatively applying existing tools, structures

and ideas such as open source, commons, cooperative platforms,

resources offered from various peer2peer networks (e.g. P2P foundation),

and by using these tools in new ways with new people, we become part

of the wider ecosystem of prototypers who can improve upon and help to

shape the application of these methods.

Inspirations to our

current thinking







How P2P

will change

the world


and children



based peer



White privilege



The Future of

Leadership Will

Be More Feminine



never works

i Surrendering

the white ego



It takes a while to have this kind of

conversations. You start feeling each other

very soon and then the quality then gets

denser towards the end and then you don’t

want to say goodbye. So it is great to set up

these very intense three day retreats and

really deal with each other and that takes a

lot of commitment from everyone. And

having such experiences is so important. –

Ele Jansen



"It needs more clarity of purpose for the

Collaboration Incubator movement in general.“

I don’t understand the „fire-practice“. What it

means and what it takes.

„The title Building Global Distributed Democracy was a bit fuzzy

to me, but frankly the topic is and remains broad.“

„After really trying to understand what you are

trying to achieve, it still remains difficult for me

to imagine for whom this program could be


„Clarify and reshape the goal of the workshop:

global democracy, co-creation (incl. group

process) vs. testing methods (dragon dreaming,

social presencing theatre)“

I didn't need to know everything at start of workshop but would have

liked if clarity on intent of workshop , what we made together came

clear by end.

„I think the question o building an organization of

Vanilla Way, an ongoing entity, is confusing and throws

off the game a bit.“

„Learn understand the needs better.“

„I wish we focused on less tools in total, and just

focused deeper on a couple.“

„Sticking to just fewer modalities would be better. We were

weaving in too much information and activity into the


„More breaks and more physical activity“

„I felt that all voices in the room were generally

heard, but we could do more to have more

diversity in the room“

„It can be disheartening to see many of those who are

committed to collaboration are not doing so well at

embodying this. Maybe it will take time…“

"I was missing a facilitative attitude, for me this

was more moderating“

„I felt that all voices in the room were generally heard, but

we could do more to have more diversity in the room.“

How does the connection after the incubator work? It feels like we

came together, got inspired, what? We didn't fully dive

into how the individual visions can truly support the bigger vision“.




October 2018


October 2018


May 2018

14 %

24 %

22 %

11 %

29 %

12 %

14 %

28 %

29 %

6 %

14 %

33 %

39 %

24 %

Community Insight Learning Facilitation Practice Empowerment

After each incubator we conducted a survey to collect feedback.

We asked the participants 'What was your biggest personal

takeaway from the incubator?' and 'What did you take home to the

progressive movement/sector you feel you represent?' Analyzing

the qualitative data we discovered the following five major themes

of takeaways that are also matching what we've intended in this

program: finding a community of like-minded people, gaining deep

insights, learning about facilitation frameworks, mastering

facilitation practice, and feeling inspired and empowered to keep

doing change work. To learn more about each of these categories,

we recommend looking at the qualitative data provided in this




…biggest personal take-away:

‚I am not alone‘

‚Deep democracy is messy; we want collectivity but are scared of it‘

‚Democracy starts with building trust‘

‚The empowerment of myself and more self-confidence‘

‚I can bring these teachings and practices to my community‘

That I am not alone and that a supportive community is critical to expand my work, to get feedback and to make a

difference (community) (insight)

To create global distributed democracy, we need local action that has tangible impact. We also need to build

trust, and that is an on-going practice that takes time and conscious effort. For us to build something even at the

local level that has tangible impact will require a commitment, and on-going collaboration. (insight)

How I show up in groups and community settings! Lots of insight into my personal contributions (ie: what I have to

offer this world and how I can deliver those offerings) and how the group contributes and supports each other (ie:

resources)! (community) (empowerment)

Deep democracy is messy; we want collectivity but are scared of it (insight)

The relationships, support from group (community)

Some great learnings around the complexity of deep intentions, conscious and unconscious narratives, trust,

shared purpose, and ultimately the future of the Global Distributed Democracy :) (insight) (learning)


I developed further insights on how to work. (insight)

… biggest take away to my progressive movement/sector:

Democracy starts with building trust (insight)

I got some fresh ideas about structures and how magic, our own stories , creative energy can fuel change

(learning) (insight)

Social presencing theater brings so much embodied awareness. This along with the principles of dragon dreaming

and the dream circle are practices that I am working on. I feel that since I have a felt sense and understanding of

these concepts, that I can bring these teachings and practices to my community. (learning) (facilitation


I would like to try some of the facilitation methodologies that we have learned including dragon dreaming and

social presencing theater. I wish we spent more time focusing on a fewer techniques, but with more rigor.

