Sunday, 15 December 2013

Istanbul has its MakeSense Hotspot

Istanbul has its own MakeSense community. In less than one month a dynamic group of Gangsters (MakeSense members) emerged to make Istanbul a more social and sustainable place.

It was at the end of October that I first talked to Ayse on the phone. I mentioned shortly that I would go dumpster diving soon. She immediately countered: “Hey, we should organize a Disco Soup!” It characterizes Ayse so well: a girl full of enthusiasm, energy and drive to change the world around her. The perfect partner in crime. Together we started working on a MakeSense Hotspot in Istanbul. I was amazed many times about how easy and fun it was to collaborate with her.

Jeremy and the changemakers of the second hold-up.
Very practical outcomes and a great atmosphere that evening.
On 16 November we did our first MakeSense Hold-up for Yesilist, the green platform in Turkey. The hold-up targeted the following challenge. “How to build an active community of Yesilist supporters who are eager and enabled to contribute?” 18 participants, a lot of energy and good vibes, but no real implementable solution to the challenge of Yesilist. It was learning by experience. The Sense Drink thereafter brought 30 young enthusiasts together. But it was the second hold-up for Connect One Threads, an idea of Jeremy to start a business for organic cotton, that kickstarted the Istanbul Hotspot. Even though there were only ten participants, we made the crucial step of empowering them while the hold-up was still fresh in their mind.  A few days later, on 7 December, we namely organized a meeting in which we launched MakeSense Istanbul.
On this launching meeting we further explained MakeSense, talked about the goals of MakeSense Istanbul and set the agenda with the upcoming activities together with the new Gangsters. This was crucial to empower them and to give ownership. We concluded the meeting by dividing the roles for the Hotspot. Ayse and Jeremy will be coordinating the team together. Nazli will be an amazing communicator. Turker and Jeremy will organize the next hold-up. Last but not least Ceyda, Robin, Ayse, Nazli, Jeremy and Burcin will organize a Disco Soup. Istanbul, prepare to Make a lot of Sense!

Lessons learned
  • Sense Drinks are wonderful to make people socialize with Gangsters, but it is a hold-up which truly engages people.
  • Involve interested people asap after a hold-up.
  • Start your hotspot by doing a launching meeting. Immediately give new Gangsters ownership and responsibility.
  • Prepare upfront how you will cluster the ideas in a hold-up.
  • Use different platforms to announce activities. Think of Facebook, MeetUp, Eventbrite, CouchSurfing etc.
  • Personal messages can be effective in mobilizing people, but only really work once. 
Ideas. Creativity. Energy.

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