Gabriela Ender

Ashoka Fellow
Germany,
Fellow Since 2008
OpenSpace-Online GmbH

Citation

This profile was prepared when Gabriela Ender was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Gabriela is transforming the way knowledge and information flows and decisions are made, both within and between organizations, and is making it possible for good bottom-up solutions to intractable social problems to be channeled to the relevant decision makers. Using the internet in a new way, she provides her methodology, OpenSpace-Online® through an internet platform to organizations and institutions across the globe. She brings stakeholders together online and helps structure their interaction to become self-driven, and mines the wisdom of the masses without falling into chaos.

Through clearly defined, virtual collaborative sessions, she allows participants from all levels of one organization or from several organizations to set a common agenda and work towards solutions at parallel, non-hierarchical levels. Gabriela links organizations and stakeholders across cyber space who would not otherwise have the opportunity to interact, and helps them to achieve joint solutions to common problems. All participants share their expertise and collaborate. Since her system does not allow a pre-set agenda, participants begin with a blank space and must become leaders: Regardless of their seniority, they share problems, ideas, and solutions. This creates a vertical change process: In a transparent, fast, and economical way, Gabriela enables senior managers and senior experts to learn that they can have a deeper impact by drawing on the knowledge, wisdom, and best practices of their constituents, who often know a problem best and may have a unique insight about how to solve it. Thus, stakeholders make their knowledge and experience heard, inform decision making, and shape institutional policies. Each side improves their institutions and their value to customers and stakeholders.

Gabriela also builds networks of innovative organizations and respected opinion leaders to showcase how the collective expertise created through OpenSpace-Online® provides constructive solutions for key topics like climate change or health prevention. Thus, convincing the next round of adopters, her goal is to fundamentally change the structure of how people work together. Gabriela knows the time is ripe for her methodology: People know that solutions to pressing problems cannot be found through academic expertise alone, but only if the expertise of all stakeholders is considered, and more importantly, if those relevant to implementing the solution are part of the process.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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