(learning) (facilitation practice)

The resolution to continue pushing, even if I am still lost and far from knowing that what I am doing is actually

going to provide actual sustainable empowerment in women and an income for me (empowerment)

Social Presencing Theater and Dragon Dreaming exercise were very cool. Integrating Evolutionary

Leadership into ad hoc turns of the process was very fun too. And, of course, the relationships! (facilitation

practice) (community)

The empowerment of myself and more self-confidence (empowerment)



'the importance of consenting to decisions'

‚Sometimes be careful what you wish for ;-)‘

…biggest personal take-away:

Creating deep connections through shared difficulty (community)

group experience that transforms from a pseudo community, to chaos, over to emptiness to an authentic

community (cf. Scott Peck) (insight)

two things: one the importance of consenting to decisions. two the experience of facilitating (insight)

(facilitation practice)

fire-practice (facilitation practice)

Sometimes be careful what you wish for ;-) I asked for being comfortable being vulnerable - and did I 'put

myself' in a vulnerable place? yes - however, not feeling comfortable.. not yet, next time, maybe!


first facilitation insights (facilitation practice)

making my invisible dreams (project) visible; connections with great people; future collaborations.

(empowerment (community)

‚Making invisible dreams visible‘

‚the specific contexts we find in microclimates

also apply in human relationships‘

… biggest take away to my progressive movement/sector:

Not to undervalue the personal and interpersonal experiences by going straight for the tools--

reminding other permaculturists that the specific contexts we find in microclimates also applies in human

relationships. (facilitation practice)

group experience that transforms from a pseudo community, to chaos, over to emptiness to an authentic

community, group dynamics (insight) (facilitation practice)

combining the wheel of consent with consent decision-making (facilitation practice)

dialogue (facilitation practice)

A lot of work… A new view on the possibilities (empowerment) (insight)

the need to go on working on and in this sector, first approaches to talk to others about it, collaboration

as habit we need for to deal with us (me / myself), for progressive work, for our politics (europe), for the

earth (empowerment) (insight)

‚collaboration as habit we need for to deal with us,

for progressive work, for our politics (europe), for the earth‘



‚a horizon widening experience‘

‚how a new format without knowing the end results can be

communicated, introduced and made successful‘

‚connecting spirituality, nature and digital‘

…biggest personal take-away:

I felt like having entered a completely different bubble from the one I am living in, it was a horizon

widening experience all in all, I am sure things I have heard of the first time not being able to connect to

yet, will pop up in future again. More consciousness and curiosity for the role of cycles, the female one,

but also natural cycles which I experience in agriculture and community life connected to agriculture is a

special take away I am very greatful for, my curiosity for dragon dreaming isn't satisfied yet :-) (insight)

(learning) (empowerment)

Observing how chaos can be dealt with and how a new format without knowing the end results can be

communicated, introduced and made successful. Also being part of the co-responsibility group and

witnessing the beauty of it. (facilitation practice) (learning) (co-responsibility)

The connections and insights from the 4D mapping (insight)

I think the time has come for me to connect the three circles in my work life; spirituality, nature and

digital. (insight) (empowerment)

The people (community)

New perspectives on / variations of Dragon Dreaming (learning)

… biggest take away to my progressive movement/sector:

‚ transform our agricultural awareness for cycles

in processes of collaboration'

Huge consciousness for cycles, wish to use and transform our agricultural awareness for cycles in

processes of collaboration (insight) (empowerment)

A confirmation that my approach is needed for movements that want to evoke social change


Connections (community)

A purpose to fulfill and fuel to move forward. (insight) (empowerment)

Ontological design as yet another name for artistic ways of working :) (learning)

‚A purpose to fulfill and fuel to move forward‘

„When you give the apparent weakest member of a

community too little attention, your community may

fall apart.

When you give them too much attention

as being the weakest part, you‘ll fail to empower

them and the whole.

Your community may fall apart.

Let us learn to balance our perspective on who we

think holds power.

We are all both deeply vulnerable

and wise, empowered people.“

- Manuela Bosch



We asked the participants what progressive movement or idea do they feel they

represent? Here are the answers from all the registered participants.

'There's something very valuable

popping up through the image of

common ground/soil...

we might have, in fact,

prepared some soil together

which is able

to give life to things

still about coming up."

– Michel van Amsterdam


Type of Data Oakland 10/11 Berlin 10/11 Berlin 05/11 total 2018

total % total % total %

Number of registered participants incl. organizers 8 22 % 13 36 % 15 42 % 36

Number of present participants incl. organizers 7 21 % 11 33 % 15 45 % 33

Number of participants in co-responsible/co-organizer role 6 75 % 11 85 % 13 87 % 30

Number of female identified 5 63 % 6 46 % 8 53 % 19

Number of male identified 3 38 % 6 46 % 7 47 % 16

Number of other gender identified 0 0 % 1 8 % 0 0 % 1

Participants’ country of origin

Germany, USA (3), Russia (2), Italy, Sweden

Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland (2), New Zealand, USA (2),

Germany (3), Pakistan

Germany (10), Peru, USA (2), Denmark, Luxemburg

Number of participants of foreign origin 4 57 % 9 82 % 5 33 % 18


Participants’ present place of residence

San Francisco, CA, USA, Berlin, Germany, Washington,

DC, US, Bend, Oregon, USA, Oakland, CA, USA; San

Diegeo, CA, US; Oakland, CA, USA; Stockholm, Sweden

Copenhagen Denmark (2); Netherlands; Bern, Switzerland (2,

Nomadic; Berlin, Germany (6)

