Posted on Friday, 7 July, 2006 by

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The dream I am working on: a networking organization which fosters innovation and learning for rural areas. Especially the linkages between producers, small and large, and market, customers, R&D, and other business sectors will be promoted. Governmental and academical participation will be sought after if deemed opportune.
The mission will be something like: joint learning for a healthy rural area. Farmers and other investors in the rural area, together with others who live there, will be in the "driver’s seat". It is not a consultancy or training company, not a farmers association, not a ngo, but it has elements of each of these. Not the private benefit of any particular business or group is central, but the advancement of the rural area.

The role of the organization would be to gather a group of people around a certain theme, and to not only facilitate but also actively encourage them to interact as much as possible with each other, about this theme. This is done by providing multiple means and opportunities to meet (smartly blending face-to-face and online), prompting them, moderate their meetings and discussions. The following methodologies could make part: moderated lunches/drinks, excursions, presentations by members, internet social networking, Open space discussions, World Café, speed dating, interviews and presentations in blogs.

It would be a hub for inter-organizational communities of practice.

Target groups or themes could be: bio-energy (biogas, solar, wind, biodiesel), agri-food chain (different sectors, like dairy, horticulture etc), water, tourism. 

After a while, the members will have to take an active role, and should articulate their evolving needs. This could be a market study, courses/training, finding new contributors to the group, finding possibilities to start a pilot, apply for subsidies…. or other.

The objective is that they jointly exchange and generate knowledge, and come to co-operate on projects which each of them individually would not have succeeded. Participating to the organization will add value to their own practices, and to the knowledge organization, so it can continue with other groups, other themes.
Fixed costs of the organization should as much as possible be paid for by the group (partly subscription, partly per-transaction, maybe sponsors). However, development, start up and marketing costs… ???

Posted in: learning log