We are actively engaged in the dialogue and debates of our space: on issues of social justice, global development, and democratic innovation, and on the ethics and methodological evolution of design, mediation, and co-creation practice. More of our writing can be found at Medium.
Dear friends and allies,
Today, we share some bittersweet news: After an extraordinary 13+ years, Reboot will be closing its doors.
Since 2010, we have sought to tackle structural injustice across sectors and issues including global development, participatory democracy, humanitarian aid, economic justice, press freedom, immigrant rights, criminal justice, electoral integrity, public health, education, and more. In this time, our ongoing political education and grappling with our own positionality led us to experiment with various approaches: We designed campaigns, organized communities, launched new initiatives, built coalitions, facilitated co-creation, and ran programs in over 30 countries. And we learned a lot about the politics and processes of transformation.
While our theories of change and tactics evolved, our purpose was unwavering: To amplify the voices and realize the dreams of those who have been systematically silenced and excluded from positions of power. We have proudly incubated a Presidential global human rights initiative, a media innovation lab, a hub for participatory democracy, and supported over 150 efforts for dignity and justice. Along the way, our work picked up some awards, as well as coverage from outlets like Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, CNN, Fast Company, The New York Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and more.
We could only have done this work with the passion and support of visionary, heart-led partners like you. We are so deeply grateful for our collaboration, and for the opportunity to imagine, learn, and build together.
While we are sharing this news now, this milestone has been several years in the making. We’ve always seen Reboot as a vehicle to drive change on issues we care about, and to study and practice different ways of doing so. But our ambitions and curiosities eventually outgrew this container. Over the last few years, we contemplated various paths for transition, ultimately deciding on an intentional wind-down. This week marks the end of that journey.
To our remarkable partners: Your support and allyship have been such a source of strength, and your efforts for a more just and joyous world continue to inspire. We’re excited to continue the fight and the magic, together.
With deep gratitude,
Panthea Lee and Team Reboot
On Jan 20, Panthea Lee will give a talk and participate in a series of discussions hosted by Congreso Futuro, hosted by the Senate of Chile, on how to realize active democracy as daily practice. She will draw on recent experiences from the US, both the ruptures in American democracy and the exciting ways communities and movements are organizing, and reflect on this exciting time in Chile, given the recent constitutional referendum.
How can a more ‘active democracy’ break political deadlock, build civic trust and drive transformative collaboration between government, civil society and communities? On Oct 8, Panthea Lee will participate in a panel with Matthew Taylor, Claudia Chwalisz, and Graham Smith, hosted by the RSA, on novel democratic approaches to tackle acute and existential social and political challenges.
On Sept 30, at the global Creative Bureaucracy Festival, Panthea Lee will give a talk on what new forms of citizen organizing are revealing about the nature of our fragile democracies, and what governments can do to harness community energy and to work with coalitions of diverse actors—including artists, activists, and the private sector—to co-create active and just democracies.
On Sept 17, Panthea Lee will lead “Reimagining Our Roles in the Fight For Tomorrow” at the Untitled Festival, hosted by Demos Helsinki. This conversation will explore how our identities (personal and professional) are constructed, how they may be sustained by structures of oppression, and the implications for the roles we should each play in our fights for equity and justice. This is deep, personal, searching work, and it’s not easy, so we are hosting an intimate conversation for allies wrestling with these questions.
Reboot’s Africa team has worked with a number of civil society-led coalitions over the last decade to co-create and implement innovative initiatives, often enabled by appropriate technology. On September 9, our Regional Director for Africa, Adam Talsma, shared our experience alongside other leaders in the space: Catherine Anite of Freedom of Expression Hub, Oyebisi Oluseyi of NNNGO, Gbenga Sesan of Paradigm Initiative, Bukky Shonibare of Invictus Africa, and Korede Asuni of dotCivics.
On Sept 15, Panthea Lee will share insights on how activism, community organizing, and governance have evolved in response to COVID and our current global struggles for social justice at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies’ Annual Public Policy Conference. She will also examine failures of public leadership in times of crisis, and how a whole of society approach can help address these breaches of public faith—and help rebuild more just, more resilient societies.
On August 11, 2020, Panthea Lee will join the online panel “Hard Truths: Privilege and Belonging in the Social Impact World.” Part of the #BuildBackBetter webinar series hosted by Future of Good, this discussion will explore the power dynamics, privilege, racism, and unconscious biases at play within the social good sector. Alongside leaders in equity and justice, we will challenge assumptions within our work and our field, helping chart a new path forward.