Berlin, Germany (8); Bad Vilbel, Germany; Kleve, NRW;

Copenhagen, Denmark; Luxemburg, Luxemburg

Number of locals (residence within 50 miles) 3 38 % 6 46 % 8 53 % 17

Number of participants answering the survey 7 100 % 7 64 % 6 40 % 20

the following numbers come from interpretations of qualitative-data of take-aways! 0

Biggest personal take-away: Community 4 57 % 2 29 % 1 17 % 7

Biggest personal take-away: Insight 5 71 % 2 29 % 3 50 % 10

Biggest personal take-away: Learning 1 14 % 3 50 % 4

Biggest personal take-away: Facilitation Practice 3 43 % 1 17 % 4

Biggest personal take-away: Empowerment 1 14 % 2 29 % 2 33 % 5

total answers 11 157 % 9 129 % 10 167 % 30

Biggest take-away for work: Community 1 14 % 1 17 % 2

Biggest take-away for work: Insight 2 29 % 3 43 % 2 33 % 7

Biggest take-away for work: Learning 2 29 % 1 17 % 3

Biggest take-away for work: Facilitation Practice 3 43 % 4 57 % 7

Biggest take-away for work: Empowerment 2 29 % 2 29 % 3 50 % 7

total answers 10 143 % 9 129 % 7 117 % 26


Biggest take-away: Community 5 24 % 2 11 % 2 12 % 9

Biggest take-away: Insight 7 33 % 5 28 % 5 29 % 17

Biggest take-away: Learning 3 14 % 0 0 % 4 24 % 7

Biggest take-away: Facilitation Practice 3 14 % 7 39 % 1 6 % 11

Biggest take-away: Empowerment 3 14 % 4 22 % 5 29 % 12

Sum total answers 21 100 % 18 100 % 17 100 %

Average funding we had, per registered participant 428 $ 3.420 $ 225 € 2.929 € 234 € 3.506 €

Number survey-participants who’ll support/join again 7 100 % 1 14 % 3 50 % 11

Number survey-participants who’ll maybe support/join again 0 0 % 6 86 % 6

Number survey-participants who’ll not join again 3 50 % 3


OKL1810 & BLN1810

Here is an example of the post-incubator-survey where we asked several questions. For example,"which

aspects do you think we were most effective?" "What [frameworks] would you recommend to include in

future incubators again?" "How was the atmosphere and food?"






by Philine Krosse (NL)

Co-editing Kate Kingston (AUS), Letitia van der Merwe (SA), Manuela Bosch (DE) and Mich Levy


A series of Collaboration Incubator workshops are being put out into the world to gather like-minded

people to combine forces for building global grassroots democracy. I am Philine Krosse, an

‘transformation architect’ from the Netherlands, who was following links one morning and stumbled

upon the website of Vanilla Way. Without a second thought, I enrolled for the Berlin workshop from 5

to 7 October 2018.

What if everything we ever tried were only prototypes of democracy? What if we don’t actually know

how real democracy could look like? This thinking by Otto Scharmer (Theory U) inspired the tagline of

the Collaboration Incubator: “Momentum building for global democracy”. Within the Incubators,

different existing local initiatives and movements are called to work on a vision and potentially also

projects for a democratic society across boarders. Boarders not only in a geographical sense, but also

in sense of sector, culture, class and any paradigm.

'the required solutions are already existing, but there is a lack of cohesive effort’

Facilitated through social technologies like Dragon Dreaming, Evolutionary Work and Social

Presencing Theater, we are learning to maximize the knowledge, tools and resources that are

available, to connect with others and organize change. This is particularly powerful when combined

with the increasing awareness of the importance of a more conscious lifestyle whether on an individual,

community or organizational scale. Our assumption is, that the required solutions are already existing,

but there is a lack of cohesive effort that can only come from stepping out of our comfort zones for

interdisciplinary organizing. This is what the people from the Vanilla Way network believe they can help

to facilitate: connecting people with shared intentions and addressing issues that can’t be coordinated

from top down with tools made for collaborative grassroots organizing.

'I felt I needed something of a different order to grow further’

Yet after enrolling, I thought, why would I want to contribute to this movement? Why did I feel so

strongly that this movement was something through that I could develop myself further. Also, I have

never considered helping building a global democracy? For many years, I had been pondering,

searching and diving into the deep of the big questions. I learned a lot from different people, literature

and by designing and developing initiatives for communal healing and transformation to make

collective sustainable development possible. Since a while, I felt I needed something of a different

order to grow further and improve my work.

I had an inspiring talk with Manuela Bosch, one of the initiators of the Collaboration Incubator about

the intentions and drive that lead to this program. She explained to me, that this program isn’t about

building a global institution. It is about finding creative and innovative ways to address local issues

that impact us all globally – issues that cross borders and therefore can’t be resolved solely by one

institution, one country or the existing global institutional governing bodies.

Beyond envisioning and

planning, practicing collaboration

by creating a shared piece of

tape-art in the Incubator in May

2018 in Berlin.

