The Collaboratorium Conversations are open debates, a program of collective learning, thinking, creation and co-production. We work by dialogue and deliberation and creative visualization, using the synergistic toolkit as a guide.  Each event is a kind of Mind-lab / Synergy-lab etc, each with an international panel, and using interactive visual tools.

The graphic here shows the basic visual templates from the Synergistic Toolkit. These are now translated to online interactive whiteboard format for remote working. 


Events summary

·         Aug. 25th: Pandemic-city 3.0:  the post Covid-19 urban agenda ‘from crisis to transformation’ hosted by the South African Centre for Cities.

·         Sept. 4th: Foresight 3.0:  amidst disruption and turbulence, how to look and plan ahead? This calls for futures / foresight methods with next generation learning & thinking built in. 

·         Sept. 11th: Deeper Covi-City 3.0: the pandemic has brought conflicts and divisions to the surface in cities around the world – but also the potential for transformation.  This Mind-Lab / launch explores the role of ‘collective urban intelligence’ in turning crisis into opportunity. 

·         Oct.16th: Green New Deal 3.0: redirecting economic recovery for the low-carbon climate challenge, local and global – how to get the science/tech, economics, politics, culture and psychology all working together?

·         Oct.20th: Lo-co-gov-3.0:  Many voted to ‘take back control’ – but what and where is this control? Next generation ‘living labs’ point to ways forward (in combination with the Looper project).  

·         Nov.6th: Peri-eco-urban 3.0 (tbc): climate-proofing of urban development which breaks all the rules, in between or on the edge, in endemic poverty or rampant wealth (in combination with the Peri-cene project).

·         Nov.20-21st: Food 3.0:  exploring collective food intelligence for global-local agri-food systems, combining hi-tech with ancient wisdom.  

·         Dec 4th:  Smart-wise cities 3.0:  Can smart technology save cities which are congested, polluted and falling apart? Or if technology is part of the problem, what other pathways are possible?

·         May 2021: Peri-cene 3.0: the peri-urban side of the global Anthropocene, working with a Policy Lab of 21 cities around the world.

·         (Note the “3.0”  is shorthand here for ‘Mode-III collective intelligence’)

– (times are shown for UK – check for local equivalents)


Deeper Covi-City 3.0

Friday Sept 11th – 1300-1430


Many cards are up in the air with the pandemic – and the future of cities is crucial.  Should we expect divided cities policed by surveillance cameras and paramilitaries?  Or can we realize the aspirations for clean air and social inclusion? How to turn the urban crisis towards transformation?

This interactive Mind-Lab explores the post-pandemic ‘Deeper Covi-City’ – one where the many layers of economies, technologies, cultures, psychologies, and social systems all connect.  

It’s also a launch of the new book – 


with a road-testing of ideas by online visual dialogue, for a concept proposal for international funding. 

With: Joe Ravetz, University of Manchester UK

Panel (from east to west): Sheila Sri Prakash, Shilpa Architects, Chennai: Christina Garzillo, ICLEI:  Maria Cerreta, University of Naples: David Rudlin, URBED:  Rachel Cooper, ICA, Lancaster University: Ulysses Sengupta, Manchester School of Architecture: David Feeney, Chief Planning Officer, Leeds: Peter Marcotullio, City University New York.

Materials –   Deeper covi-city-3.0 – flyer – & briefing paper on Pandemic 3.0

Registration –


Green New Deal 3.0

October 16th 1300-1430



The pandemic showed for the first time this century, a different kind of city, one with clean air and human-scale streets….

this is the agenda of the Green New Deal, not just to cut CO2, but to transform towards prosperity and sustainability. But we are surrounded by conflict and division – and as 8–10 billion people all try for economic growth on one small planet, some argue for technology solutions, others for markets, finance, regulation, lifestyle change or cultural transformation….

We need ways to fit these together, to realize the potential synergies, and to map viable pathways which lead towards them.  We need to step up the ability for collaborative learning and thinking – a kind of ‘collective green new deal intelligence-3.0’. And it seems the ideas from Deeper City have the potential to unlock this….

This Mind-Lab is both visionary and practical, testing the multitude of ideas, policies, technologies etc, and aiming towards a research/policy program on a Green New Deal 3.0.

Panel – coming shortly

Flyer – coming shortly

Materials – Synergistics – visual guide – zero-carbon cities 



Tuesday October 20th – 1300-1430


An interactive Mind-Lab on local empowerment, collaborative (co)-governance, and the potential for a collective local intelligence, at a time of uncertainty and disruption….

This is the agenda of theLo-co-gov-3.0′:  This is more than government and smart technology, it’s about how people and organizations and public services can learn and think together, and create new ways of living and working – an overall collective local intelligence.  Many projects are pointing in the same direction, such as the Looper project on local learning

To explore this Lo-co-gov-3.0 agenda we need ways to think out of the box, beyond normal limits. So we follow the Mind-Lab model of interactive visual dialogues. This helps to explore deeper problems, the potential of collective intelligence, and mapping of pathways for transformation.   