We’ve always been deeply invested in the question of how to bring about social change. That’s why we’re excited to announce our new podcast—Design With—where we explore the mysteries of how transformative change happens, with leaders who are finding ways to break through. Tune in for thoughtful conversations on collaborations that build connection and shift power. Check it out, subscribe, and stay tuned for a new episode every Wednesday this month.
Panthea Lee will host a session at the Department of Dreams Online Festival taking place June 17-21, 2020, where participants will explore multiple realities and futures together through conversations, workshops, and creative projects. This event is part of a larger initiative seeking to invest in the artists, writers, designers, dreamers, and creative visionaries who are equally critical in the fight for systemic social reinvention—through the COVID-19 crisis and far beyond. RSVP for the week’s events here.
On June 4, 2020, Panthea Lee and Alyssa Kropp will lead a discussion on building collaborations with the power and potential to drive structural transformation at scale. Part of the innovative States of Change Learning Festival taking place June 1st-19th, our session will revisit the powerful insights from our original masterclass series on radical co-creation. On June 16th and June 17th, Panthea will also join panels on the cold hard truths of privilege and the role of culture and cultural activity in decision-making, respectively. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #SOCFest.
In the final installment of our Driving Transformative Collaboration masterclass series, our team of experts will help you learn how to create buy-in for bold social transformation. Our “Steering Diverse Partners Toward Cohesive Action” session will focus on troubleshooting tips and responding to the inevitable challenges of collaboration. Join us via Zoom on Wednesday, May 6th at 12pm ET and on Twitter with the hashtag #RadicalCollab.
One of the most challenging aspects of cross-sector collaboration is getting diverse actors to agree on a common agenda. So, we created a masterclass to help you do just that. “Aligning on Priorities When Everything is Important” is the second installment in our Designing Transformative Collaboration series, where you’ll learn how to lead difficult group discussions (even online) and identify shared priorities for forward action. Join us via Zoom on Wednesday, April 29 at 12pm ET and on Twitter with the hashtag #RadicalCollab.
Are you driving a cross-sector collaboration but struggling to reach out to new partners and set shared expectations? Join us for “Designing Collaborations for Urgent, Courageous Change”, the first masterclass in our Designing Transformative Collaboration series. You’ll learn how to bring together unlikely allies and set your collaboration up for success. Join us via Zoom this Wednesday, April 22 at 12pm ET and on Twitter with the hashtag #RadicalCollab.
There has never been a more urgent need for changemakers to break silos and work together in new and radical ways. To support these efforts, we’re launching Driving Transformative Collaboration—a free, three-part masterclass series for those of you building the urgent (and sometimes unlikely) partnerships needed to make decisions in the midst of uncertainty and create lasting networks for inclusive co-creation. Join us on Wednesdays, April 22-May 6, 2020.
On April 8th, Panthea Lee will join lead thinkers on social innovation and citizen engagement to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our social contract. The second in the “How Not to Waste a Crisis” series from States of Change, this live discussion will explore the role of institutions and communities as they grapple to respond to the global pandemic, and will offer practical advice on how we can work together to mobilize for greater impact. Sign up today to join the conversation!
On March 3rd, Reboot will participate in NYC Open Data Week, using the power of collaborative design to help solve the city’s open data challenges. Panthea Lee will join a hybrid panel discussion and design session on the importance of participatory and question-driven problem-solving; Kisha Bwenge and Alyssa Kropp will lead the Open Data Co-Design Clinic, an interactive workshop for practitioners to learn how to collaborate with clarity and purpose.
How can a collaborative design approach shift power and put feedback first? Rebooters Corey Chao and Kisha Bwenge explore this question at Feedback+ San Juan Summit, from February 26-28, 2020. In our breakout session, No Silver Bullets, we’ll guide participants to transform barriers into opportunities for authentic collaboration.
On February 27, 2020, Mohammed Maikudi and Yop Rwang Pam will lead an interactive session at Social Media Week Lagos, the largest innovation conference on the African continent. Reboot’s Humanize IT panel brings together experts in global development, technology, and human-centered design to discuss how we can go from “design thinking” to “design doing.”
Reboot is thrilled to welcome our Communications Designer, Seyi ‘Goke, to the Abuja office. Seyi brings a near decade of experience in graphic design, illustration, and marketing from across the public and private sectors; even sharing expertise through his own course, The Art of Good Design. He looks forward to working closely with our Africa team to establish new design standards and create user-friendly visual products, supporting our portfolio on the continent and beyond.