By Momo C. Gumz


Celebratory activity

during Collaboration

Incubator in Berlin in

May 2018 with Marit

Vos as our cook

By Momo C. Gumz)

Through her work as trainer for the collaborative project design framework Dragon Dreaming, Manuela

experienced that workshop participants are connecting fast and deep, but after meeting in a workshop

focused on skill learning, it’s difficult to keep collaborating, even though good intentions are there.

„There needs to be a reason for people to keep reconnecting. The activists and leaders I am speaking

to, seem to have no more time to waste in workshops. At the same time people do want to network,

connect on a deeper level and learn. Why not use the combined intelligence of a diverse group of

people coming together interested in the collective change processes that are necessary? When we

make time to travel and meet over three days, let’s work on the pressing question of what we can do

for global issues! Could it be possible to work on a collective dream and also not let it’s realization be

left to chance, but intentionally work on it? There is no guarantee to come to conclusion on this over

the three days, but it’s worth to try!“

'find good ways to use the resources we have wisely, plus all of our creativity’

When we as participants of the incubators discover what our shared dream for democracy is, we will

start acting upon it – either through what we are already doing or through a shared project that comes

out of the process. Either way is supported. The diversity of people and views present will enlarge our

individual view or sector view. This fosters tolerance and consciousness.

'we can only be as global as the reach of the network is'

Enlarging the pool of diversity among the participants is one of the highest goals and greatest

challenges. Diversity comes for example by bringing people together from different socio-economicreligious-political

backgrounds, but also from the wealth of experience an individual brings from their

work and field of interest. The diversity topic is challenging, since first: we can only be as global as the

reach of the network is; secondly: Diversity is dependent on our financial resources, too – this is why

we i.e look for patrons for one-on-one scholarships and other ways of independent funding; and thirdly:

Levering diversity depends more than ever on our own leadership capacity to deal with race, gender

and inclusivity topics.

There seems to be an opening now, a commitment to come together and collaborate better. This

program is contributing to what is already happening on so many levels and places. And, there is still

so much work to do. Many active in organizing societal change feel there is no time to rest! Therefore

another main goal of the incubator is about inspiring for self-care, so that we don’t burn out on the way.

It is so important to find good ways to use the resources we have wisely, plus all of our creativity, to

make sure that our power and energy endures all the way. The way of activism this Incubator supports

is meant to be straight forward and honest, yet unexpected and joyful.

In the recent Collaboration Incubator in May 2018 in Berlin the participants learned through a Social

Presencing Theater 4D Mapping experiment about the importance of

borders. We learned, they are not only separating us. They really help us to collaborate better across

our fields and different stakeholders. If we look at borders that exist in the natural world, for example

the zone between the river and the forest, this is where the most biodiversity can be found. In

permaculture this zone is called ecotone. Also personal relationships provide a classic example.

Maybe others experience this, too: When we put too much attention onto another person, trying

identifying with them and their actions, we are faster questioning whether we agree with them or not.

The possibility of conflict can become greatly increased.


'connect with many people, interdisciplinary and divers, with less resources or effort!'

When we focus on the third identity, though, the in-between or intersections that exists between A and B, our

collaboration can be more effective, lighter and even deeply strengthen both individuals or fields. We don’t have to

agree on everything, yet accept each other as the mutual partners and siblings in a global family, that we are. Each

with our own skills, strength and knowledge to work on collective solutions. This way it might become possible to

connect with many people, interdisciplinary and divers, with less resources or effort. It is the art of connecting through

the heart in seeing and acknowledging each other and at the same time staying focused around our own work, own

needs and shared vision.

The program can be called a success, when every participant has been able to take away at least one key learning or

key link to a resource crucial for their current work or life. The contribution to global distributed democracy can be a

side-effect and will keep building its momentum through continuous commitment of many over time. „If we are going

to support the creation of a giant collaborative field, will depend pretty much on the participants and outcomes of the

Incubators and especially what will happen between the ongoing workshops. If the Collaboration Incubator is helping

unleash the connections between the existing movements, so that they can better recognize their own qualities and

give each other direct help, we will move into this direction.“ the organizers of the Collaboration Incubator hope.

'the wisdom and spirit that is already in our bodies, heads, hearts, souls can come to the surface more


To share the knowledge and keep developing and integrating internet based technology to coordinate our efforts and

make our network power visible is important. As an underestimated addition to this I believe in connecting people and

their visions on a deeper level face-to-face. The wisdom and spirit that is already in our bodies, heads, hearts, souls

will come to the surface more easily. After writing this article I know that this is my motivation and intention to



Participants of the Incubator in

Berlin in May 2018 are putting their

names up on the collaborative

projects they want to support.

By Momo C. Gumz


GLOBAL RECLAMATION aka following traces and enacting connectivity with Manuela



Article: Common

ownership of

the earth

// On Innovator Incubator October 26- 28 Oakland California:

by Ann Schnake of Dream Farm Commons

The October Workshop Innovator Incubator in Oakland started

slowly. Our group of 7 people tentatively met at Dream Farm

Commons, a small experimental art exhibition and project

space in Downtown Oakland. Gazing out at a graffiti covered

wall, street people punctuated the morning with strange

poetics; gazing inward at our small altar on a wooden stump,

we began to tentatively connect as a temporary but highly

intimate group.