At the moment the discussion is online – different to onsite interaction, but with some benefits (lower carbon / easier participation).  We use the synergistic toolkit for mapping & designing with collective intelligence,  For online visual thinking, try the sample interactive collaboratorium-demo.

It’s also a launch of the new book Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise,

With: Joe Ravetz, University of Manchester UK

In association with the project Looper –

Panel: coming shortly

Materials –   Lo-co-gov-3.0 – flyer  & –  Looper-summary-brochure

Registration – coming shortly

Food 3.0

November 20-21st :

London & online

The global food system is the greatest single disruptor of climate and ecosystems, with growing gaps between the under-fed and over-fed.  The principles of collective food intelligence can help to design global-local agri-food systems, which combine new technology with ancient wisdom, with new kinds of socio-eco-enterprises.

The principles of agro-ecology and food democracy are now established – but to make them work we need collective intelligence in finance, trade rules, supply chains, land management, urban-rural linkages and so on.  (For post-Brexit UK this is especially topical…)

As for Food 3.0 – we can begin by mapping some different Modes of systems organization –

·         ‘Mass’ food in a Mode-I industrial production system;

·         ‘Smart’ food, a Mode-II system of finance, innovation, lifestyles: along with displacement, expropriation, depletion etc;

·         ‘Wiser’ food, a Mode-III combination of eco-efficient production, social responsibility and well-health, linking global chains with local livelihoods.

This first scoping Mind-Lab will build on the agro-ecology and similar movements:  we will use the synergistic methods and tools, to explore new inter-connecting opportunities and pathways towards action.  

(hosted by ‘the world’s most sustainable food company’ – Alara Wholefoods

Panel – coming shortly

Flyer – coming shortly

Materials –   Synergistics – visual thinking guide – Food-III

Registration – coming shortly – to register an interest visit 

Smart-wise cities 3.0

Friday December 4th 1300-1430


Can smart technology save cities which are congested, polluted and falling apart? Or if technology is part of the problem, what other pathways are possible?

The smart city is here but ‘unevenly distributed’. We have traffic lights which see us coming, and toilets

which check our health.  We also have smart cities in the service of political surveillance, corporate data extraction or extremist hijack.   Manchester for example has pioneered digital city systems for 30 years, but one result so far is the rising numbers of hungry, homeless, depressed, abused and excluded.

This workshop explores some grand challenges with topical case studies:

          How can ‘smarter’ technology systems work with ‘wiser’ human systems?

          How can ‘smart-wise’ systems resist corporate data extraction or the ‘surveillance state’

          How to map or design the pathways from ‘smart to wise’?

Panel: coming shortly

Materials:  Synergistics – visual guide – Smart-Wise Cities 

Registration: coming shortly


Previous events

Pandemic-City 3.0

Tuesday Aug 25th 1000-1230 (SAST)  (0900-1130 UK time)

Online – see registration link below

The post Covid-19 urban agenda ‘from crisis to transformation’

Hosted by the South African Cities Network and University of Witwatersrand School of Governance

In combination with the book launch – 


The pandemic impacts and lockdown responses have sucked the life-blood from our cities. If the pandemic continues, how to live with it? If it is contained, will cities just bounce back to the old ways, or just possibly forward to some kind of transformation?  This is the agenda of the Pandemic-City-3.0:  not only public health, but also economies, technologies, governance, urban design and so on. We look for possible synergies and transformations in each of these, based on collective intelligence, i.e. deeper and wider learning and thinking, between all concerned.

This first session is hosted by the South African Cities Network and the University of Witwatersrand School of Governance. The focus is on Southern Africa but the session is open to others interested in the bigger picture.

MaterialsPandemic-City-3.0 – flyer

Briefing papers on Pandemic 3.0   & Dealing-with-covid-19-in-the-towns-and-cities-of-the-global-south/

Registration –  Pandemic-City-3.0 -ResponsePage

For more information please contact Sadhna Bhana at or 082 505 0669


Foresight 3.0

Friday Sept 4th 1300-1430


Many cards are up in the air with the pandemic – a ‘hyper-wicked’ problem, with deeper threat multipliers all around. How to manage such transformations, and steer from crisis to opportunity? Can we envision a next-generation practice of futures and foresight? Such a Foresight-3.0 could follow the principles of collective intelligence, both within the foresight process, and for the transformations around it.

This interactive dialogue or Mind-Lab explores a post-pandemic ‘foresight of foresight’, and practical pathways towards it, using online visual dialogue.  

It’s also a launch of Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise – which brings some first thoughts on Foresight 3.0.  The agenda is open to follow up and new initiatives.

Panel (invited):  Ian Miles, Effie Amanatidou, Ozcan Saritas, Geci Karuri-Sebina, Sohail Inayatullah, Gill Ringland, Rafael-Monika Popper, Sudhir Chella Rajan, Cat Tully, Clem Bezold, Angela Wilkinson, John Robinson, Marcio de Miranda Santos

Materials –  Foresight 3.0 – flyer  Deeper City – 9-4 – Foresight-III

Registration –