Berlin is played out.

I’ve returned from Berlin on my two+ week adventure at the P2PU pop-up office (previous blog post). As I anticipated: I met a bunch of wonderful people; I worked and I played and the lines between were quite blurred. You can catch up on all the activity from the pop-up office on the P2PU blog, but I’ll give a little recap from my time there below.

sign in front of Agora Collective, Berlin
Agora Collective, by bagaball (CC BY)


I spent most of my waking hours thinking about, designing for, destroying and creating the School of Open. What fun it was. And a lot of work. The two main things I wanted to walk away with after two weeks were a School “philosophy” and an opportunity to build things quickly, even if they fail. Luckily I had an awesome team (Jane Park and Molly Kleinman), so we walked away with a whole bunch more. Here’s what we made:

philosophy for what the School is about

guidelines for adding to the School

user scenarios showing a snapshot of the School’s audience

– new and modified courses/challenges (brand new: Get CC Savvy, Teach Someone Something with Open Content)

badge ideas for School participation

– a workshop toolkit (not finalized)

We also managed to run two workshops, one virtual and one physical (see Jane’s writeup on this), where we built courses, received feedback on the structure of the School, and got to play around with what openness means to a wide variety of people. The P2PU crew ran a third workshop as I was leaving that started weaving together openness and web design. The School will continue building and expanding as long as there are people interested in learning how to incorporate more open practices into their lives.

model of learning processes
Sunflower Model by Pieter Kleymeer (CC BY)


As though all the School of Open work wasn’t enough, I took some time to keep thinking and talking through what I’ve previously called the Sunflower Experiment. I had a few great discussions with Alan Webb, who’s working on developing an Open Masters program that will help individuals outline and complete their own mastery of a particular topic area. Alan’s work tied in well with how I’ve been thinking of independent learners and how they interact with their environment and integrate new understandings of the world into their existing identity. We even came up with an interesting model (or two) to describe some of this. I’m in the act of incorporating this model and my initial Sunflower Experiment process into my “annual review” at Open.Michigan/Enabling Technologies. I’m learning that playing is a lot harder than I thought. Escaping the bounds of identity is difficult, but can result in really fun ideas and fun times.


I met this guy, Sam Muirhead, in Berlin. He’s a filmmaker who’s committing to living a year in openness and I couldn’t help but share in his enthusiasm for showing people what it can mean to do things, everything, in an open way. Open source software is just a small piece of the commitment – read more about his endeavor on IndieGoGo.

Lastly, thanks to all the great P2PU folks I got to work with over the last couple of weeks. I came home inspired and more disciplined and ready to build and make and watch and learn. Thanks especially to Jane Park and Molly Kleinman, my School of Open teammates, and Philipp Schmidt and Bekka Kahn, my P2PU overlords.

2 thoughts on “Berlin is played out.

  1. Hey Piet – Thanks for coming to Berlin and it’s great to hear you got a lot out of it. So did School of Open and P2PU!

    Don’t ever call me an overlord again or I’ll have you, your family and your whole village punished …

    Let’s do this again! We didn’t get to fix my bike this time. P


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