We came from 6 different countries and 7 different cities and

from fields of study of philosophy, business, art, design &

healing. I wasn’t really sure what had brought us together and

in the first hours of the workshop; it was a bit unclear what the

unifying work of the weekend was to be. We all seemed

propelled by a desire for connectivity but with an apprehension

of the unknown close at hand. My own reason for joining the

workshop was a desire to enact deep forms of democracy

within the still very newborn Dream Farm Commons by

physically hosting an experimental weekend; I hoped that a

weekend experiment might provoke answers to the more long

term general question of how to develop new structures and a

commons within Dream Farm. I also knew that the tremendous

intuitive magnetism and skillful group process management of

our leader Manuela Bosch gave me confidence to dive into

unknown waters. It appeared to me that a belief in creativity, a

desire for collectivity, examination of new structures and

willingness to deeply personally engage brought us together.

This sense of diving into the unknown, paired with our

collective current conditions of desperately needing

connectivity, a commons and new forms of production were

highly motivating!

This, in retrospect is how I understand how the weekend


We used story telling movement, interpersonal games,

structures for collective process to get down to a quick and

temporary intimacy and deep currents arose. We differed from

groups that use some similar techniques purely for personal

growth in that ideas of collectivity, building change were what

brought us together; the personal was in action but not the

endpoint. For me the most salient currents were that many of

us are trying to work collectively or in new forms of creative

production but its hard: we fear that there is not enough and

fear giving up control. Some of the answers of how we will

work together in the future need intuition, magic, deep holding

of our own stories and that which we know in our bodies.

There are currents running all over the world attempting to

build commons and we need to follow those traces.

The question of building the tiny “empires “of Vanilla Way,

Institute of Evolutionary Leadership Dream Farm Commons

and our other individual projects got in the way sometimes and

created colliding desires in the group. Old stories of corporate

structure, total focus on acquisition and empire building can

get in the way of our cooperation and budding ideas of the


We don’t need hierarchical solutions to our current complexity

of needs, the world conditions that are begging for use of

magic, connectivity and a commons. I think the Incubator

should embrace its temporary nature and see itself as

preparing conditions of soil for rhizomatic spreads of roots and

channels, new routes of creative production.

Manuela frequently used the expression ‘following traces”. I

think that this is how our work needs to be now: brave to go

into unknown waters, give up singularity, embrace collectivity,

follow magic, play, intuition, desire, and build new channels for

all of that wonderful package to support the common good and

our big messy project of enacting a deep form of democracy.




Dream Farm


the Incubator

home in







“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they join”.

(Commonly attributed to Gandhi, paraphrased by me)

Story by Marianne Steen

written with help, feedback and English corrections by Ele Jansen and Naomi Joy Smith

Why did I initially decide to join the Collaboration Incubator workshop?

Because I sensed that the vision of the Collaboration Incubator resonated with my vision for a

collaborative technology platform.

Looking into the future– with the rise of freelancers worldwide and an ongoing competition for talent

and skills—I knew I wanted want to bring a win-win model forward. A model that challenges the “new

normal” within the tech-world. Similarly, the incubator workshop invites us to challenge how things are

done and points to more sustainable ways of living and working.

However, wanting to change what is considered ‘normal’ is not an easy task. It takes time, endurance

and perseverance.

That’s probably the reason why I – both during and after the workshop – have taken a walk down

memory lane, remembering the last time I was part of a group trying to figure out how to move

forward to an alternative; something more sustainable. Yet at the time I was not precisely sure how to

do it and what to do.

The difference between then and now is global connectivity. In the 80s we were inspired

globally, but worked locally. Today, technology has enabled us to meet and organise across


How the Collaboration Incubator workshop connected my past and present

The way the Collaboration Incubator is connecting people with shared intentions and paving a path

together for the future offers the potential to empower new beginnings in a way that I/we could not

even imagine back then.

In the 80s, I was studying at “Landbohøjskolen” (agricultural school), the Royal Veterinary And

Agricultural University of Copenhagen. The norm back then was, in Danish terms, “konventionel

plantedyrkning” (conventional plant growth) with the use of artificial fertilizer to enhance plant growth, and

pesticides to prevent bugs and ‘unkraut’ (weeds).

In those days there was one general course about ‘environmental protection’. It was here that I learned

about how estrogen-like residues in the water had turned male tadpoles into hermaphrodites. At this point

I started to think critically about the chemistry behind pesticides. If they are designed to disturb living

organisms, how far in the food chain will it go and what will they do to our nature in the future?

I also worked in a plant nursery for some time. Once a week the gardener put on a protective suit, closed

all windows and doors and put up a “do not enter” note – and then went spraying. It was a surprise to me

how often and how much pesticides were used.

So I started wondering, why didn’t we learn about the alternatives or the long term consequences?

We were a group of students who started to ask questions and challenge the usual way of growing

vegetables. At first our professrs ignored us; or they simply answered our questions with statements like,

“because it is not possible to do it commercially”, “see how the vegetables from organic growers look”,

and “nobody is going to pay the price”.

