Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
"Brain drain" in rural areas, no space for playful creativity in school, high barrier to further learning and technological/ natural science
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Martin Hollinetz is building an empowered and vitalized citizen base to create a new quality of life for rural Austrians. He is the founder of OTELO, a network of “open technology laboratories,” spaces designed for and by people of all ages to experiment, collaborate, communicate, and exchange with community members about topics they want to take action on or simply learn more about. OTELO fosters creativity, principles of sharing, and action based on shared passion in rural parts of Austria previously isolated and devoid of creative spirit. OTELO encourages people to build ideas together in a wide range of fields including creative economy, media, education, agriculture, robotics and innovation in corporations.
The OTELO network is replacing the isolation of rural life with participation in regional development. Martin’s systems-changing innovation works at the personal level, group level, and regional level: first OTELO asks what people want and provides the structure to connect those previously not connected (i.e., companies, citizens, politicians). OTELO allows ideas to come to life once a group of five individuals reach consensus to come together, test out their idea, and open it up to the public. OTELO taps into the natural human instinct to share passions, creating the structure to find out what these passions are through self-discovery.
OTELO has become a model for how to promote community, creativity, and collective action among citizens in rural areas, and it is using its success to challenge conventional notions about the role of the rural citizens in regional development. OTELO was founded in 2010 and since then has opened 7 OTELO locations throughout upper Austria, with plans to launch an additional 20 OTELO locations in the next three years. The OTELO model is replicable because of its simple premise: five people must be committed to an idea, there must be physical space to collaborate, and the idea must be open it to the community. Since launching OTELO, Martin has received requests to expand to South Africa, India, and Germany. Two German OTELOs are currently in the start-up stage. Martin is currently developing a franchise model in order to spread beyond German-speaking countries, as well as spread into urban areas.