When we discussed the risk of pesticides ending up in our ground water, the proud experts agreed

amongst themselves that pesticides will never reach the ground water; the molecules will be chopped

into smaller, non-toxic compounds by microorganisms and/or will be filtered by inorganic layers in the

soil. For sure!

Today we know that they were wrong.

Meanwhile, we kept lobbying. It wasn’t until we as a group of students applied to study at Lund University

in Sweden, and were rejected as non-qualified, that the professors finally reacted. How did the Swedes

dare to say students from Denmark were not qualified? After that point,our application for a new class

about ‘organic growing’ became a reality.

Considering myself to be one of those 1.7% (idiots), I decided to write my bachelor thesis about

organic growth of vegetables followed by my masters degree on how to use microbiology for plant

protection. Needless to say, at that time, those were not the best choices in regards of making a

career which is how I ended in tech – but that’s another story.

Today, 25-30 years later, being an organic gardener is a very good business. From 2016 to 2017 the

revenue grew from 7 billion Danish Kroners to 8 billion and the total market today is 9,6% and still

rising. Many of the organic farmers today decided to go from conventional to organic because it is a

better business for them. The demand for organically or environmentally sustainable food is in fact

higher than the delivery.

So what happened and what made the change? The one thing which has really been convincing in

terms of the organic plant movement is the business case.

And that is the reason it was a key point for me to introduce a ‘sustainable business model’ as an

indicator of success. In a better world, in paradise and on cloud nine, who cares about money? But in

this world when wanting to convince someone that change is doable and valuable; show them the

money – and then they will listen. Slowly but surely that was what happened with the organic food


In the process, the organic growers and researchers have developed methods which have been

adapted by the conventional growers. Pesticides are expensive and once you start using them, you

must keep doing so. In controlled environments like greenhouses, the majority of Danish gardeners

have exchanges pesticides with biological and microbiological methods.

So why do I share these memories with you?

At the workshop I had (happy) flashbacks to this time of pioneering, being at the front of something

new and purposeful. What I learned then is still useful, both to remind and encourage me – which is

why I am sharing with you:

7 things I took away from the Collaboration Incubator

1. New beginnings take time.

2. Changing a model that works for many people will meet resistance.

3. People living by the habitual/usual/old ways of doing things will instantly and instinctively try to

make you feel uncomfortable – as they don’t want you to rock the boat.

4. Experts can be wrong. Somebody with heart and courage has to challenge them.

5. The best way of convincing is not necessarily by persuading with words, but by demonstrating

with actions.

6. The most resistant people are often most convinced by a working business model.

7. Even if they only join you for half the journey, being an inspiration to someone is still a victory.

Truthfully, the above advice is not only based on my experiences from my past.


5 years ago I began a start-up journey with Prodii, a tool for collaborative mapping of professional

resources in networks. Aiming to create a sustainable business model that is not based on data

surveillance, trackers or advertising means challenging the ‘new normal’ for digital business models.

I’ve done my share of pitch-competitions and met my share of “venture capitalist says no”. However,

thanks to a combination of regulations (GDPR), privacy-by-design and data ethical movements and

now to Vanilla Way, I am optimistic about the future.

So, let me share my one final piece of advice which is also my personal encouragement and a major

personal reward in my work:

Working with people who share your purpose and your success(es) is the best thing about

work– maybe even the best thing in life!

— oOo —

In our different ways, Prodii as a tech platform and the Collaboration Incubator as a people

network, both share a common purpose which is to:

”find good ways to use the resources we have wisely.”

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy my pictures from ‘once upon a time’ and from a workshop still

fresh in my memory.

With love, respect and best wishes to all and thanks to Ele and Naomi for co-creating this piece!

/Marianne Steen




We learned in the incubators the different levels of trust and how tricky it is to bring them together in a group!

We learned the value of speaking our deep desires, how desperately we failed, and at the same time wildly succeeded

by Manuela Bosch

We recently accomplished two more Collaboration Incubators –

social experiments for incubating collaborations between people

who support a shared vision around global grassroots


Our challenge: Complexity! To deal with innumerable indefinite

denominators, in a short time, to work on the puzzle of global

societal challenges. Doing this with a group that does not know

each other, and does not have a shared understanding of global

grassroots democracy, yet. In this short period of time; We aim

to connect, learn new methods, train our facilitation skills and

come up with a vision and strategy. One topic that stuck out was

trust. To collaborate in moments of gross uncertainty and

ignorance we need trust. There's just no way around it.

In the recent Incubator in Oakland, we learned there are

different levels of trust:

a basic level: I trust my life is safe, I will not get killed.

a primal level: I trust nobody will steal my things

a personal level: I share something private and I trust it won’t

get used against me

a emotional level: I trust others are sensitive, when I share

something of emotional importance

and a level of sharing deep desires: I make myself vulnerable,

and I trust I won't get hurt.

– that last level is very interesting.

When I keep my desires for myself, I might reduce my chance

for sustainable satisfaction. I am easier to manipulate here.

There are greater chances becoming controlled by sex, drugs,...

presidential candidates – by everything promising fast, discrete


During Collaboration Incubators, when we are working on our

vision around collaboration for societal change, we ask “What

do you personally need to see coming true, so you’ll be able to

be motivated sharing ownership for this project until it's done?"

Our background, where and how I’ve been raised, what I’ve

experienced in my life might, will influence how open I am to

share my actual needs and dreams with other people. So in the

diverse groups on this planet, and same in our micro-democracy

during the Collaboration Incubator, it’s an indescribable crucial

factor to consider that not everybody is capable to step right into

sharing with a group of strangers their actual hopes and


On the other hand, in order to set-free creativity and leadership

potential, one critical factor might be, that I need to have my

basic needs met first, before being able taking on such big

tasks. The individual "leadership capacity" is one of the critical

factors when daring to organize around the biggest challenge of

our time: To make it, on this planet, all together.

So speaking about trust, I think during our recent Incubators

we've unspeakably failed in this and at the same time legendary


At times we've outspokenly suffered from not trusting. We got

exhausted from not knowing what our democratically decided

direction shall become, and in the Berlin Incubator we've even

"lost" people presenting minorities on the way.

I am glad we can also say, we've managed. We were going

through times of extreme discomfort together without breaking

up. Many of us bonded deeply with previous strangers. We were

able to take away essentials for helping our local change work

grow, and some of us will continue to work on a big shared

vision and network weaving.




By Peter Wolff;

Collaboration Incubator: Berlin, October 2018

I recently participated in three-day workshop / conference / thinktank

offered by Vanilla Way. The organizing question in the

invitation was, “How do we build a global grassroots democracy

that enables us to create a future that nurtures us and the

planet?” ( I’m usually interested

in programs that deepen my commitment as a global citizen, and

the weekend also provided an opportunity to build my network in

my newly chosen city of Berlin.

I appreciated the intention of the organizers, that the results of

the weekend should be an enhancement to the work that each of

us is already doing, thereby serving both our personal needs and

the long-term needs of society. My work as a leadership

development consultant fit well with the profiles of the other 10

entrepreneurs, facilitators and community organizers. I had more

prior knowledge of the agenda than most people attending

because I volunteered to facilitate a couple of sessions on

evolutionary leadership. I’ve also traveled extensively and my

accumulated years of wandering the planet expanded my ability

to see multiple sides at once. This ended up being an asset over

the weekend.

Although the current state of global governance was a reference

point for our discussions, we intentionally did not try to map all of

its systems or propose solutions to fix broken pieces. Our main

focus was to explore possibilities for grassroots democracy, and

specifically projects to which we can apply our thinking and acting

in local communities. Later in the article I’ll outline a project called

#ALLVOICES that I chose to start and coordinate.

Our legacy of liberal democracy

In these times, when right and left are polarized, it’s easy to

forget that this political theater is all happening on the stage of

liberal democracy, the form of governance that since the fall of

communism has become the de facto (or at least dominant) form

of global governance. Although it is important to protect the

frontier of devolving democracy against fascism, recreating of the

rules of democracy so that it works for all is a more urgent task.

Liberalism is simply the movement towards freedom. In Europe,

the dawn of modern liberal democracy is celebrated each year on

July 14th, Bastille Day. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose ideas

were used to rally the people during the French Revolution in

1789, called for legislative power for the people, creating a new

social contract. Thomas Paine wrote Rights of Manin France in

1791, after influencing the American Revolution with his writing

and activism. In it he defends the French Revolution, believing a

revolt by the people is justified when a government does not

protect the natural rights of its citizens. Since the American and

French Revolutions, “liberty, equality and fraternity” have been

the fundamental cry of democracy around the world.

During more than 200 years of democracy, the concept of “all

people” has been updated both in terms of who is represented

and the total number of people governed. It used to mean male

property owners. Now we can see and hear people on Internetconnected

devices across the globe who also want equality. In

1800 the global population was 991 million. In 2019, the number

approaches 7.4 billion. We find ourselves in a more complex

world with governments challenged to achieve fairness and

inclusion for massively diverse and connected voices.

continues on next page


When governments and change agents struggle to act

Governments are here to ensure safety, welfare, tranquility and

prosperity for their citizens. When our expectations are not met,

that government and corporate institutions should help us meet our

basic needs, we often react with anger, confusion and conflict.

Since we don’t want to act out irrationally (or aren’t allowed to by

law), we find other ways to cope with the injustice. Sometimes

people go into isolation. Others find solidarity in social groups.

The Collaboration Incubator offered a clear agenda for us, using

the Dragon Dreaming methodology to envision our lives and work

meeting both our personal requirements and global needs. I can’t

really say why or how it happened, but our attempts to move

forward brought more resistance. Social tensions in the group

began to surface. Some disengaged, others began separating into

subgroups, others chose to abandon the process altogether. Some

people felt left out, others focused on the need to resolve the

discord in the group, and others wanted to stay with the planned

agenda. Our goal to collaborate was stuck yet we longed for an

interpersonal environment that engendered trust.

Once we reached a consensus to abandon the planned agenda,

we slowly began to transform the tension by coming together in a

circle and facing the uncomfortable feelings with conscious

awareness. We called this a practice of “sitting in the fire.” Life and

limb were not endangered, but the intensity required a fair amount

of courage.

I was a participant in the conflict and did my best to address the

barriers to our collaboration. We each wrestled with strongly held

perspectives as well as our individual identities. At this point none

of us really knew what the outcome of the weekend would be, but

we knew that we wanted to feel connected as a group. Although

we wanted to take positive action on societal and planetary issues,

human relationships and power dynamics took precedence.

(For more on the fire practice, check out the work of Arnold


My personal journey

Although imperfect in execution, the fire practice worked and a few

of us are meeting again to add the necessary support for

participants before and during the process. Perhaps the urgency of

the future (i.e., climate change, wealth inequity, AI) provided

additional motivation to get unstuck and find new ways of

interacting with each other. The points below summarize my

insights and learning:

Proceeding in collaboration before trust is present creates


Trust is earned, until then I don’t trust any voice to speak for me.

Every voice tells a story. I want to pull more voices into the circle.

I want to live in a world where every voice counts.

I honor each perspective in the circle.

I use my voice and language to show a perspective on the whole.

Be the person who keeps the voices in, each and every storyteller.

Until the voices are all heard, a group is not formed.

When all the voices in the circle were heard with openness and

respect, the group dynamic shifted. With some strong intentions

and facilitation skills, we were indeed able to co-create a list of

projects with collaboration partners. A project as defined by our

process may simply be an idea that someone wants to share and

develop. In other words, projects may need more thinking and

planning, while others might already be up and running and need

tactical support.

I found our process to be a perfect example of how groups get

stuck. To get moving again, to be able to move through conflict and

get on with making our communities thrive, we have to be able to

listen to each other.

continues on next page


#ALLVOICES: An experiment in connection.

We talk about diversity and inclusion, but even the most conscientious of us falter. A

voice of authority too often determines which stories are heard, which lives matter. The

#ALLVOICES project hopes to achieve a platform for hearing more voices in the

systems that represent us and govern our lives.

We’ll experiment and find ways to solicit, aggregate and curate stories. Starting small,

then expanding out to the Internet-connected world, a spectrum of worldviews will be

added. Perhaps by making a little bit more in each of us visible, we can acknowledge

the existence of another person’s view on life in the moment and get curious about our


I’m interested in hearing stories that connect us, and understanding that we often don’t

agree is important. The goal is for each story to reveal what a person sees. Every story

is a snapshot that captures an honest image of a person’s inner emotional landscape,

love, hate, fear, anger, disgust, resentment, sadness.

We only need to listen. We do not need to agree.

The vision is inclusion. When a group of people to come together in a sacred circle,

each authentic voice is represented fairly. Therefore, our project must have a code of

conduct that makes it safe for anyone to participate. Consider the tall order of

#ALLVOICES. A range of personal stories could be as loving and compassionate as a

Buddhist satsang and as aggressive and hate-filled as a Trump rally. Personal stories

are not about someone or something else other than what lies in the heart of every

person who shares. These stories do not begin with “I believe,” are not about ideology or

concepts, and not about the past or the future. The stories answer the question “Who

are you right now?”

Belonging to a family

True family accepts who you are. I want to see if we can love our anger, discomfort, and

our flaws. In that vulnerability, human stories can connect us because we share similar

experiences. The human tribe is diverse, complex, and conflicted. If successful, we will

find our belonging to each other.

A part of what it takes to collaborate is to be bold and courageous and

actually stay in, stay in the pain, in the conflict, and be supported by

those in the group who can support. Because each person being

vulnerable is also what helps create more connection and more love.

What's happening to you is not unique to you. Each of us has a point

where we resist, where we feel pain, where we get angry. So my

dream, my method, my practice, is to include the discomfort as part

of co-creation. It’s not just trying to find the perfect partners who

know how to deal with difficult relationships. Why don’t we just deal

with conflict compassionately, as part of how we collaborate? That’s

courageous. It takes courageous leadership.

– Peter Wolff



I carry a message close to my heart that

was told to me awhile back that I would like

to share with you. It is a message from my

Ichishkiin elder from the Confederated

Tribes of Warm Spring. He said “the only

vision I want to hear about is one that will

grow corn. It has to work here and now

upon the Earth Mother, or it's not real. If

your emotional, physical, mental, or

spiritual self is in disarray, you will be

unable to respond to and appropriately

carry out your vision. So tell me, how will

your vision grow corn for the people?”

– Gretchen Hingley

Desperately desired change

often moves so slow

that it becomes impossible to grasp

and even harder to believe

In a way this is forging unstopable sustainability

like nobody can stop the river in its flow

Collaborating with this vast unknowing

requires one to listen

with intention and trust

and some likeminds around you

with shared intentions

just wild enough to get involved

Voices will keep telling you

that does not work!

where are your references?

where are your results?

But, that won’t help

not doing is not an option

It’s worth giving a try

Momentum building for global grassroots democracy

Decentralize control

Centralize trust

Let’s gather


Collaboration Incubator

Berlin, May 3-5, 2019

San Francisco, June 14-16, 2018



This program is only for people who:

can stand discomfort;

are open not coming to conclusion;

encounter differences with curiosity;

and love experiments

Thanks go to:








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